Dickinson Avenue: The [mostly] True Story of The Paddock Club

The Paddock Club was the first place in eastern NC where LGBT people could be themselves. Whether it was hosting a small gathering of friends, or a Broadway-sized drag pageant; for 30 years it was home to a lot of people, and they always thought it would be there.

Opened in 1973, it survived the brutal homophobia of the south, the AIDS crisis, the gay-coming-of-age that was the 90s, and when it finally closed in December of 2003, it was one of the longest-running, continually-operating LGBT businesses in America.

Through pictures, home movies, and stories told by the people who lived them, Dickinson Avenue pieces together 40 years of LGBT history in Eastern NC, as well as takes its audience behind the scenes of the longest-running comedy drag pageant in the country, The Miss Dickinson Avenue Pageant (which originated at The Paddock in 1983).

The patrons and staff of The Paddock wove the tapestry that made up the story of The Paddock. This is their story.

The Paddock wasn't just a bar, it was home. It was family.

  • Michael Bojtos
  • Michael Bojtos
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    LGBT, documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 29 minutes 34 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 17, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    7,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • New Filmmakers New York
    New York City
    United States
    July 29, 2015
    World Premiere
  • TeaDance Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
    Greenville, NC
    United States
    September 17, 2016
    North Carolina Premiere
    Jury Award
  • MINDIE – Miami Independent Film Festival Monthly Edition
    Miami, Fl
    United States
    May 22, 2017
    May 2017 Winner - Documentary Feature
  • GLITTER! Oklahoma Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
    McAlester, OK
    United States
    July 28, 2017
    Oklahoma Premiere
    Best Documentary Feature, Audience Choice - Best First-Time Filmmaker
  • NCGLFF North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
    Durham, NC
    United States
    August 13, 2017
  • Queen City Film Festival
    Cumberland, Maryland
    United States
    October 6, 2017
    Maryland Premiere
  • Out at the Movies International LGBT Film festival
    Winston-Salem, NC
    United States
    October 7, 2017
Director Biography - Michael Bojtos

Michael Bojtos (Director) is a actor/singer/dancer/drag queen living in New York City. Originally from the island of Guam, he graduated from East Carolina University with a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance and a BFA in Theatre Education. He has been seen across the country and around the world singing and dancing in productions of Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer LIVE! Dora's Pirate Adventure (Swiper), Thomas the Tank Engine Live OnStage! (Thomas Driver and Percy Driver), The Wedding Singer (1st national tour of the Broadway show), Jesus Christ Superstar (national tour starring Ted Neeley (of the film) and Corey Glover (of the band Living Colour)), Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver (1st national tour of the Off-Broadway show) and others. His drag alter-ego, Sister Mary Helen, won the title of Miss Dickinson Avenue at The Paddock Club in 2003, and since then has performed all over NC, New York City, Dublin, and has been featured on the hit TV shows RuPaul's Drag Race (season 3 casting special) and The Today Show with Hoda Kotb. She is also the Artistic Director of the long-running drag cabaret at the world famous Lucky Cheng’s NYC. Though having produced many music videos for/as Sister Mary Helen, Dickinson Avenue is his first feature film.

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Director Statement

LGBT history is not something that can be easily studied. It is often glossed-over or outright omitted from the history books. LGBT kids need to know that there always were, and always will be people that stand with them. They need to know there are people out there who will let them be their family. Dickinson Avenue isn't just the story of a gay bar, it's the story of a group of people that, against all odds, came together and formed a family (my family to be exact). And I am excited to introduce the world to the most talented and loving group of people I've ever known: the staff and patrons of The Paddock Club.