Bash Compactor: Saturday Night’s A Drag

Written by Matt Harvey on . Posted in Bash Compactor, Posts.


On Saturday night, a dirty-blond tourist
wearing loose gray sweat pants was riding up to the eighth floor of the
Marriot Marquis on Times Square. Surrounded by sleekly curved
crystalline clear windows, she looked down at black-tie revelers moving
beneath her. Screwing up her tiny nose she said self-assuredly,“Nope,
that’s a world I don’t want to understand.”

The party in
question was an army of fabulously bedecked drag queens and their beaux
making cock jokes about the bulletshaped elevators and commandeering
the ladies room. Get out of the way, Red State Woman, if you don’t
understand—this is Night Of A Thousand Gowns.

Bebe Zahara Benet, the
winner of the just-completed first season of Rupaul’s Drag Race (“Don’t
fuck it up!”), was parading around in a full-length beaded turquoise
gown. Two square-jawed guys in penguin suits brought up her train.
Holding a silver tiara to her head so it didn’t fall off, she said
bitches were just jealous: “They don’t have luxury to be here in full
regalia.”

In the capacious auditorium, the clock ticked down
to coronation, the moment when this year’s emperor and empress of New
York drag would be crowned. Joan Rivers was being broadcast
over two Megatrons, as a duo of her impersonators chased each other
around in a madcap dash. Away from the crowd, two middle-aged guys in
white tuxes were talking about the deep recession. Chip Duckett, Rivers’ garrulous manager (and the night’s DJ), told Tony Monteleone, the newly crowned emperor (the empress was Miss Anne Tique): “This
would be vulgar if it wasn’t all costume jewelry.” Fingering his royal
scepter, Monteleone shot back with a shrug, “It’s all shtick.”

The two oohed and ahhed as Danni Daniels, a
transgendered 21-year-old—wound tightly in a black velvet gown—pranced
by in heels, a stuffed pheasant attached to her Marie- Antoinette red
wig. As Danni splayed herself on a high, glass guard railing, someone
yodeled in a campy lisp, “Pheasant under glass, that’s my favorite
dish.”

The belle of the ball, Her Imperial Majesty of 1986—Night Of A
Thousand Gowns’ first year—was looking frowny in his rouged mouth; the
tanned and muscular sexagenarian, Sybil Bruncheon, has hung up
his gown for a white tux and tiara. Clasping one white-gloved hand with
the other he said,“Oh my God, honey, [in ’86] it was at the Waldorf and
it was sold out. The clubs were still alive!” Lowering his voice he
continued,“But AIDS took everyone, everyone.” He looked out at the
decked out gals with a faraway gaze and added sadly, “I’m the only one
of the first Imperial Court left…”

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