Last Saturday night the San Francisco Imperial Council crowned a new emperor and empress at its 41st coronation ceremony at the San Francisco Gift Center. It was a gay affair, with the theme “Hot Egyptian Nights,” featuring a 30-foot tall Egyptian temple center stage where the reigning royalty held court.
For those not in the know (myself included until Saturday), the Imperial Court was founded in 1965 by Jose Sarria, the Absolute Empress I and Widow Norton, who began his drag performance career in the 1930s and became the first gay man to have a street named after him. But since, I assume, you're not here for a history lesson click here if you want to learn more... which I recommend.
The evening began with me trying, at the last minute, to create an Egyptian themed outfit out of nothing... "Just wear lots of gold," Frankie advised. Yes, well, that would be easy if I had 'lots of gold'. I settled on jeans in high heels and fabulous accessories, which, turned out, was more than adequate since my hairdo stole the show. Yes, even among all those fabulous wigs!
The reason for our attendance was to see our fabulous friend Empress XXXI Cockatielia’s performance to celebrate her 10 year anniversary as Empress... if you can't already tell, it was a 'fabulous' evening all round.
From the minute we walked in the door, there was so much bling we practically needed sunglasses. And, as Mr. A pointed it, "that's not dime-store crap those bitches are wearing. Those crowns and tiaras cost thousands of dollars."
Then there were the gowns... Academy Award's red carpet, who needs it? Donna Sachet was in her perennial red looking simply, well, fabulous... and if I'd been prepared with a notebook, I would be able to recount all the other sumptuous gowns and their wearers... not to mention the costumes custom-made to fit the night's theme. It was all I could do to keep my jaw from hanging agape.
Empress Cockatielia entered stage left -- or is it right? -- flanked by her courtiers of drum beating boys while a stream of exotic girls entered from the other direction to arrive on stage in a whirl of layered silk. Cockatielia sang a song specially written for her for the night. She sang it with powerful emotion and the crowd lapped up every minute, bursting into cheers when she danced, Madonna-style, in rhythm with her entourage. Her standing ovation was the crowning moment of a spectacular evening... which brings me to the title of this piece. (For a close-up of Cokatielia click here and choose "Hula"; she's image 4238.)
The final performance of the evening featured mummies, aka people wrapped in bandages, and sporting a rainbow of tutus... which was when Mr. A uttered, "Mummies in tutus... oh my!"
We then made our way to the Deco Lounge on Larkin in the Tenderloin for the after party. Mr. Houston at the piano announced to the audience as I entered, "we have a movie star in our presence!" Looking around, I then realized it was me he was talking about... not that I look like Jennifer Anniston even on a good day, but it sure was flattering for about a heart beat... like I said, it was the hair.
Cockatielia was now dressed as a statuesque blonde in a simply, fabulous gown... I swear, I'm coming back as a drag queen in my next life... or maybe I was one in my previous, which is why I just adore these men who, despite their lack of natural attributes (my boobs are always applauded, by the way), know what true glamor is and know how to work it.
It may have been my first coronation, but I doubt it will be my last.