|Simultaneous to the third-annual ‚ÄúPollo De Mayo‚ÄĚ party, held each May 5 (Cinco de Mayo), Edgar Dizon celebrated his birthday with a private bash at Lookout. Here columnist Pollo Del Mar serves the birthday boy a jello shot as revelers look on. Photo
Notorious Sainted Glamazon About Town
Despite my name, which is decidedly Spanish, I‚Äôm not sure I ever celebrated Cinco de Mayo until recently. Maybe I did but simply don‚Äôt remember it. Prior to just a few, short years ago, of course, that was usually a sure sign I had a really good time.
From the last three years, however, I have very clear memories of commemorating this festive, Latin-flavored holiday. Every year since 2007, May 5 not only celebrates Mexico‚Äôs unexpected 1862 victory over French forces in the Battle of the Puebla, it also marks my Pollo De Mayo party.
When the Lookout first approached me about hosting the event, even proposing the ridiculous and self-indulgent name (thanks, Gregg Crosby!), I quickly agreed. It goes without saying I love any opportunity for a debauchery-filled afternoon dance party at my favorite Castro hot-spot. It wasn‚Äôt without some misgivings from one particularly prominent person in the community, though, that I was able to launch this now-annual tradition.
That first year, when the Pollo de Mayo ad initially surfaced showing me dressed like a wild-eyed, chainsaw-wielding, drag rendering of the 1940s Latina Broadway and film icon Carmen Miranda, I remember receiving one particularly concerned email. It was from San Francisco‚Äôs very own legendary Miranda, Alexis.
As the city‚Äôs resident Latina sensation and Absolute Empress XXXIII, Alexis Miranda has been involved in the Bay Area drag community for approaching three decades. Much of that time has been spent working with and advocating for the local Hispanic community, including hosting shows at and managing the Mission‚Äôs most popular gay bar, Este Noche.
When Alexis heard about Pollo de Mayo, it immediately raised her hackles. And, as anyone familiar with her can attest, she is never one to bite her tongue!
Knowing my reputation for irreverence, camp and poking fun, Alexis sent a very diplomatic letter expressing concern my party might either become or be perceived as racially or culturally insensitive. My guess is she feared something akin to the highly-controversial late-‚Äė90s Trannyshack ‚ÄúWetback Night‚ÄĚ theme, proposed and hosted by Lady Sergio, which ‚Äúpaid homage‚ÄĚ to Latin performers, artists and culture in a way only that legendary nightclub could.
My outrageous, Latin-inspired costuming choices in the ad aside, I assured Alexis there was nothing of the sort planned for my Pollo de Mayo. The last thing I wanted or intended to do ‚Äď then or now ‚ÄĒ is intentionally make any racial or ethnic group feel marginalized, made fun of or unappreciated, especially Latinos, who I really like, if you know what I mean!
Besides the standard tequila drink specials, gaudy Cinco de Mayo decorations found almost anywhere throughout the city on that day, and a pi√Īata for good measure, Pollo de Mayo would be no different, I promised, than my other now-yearly parties 2007 kicked off such as President‚Äôs Day, St. Patrick‚Äôs Day and, a few weeks later, Memorial Day. (By the way, mark your calendars now! Monday, May 31, I‚Äôm hosting my third-annual Memorial Day: RECOVERY party at Lookout.)
With this understanding, Alexis gave her blessing, and the first-annual Pollo de Mayo moved forward without a hitch, becoming a rousing success. Last year‚Äôs party was even better. This year, however, proved to be the biggest, most successful to date!
A fabulous crowd of partygoers including Castro-area real estate agent Steve Fitzpatrick, Examiner.com reporter Marques Daniels and even Lookout owner Chris Hastings turned out for the glorious afternoon. Super cute DJ Lee Decker kept the music lively while I doled out syringes filled with the ever-popular Jell-O shots.
Adjacent to Lookout, in the dining room of Thick & Thin Pizza, adding to the raucous atmosphere, Edgar Dizon ‚Äď ‚ÄúMama‚ÄĚ to the staff of Gus Presents ‚Äď celebrated his birthday. Though I‚Äôd never ask a lady her age, it‚Äôs alleged Mama indulged in an alcoholic Jell-O treat for every decade she‚Äôs been alive‚Ä¶and I can tell you she had a half-dozen! (I‚Äôm only teasing, Mama‚Ä¶about the age, of course, but not the consumption!)
One guest who has always been noticeably absent from the festivities is Alexis. Over the last three years, she has yet to attend a Pollo de Mayo celebration. Of course, I don‚Äôt hold that against her or take it personally. Spending six days a week in drag, she‚Äôs legitimately one of the hardest working queens in town. This year, though, it was almost like she was there.
Rather than that god-awful fruitbasket atop my head and the bedazzled mariachi-style top I‚Äôve sported the last two years, I opted instead for a bold, beautiful dress on loan from Alexis herself. The rich, vibrant orange with ruffled collar and fluted skirt hugged my curves and provided just enough Latina flair to be appropriate for the event.
Though she wasn‚Äôt on hand to approve the party it, Alexis would have certainly given her thumbs-up to the fashion. While getting rid of that hideous and stereotypically campy costume was no Battle of the Puebla, it‚Äôs definitely a step in the right direction.
In a mini battle of the Mirandas, Alexis edged Carmen this time ‚Äď and it was certainly for the best. In a silly little way, it was a Cinco de Mayo victory for Latinos everywhere.
Follow ‚ÄúThe Glamazon‚ÄĚ at Facebook.com/PolloDelMar or Twitter.com/TheGlamazonPDM. Email her direct at Pollo_DelMar@Yahoo.com.