The Best of Gowntown

By Winston Soon

Eighth Contest Ball
Fri June 25th @ Doors at 10:30pm, $10
Buddies in Bad Times

It’s been many years since I last saw “The B-Girlz”. That was back in kinder days – when aphids took over Toronto, Zelda’s was on Church Street, and the B-Girlz were three Drag Queens with outfits that seemed to serve as an inspiration later for the kids show “The Doodlebops”.
Last night I was treated to a very different B-Girlz – they were leaner, meaner and there were only two of them. I miss the blue one, I do. My mind begins to imagine the Blue One stomping out of a feather filled dressing room, somehow being out-sequined by her sisters. With just two in their act – it is less queer B-52s, more fag Sweeny Sisters.

They are full of offensive jokes, using their gayness to be mildly offensive to other types of minorities. But I am down with it. It is in fact, the eighth (last one was March) Gowntown contest tonight. Five queens are competing for cash, prizes, and the “Gownie” – an award made from a wire hanger. I am ready for some good drag but my guest- Adriana – still misses the Blue One.

Doors open at 10:30, but don’t be fooled – the show didn’t get going till an hour later. The crowd is tipsy and ready to holler. The five competing queens are all excellent, but all completely different. First is Portia Glamoore – and she is one of those queens that is truly gorgeous – all legs and luscious locks. She does a cool change of wigs and as the first of the bunch, this really impresses. However her lip-synching is just…ok.

Onto Crystal Visions. It’s been a long time since I have seen drag with this much heart. Looking like Stevie Nicks – and I mean the way Stevie looks NOW – Crystal sings (yes she actually sings) “Landslide”. And the result is sheer artistry. Crystal proves that drag doesn’t have to equal fake.

Next is Miss Dreama Sheen. A very cute and well orchestrated drag as Scooby Doo’s Velma, with tons of props and onscreen visuals. Every queen used on-screen visuals – but Dreama was definitely the best in this department.

After Miss Dreama Sheen is Yura. On the level of spectacle – Yura has it down. From a nun’s gown that serves as a screen for old musicals to a gorgeous disco ensemble to a finale as fully realized Tina Turner – Yura is the pageant queen that, in the end, doesn’t win because she just has too much going for her.

Which brings me to the finale – Anne. To Lady Gaga’s impossibly crowd pleasing “Bad Romance,” Anne does what is known as “Bad Drag”. However if you are a theatregoer – you’d love it and then you’d realize that it is, in fact, a clown turn. Or at least this was the case for both and myself and Adriana.

Adriana feels in fact that it is so much Buffon that it really can’t be considered true drag at all at this point. But it is a great clown turn and one that sends up all of the glam, gorgeousness and execution of the other queens on their elliptized asses with a sloppy costume, a tampon that comes out of a bloodied crotch and a finale with shit stains on tighty whities.

The crowd responds. Anne wins. It was fun – but next time I think some judging that doesn’t involve the audience should also be included. After all, what audience doesn’t love a shit stain?

The Best of Gowntown is an annual event that played at Buddies in Bad Times (452 Parliament Street) on Friday June 25. For more information see www.b-girlz.com