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‘Where There Are Bees, There Is Honey’ highlights drag in Jackson County

The documentary features Western North Carolina drag queens.
Courtesy of Sylva Pride
The documentary features Western North Carolina drag queens.

For the second year in a row there will be a Pride parade in downtown Sylva this weekend. Festivities are starting with a viewing party for a documentary that highlights the drag scene in Jackson County.

Grace Blizzard is a film student at Western Carolina University. She’s from Atlantic Beach on the North Carolina coast but she says that she has found her home in Sylva – specifically at the local drag shows.

“For me as someone who was really struggling at the time and like not really having a place, it was like a break for me,” said Blizzard.

Blizzard graduated high school in 2020 during the pandemic. She says the local drag shows offered her a community space and inspired her to make this documentary. The film, “Where There Are Bees, There Is Honey,” features some of performers behind the growing drag scene in Sylva. The film features interviews with local performers: Calcutta, Marigold Showers and Beulah Land.

Before the pandemic, there was a drag show every few months in Jackson County. Now in 2022, there are three regular shows by Blizzard’s estimation.

“What is making people migrate from Asheville to these smaller towns and have pockets of queer people across Western North Carolina?”

Blizzard doesn’t strive to fully answer this question but instead digs into the topics that inspire the performers. Here’s how Sylva-based drag performer Beulah Land explains her Appalachian roots in the film:

“Within the queer community, I think because we have been so heavily pushed out, so adamantly and vehemently erased from those down home roots. I think that it can be kind of traumatic to revisit that,” said Land. “And it’s taken me a long time to understand that the culture that I grew up in is beautiful. Not saying that it’s perfect - no culture is – but there is beauty where you are willing to find it.”

Interviewing the performers like Beulah Land, said Blizzard, and directing taught her about film and about herself.

“Yeah it’s definitely a journey and I am leaning further into myself and that I am part of the queer community,” said Blizzard.

Following the premiere in Sylva, Blizzard hopes the film will be screened elsewhere to fundraise for the local LGBTQ+ community.

The film will be screened at the Lazy Hiker Taproom in Sylva on Thursday September 8th at 7:30pm.

Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.