Tag Archive | "atlanta drag queens"

The Couple Who Drags Together, Stays Together

Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Eighteen years ago, Rick Westbrook and John Jeffrey met on a blind date.

“John actually stood me up the first time,” Rick said. “We were supposed to meet at a bar, and he never showed up. He called the next night and apologized and offered to cook me dinner. We’ve been together ever since.”

A few years later the couple joined two of their longtime friends for a party. There was one catch though—the host requested a few of the guests perform a drag show. Little did they know that night would birth the annual East Point Possums Show.

“It all started in a backyard,” Rick recalled. “It was 50 to 100 people and we were just doing it for fun. People would throw money on the stage. We thought, ‘Let’s just donate this to charity.’”

For the next few years, the once-a-year drag queens would attend a PALS event and anonymously donate a big wad of money.

“Around the fourth year it got up to $800-$900, and we knew we couldn’t donate it anonymously anymore,” Rick said. “So we started advertising the show, and it was so big we moved it down to East Point.”

Rick wasn’t sure if East Point would embrace a colorful gathering of campy queens, so he fudged a bit about the event’s true identity.

“I told them I was going to have a Shakespearean variety show downtown,” he said with a laugh. “Now I just go in and say it’s time for the drag show!”

Over the years the East Point Possum Show has grown into a highly anticipated annual event. The audience has grown to more than 700 and includes everyone from straight to gay and old to young.

“People bring their babies to the show,” Rick said.

Considering its popularity, it’s no wonder the show has raised almost $75,000 for local charities, and this year the Possums will donate the proceeds to the Phillip Rush Center.

“We consider it doing good work through bad drag,” said Rick, who expects at least 28 drag performers this year. “We call it Booger Drag.”

Where: The Commons, 2727 East Point Street, East Point
When: June 16, 7-11PM

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The Armorettes Want You to be a Nuisance

Paint your faces and get your acts together because it’s time for the Armorettes’ annual Miss Barfly Pageant.

The longtime themed competition allows local (and sometimes not so local) drag queens to show off their campy talents while helping raise money for Atlanta HIV/AIDS organizations. This year’s theme is “Miss Pest Control,” so gather up your metaphorical bug spray and fly swatters. Contestants are asked to identify a “pest” as inspiration for their individual acts.

“It doesn’t have to be the typical bug,” said Armorettes spokesqueen Ally Yankadic. “A pest can be an ex-boyfriend.”

Each queen’s performance, Ally said, should embody how that queen would eliminate her pest.

“Any time you have a theme it forces the performer to think outside the box and try to come up with something new or different,” Ally said.

And the judges will certainly be looking for a unique queen to win the title of Miss Barfly 2012. Along with the title, the winner will receive a guest spot with the Armorettes for two performances.

“It’s fun and funny and offers the opportunity to give back to the community at the same time,” Ally said.

Applications are due May 11, and the pageant will be held May 20 at 8 p.m. at Burkhart’s Pub.
To request an application, send an email to [email protected]

Miss Barfly Pageant
When: May 20, 8PM
Where: Burkhart’s Pub

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Armorettes Glamorize Easter with Drag Races

Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Long before RuPaul’s hit show, the Armorettes were running their very own Drag Races. Held every Easter Sunday in the parking lot of Burkhart’s Pub, the popular event draws hundreds of people while raising money for a worthy cause. The Drag Races began sometime after the Armorettes were formed in 1979. So far, the best guess is 1982.

They may not remember exactly when the races started, but the Armorettes sure know how to throw a good time. I had the pleasure of talking with three of the campy entertainers one evening at Roxx, and Ally Yankadic, Sofonda Cox and Princess Alberta Bananahammock certainly kept me entertained. Here’s how it all went down:

Shannon: So, tell me about the Drag Races.

Sofonda: It’s the biggest event we have every year. There’s a mix of drag and festival-like games. People wear elaborate bonnets they’ve made. The Drag Races come from our main event which is a relay race where you dress up in drag. The winner of the Drag Races gets the option to perform with us that night.

Ally: The way the Drag Races work is you start at the starting line, you run to one end of the parking lot and you put on a dress. Then you run back to the other end of the parking lot and you put on makeup and you run back to the other end of the parking lot and you put on a bra. Then you run back and put on high heels and walk like a lady across the finish line. The crowd really gets into watching everyone running back and forth. Last year one of the games was Snap Your Wiener where we took a string, tied a Vienna sausage to it and you had to lower it from your belt buckle and squat down and get a mouse trap to snap on your sausage.

Sofonda: My personal favorite game is Hide the Easter Eggs on the Drag Queen. The contestants are blindfolded and have to search our bodies to find the Easter eggs. There’s always a chocolate egg they have to find and that’s the winner.

Shannon: How did the Races get started?

Alberta: They started at the Armory but I don’t know what the story behind it is.

Ally: It just seemed like a good day to get drunk.

Shannon: Alberta, you won last year’s Races. What prompted you to participate?

Alberta: I just wanted to get out there and have as much fun as I could. When they said the person who won could perform with the Armorettes I was all over it. I wasn’t going to let anyone beat me.

Sofonda: We almost sent him back for not walking like a lady.

Alberta: I did walk like a lady!

Ally: He was the only one who did walk like a lady.

Sofonda: He tried to walk like a lady.

Alberta: Well, I’m not very ladylike.

Ally: He walked. The others just took off running.

Alberta: I’m not very fishy. Where were we?

Shannon: You won the Drag Races.

Alberta: Yeah it was a good time. I’ve been watching the Armorettes since I was 21, so since ’91. Then I became friends with some of the Armorettes and I knew them on a different level. There was a lot of encouragement from them for me to become more involved and consider joining the group. So it was like testing the waters with the Drag Races. As I’m getting older I want to find different ways to get involved with the community instead of just attending and donating. I want to be more of a leader.

Shannon: How did you get started, Ally?

Ally: Sofonda. I had never done drag before 2009. I was a bowler and entered the Miss Gutterball Tournament. It just so happens that I won. So I did drag for a year. The person who crowned me was Sevanda Cox, who was the prior year’s Miss Gutterball winner. We had bowled together and played football together and he ended up saying to me, “You really should audition for the Armorettes.” I was just ready to be done with it. I did my drag three times and I was like, “Uh, no.” But the Armorettes are something special and they’re a force within the community. It’s a way for me to give back. I can do something that’s meaningful and that was what mattered.

Shannon: How about you, Sofonda?

Sofonda: Mine is kind of a spiteful story. I was dating someone who tried out for Miss Gutterball and did not win. He tried out for the group and did not get in. While I was dating him I tried to give him advice on what he needed to do for his numbers and his response was, “Honey, I don’t mean to be rude but you don’t know what they’re looking for.” So after I caught him cheating on me I kicked him out. Miss Barfly rolled around and I tried out and won every category. And then I auditioned for the group and got in. I accidentally included him on an email list that told him I had done all that. One of the questions the Armorettes actually asked me was, “Are you doing this out of spite?” Miss Barfly I was doing out of spite but I auditioned for the group because I had guest spotted with them and became really attached to their cause and the group. I realized what an amazing thing they were doing with the community and what a difference they were making.

Ally: That’s the thing. You get to see how much it means to those charities. Sometimes you give them a check that makes their budget for the year. It’s the shortfall they were looking for and allows them to stay open and do business for another year. It’s an honor to be able to help these charities, even if it’s one dollar at a time. We’ve had some numbers where we only got a buck or two.

Alberta: You come back with three dollars and you think, “Wow, I thought that was a funny number.”

Ally: Three dollars makes a difference!

Sofonda: You think you must be wrong and you start digging through your titties and you still don’t have any more money.

Alberta: It’s in there somewhere.

Ally: So, it really is a joy to experience.

Alberta: Digging through your titties.

Sofonda: Some don’t have titties.

Alberta: They get caught in my chest hair.

Shannon: I can imagine. So, how much money do you usually raise?

Ally: Usually the combination of events raises at least $1,500. In past years I’ve heard of numbers much bigger and better in a better economy but we’re just happy to get whatever people can donate.

Sofonda: And honestly the only time we make money for the cause is when we’re performing the numbers. Easter is a little more about us giving back to the people who support us all the time. It’s more about the games.

Alberta: It’s like customer appreciation day.

Sofonda: Yeah, so it’s not as much about the bucket at Easter. We don’t charge for anyone to play the games. It’s more about camaraderie and getting to know the Armorettes.

Shannon: What does it mean to be an Armorette?

Ally: We don’t approach drag the way you expect traditional drag to be done. This is camp. You’re coming to a comedy show. Some of us look glamorous. Some of us still have our beards. But all of us are there to entertain. It’s all about us doing the job and trying to raise money for HIV and AIDS awareness and to find a cure for this horrible disease that has haunted the community for so long. We will make a difference.

Sofonda: And almost every Armorette agrees that if there was a cure tomorrow some of us would burn our bras and dresses and be done. That’s why we do it.

Posted in Urban CultureComments (3)

Best Bachelor Auction Will Rock Your World

Prepare yourself for a fun night of flirting, cruising and mingling as a bidding war ensues for some of Atlanta’s most eligible single men. And don’t worry if you have a significant other; there’s plenty of monogamous merriment to be had by all.

You have selected your top ten available studs (who will be revealed in our March 22 issue), and you’ll have your opportunity on March 31 to bid for dates with them during the second annual Best Bachelor Auction presented by Fenuxe Magazine and Ketel One Vodka.

Held at Raw Space in Castleberry Hill, the romantic event will offer decadent date packages for the bachelor and their winning bidders, as well as a date night auction for those who have already found their true loves. The night promises to be a smash with local celebrity Bubba D as host, some of Atlanta’s favorite drag queens as entertainment and several gorgeous models as eye candy.

And, once again, all proceeds from the auction will benefit AID Atlanta. The organization’s development director, Jon Santos, said the funds will help underwrite the expenses of AID Atlanta’s free confidential and anonymous HIV testing clinic.

“It’s one of the most valuable services we offer, since we know for a fact that getting tested helps save lives,” he said. “AID Atlanta is so thankful to everyone involved in this event. Everyone comes together to create a great event that raises significant funds and ultimately helps to save and transform lives. I am really looking forward to this year’s auction and have been saving up to buy a date!”

Photo from 2011 Best Bachelor Auction

Have we piqued your interest? Read below to see what’s in store for you and the bachelors:

Nice Package!
All of our bachelors and their winning bidders will receive a fabulous date package including dinner for two at STK, a mani/pedi, a spa session provided by Look Young Spa, theater tickets from Horizon Theatre and 7 Stages and much more!

Romantic Raffle
Did that darn guy with the deep pockets outbid you? Well, you still have a shot at winning big with the raffle. Stock up on tickets for your chance to win a hot lather and old-fashioned shave, a dinner for two at Taqueria Tsunami, a bottle of sparkly bubbly stuff (you supply your own glasses) and many more prizes.

Already Have a Man?
Well, head over to our date night auction with bids starting as low as $20. Bid on a romantic horseback riding date or a tour of Atlanta. Are you culture junkies? Then bid high and you might find yourselves at the Atlanta Opera for Don Giovanni with passes to Intermezzo to mingle with the operatic divas. Do you really want to impress your beau? Vie for two tickets, hotel and airfare to Las Vegas to see Celine Dion.

Photo from 2011 Best Bachelor Auction

Money, Money, Money
Whether you’re pinching pennies or rolling in dough, you have plenty of options for having a good time and helping out a worthy charity. General admission is $20 and includes three complimentary drinks and parking. If you can swing VIP, tickets are $75 and a special reception at 7 p.m. with the bachelors, an open bar, complimentary valet, private VIP area and bar. For those of you who want to make an entrance, the Prince Charming Package features everything from the VIP admission plus personal concierge for the evening, a limo ride and horse and carriage transportation to and from the event for $150 per ticket. And, you and a friend can pitch in to bid on a bachelor and work out who gets what if you win.

Photo from 2011 Best Bachelor Auction

Want More?
Bubba D just might pick you out of the crowd for special prizes for best first date story, best kiss, longest relationship or hottest couple. And, with some of Atlanta’s hottest drag divas escorting the bachelors down the catwalk, there will surely be a drag performance or two during the night. So be sure to keep some dollar bills in your pocket so you can make it rain! Plus, there will be booze. We’d never throw a party without our favorite signature cocktails from Ketel One, and there will be fine-as-hell bartenders on site doing what they do best.

Special Thanks
We couldn’t throw this swag shindig without some help. So we thank our presenting sponsor Ketel One Vodka, silver sponsor Piedmont Bark, bronze sponsors Nationwide Insurance and Homme Underwear, as well as our other sponsors Delta Airlines, STK, Brushstrokes, Atlanta Opera, 7 Stages, Horizon Theatre, Look Young Spa, Atlanta Rocks, Dip n Dap, and Astroglide.

Where: Raw Space Gallery, 431 Fair Street Southwest
When: March 31, VIP Reception from 7 to 8, General Admission from 8 to 11PM
Tickets: $20 general admission, $75 VIP, $150 Prince Charming
Purchase Tickets Below

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Atlanta Sends Two Queens to Rupaul’s Drag Race

Logo’s wig-flying, over-the-top TV show Rupaul’s Drag Race is returning for a third season in January 2011 with two Atlanta drag queens in tow. Phoenix and Mariah will battle it out with 10 others for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.”   The network made the announcement this morning.

“I’m so excited about everything happening right now and I am even more excited to see what [RuPauls Drag Race] opens [for me],” Season 3 contestant Phoenix told us today.  “It’s definitely been an experience to remember.   I hope these bitches are ready to feel the fire of Phoenix.  It’s gonna be severe.”

Phoenix is known for her shows at Blake’s, Jungle, and Shout.  She also made waves in September playing a Hindu goddess in Fenuxe’s religion issue.  Mariah carries a famous name to live up to and doesn’t mince words about her chances. “I’m already a ballroom legend, now I want to take the international stage,” she told Fenuxe.  “Dragons, get ready to battle!”

Here’s the rest of Phoenix and Mariah’s competition for the title:

  • Alexis Mateo (St Petersburg, FL)
  • Carmen Carrera (Elmwood, NJ)
  • Delta Work (Norwalk, CA)
  • India Ferrah (Springfield, OH)
  • Manila Luzon (New York City, NY)
  • Mimi Imfurst (Astoria, NY)
  • Raja (West Hollywood, CA)
  • Stacy Layne Matthews (Backswamp, NC)
  • Venus D-Lite (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Yara Sofia (Bayamon, PR)

The winner receives a headlining spot on Logo’s Drag Race Tour, a lifetime supply of Kryolan Professional Make-up, and $75,000 cash.   See The Fenuxe Interview with BeBe Zahara Benet and Tyra Sanchez, Rupaul’s Drag Race winners from Seasons 1 and 2, respectively.

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