Boylesque at Bill's Filling Station in Wilton Manors (NSFW)

Categories: Nightlife
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Photo by Ian Witlen
Betty Pickle and Her Boys
Aside from eating brunch every Sunday at Rosie's, I'm still new to the nightlife scene in Wilton Manors, so traveling to Bill's Filling Station on Saturday night was like visiting a foreign land. It's easy to imagine the male gay bar scene to be covered in glitter with half-naked boys running around in neon and grinding to house music. Well, Bill's Filling Station is just the opposite. Low-key and laid-back, it's more of a neighborhood, no-frills kind of joint. After entering and walking through a narrow, dimly lit hallway, it's revealed that the bar is a lot bigger than you would expect. (That's what she said?) There are flat-screen TVs broadcasting the latest sports events and a pool table in the back, and most of the crowd is mid-30s and up, all dressed casually. A large portion of the patrons are sipping on beers; there isn't a Tartini or pink cocktail in sight.

It is a special evening for the crowd at Bill's, as burlesque queen Betty Pickle and her gender-bending entourage take over the venue with the new vaudeville-style show, "Boylesque." (View slide show here.)

The room is dark and smoky. I maneuver my way through the packed crowd of men to the back bar, where it appears slightly roomier. Like an alcoholic guardian angel, a sign promoting $5 Svedka cocktails appears in front of me. So I wait for the hard-bodied bartender in suspenders to notice me. I wait. And I wait. And I wait. Oh right, these men don't care about my low-cut shirt or batting eyelashes. I enlist my male partner in crime for drink duty. In under a minute, he turns back to me with my fruity cocktail.

"All right, it's official. You're going to the bar for drinks tonight," I tell him.

Amazonian, fiery redhead Betty Pickle takes the stage in a sky-blue rhinestone skin, tight mermaid gown. She's known for spewing verbal gems from her crimson-red lips, but unfortunately, tonight the microphone is muffling her voice.

"I think we're having some testicle difficulties," she says.

Mark Holt and his partner, Fernando Espinar, AKA "Los Hijos de Santos," arrive on stage to kick off the night with their performance of "Nobody Likes a Pushy Bottom." Mark flies onto the stage to the tune of Perez Prado's "A Go Go" in almost nothing but a rainbow of balloons attached to his body. Fernando takes a seat on a black barstool in a fitted black suit and emulates the personality of Mexican luchador Enmascarado, Blue Demon.

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Photo by Ian Witlen
The Blue Demon Balloon Popping Machine
He occasionally pops some of the balloons with his cigar as Mark taunts and teases the crowd with his wide-eyed smile and rambunctious personality. The crowd goes absolutely wild as the duo sets a fun-loving tone for the evening. Things slow down a bit during the extremely gender-bending performance by Johnny Deep -- I'm still marinating on that one -- as well as with professional dancer Alberto Pena, who takes the stage in tulle and sequins. Forget the Black Swan; he's the rainbow swan.

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Photo by Ian Witlen
  
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Photo by Ian Witlen
The show picks up rather quickly when Hero, a ripped black fellow in a Captain America getup, appears in front of us. He's sauntering, spinning, and bouncing around onstage to the comic avenger's theme song. The music stops and "America, Fuck Yeah!" from the film Team America interrupts. Now this is when Hero really starts to get wild. I look back at my straight-guy friends in attendance, who are completely oblivious to the happenings onstage. They have now migrated to the pool table in the back and befriended a transvestite wearing a leather-studded dog collar.

"I feel like I'm at La Bare!" I told my girlfriend. "I really hope those bottoms are tearaway pants."

Moments later, my wish is granted as the booty-bumping Captain America rips off his bottoms. Unfortunately he's having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction but goes with it, all smiles and laughter throughout the entire number.

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Photo by Ian Witlen
Oh Captain, My Captain
 
He finishes us off ever so appropriately by bending over and revealing his bare ass to the crowd. Screams and shouts erupt from crowd. Following Hero's sexually arousing striptease is a multitude of performances all bursting at the seams with talent, including the star of the night, EmpeROAR Fabulous, who came all the way from Seattle to perform his notorious "Robottom" number.

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Photo by Ian Witlen
Kristian (Frank Campisano) in "Tonight, I'm Fucking You"
   
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Photo by Ian Witlen
Gio Profera and Alberto Pena get furry.

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Bill's Filling Station

2209 Wilton Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Category: Music

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