Come inside this man’s Glitter Ball and shine on

Was Halloween not enough of an excuse last week to get creative while out on the town? Well, get ready. Heretic has an event from Just Toby and Glowgo Entertainment that should satisfy your creative juices: The Glitter Ball goes down this Saturday.

As the name suggests, the theme of the night is glitter. Break out your shiniest clothes, apply glitter liberally, and dance the night away to the music of DJ Neon the Glowgobear.

The night also includes members of Atlanta’s drag-art collective Legendary Children. They’ll join guests on the dance floor and perform during the show. There’s even a contest for the most amazing look of the night.

Before Saturday night’s can’t-miss event at Heretic, we caught up with party organizer Just Toby (top photo with some “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alumnas). He lets us in on what to expect at Glitter Ball, his thoughts on gay Atlanta’s nightlife scene, his photography, and how one “RuPaul” queen opened up his career to a whole new world.

How did the Glitter Ball come together?

Glitter Ball came from a casual conversation that I was having with the owner of the Heretic, Alan Collins, earlier in May of this year. One afternoon, I was showing him some photos and videos I had taken during one of his events and started mentioning parties and events I have been to in the past and how I’ve seen certain aspects of it in Atlanta. Alan proceeded to ask me what kind of party I would like to see; I was very specific about the details such as lights, glitter, energy – an experience for all the senses and how I wanted to completely change Heretic for one night. I also mentioned how much I would love to incorporate certain aspects of the East Atlanta and Midtown scene. He said, “That sounds crazy! I love it! I will give you four months to prepare.”

Since that moment, I began working on preparing for this event. Alan mentioned that I needed a DJ and referred me to DJ Neon the Glowgobear (second photo), whom I had previously met through mutual friends. Once I reached out to him, I pitched my idea and he offered to help! The rest is history, as they say. Here I am, a few days before the event, and it’s still not sinking in. It’s surreal.

So what can attendees expect when they step into the Heretic Saturday night?

A celebration that is visually and physically titillating to the senses. I want people to come in and forget about their day or where they are and focus on having a blast and showing off their shiny looks. I wish I could say more, but then I would be spoiling the event!

The evening includes Legendary Children, too. Which members of the group can we expect, and what will they be doing?

Having the Legendary Children be part of Glitter Ball was one of my first thoughts. The members that we are working with are Cayenne Roüge, Lavonia Elberton, Mo’Dest Volgare, Kryean Kally, Pity Soiree, Edie Cheezburger and Jon Dean. The ladies will be contributing to the electric ambiance of the party with their amazing looks. Lavonia and Kryean will be performing at different points of the night, although the music will not stop for the shows. I want their performances to be part of the music, so while the show is going on, everyone should keep dancing! This kind of show is my favorite; I’ve seen it various times in other cities, especially in Europe.

You’re encouraging attendees to dress up in their shiniest looks and even offering prize for best outfit. What will help a guest stand out?

Originality, creativity, and working with what you have. I want the guests to look and feel amazing. I will have the Legendary Children be my eyes as well… but a crucial part of the competition will be for the guest to check in at the Heretic / Glitter Ball and post their look on Facebook. People can also send a photo of their look to @JustTobyme with #Glitterball on Twitter or Instagram. I encourage the guests to take fun photos and maybe even include the Legendary Children in their photos!

You go by Just Toby. What’s up with that?

There is a long and short answer…and I’ll give you the short version. My real name is a very Spanish name. Since high school, people started shortening my name and “butchering” it to make it easier to say. The last version was Toby and that stuck. There is more to the story, but you can ask me in person. By the time I started college, everyone was calling me Toby.

I joined Facebook during their first year and all they required was a name. I typed Toby, and it’s been like that since. For 10 years, when people ask how to find me on Facebook, my response has been, “It’s just Toby.” It was my best friend Momo who came with the idea of Just Toby, right after she heard me say, “It’s just Toby on Facebook.” She also created the logo I use.

You moved to Atlanta fairly recently. What led you to move here?

My partner and I talked about moving to a bigger city, and in a matter of weeks he was offered an amazing job opportunity. We packed our house in Florida and we never looked back!

What’s your take on Atlanta’s gay nightlife scene?

I truly enjoy it. One of the reasons why I wanted to move again to a bigger city was because we wanted diversity in what to do and experience. We truly love the fact that the community here is supportive of each other and that there are various kinds of establishments that we can choose depending on our mood or interest. Not only that, but it has opened a lot of doors for me, and I’m truly grateful for that.

You’ve photographed some of the local drag talent. Besides Glitter Ball, how else are you involved in nightlife?

Back in Florida I was the social butterfly, worked around the nightlife – gay or straight – scene creating and coordinating charity events, working on social media and photography as well as managing a family business remotely. When I moved here, I told my partner I would like to start my own business but I wanted to get take some time to get to know the scene, the people and feel the city out. I knew I wanted to be creative and be involved with the behind-the-scenes atmosphere.

During this past year, I became involved in the scene when I became friends with Mariah Balenciaga from season three of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (bottom photo). A few months later, when I was working on my business plan, she showed interest in me handling her social media. That opened many doors for me. I got to meet Evah Destruction and do my first shoot in Atlanta after a year of hiatus. From there on, one thing led to another; I did a spread in Fenuxe and event photography at Jungle and Heretic. Not long after that, I was planning the Glitter Ball and began working as Pocket Rocket’s Social Media contact.

You seem drawn to bright, vivid colors and images. How would you describe your photographic style?

I am a visual guy and I love bright colors. It gets me going, honestly. It’s hard to describe my style in my own words, but I definitely have a process. I like to know the person I photograph a little bit before I start shooting, understand where they come from and what they want to show the world through that one photograph.

Each situation is different. For example, if I shoot a drag queen, I want the viewer to get the same impression I get when I see these queens perform. I might focus on a certain signature look, pose or movement. One thing that stays constant is colors; sometimes the camera lights hide certain aspects of their outfits or makeup, so I like to pop up the color that we usually see when the stage lights are on them.

What’s next for you professionally?

After the Glitter Ball, I want to focus completely in fully launching my website before I start my future projects. I would like to focus on finding more clients to handle their social media and finalize the travel consultant section of my business. Travelling is my first passion, and I would like to make the process for people more simple and enjoyable.

At the end of the month I will be assisting Mariah Balenciaga during her Drags at Sea Cruise: Mayan Adventure. During that time, I’m hoping to shoot some of the other “RuPaul” girls while there is some free time. My other projects are hush-hush for now, until everything’s concrete. One thing is for sure: I am very gracious for the support of the community in Atlanta, to the many people who helped me through the journey of starting Just Toby, LLC and the emotional support of my partner.

Glitter Ball hits Heretic on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 9 p.m.


Originally published on Project Q Atlanta.

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