Opinion
3 min

Deep Dish Toronto: Issue 773

Rolyn visits Buddies, Power Ball, A Chorus Queen, Thrust and Miss C’s new show

Ben and John at Buddies Credit: Rolyn Chambers

Tallulah’s Cabaret
Sat, May 31 at Buddies

Pulling up to Buddies on a Saturday night with Ride-Around Sally, we settle in for a night of old habits in the company of new faces. It’s been far too long since we’ve grazed these feeding grounds, and we intend to make the most of this packed dancefloor. We can chew our cud for only so long.

Obviously, someone else has the same plan but is unable to execute it properly. He’s downstairs lying on a bench hurling chunks of pasta and tonight’s cocktails into a bucket. An ambulance is parked out front and medics are attending to him. Really? Patricia Wilson, bartender and weekend den mother to these messy cub scouts, is standing guard, ensuring no one lingers too long or takes any YouTube-worthy video. I’ve seen much worse, and an ambulance was rarely called. These young scouts may know how to tie a knot with their pubic hair and start a fire using flaming language, but they really need to learn how to hold their liquor.

Case in point number two: as Ride-Around Sally and I are dancing hard, DJ K-Tel slips on some Rihanna and we both get felt up . . . by the same guy. Pick one or the other; we are not a buffet. Thankfully, part one of Cassandra’s show starts and he and the rest of the club are captivated by her real-girl realness, her everyday girl wardrobe and her Beyoncé hair-ography. If only Ride-Around Sally did less riding and more real-nessing she might not have to ride so often.

Power Ball
Thurs, June 5 at Power Plant art gallery

A Chorus Queen preview
Fri, June 6 at Fly nightclub

Delusions with Miss Conception
Sat, June 7 at Buddies in Bad Times

Thrust
Mon, June 9 at Church on Church

Vowing to be good, Bad-Bad Leroy Brown and I attend Old/New World, the annual Power Ball fundraiser. Since it’s one of my all-time favourite galas, I am ecstatic that this year they seem to have brought back some real art. It’s this careful balance of intriguing art, partying and schmoozing that makes this event so special. “We’ve been planning this party since last August,” says co-chair Laurent Fort, who looks cute as cake all dolled up in a powerfully pink Marie Antoinette wig, which balances his pristine power suit beautifully.

But luck is not on our good side, as my camera corrupts itself and refuses to give up the many wondrous pics from that night.

So on to the next events, this time with Help-Me Rhonda. We slide by a new Monday night party called Thrust at Church on Church. Even though it’s hosted by Tiana Reeves, one of my favourite loudly outspoken bitchy trannies (her words), it’s very quiet. The first always hurts.

We limp away to the media preview of A Chorus Queen, underway at Fly nightclub. The actual performances take place at Hart House Theatre from June 19 to 28, but tonight they have changed things up a bit to fit this dance-club space. Organizer Marc Simcox (also a former/current? drag queen) promises a night well worth the cover: more than two hours of drag, dance and drama. It’s a mashup of various musicals that have been strung together to tell a different story. With its over-the-top outfits and over-the-top acting, it’s Priscilla, Queen of the Desert meets Dreamgirls meets . . . well, A Chorus Line. I think. Some of the queens — Farra N Hyte, Devine Darlin, Scarlett Bobo, Bunny Lapin and Dyna Thurst — you might know, while some of the cute backup dancers you may want to know . . . even though they look über-gay in huge Egyptian wings for one incredible show-stopping act in particular. It’s an ensemble cast, which works well, unlike the next event we attend, at Buddies.

Delusions is Miss Conception’s one-woman, many-personalities show. “I’m a female illusionist, but the show is called Delusions because you have to be delusional to believe I’m a real woman,” she tells the capacity audience, which includes her mother, father and sister. In fact, her show and her rare talents as a live singer and impersonator have preceded her, by two weeks. Which is when she sold out both nights. And Rhonda and I can see why. Halfway through the night, I’ve been laughing so hard my cheeks hurt. All four of them. The night includes hilarious and sometimes cutely crude parodies of Adele, Cher, Céline Dion, Katy Perry, Eartha Kitt, Sinéad O’Connor, Carol Channing, Bette Davis, Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga. It’s also very interactive: one of the best parts of the night comes when she drags two men onstage (one macho gay and one shy straight) and slowly transforms them into her Tina Turner backup dancers, complete with long, blonde wigs and shimmery silver mini-dresses (designed by Proud FM’s Richard Ryder).

Kevin Levesque’s (aka Miss Conception) career is now at its taking-off point. He’s been doing great for years, but now he has bookings on cruise ships, as well as in cities all over the USA. Help-Me Rhonda and I decide we have to see Miss C’s next performance before her ticket price exceeds our wallets. And before everyone starts calling me Rolyn Down-the-River. Again. Damn you, Tina!