Meet the cross-dressing crew behind Rowdy Dowdy, an Atlanta arts collective

  • Adam Kincaid
  • For the AJC
4:51 p.m Monday, June 5, 2017 Arts & Culture
Courtesy of Rowdy Dowdy for the AJC
The members of Rowdy Dowdy live together in a renovated Adair Park auto mechanic's shop, and on weekends, host the kinds of parties and rock and roll shows more appropriate for the haziest of 1980s glam scenes.

If you make your way to the unmarked garage in the 1300 block of Sylvan Road SW on Friday night, you'll find one of the most unique, unsuspecting art collectives in Atlanta.

Rowdy Dowdy's roots are in Athens, but the group of Norcross High School friends turned nightlife entrepreneurs have now made a footprint in Atlanta.

Rowdy, in its broadest sense, is an art collective run by best buds that spend most of their evenings as drag queens. 

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Co-founder Durham Henderson, or Durs as his friends call him, refers to it as a "movement."

"I like to refer to it as Hilary Duff's acid trip through a garbage land of sexual deviance" Henderson said. "We live here, we print t-shirts here, we have a garden, a theater and we make art. We are like MacGyver when it comes to DIY. We are a one-stop shop."

via Rowdy Dowdy/for the AJC

Rowdy beginnings 

Rowdy Dowdy began as a bond between Henderson and Iduate as theater students at Norcross High School.

"We all did theater together under the direction of Gina Peverly Parrish, or Pev," Henderson said. "She is one of the reasons why theater is so important to us."

The high school buds graduated in 2009 and carried their love of the arts onto the University of Georgia. While there, the art collective began by accident. Their shared living space became a party venue. 

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The duo opened their home to showcase the music of other friends playing in bands around town. Their Athens pad would become arguably one of the wildest hangouts in the college town. By 2013, the Iduate, Henderson and host of friends decided on an official name for their shenanigans - Rowdy Dowdy. In the course of their time in Athens, they amassed a reputation for throwing some of the craziest parties for college students and everyday locals alike.

Rowdy Dowdy comes home

By 2015, they took the party on the road. 

Now, the Rowdy Girls, as the guys like to call themselves, live together in the renovated Adair Park auto mechanic's shop, and on weekends, host the kinds of parties and rock and roll shows more appropriate for the haziest of 1980s glam scenes. And every inch of the place is a reflection not just of Henderson and Iduate, but the mindset of the broader creative known to frequent the spot.

In creating something bigger than a music venue, something more inclusive, more post-gender, more post-everything really, Henderson hopes to branch out from the confines of his art collective home shared with the balance of the Rowdy Dowdy crew, and into a true events space sometime in the next year. Details for any formal Rowdy Dowdy venues are thin, but Henderson promises more to come.

"We're looking at East Atlanta, among other places and hope to have big news in 2017,” Henderson said.

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