DC at Night

DC at Night

Friday, October 25, 2013

Flashback Friday: Definitely Not a Drag

This article originally appeared in The Prices Do DC on Oct.25, 2011. The 2013 Drag Race will be held this Tuesday.  If you can be in the area then, you should check it out.

Skating DC fairies under the cover of October skies.
Standing in the 15-deep Dupont Circle crowd at the Q Street corner, waiting for the much-anticipated street race to start, I felt a bump on my shoulder. Turning, I encountered the 1st of a half-dozen fairies roller blading past me, wings on their backs, pastel antennae or crowns sprouting from their flowing hair, vibrant tutus fluttering in the night wind, their sequined tops shining under the light of the street lamps, heavy makeup and glitter covering bearded faces.  Ah, such are the sights on the Tuesday before Halloween when the nation's capital hosts its annual Drag Queen Race.

Although the race doesn't start until 9 p.m., crowds of thousands begin arriving as early as 6 to view the site of almost 100 drag queens in every type of costume sashaying and prancing up and down a blocked-off 17th Street again and again. Many of the crowd pour out into the street to get their picture taken with the obliging queens, while others simply hoot, holler, and applaud..

Some of the enthusiastic racers, who obviously work long and hard on their creative costumes,  enter as a themed group. For example, on this night, the 25th running of the annual race, there were The Queen of England and her retinue including relatives and fur-hatted strutting guards calling "God save the Queens"; a high-haired Marie Antoinette and her "let them eat cake" court; a group of blue uniformed Pan Am stewardesses pushing their coffee, tea, or me cart; and a pack of multi-hued Super Blow Pops, grandly announcing that "this is what happens when you suck too hard."

There were pairs. Alice in Wonderland and her off-with-their-head queen. A starkly phallic Washington Monument accompanied by a short-shorts wearing National Park Ranger. Several takeoffs on black and white, on-their-toes, ballet swans were also in vogue. .

Individual gay-supporting icons were in abundance. Lady Gaga. Dorothy of Wizard of Oz fame. A blue-body-painted Smurfette. Some of the contestants pushed the bounds of taste. Like the hairy-legged Marilyn Monroe look-a-like who pulled her skirt up and wiggled provocatively. Or a white-robed zombie Jesus fronted by a black-clad, particularly slutty Mary Magdalene. Other contestants blew that good taste line away faster than the whirling winds of the twister that plunged Dorothy into gay lore. How about a pink-pillbox-hat-wearing, bloodied Jackie Kennedy clone with the sign "I had a blast in Dallas" taped to his/her back? Or a group of muscular, off-the-shoulder tops and tight leggings wearing Flashdance workout queens performing all types of simulated sex acts with their hand weights and small barbells?

But it wasn't just a night of sight, but of sounds as well. Both the contestants and the crowd had great fun with an ongoing double entrendre, sexually charged repartee. When a group of In-the-Navy style guards pushing a small float of scantilly-clad mermaids streamed by, one young woman hollered "stay dry." A float-pusher responded "No sweetie, stay wet, always stay very, very wet."

And then there was the huge, red-gowned queen with a high mountain of teased hair (think John Water's Divine on steroids) who approached with a toilet bowl scrubber in hand. She was part of a clever group calling attention to the recent spate of exploding GSA toilets here in Washington. As she waved her dildo-impersonating scrubber directly in front of us, a young girl next to me leaned back, almost cringing with concern. "Oh c'mon sweetie," the contestant said with a wide smile. "You have nothing to worry about from me."

"Him, on the other hand," she cooed, suggestively twirling her toy inches from my face. "Now, that's another matter."

As for the race itself, I'm not sure who won. I know whoever it was, did get a glass slipper filled with champagne for his effort. But on this night, it was far more important that everyone, not just one winner, got filled with a great gay time.


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