The Crape Myrtle Festival deals with the hardy and colorful trees, but only as metaphor. The festival is actually an all-volunteer organization that raises money to support HIV/AIDS and LGBT organizations in the Triangle. They draw inspiration from crape myrtles, which they describe on their website as "a flower that blooms in the most oppressive of climates—the heat of a Southern summer."
The festival's monthly Drag Brunch events are a chance to shout and celebrate these communities with cocktails, food and performances from diva drag stars. This month features Purina Chow, who dons colorful makeup and a bright yellow 'fro, and the sleek Ebony Summers, whose rousing performance of gospel singer Vickie Winans' "Long As I Got King Jesus" contains another metaphor. As Summers lip-syncs Winans' heartfelt words—"I been lied on, cheated, talked about, mistreated"—one can't help but think about the hardships the LGBT community faces today. All the more reason to hoot and holler with some of their shiniest stars. —Meg Stein