Palm Beach County closed out Pride Month with the one-year anniversary of Lake Worth Beach's newest organization, Haus of QUOTA.
Founded a year ago, HOQ is a collective organization of artists and performers that aim to unite the queer community in Palm Beach County with engaging events. "QUOTA" is an acronym for "Queerest Of Them All," because the organization aims to stand out from traditional queer-friendly groups.
"I still can't believe it's been one year already," said Kristie Gould, stage manager for HOQ. "All we wanted was for our community to have a safe space to party. So celebrating one year feels good. It's amazing to see our hard work pay off."
To celebrate its anniversary, HOQ hosted its monthly LGBT open mic night last weekend. Held at the Book Cellar in Lake Worth Beach, the event produced a packed house full of members of the community. Participants shared love stories, performed comedy acts about addiction, serenaded Broadway tunes, and recited poetry — then were treated to birthday cake in recognition of the group’s anniversary.
"Miss Mocha [HOQ’s ‘mother’] and Big SZA [HOQ’s head of hospitality] hosted a small drag show in their living room last June, then as more and more people started showing up to the events, they moved the party to the back yard," said HOQ’s public relations head from Lake Worth Beach Emma Sue Harris. "QUOTA, over the last few months, has grown into a small living room, now we partner with local venues for our monthly parties."
In addition to the open mic night, HOQ recently held its "Queerest of the Ball!" party at The Box Gallery in West Palm Beach, hosted by Syphora Styff and Davianna.
Over 20 performers showed up to exhibit the many themes of the night, including “Flower Power,” “50 Shades of Gay,” “Technicolor: The Gay TV Show,” and the crowd favorite, “The Age of Aqueerius.”
"I was honored to have QUOTA at The Box Gallery," said gallery owner Rolando Chang Barrero. "It was one of the most amazing experiences. It was a house full of vibrant and loving, creative individuals where all social constructs of gender, sexuality, race, and class were erased at least for the night. A true celebration of self empowerment like no other I have witnessed!"
All in a year, HOQ registered as a nonprofit organization, marched in this year’s Palm Beach Pride parade, and performed at events like Compass' Youth Equality Prom and the annual chili cook-off at Penny's at the Duke. And the organization has even slated an upcoming appearance on the local “Hola Palm Beach Talk Show.”
Its members also established monthly book clubs and open mic nights they plan on continuing long past their one-year mark.
For more information on Haus of QUOTA, visit its Facebook page.