So we loaded the princess platform, costumes and makeup into Bea Dazzlers car, and we made our way to South of Market to the venue which hosted this years’ faux queen pageant.
Slim’s was bustling with contestants and crew when we arrived and I made my way downstairs to the dressing rooms to stake a claim on the corner in which I would dress and finish my makeup. I shared the room with Brandi Amara Skyy, Princess Cream Pie, Queen C and Cara Couture. Lots of the faux queens had also a bought along a troupe of back up dancers, so the space was proper packed.
Gorgeous stage manager Cameron Eng kept everyone calm and controlled. We ran through each talent number to check sound and other technical requirements. The rehearsal was not without drama; the lighting technician didn’t show up so unfortunately no one could run their lighting plans. We quickly found out that the video projector showed films at the front of the stage rather than at the back. Several yards of blackout fabric had to be purchased at the last moment and skilfully pieced together to create a makeshift cinema screen to accommodate those of us who used video in our performances.
The mood in the dressing area was rushed but focused. There were no bitchy behaviours or nasty competition-fuelled arguments. We helped each other out; lending adhesives and hair brushes, assisting each other into our tight fitting costumes. There was a community spirit amongst the performers that I have not experienced before in a competitive situation. I found the whole experience very positive.
At 8pm the doors to the club were opened and our paying audience made their way inside. San Francisco Drag King Rusty Hips hosted a pie eating contest, where the grand prize was… A pie! The judges and hosts mingled with the buzzing crowd of approximately 200 people, while the contestants waited nervously (and very quietly) downstairs.
Anticipation was building and we were asked to climb the stairs to the stage in order of appearance. I stood behind Frida K Hole, who after hours of preparation looked imposing, fabulous and fierce in her Snow White inspired witch couture.
The booming voice of Heklina, one of San Francisco’s most well-known and respected drag queens, made my heart race as the first faux queen was announced and invited onto the stage for her fashion walk.
The crowd roared; screaming Fri-da! Fri-da! Fri-da!
“What the hell have I gotten myself into?” I thought as Frida walked towards me and I was ushered onstage, dressed as a gumnut baby.