Welcome to part two of the Fabulous (But Very Serious) Las Vegas Drag Weekend post. Be sure to check out part one for all the build up to our performances in this post!
Our hosts had booked the stage at Charlie’s, a bar / club just off the Strip. We had an hour and 45-minute window to squeeze in 16 fabulous performances, and whoa, there are some talented kings and queens in this group. Dressing in drag is impressive enough, but watching so many people perform in their personas really kicked it up another notch. And the club was open to the public so it wasn’t just our group of 50 in the audience — this crowd brought great energy for all our numbers.
Just like with the previous post, I use a mix of my own photos and images from our very talented photographer Michelle at Infinite Imaging Photography — watermarks are used so it’s clear who took which photos. Since I knew Michelle had a flash and was taking close-ups, I used my wider lens and found a position on the side to get alternate angles sans flash. They are combined together here to give you the full story.
As we settled into Charlie’s, our hosts posted the performance list / order. When I first signed up for Drag Weekend, I had no intention of performing — in fact, the idea of getting up in front of people for any kind of song-and-dance number terrifies me. But once I settled on the persona of Alexandria Hamilton, I knew I had to perform something from the musical. I picked the opening number of Hamilton — appropriately called “Alexander Hamilton” — and found a karaoke version on iTunes. I cut it down to just the first 90 seconds and decided I could probably perform that without too much anxiety. I’ve been listening to this number ever since Lin-Manuel Miranda first performed it at the White House back in 2009; I ripped the audio off the Youtube video and memorized it years before Hamilton made its off-Broadway debut in 2015. I could perform this song in my sleep. It was perfect for my drag performance.
Fortunately I was second on the list. I was relieved to get it out of the way early and spend the rest of the evening kicking back and snapping photos.
Our fabulous emcees for the evening, Booby Tuesday and Malleable Barbi, kept things moving with fun banter and intros:
Tina Turnoff, Yvette Espartacus, and Claire Underwoody open the show with a Dreamgirls song:
And then it was my turn! I took the floor for 90 seconds and had a blast.
All but two of the performances were lip synced — myself and one other musical-inspired monologist actually sang live (or in my case, attempted to rap).
My choreography was lacking, but I was just proud to get all the words out. Here is my performance, shot by our other photographer Cory — official video from the videographer is coming soon and I’ll update it here when it’s available.
Whew, I am relieved to have gotten through that! Proud that I stepped up and performed given that it makes me so nervous.
Next up, Alotta Jherkin takes the stage…
Booby Tuesday introduces the next number:
Anita Drink, Princess Lea Wei, and Char D. NayNay take the stage for a rousing and prop-filled rendition of Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” — they acted out each line of the song with carefully choreographed items. It was a committed and creative performance.
Here is Alexa Ikumotto:
The group En Pho Sho (featuring Mama San, Key Lo Lo, Kimchi, and Summer, Summer’s Eve) takes the stage:
Miss Khan T performs a strip tease…
And receives lots of tips! Throughout the night, people use $1 bills to show their appreciation for each performer.
Next up, Malleable Barbi introduces what might be the most exhilarating performance of the evening…
It’s Amethyst! And she is fierce.
This was an incredible performance with well-rehearsed dance moves and top-notch lip syncing.
The crowd goes wild:
Interlude for shots…
Next up, the Sean Spicer Girls perform a medley of their greatest hits!
Ms. Burlie Esque finds the spotlight:
There’s Jackie O’Nasty, looking fab:
Booby Tuesday (in more lipstick than ever… do you guys know who Miranda Sings is?) returns to the stage to introduce the next number…
It’s the Very Almost Baroness Von Clapp performing a profanity-laced musical monologue called “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria” — I loved this number so much!
Sacha Batch takes the stage…
It’s Lucky Madison’s turn… lucky for us!
Shots interlude number two…
Here is my other favorite performance of the night — Sigourney Beaver and Benita Pussoweeni perform a rousing and borderline dangerous dance routine to “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” featuring handstands, flips, and other gymnastics moves:
Malleable Barbi and Josephine prepare to introduce a very special performance…
It’s Booby Tuesday! She takes the stage to perform a hot dog-themed number from the musical Bullets Over Broadway. Okay, I spoke too soon earlier; THIS is my favorite performance of the night. It involves ketchup and mustard and things get… memorably messy.
That is a hot dog in the foreground:
Okay, so it’s not real ketchup and mustard — it’s pancake batter dyed red and yellow. I love how committed Booby Tuesday is to this number!
Malaria Anyways performs a Lady Gaga song in an outfit the diva herself would certainly approve of:
The show is almost over…
… but we still have the finale left — a choreographed dance number featuring ALL the kings and queens! Our hosts put together a choreography video ahead of time so that we could all learn it on our own. And it was set to an original song written specifically for this weekend. SO NEAT.
After our show, another (professional) drag show followed. There was also a male dancer gyrating for our appreciation.
We stayed another 45 minutes or so, and then most of our group made their way back to the main suite at Tropicana, where many people promptly changed back into their non-drag clothes. Here is our “after” shot at the end of the night:
Emerson College friends! (Jeremy should be in this photo too — I want to photoshop him in and send it to our college’s quarterly alumni magazine.)
This happened to be Daylight Savings Weekend, so suddenly the clock jumped from 2am to 3am, and we all turned into pumpkins.
Back in our room, I snapped this photo of the Strip:
But Drag Weekend isn’t over yet — on Sunday morning, everyone put their belongings on the bus and then we stopped at Excalibur for a brunch buffet. Some people got back into their drag outfits from last night, and others brought along NEW looks specifically for brunch. Others (like myself) decided to wear our regular clothes. But I so appreciate how much effort everyone who dressed up put into their brunch looks.
And these photos were taken by the fabulous Cory J. — he is so talented!
Our hosts give out various awards during brunch — here are this year’s winners:
The previous year’s winners affix sashes on the newly crowned kings and queens:
And then it’s time for the bus ride home! Most of the passengers looked like this:
I want to extend a MAJOR thank you to Daniel, Joseph, and Matt for their tremendous effort in putting this weekend together. From arranging transportation, meals, the club, hotel rooms, music for the DJ, booze, etc. to communicating logistical information and answering all our questions, they stepped up in a big way. And this year they used Drag Weekend to raise money for a charity that assists homeless youth in LA called My Friend’s Place! I am so proud to know them and even prouder to call them friends.
Want to join next year? Hopefully there will be 5th Annual F(BVS)LVDW — I’ll link to it whenever information becomes available!