2 min

Deep Dish Toronto

This week Rolyn visits a drag pageant and SWAG

Amanda, Scarlett Bobo & Sarika at SWAG Credit: Rolyn Chambers

Smirnoff Czarina Pageant 2014

Thurs, Dec 5 @ Woody's

After the performances are done, after the tape is untucked, after the cheers have subsided, after all the votes are tallied, after the crown has been presented, after the prize money has been spent, what is there really? Bragging rights, bitch! Brag that you won the coveted Smirnoff Czarina crown (and the $2,000 that goes with it). This year, however, you’ll be a co-bragger, as the crown for the first time ever goes to not one but two luscious liqueur-sponsored ladies. It’s a long night of stellar top-notch performances by top-tier queens, hosted by Georgie Girl (as Dame Edna) and Brooke Lynn Hytes (two different queens nearly two generations apart), at Woody’s. Which makes it hard to judge. Evening wear: to some, sequins make you pretty, to others they look tacky. Toast: to some, a comical offering is best, while others believe a heartfelt experience is the way to go. Talent: from live singing to intricate dance moves to humorous skits, it is by far the category that is crucially watched. Both Keira Keys (who obviously has money and a choreographer behind her but unfortunately, doesn’t have the dance skills to pull it all together) and D'Amanda Tension (whose mother has come to watch) tie for fourth runner-up. With almost equal dance skills, Devine Darlin wins third runner-up, while Tynomi Banks wins second runner-up. First place also has two winners. Though some in the audience are at a loss to explain how Vitality Black (who performs a stellar number that morphs from opera to body-shaking soul music, complete with two backup dancers and so many splits and gymnastic moves she could have entered Drag Olympics) ties with Nikki Chin (who performs perfectly solo but gives a great toast and looks stunning in her evening gown), one must remember that the contest is about all three parts. Add them together, see what adds up. That’s what you get when you put so many talented queens on one stage . . . this year. Get ready for another year. Really.


Sat, Dec 14 @ The Steady

After the balloons have lost all helium, after the birthday cake is eaten, after the DJ has put away his CDs, after the dancefloor is mopped clean of sweat, after the presents have been unwrapped, after the free ACT condoms have been used, what is there really? Bragging rights, bitch! Brag that you have lasted a whole year. Having moved their monthly west-end party SWAG from Ossington Street to the Bloor West Village’s newest hipster hotspot, this monthly seems ready to celebrate fresh new beginnings.  Tonight, though, the weather decides not to cooperate. It’s the first storm of the season, and The Steady is unsettlingly quiet. Hostess Scarlett Bobo, in electric-blue thunderbolt earrings and matching lipstick, is remarkably calm, considering. DJ Aeryn Pfaff, meanwhile, keeps plugging away in the back dance area, all by his lonesome, spinning track after track as a handful of hardcore SWAG-gers congregate in the front lounge area. Perhaps hoping for the storm to end, perhaps hoping to find a warm port in this storm, their heads turn eagerly, hungrily, each time the door opens. Sorry, just me. But a frosty mug of Hog Town Ale with lots of head, poured by bartender Tyler, is the perfect swill to tide us over. And with free condoms and gum being handed out by the Ask Me ACT volunteer girls, who knows, maybe we can get another kind of party going on the dancefloor? Just in case we’re trapped in by snowdrifts. That’s what you get for launching a new party in December . . . last year. Get ready for another year. Really.