Friday, February 8, 2008

Capital City's Next Supermodel

Because of my upcoming 15th anniversary, which is also the 10th anniversary of the day I was laid off from Nearly Defunct Online Company (That day was a mixed bag.), I've been reminiscing.

Many years ago, maybe a year or so before I met GPop, I was hanging out with a group of older gay men who treated me respectfully, despite my naivety. One of the big reasons I enjoyed their company was that they had parties and gatherings where people actually sat and talked rather than the college parties most of my college friends had where people got falling-down drunk and had only hazy recollections the next morning of their misdeeds.

In any case, one of this crowd had his fingers in the underground entertainment industry in the GQTBL(etc.) clubs all around Midwest State, and especially in Capital City. I once tagged along on a run to a small town's main strip to provide entertainment to a bar that was a QTGBL(etc.) bar only on Thursdays. That was interesting.

One day, this guy, whom I will call Steve, because that was his name, asked me if I could help out at the Miss Gay Capital City Pageant, which was an annual female impersonator/drag queen show with a pretty sizable audience. The show was held at one of the venerable clubs in the LBQTG(etc.) block of bars and restaurants. Always one to help out, and always one to accept an offer of free admission, free food, and free drinks, I agreed to do whatever they needed. If you've never seen a drag show, I would recommend a field trip. They're quite the entertainment value.

When I got to the club at the appointed hour, I was given the task of collecting the musical numbers and instructions for the DJ from all of the performers. So here I am, wearing my best clothes, which at the time were Dockers and a shirt and tie, in a club where a bevy of drag queens were getting made up for performances. At the time, I was 21 1, 6'3", ~190 lbs, and a bit uncomfortable in my own body. If you've never met a drag queen, here are a couple of examples in real life and in film.

Their medium is so over-the-top that the performers are usually the centers of attention wherever they go. So there I am, a geeky kid in a tie, with a clipboard, trying my best not to show my complete and utter confusion and bewilderment so I don't look like a provincial hillbilly, walking around gathering cassette tapes from people who are calling me "honey", "darling", or "doll" while they are putting fake breasts made of birdseed and pantyhose into the bosoms of costumes that look like something Big Bird's lady-of-the-evening sister would wear.

I got that out of the way, then Steve ran up. "The spotlight operator called in sick. I need you to get up on the DJ platform and operate the spot. Ask the DJ about it."

In for a penny; in for a pound.

So I ended up learning how to work a spotlight that night. The DJ's instructions were something like, "This is how you turn it on. I'm busy now." Unfortunately, the spotlight stand was falling apart, so I had to operate the light with one hand while I kept the other wrapped tightly around a joint in the stand so it wouldn't collapse. As I recall, I did a pretty fair job, all things considered.

One of the performers lip-synced to a song that was really weird and compelling. After the performance, I asked what the song was. She told me something that I've since forgotten, but she also said it was on the "purple and yellow" album by Grace Slick. I've looked for such an album occasionally for years to no avail. However, while writing this, I remembered that the song had something about a circus, so I Googled "grace slick lyrics circus" and found that the song is Dreams, on the album of the same name. When I visited this page, there was a video of another drag queen performing the same number, so I think that was it. Amazon has some used copies of this CD for $149+, so it may not be in my near future.

Anyway, it was a fun time, but I never did get my free food or drinks.

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