Generally speaking, the words gothic and beauty pageant do not appear in the same sentence. But the folks at Beauty Bar ignored conventional wisdom (one could say they ignored all wisdom) and held a “Gothic Beauty Pageant” last Sunday night.
BURNT SPARKS emceed the contest; FRANKIE CHAN (of Dim Mak Records), ALEX CHOW (of Visions of the Impending Apocalypse), DENISE THE PIECE (Limousine), LESLEY ARFIN (Vice magazine), JOSHUA ZUCKER (Prosaics), and SHANNON SINCLAIR judged. Of course, a goth beauty pageant would not be complete without INTER- POL‘s CARLOS D on the panel. I said hi to him before the show: “What made me think you were gonna be here?” he said. “What made me think you were gonna be here?” I said and winked. Score: me, 1; Carlos, 0.
I was expecting lots of latex and leather, but instead I was greeted by the usual Williamsburg hipsters with messy STROKES hair and ironic ’70s-band T-shirts, with only a smattering of the serious goth types.
The runway, marked by a strip of lights cutting through the middle of the room, was long, snaky, and narrow, and the stage was too small and low for the poor ladies to really strut their stuff. But that didn’t stop them from trying. The five contestants, BRIANNA, ANYA, REVE, ABBEY, and MARGARET, started off with the “lingerie-wear” category in lieu of the traditional “swimsuit.” Judging from the amount of see-through bright-red, white, and black lace, they took this to mean lingerie by way of Frederick’s of Hollywood and hooking on First Avenue, rather than, say, Victoria’s Secret.
The judges held up signs of encouragement: “Show us your fangs!” and “Show us your track marks.” It quickly got exciting when the last contestant, Margaret, won the crowd’s and the judges’ hearts by doing away with the lingerie altogether, revealing black lightning-bolt pasties. She then topped that by getting onstage with JOANNA ANGEL of burningangel.com and making out with her. Did I mention that Joanna was drooling blood? Yummy. (Carlos, gentleman that he is, said: “I gave her a one out of five for doing that. That was totally unnecessary. She was still my favorite, though.”)
It all went to hell after that. The talent contest was replaced by a blood-drinking contest in which all the girls got on their knees and sucked some vile red liquid out of a beer bong. Later the crowd got hold of the prop and started drinking actual beer out of it. I was suddenly at a really trendy frat party. It was time to go. Margaret, she of taped nipples and sapphic smooching, won handily.
In non-goth, non-nipple, non-beauty-pageant news, East Village landmark club Guernica has been saved. SCOTT LONG, ROBERT JOHNSON, and JC SCRUGGS (all formerly of the Knitting Factory) have teamed up with former Wetlands GM CHARLEY RYAN to open the space once known as Save the Robots with more of a focus on live music. “It’ll be the same eclectic mix you’re getting at the Knitting Factory except there will be a lot more DJ stuff going on following shows and upstairs,” says Johnson. Though the venue isn’t christened yet they are aiming for a mid-May opening.
And last but not least, MURRAY HILL has finally hit the big time, even if it’s for one night. On Wednesday, April 13, he’s performing at Carolines on Broadway, the famous comedy club that helped break JERRY SEINFELD, TIM ALLEN, and ROSIE O’DONNELL. Mr. Hill, the first drag king to grace the stage at Carolines, will be joined by the cream of the new burlesque crop—the PONTANI SISTERS, DIRTY MARTINI, and the FISHERMAN VIBRAPHONIC TRIO. There is an after-party at HoJo’s (that’s Howard Johnson’s, you trendy bastards). I asked the sellout what he did differently to prepare for a show on Broadway, rather than one at the Cock: “Rehearse!” I’m sure the 50-plus employees from the corporate technology company coming to see the subversive drag show will be relieved.