Nevaeh McKenzie Hosts New Year, New Read: a Drag Queen Storytime at Changing Hands

By Laura Latzko

Former Miss Gay Arizona America Nevaeh McKenzie is known for her glamorous gowns and big production numbers. The drag queen is going to break into a new market in January with her drag storytime event.

The first edition, entitled New Year, New Read: a Drag Queen Storytime, will take place on Jan. 5 at Changing Hands Phoenix bookstore.

McKenzie wanted to create an event outside of bars that would appeal to a different audience. “We’re just looking to get the community together to read, enjoy arts and crafts and spend time with each other, especially after the holidays and the new year,” McKenzie said.

The bookstore’s Phoenix location also hosts costume, baby and pre-school/elementary-level story time hours for children. In the past, Changing Hands has held a story time event with gender-conforming storytellers called “Glitter Magic.”

Brandi Stewart, children’s book buyer and children’s event coordinator for Changing Hands, said the new event will fit in well with the current storytime offerings. "The store is always looking for ways to be more diverse. So, this event allows us the opportunity to diversify even more. I hope that everybody feels welcome, that they have a good time and that they leave feeling inspired and love for the community,” Stewart said.

McKenzie plans to make the drag story time a regular event, offered multiple times a year. In addition to the storytime hour, there will also be arts and crafts activities and a raffle. Proceeds from the event will benefit youth organization one n ten.

McKenzie attended one n ten youth groups when she first moved to Phoenix as a teen. “I don’t think I’d be where I am at without that organization. I don’t think Nevaeh would have existed without that organization. Anytime that I can give back and hopefully lead a new wave of entertainers to give back to their community, it’s a great feeling,” McKenzie said.

The host will be joined by former Mister Phoenix Pride Dee Jae Galaxy and Empress XI Sophia Sinclair. Galaxy plans to add to the show with live singing and guitar playing, and Sinclair will dress up as different characters.

McKenzie said the story time hour will provide new avenues for drag performers to engage with the public. “I think this is another step in the evolution when it comes to tying drag entertainers into the community,” McKenzie said.

Reading to children isn’t new to McKenzie, a former kindergarten teacher in her daily life. From experience, McKenzie knows children can be a highly-critical audience. “There’s no filter with them, no sense of obligatory kindness. They either like you, or they don’t,” McKenzie said.

During the event, the drag performers will read books that promote values such as inclusiveness, tolerance, and self-awareness.  McKenzie hopes the event will get children more interested in books and encourage families to have their own story times at home. “I think when you get children at that age, it sets a platform for the rest of their lives,” McKenzie said.

Audiences can expect to hear new interpretations of fairy tales, which won’t present a damsel in distress or knight in shining armor. Changing Hands Phoenix will also have a display of other books centered around similar ideals.

The story time hour has been in the works for the last year and a half. Other readings on the East Coast and in the Mid West inspired McKenzie to want to bring a similar event to Phoenix.  Other drag storytime events have gotten backlash on social media. McKenzie said thus far, she has only received positive feedback about her event, but she won’t let any negativity stop her anyway. “I’ve never been afraid to stand up for my beliefs and stand up for what is right,” McKenzie said.

A brunch at Southern Rail Restaurant, a neighboring business, will follow the story time hour. Families are encouraged to make reservations for the story time and brunch, as spots are expected to fill up quickly.

The following are storybooks that McKenzie cites as some of her favorites: Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw. For Galaxy, it's The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman and Marla Frazee.

New Year, New Read: a Drag Queen Storytime takes place on Jan. 5, 2019 at 10 a.m. at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 W. Camelback Road.

$5 donation plus fees for a family of four — reservations highly encouraged.

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less