November 21, 2005


Whether it's the silicone-soaked titty sirens of the famed Miss Continental pageant or the grand ol' dames of the Imperial Court system, drag queens just love to compete for titles. Not as much emphasis is placed on it in NYC, but within their own worlds these girls are superstars. The pageant gals think nothing flying in sets and a dozen dancers for their talent segments, and spectacular custom-beaded gowns and jewelry are the norm. They make us NYC queens look downright booger! Of course, clubs in NYC don't have spacious dressing rooms the way showbars do in other parts of the country, so we normally (except for La Escuelita) perform in the ensembles we wear out of the house and maybe bring one change. I was gagging in St. Louis over this one queen who changed even nail colors between numbers. She explained it by narrowing her eyes and drawling "Honey, I love dra-a-a-g!" But this is drag that these queens spend a fortune on and wear for 5 minutes on stage, then it's carefully stored for the next performance or pageant so those feathers and sequins must stay perfect. New York girls normally troll it out all night in crowded clubs and bugle-beaded gown ain't the ticket for us.

So it was with great interest that I co-hosted the Miss Club Masque in Dayton, Ohio on Friday. My co-emcee was the delicious Miss Hope Sexton, who has a hilarious way of intro-ing the queens by singing their last names in a wild vibrato. The first segment was Presentation, which had a Mardi Gras theme. In light of Katrina, I jokingly asked if that meant it would be a swimsuit competition, and was reminded that Ohio was a red state as the crowd almost hissed at the jab "And speaking of "What is George W. Bush's position on Roe vs. Wade? Honey, he didn't care how people got out of New Orleans!"

Question and Answer was next. Each contestant picked an envelope, and while I waited for my a-sissie-tant to open the question--my nails weren't quite long enough to act as letter-openers--for a rather heavy queen, someone in the audience yelled out their own question for her: "Where is my food?" I hope that the joke was directed at the competitor and not me! I joked with an older, straight man and his wife in the audience during the show. Later, the heavyset queen told me that this man was her father, and that--indicating her feet--"These are his heels. My mom doesn't know." A family tran-dition, I guess. And we think we're wild in NYC.

Amelia Black, a Freda Payne-ish stunner from Cinncinati wowed me with her dazzling lip-synch of Rachelle Ferrell's scat-alogical BYE, BYE, BLACKBIRD, which even featured a fag dancer dressed as a blackbird which Amelia shooed offstage. Brilliant. Equally fantastic with bigger production value was Sashay Lorez's medley of some version of SWEET GEORGIA BROWN and DON'T MEAN A THING (IF IT AIN'T GOT THAT SWING). The brassy arrangement was sizzling and Sashay punched every stop with an "I'm-gonna-win-this" vengeance. And she did. But also noteworthy was Penelope C's number from WICKED, where she actually flew on a broomstick painted green. The green matched her teeth--BOTH OF 'EM!

Appropriately, Sashay burst into tears when it was announced that she'd won. A $10,000 prize ain't nuthin to sneeze at, especially if much of it goes to recoup your custom-made Coco Vega bugle-beaded evening wear. Sashay even marched out with a male escort who was dressed in a Lion King headdress to accessorize her African Queen pattern! And though pageants have never seemed important to me, in a smaller city where there are few outlets for a drag to enter the legit entertainment biz, a title translates into more and better paid bookings, much like an actor who becomes an Oscar-winner. I must say, I wish we had more of them in NYC. I guess the Harlem balls are similar, but more focused on dance than performing lipsynch numbers. I'm also fascinated to see which new songs queens select from today's artists. Many top-selling female artists aren't the best singers, so drags don't have the Patti Labelle's, Barbra Streisands, Aretha Franklins, Gladys Knights, and Bette Midlers that my generation had to pick from--though good old Cher--or "Scar" as RuPaul recently called her!--is still around. Ms. Scarlet Fever did Kelly Clarkson's HAZEL EYES, and though it's not my cup of tea, it is a well-crafted song which builds and Kelly's got the pipes. The queen who did Janet Jackson danced really well, but Janet's vox are so airy nowadays that there wasn't much to sink her teeth into lip-synch-wise.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what ever happened to a Divine eating dogshit or crapping in a box. Or Leigh Bowery scaring the hell out of people with her freakishness or a Mams Mabley?

our drags is dregs.

they don't make drag cunny like Bunny anymore

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

um, hello, pix bunny, I know, I know,..your a cunning linguist, but
some visuals, might be nice. Get your pr people to hook you up with a free digital camera for these trips. sounds feerce ala feerce
to me...
oh....orygblahwhatever your name is..we got girl named Fey-dra here
in LA, who's one sick puppy, she's real into food and dirt, she's super rad.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That stagey pageanty drag is so dragged across the country. IT's tired. Sorry. Two glamour length press on nails down.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, one of the teeth fell out!! Now theres just one :) I love you!!!
-Penelope C.

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