Delray Drag Queens Celebrate Halloween at Arts Garage
|Melissa St. John, Palm Beach's finest.|
First of all, let me say that Divas in Art: Spooktacular 2
was a great show. It was comprised of performances by three drag queens: Ricky Rollick, Melissa St.
John, and Roxi DeVine. Singing along with them was Lissen Ellington -- an
actual woman! This isn't the only time this drag show deviated from the norm -- and drag shows definitely have norms -- as I will soon explain.
Drag shows are known for their flash, glam, and keeping the sequin industry in business. The Arts Garage in Delray Beach was decorated in wildfire colors that set the mood for fantastic performances. The energy for the shows is always high, with the audience anticipating one fabulous act after the other. And if Divas in Art had just one more drag queen in their midst, that energy could've been great.
The show consisted of a great performance followed by what seemed like an eternity of awkward conversation with the audience while the next Diva finished getting ready to perform. Some of the breaks were funny; Roxie DeVine had a hilarious story about "coming out" to one of her coworkers who was a huge fan of her alter ego.
But the meat of a drag show are the performances, and they didn't disappoint. Starting the night right was Ricki Rollick's hilarious opening number. She looked like Liza Minnelli and had the best trembling lower lip that I've ever seen.
Melissa St. John, who managed to make a spectacular entrance every time, had a wardrobe I'm not ashamed to admit that I envied. A highlight was watching her perform Ruth Brown's "If I Can't Sell It, I'll Keep Sittin' On It." Girlfriend had a fierce attitude.
was Lissen singing the True Blood
theme song "Bad Things" dressed as Snow White's evil queen trying to seduce the
audience with her juicy, juicy apple. A break from traditional drag time twofold, she sang with her own
voice, and it was powerful.
Now, if you're a drag queen and you want sing -- in your own voice, instead of lip-syncing -- your voice better be amazing. And for Roxie DeVine, who decided to sing most of her songs, that just wasn't the case. It was only through a backstage fluke that she ended up lip-syncing "I am what I am" by Linda Eder and when not having to concentrate on her vocals, she gave such a funny and entertaining performance that I wondered why she bothered singing at all. The only song I would've kept in her singing repertoire was Stardust (sung by greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra) which she sang beautifully.
One of the best parts about the show was the Arts Garage, itself. It has a bring your own anything policy and strong sense of community between the audience, performers, and show runners -- who are beyond kind. At intermission, a quick walk to the House of Siam landed me a fast and delicious to-go dinner that I brought back to eat onsite. The walls are lined with amazing pieces of art, and the audience was decked out in costumes for the contest later in the evening. My personal favorite was the Clinton administration, complete with Bill, who looked oddly appropriate at a drag show, Hilary, Monica, and a sexy Secret Service Agent.
While Divas in Art wasn't flawless, it was a really great time. As for the Arts Garage, I'd go back for any event they hosted, and they host everything.