2 min

There she is

The latest Myth Toronto

Winner! Asya Black is the big cheese. Credit: Paula Wilson

“It’s wonderful to be back in Toronto!”

Reigning Miss Continental USA, Michelle Dupree, was trying to hold the audience through the tiny eternity judges took to declare a winner.

“I love Canada so much….”

“Hurry up. I wanna go to Zipperz,” someone heckled.

This little out-take pretty much sums up the atmosphere of the first annual Miss Toronto Continental competition: The unwavering, occasionally hackneyed, good nature of the on-stage talent, versus the restlessness (and, as the show rolled into its fifth hour, fatigue) of the audience.

Still, as far as fledgling drag contests go, it could have been much worse. “Some pageants have more that 15 contestants,” said the slightly frazzled, but very personable first-time producer, Alex Bourgeau. “I’m glad we only have seven. This could have gone six, seven hours. Can you imagine?”

Actually, yes. Yes I can.

The La Cage dinner theatre on Feb 28 was packed full of well wishers, charitable types (a portion of the proceeds went to the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation) and the entourages of the seven contestants: China, Terri Stevens, Ginger Munroe, Chevanna, Stephanie, Adrienne Lee and Asya Black.

The stakes were high – the winner walking away with $1,000, a ball gown (presumably of their own choosing) and an all-expenses paid trip to Chicago to compete in the big Miss Continental finals.

With performances by Amanda Roberts, executive producer Stephanie “Larry” Stephens and lip-synching superstar David Michael Anthony, the pageant was hosted by Gypsy who, supposedly, is some sort of drag legend (and film star; you may remember his performance as “Uniform Designer” in Shelley Long’s tour de force, Troop Beverly Hills), but on this night, she was virtually incoherent, uttering such cryptic one-liners as: “I don’t need pickles, I need cucumbers! Look at that dress! But I love Toronto! Oh dear!”

Contestants were made to jump through the typical pageant hoops: swimsuit, talent, evening gown and, by far the most riveting segment of the evening, Q & A.

Judge: “What make you unique as a potential Miss Toronto Continental?”

Stephanie: “I don’t take hormones, I am a boy underneath this dress, and that makes me very unique. Thank you.”

Judge: “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?”

Ginger Munroe (sobbing): “Myself. It’s time to be real and honest. I want to change myself. Thank you.”

Judge: “What have you learned and gained from this experience?”

Asya Black: “I learned to be on time for things. I gained friendship, I learned communication and things. Thank you.”

After an interminable delay – and Jackee’s low impact aerobic rendition of the longest dance remix that has ever been, “Love Will Save The Day” by Whitney Houston – the winners were announced.

Miss Congeniality went to Asya Black. Miss Talent went to Stephanie, for her cheerful lip-synch of “Memory,” a song about a dying cat. (The lame sameness of the other performances moved my companion, the worldly pixie, little Kimmie Erskine, to ask: “Is it a requirement that drag queens start a song with their back to the audience and finish it by falling to the floor in a crumpled heap?”)

Anyway, Asya beat China for the title, and those contestants not named after a landmass or continent were quickly ushered off the stage. When asked how she was going to put her newfound credibility to immediate use, Asya Black replied: “I think Stephanie said something about a bar show next week. But otherwise, I don’t know. I’m a nurse in real life.”

How continental.