March 29, 2022 News & Features » Cover Story

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Brandon Horton, 32 

Founder, Driveway Drag Show

click to enlarge brandonhorton.jpg

Scott Elmquist

“It’s the greatest thing I never knew I wanted to do,” says Brandon Horton, founder of the uber popular, pandemic-born Driveway Drag Show.

It was spring of 2020, and while the Richmond native and longtime Virginia Pride board member anticipated lots of lockdown-induced Netflix binging in his future, he couldn’t ignore the whispers of opportunity calling to him. Horton imagined a way in which he could combine his passion for production, his love for the LGBTQ+ community and his expertise on all things drag -- you may know him as Michelle Livigne—to bring joy to Richmond.

“It started as a full joke,” recalls Horton, who was inspired by the winners of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” and what they chose to do with their newfound fame. “I always had this idea that if I won, I’d make a web show, ‘Drag Across America,’ and every episode would be at a different club.” Thinking of this dream on a smaller scale prompted a Facebook status, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if all the queens got together and went to driveways?’”

Two hundred reactions, 100 comments and a hastily made inaugural Driveway Drag flyer later and the show was born. Since May 2020, Horton has proudly put on a whopping 1,524 Driveway Drag Show performances. “We went from club speakers to car stereos, from a 10-mile radius to doing shows in Chesterfield and Powhatan and beyond. I have 26 emails I need to look at right now with people booking the show,” says Horton, laughing.

While being able to provide a living for himself and other queens is no small feat, it’s the impact these shows have on certain audiences that really fuels Horton’s fire. “I’ve met people who I would have never seen at Godfrey’s, people who, no matter how they felt about drag, this put a smile on their face,” he says.

The driveway performances are, on the surface, pure fun and sheer adrenaline, but they’re also lifelines -- a way of connecting with people who may not know they need it. Horton explains that a lot of parents have used them as as a resource.

“They’ve used the show as a bridge when their kids are coming out and they’re wondering, ‘How do I navigate this?’" he explains. "They can bring a drag queen to their home and show their kids all this love and compassion and acceptance.”

For this reason alone, Horton says he "could never not do it."

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