October 26, 2011
DC High Heel Drag Queen Race
Last night was the first time I got to attend DC's annual High Heel Drag Queen Race, which happens the Tuesday before Halloween. It might be the only truly unusual experience I've ever had in Washington, a town I associate with smart, conservatively-dressed people who walk around the city wearing their building photo ID badges and, despite their dedication to arriving at their desks on time, wouldn't dream of crossing the street against the light (it's illegal!)
Twenty minutes after the race was over, cops were out in full force, notifying everyone that the fun was over, the brief window in which men are allowed to wear eyeliner and sequins was now closed, please put on some pants. Stern officers on motorcycles rode along the edge of the street, hustling some dawdling Divine-inspired ladies out of the gutter.
But there were loads of spectacular drag queens and thousands of people there to watch, so even if the party was short, it was a good time. The race served as a little preview of what I expect to see at New York's own Village Halloween Parade on Monday. Each year's crop of costumes seems to follow trends, and it's amazing how the same inspiration strikes so many parade-goers every year.
Here's what we can expect to see this year:
- Black Swan. There were at least three sets of white and black swans out, wearing combinations of feathers, black glitter eye makeup, and headdresses and tutus made of balloons, which isn't exactly faithful to the original costume design, but still worked. Hope some of this weekend's white/black swan duos start making out, then stab each other.
- Amy Winehouse. Or dead Amy Winehouse. The DC drag queen Amy Winehouse was standing up inside a glittery coffin, smoking a cigarette and swearing at everyone who wanted to take a picture.
- The cracked Washington Monument. This one might not occur to New Yorkers who forgot about the earthquake 5 minutes after they grudgingly returned to their evacuated offices, but DC had a few of these.
- Princess Beatrice and her toilet seat hat from the royal wedding.
- Christina Ricci and the rest of the "Pan Am" girls (love this one.)
- Priscilla Queen of the Desert ensembles. It's on Broadway, so get ready for flip-flop dresses and giant flower headpieces with bell-bottom get-ups.
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