Party Planner: Divinercise at Ace of Cups

Erica Thompson
Molly Davis

You've likely seen the late drag queen Divine in the 1988 cult-classic “Hairspray,” just one of the performer's many collaborations with director John Waters. But you may not know Divine, born Harris Glenn Milstead, also had a recording career that spurred international hits such as "I'm So Beautiful" and “You Think You're a Man.”

The latter tune was covered by the Vaselines in 1987 and landed on local musician and editor Molly Davis' radar. When a friend told her it was originally recorded by Divine, Davis explored the singer's catalogue — which came in handy after the February 2017 birth of her son, William.

“You're chained to the house after the baby goes to sleep, so I've just been going upstairs and compiling Zumba moves I learned a long time ago,” she said.

Those dance moves to Divine's music have become a 25-minute choreographed exercise routine, which anyone can learn each month — roughly — at Ace of Cups for free. The next “Divinercise” class takes place Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 7 p.m.

In April, Davis held the first class in the upstairs area of the bar, limiting participation to friends.

“I was nervous,” Davis recalled. “I've never done anything like this.”

Now open to the public, Davis teaches the routine from the venue's stage.

“It's still mostly friends that come, but last class we did have three people I don't know, so I was excited about that,” she said.

Attire is casual and Divine's upbeat pop music is played from YouTube on Davis' phone, which is connected to a Bluetooth speaker. “It's a very low-budget operation,” she said. “Ace of Cups is always happy they don't have to set anything up for me.”

The bar does customize a “Divinercise” drink each class, and imbibing is encouraged before and after. You'll work your arms and do squats on certain songs, but you may not break too much of a sweat.

“One friend had her Apple Watch on and said she burns as many calories as she does [for fitness personality] Jillian Michaels,” Davis said. “I'm not sure I believe that.”

In the past, Davis played bass and sang in a band, Psychic Wheels, managed a zine and threw themed parties, including a “Mollymas” Christmas bash.

“I love to have a project,” she said.

While she's thinking about adding a song to push “Divinercise” to a full 30 minutes, don't expect any major changes to the format. It's all about having fun.

“A lot of my childhood was spent planning out dances to Ace of Base songs in the basement,” Davis said. “This is just me doing that again. It's a part of my childhood that I get to do as an adult.”

Ace of Cups

7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14

2619 N. High St., Old North