|Reigning Grand Duchess Pollo Del Mar, Grand Duchess XXXVI Landa Lakes and Emperor Paul Maka Poole look festive at the Grand Ducal Council of San Franciscoâ€™s St. Nicolas Cotillion 2009.
Notorious Sainted Glamazon About Town
With plenty at stake this past Sunday, six contestants were set loose on The Castro in the Grand Ducal Council of San Franciscoâ€™s very own â€śdrag race.â€ť As a fun addition to the St. Nicolas Cotillion, an annual fundraiser for Toys for Tots, the Ducal Court sent three male and three â€śfemaleâ€ť competitors scurrying through the gayborhood with 60 minutes on the clock, selling raffle tickets in hopes of being crowned this yearâ€™s â€śWhite Knightâ€ť and â€śMiss Debutante.â€ť
The idea of Ducal Princess Royale Miso Hornay, this Dec. 13 â€śdrag raceâ€ť added another layer of fun and excitement to what had already shaped up to be a lively contest. Planned by Royal Crown Prince Arnel Valle and Royal Crown Princess Sandra O. Noshi-Diâ€™nâ€™t â€“ whose festive red outfit complete with plunging neckline caused Mr. Royal Bunny 2009 Matt Renck (â€śOtter Del Marâ€ť) to nickname her â€śSantaâ€™s Little Humperâ€ť â€“ the Cotillion drew one the best contestant turnout for any fundraising titles this year.
Miss Debutante aspirants included Joie De Vivre, the biologically-female Kitty Tapata (frequent Lyon-Martin Health Services volunteer Karin Jaffie) and Nellie Bear, whose live performance of â€śRun, Rudolph, Run!â€ť showed exactly why she recently earned the distinction of being named San Franciscoâ€™s â€śBest Live Drag Actâ€ť at the Martuniâ€™s Cabaret Showdown. Vying for â€śWhite Knightâ€ť were Allen Beard, Preot Buxton and Nick Leonard, who organizes a cast of all gay comedians each first-Monday of the month for his QCOMEDY show at Mama Calizoâ€™s Voice Factory, home of The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes.
Fortunately for contestants, selling tickets was made easier by terrific prizes donated by Under One Roof, members of the Grand Ducal Council and the Imperial Courtâ€™s reigning Miss Cowgirl 2009 Saybeline. As the grand prize in this yearâ€™s raffle, one lucky winner garnered a date with yours truly to the sold out opening night of the San Francisco leg of Lady Gagaâ€™s Monster Ball Tour.
â€śIt feels like a winter wonderland in here!â€ť one overly-affectionate woman declared of the Cotillion Despite the way she was ogling my breasts â€“ now I know how real women must feel! â€“ she was absolutely right.
As our contestants scoured the Castro on their fundraising mission, the large and diverse crowd â€“ many dressed in winter finery â€” mingled at Trigger, which hosted the event. The audience included staples on the Court scene and plenty of friendly new faces as well.
Last yearâ€™s Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Carlos Medal and Landa Lakes, Emperor Paul Maka Poole, Grand Duke XXXIII Brian Busta, Grand Duchess XXIII and XXXIV Renita Valdez, Bill Jennings and Valentin Aguirre all turned out for the evening. Reigning Miss GAPA BeyonSoy, Saigon Dion and Marijoy Tabatsoy were on-hand as much to support the cause as Sandra, named â€śSecond Princessâ€ť in this yearâ€™s GAPA Pagaent.
To keep things lively, Carlos and Grand Duchess XVIII Davida Ashton, who the night before had hosted a private holiday party in her home which kept her up well past 4 a.m., performed Christmas classics. Both even received a little (possibly unwanted) assistance from some inebriated visitors from Orange County!
When all six contestants returned from canvassing Castro, their ticket sales were tallied while both Joie and Kitty performed. When all the sales, performer tips and donations were finalized, more than $800 was raised for Toys for Tots. In a close race all-around, with only $5 separating first- and second-place among the ladies, Nick and Kitty were crowned the Ducal Courtâ€™s 2010 White Knight and Miss Debutante.
In an odd turn of events, Robert Portilla â€“ a total cutie who Iâ€™d met last Easter while hosting one of the two busses to Trannyshack: Reno â€“ won the raffle grand prize. It was a case of willing it into being, apparently. Just the night before, Iâ€™d posted a Facebook status update asking, â€śWho is going to win a date with me to see Lady Gaga?â€ť The first person to respond, Robert wrote back, â€śItâ€™s going to be me!â€ť â€“ and he was right!
For the record, that was my sixth time seeing Gaga perform live. After becoming the first journalist on the West Coast to interview her â€“ after hearing a four-song EP well before the release of her Grammy-nominated debut album The Fame â€” I first saw her at Trannyshack, shortly after she released â€śJust Dance.â€ť
Last winter, after sheâ€™d already scored the first two of her five consecutive chart-topping singles â€“ the most recent being â€śBad Romance,â€ť which she announced Sunday will officially be the #1 song in the country when this hits print Thursday â€” I saw Gagaaâ€™s Mezzanine show. Around Christmas, the night many of my drag friends and I performed with Cyndi Lauper at the 2008 Energy 92.7FM (R.I.P.) â€śEnergy Ball,â€ť Gaga also performed. In-between, I worked with her directly, introducing the now six-time Grammy nominee back-to-back nights last fall at the â€śGus Presentsâ€¦â€ť parties The Crib and Adonis.
Gaga proved to be the perfect way to cap an incredibly fun evening. Though I actually preferred her performances at smaller venues to the more extravagant displays on her first national headlining tour, nestled with Robert in the balcony of the Bill Graham Auditorium, I had absolutely nothing to complain about.
A wildly successful fundraiser to bring Christmas to children in need, the gayest show in town and a hot young date on my arm? Letâ€™s be honest here. The real winner of that raffle was me!
Follow â€śThe Glamazonâ€ť at Facebook.com/PolloDelMar or Twitter.com/TheGlamazonPDM.