Bitch Please: A Night in Drag
There are some dark corners of the earth that we simply neglect to pay well earned homage to. We’ve all driven past it, and most of us have probably synched at the thought of entering, but this illustrious blue light district tap dancing on the edge of St Kilda has certainly earned its credentials.
“Gender may be an illusion, but the sight of an unruly bare-chested crowd on a 3.4-degree Melbourne Winters evening is certainly not.”
A recent and fairly bewildering fascination with Australia’s drag subculture happened to pull The Vulture into the dark and sticky corners of the newly refurbished Grey Hound Hotel in St Kilda last Saturday night. With the hope of rubbing shoulders with one of Australia’s most beloved Queens Millie Minogue, we jumped head first into the salacious epicenter of all things shirtless and surgically reconstructed!
It’s hard to imagine that so much confined ridiculousness can take place within the thick, party-proof walls of an inarguably sober building facade. But this work of art, or the #GH as coined by locals, falls nothing short of being a hypnotic transgender-worshipping institution.
Drag. It charmed the pants off us in Stephan Elliott’s 1994 classic The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, and following that great saga, Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ proved to only encourage dismal thoughts of trashy stage makeup and Hugo Weaving’s weird face. But there is so much more involved in the inner-workings of transsexuality and self-expression through gender. With the rise of so many popular international transgender icons, such as New York’s outrageous Sophia Lamar what can be said about the future of drag, and how do we really define the term ‘gender’?
Back at the #GH, and it’s not long before the poison vapors of Double Black’s and Slippery Nipples start to penetrate the air. The Vulture embarks on a woozy mission to get up close and personal with a real Queen. A tsunami of synthetic peroxide blonde crashes onto the stage; faux fur, blue lips and she is larger and broader than life itself. To use the word frightening would seem malicious, but this obsession with the beautiful madness of drag seems to have stemmed from the very essence of fear and intimidation these Queens uphold. Transsexuality is not a frightening sub-culture, but it is an unpredictable one, and with unpredictability comes the marvel. There in front of us stands the grandioso stature of excess and exaggeration, equipped with the strength of a man and the wickedness of a woman. Bitch please, what could possibly go wrong?!
Queen Paris restrains the rowdy crowd with her magnetic stage presence, cackling profanities through the microphone. As the show rolls on, Millie Minogue graces the throbbing pack with her presence and the rumors prove to be true; this mesmerizing cultural icon seems to embody the very locomotion of Kylie better then Kylie herself. The evening’s performance succeeds in capturing drag at its very aesthetic best and alcohol-effected worst.
Transsexuality is a wonderful thing people. Female impersonation conquers all, in its attempts to exemplify the outrageousness of superficiality and self-image. Transsexuality shows us that femininity can be so easily deconstructed to be an assortment of attachments and subtractions. The mask that is femininity is removable, and therefore so easily attachable for any queen or regular Hugo .W who feels up to the challenge. Drag is not dead, and far from it. It is a remarkable sub-culture and an art form that is to be embraced and preserved with the help of nightlife g-spots like The Grey Hound in St Kilda.
Gender may be an illusion, but the sight of an unruly bare-chested crowd on a 3.4-degree Melbourne Winters evening is certainly not.
Be sure to catch The Classics show at The Grey Hound on Saturday evenings. Free entry before 9:30, Free pinches on the toosh all night.