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Frank DeCaro offers a peek into LA drag history

An excerpt from groundbreaking new book ‘DRAG’



Image courtesy of Universe Publishing.

California has been called the Left Coast, the Best Coast, the Land of Fruits and Nuts, and the hottest hotbed of drag in America, and it’s all kind of true, give or take a pair of size-14 sling-backs, an economy-sized bottle of Coppertone, and a three-picture—all of them Photoshopped—deal with a major studio.

From the glitteringly subversive, sex-positive hedonism of San Francisco’s hippest clubs, to the packed-to-the-rafters, if-you-shave-it-they-will-come alternative performance spaces of sunny Los Angeles, the Golden State is an almost too drag-a-licious destination. And, it has been that way, up and down the coast, since at least the early 20th century.

Los Angeles “gurls,” to quote Katy Perry, “don’t mind sand in their stilettos.” As long as they look fierce, they’ll draw a crowd, especially if they’ve appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The Entertainment Capital of the World is a smorgasbord of drag, feeding its creativity to—and being nourished by—the movie and TV industries.

“You have club queens, comedy queens, theater queens, and even Tupperware queens here. You name it, we got it,” says Oscar Quintero, who, as his alter ego Kay Sedia, writes and performs in Chico’s Angels, a Latinx-flavored spoof of Charlie’s Angels, and sells plastic storage containers on the side.

The town that, for ages, played host to An Evening at La Cage, a popular female impersonators show that drew a Hollywood clientele, continues to boast a vibrant drag scene from the girls of drag bingo at Hamburger Mary’s to the talk show Hey Qween!, a hilarious web series hosted by Big Gay Sketch Show alum Jonny McGovern and his largely fabulous cohost Lady Red Couture.

Unique to Los Angeles is the fact that some of the funniest drag is performed by men who aren’t even drag queens. Crazed character actors—Tom Lenk of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and internet sensation (and Off-Broadway darling) Drew Droege among them—frequently don thrift-store attire and spout filth while playing a cracked version of The Match Game for charity at the city’s LGBTQ center. The Snatch Game has nothing on them.

Others peddle their sequined papayas on a tiny stage in the basement of a Mexican restaurant called Casita Del Campo in Silver Lake. The Cavern Club Celebrity Theater—presided over by Mr. Dan, a man who was known as Gina Lotriman when he was co-hosting the legendary L.A. drag party Dragstrip 66 in the 1990s—is home to some of the most inventive drag productions in Los Angeles. These shows really put the camp in Campo.

The chiquitito showplace has played host to all manner of drag over the years from a make-believe morning show presided over by a faux Juliette Lewis and Bette Midler (Chris Pudlo and Craig Taggart) to various 1980s-style extravaganzas featuring Love Connie (John Cantwell), a hairy gal whom one critic alliteratively described as a “hirsute high-kicking heroine.”

Meanwhile, in a revivified downtown Los Angeles, the horror-drag of the party-giving duo the Boulet Brothers is helping to make the city a drag-lover’s paradise like no other.

“I don’t really have enough objectivity to comment on the L.A. drag scene as a whole,” says Sam Pancake, a character actor whose drag antics as a very drunk Lucille Ball, an extra hot-to-trot Rue McClanahan, and a supremely potty-mouthed Lisa Whelchel have made him a local favorite. “But I do know that it is high-heeling on full-speed ahead and it’s only growing and getting better, bigger, brighter, and more fantastic and creative. Dare I say it’s a Golden Age?”

Dare, dare!

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Ellen signs off after 19 seasons

In her final monologue DeGeneres reflected on the journey across the years then took a moment to dance through the audience with Twitch




BURBANK – The lights went dark forever at the Warner Brothers Stage 1 complex on the lot at Warner Brothers Studio, home to the Ellen show, as comedian Ellen DeGeneres ended her daytime talk show after a 19 season run Thursday.

In a highly charged emotional hour, DeGeneres paid tribute to her staff, executive producers and a global audience of loyal viewers. Highlighting the end run of the show DeGeneres brought on guest Jennifer Aniston, the actress having been the comedian’s very first guest on the first show.

In her final monologue DeGeneres reflected on the journey across the years and she then took a moment to dance through the audience with her ‘DJ’ Twitch. During the course of the hour she discussed the progress that had been made since the series premiered in 2003, noting that she “couldn’t say ‘gay’ on the show” when it started or make a reference to her wife, Portia de Rossi, because same-sex marriage wasn’t legal.

“Now I say ‘wife’ all the time,” she said.  Noting that there was resistance to the show and that few gave it a chance of surviving, DeGeneres promised that she wouldn’t be gone for long. “Today is not the end of a relationship, it’s more of a little break,” she said. “You can see other talk shows now.”

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Celebrity News

Crown Prosecution Service UK charges Kevin Spacey with sexual assault

The CPS told the BBC it could not confirm or deny whether or not Spacey will need to be extradited to the UK



Screenshot/Sky News UK

LONDON – The Crown Prosecution Service announced Thursday that actor Kevin Spacey has been charged with five counts including three complaints relating to sexual abuse, which is alleged to have taken place in London, and one in Gloucestershire during the time period between 2005 and 2013.

Crown prosecutors told media outlets that the decision to move forward was based on a lengthy investigation by the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime Directorate at Scotland Yard. The Directorate is a national police agency which handles specialist crime investigations such as e-crime, sex crimes (paedophile unit) or kidnappings.

In its reporting Thursday, the BBC outlined the cases against the actor.

The first two charges relate to alleged sexual assaults on a man, now in his 40s, in London in March 2005, while a second alleged victim, a man now in his 30s, is claimed to have been assaulted in London in August 2008.

The serious sexual offence charge – causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent – also relates to the second alleged victim.

The third complainant relates to an alleged assault on a man who is now in his 30s in Gloucestershire in April 2013.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, told the BBC that following the Met’s review of evidence the CPS had “authorised criminal charges against Kevin Spacey, 62, for four counts of sexual assault against three men”.

She added: “The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr Spacey are active and that he has the right to a fair trial.”

The CPS told the BBC it could not confirm or deny whether or not Spacey will need to be extradited to the UK.

Spacey’s alleged sexual assaults occurred while he was living in London and employed as the renowned Old Vic Theatre’s artistic director in London between 2004 and 2015.

Spacey has been embroiled publicly and later in court over sexual assault allegations since October of 2017 when Out actor Anthony Rapp told the world that the Oscar-winning actor had tried to “seduced” him when Rapp was 14 years old. 

Rumours about Spacey’s behaviour had circulated in film and theatre circles for a considerable length of time previous to Rapp’s allegation.

Spacey’s response was immediate. He apologized and came out. “I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years,” Spacey wrote on Twitter.

“This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me, and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my own privacy,” Spacey said, adding “I now chose to live as a gay man.”

In July of 2019, Cape and Island District Attorney Michael O’Keefe announced that a charge against Spacey which accused the actor of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old boy in a Nantucket, Mass. bar had been dropped.

In court documents, Cape and Island District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said the charge was dropped “due to an unavailability of the complaining witness.”

News anchor Heather Unruh accused Spacey of getting her son, William Little, drunk at the Club Car, a bar in Nantucket, Mass., and groping him in July 2016 when Little was 18 years old.

In October of 2019, the office of then Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that prosecutors have declined to move forward in a sexual battery case against the actor because the accuser had died.

That case, one of several involving accusations of sexual misconduct and assault by the Oscar winning actor, allegedly occurred after an October 2016 incident. A masseur had claimed that Spacey had inappropriately touched him in a sexual manor at a private home in Malibu as he was giving Spacey a massage.

A statement released by the LADA’s office notes that the masseur’s allegations against could not be proven without his participation in court proceedings. The alleged victim had also civil suit pending in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Spacey for the same incident.

Kevin Spacey charged with sexual assault:

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Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith named to Time’s Top 100 list for 2022

“In the fight for equality in Florida, there has perhaps been no greater advocate for LGBTQ people than Nadine Smith”



Courtesy of Equality Florida

ST. PETERSBURG, FL. – Time magazine released its annual 100 most influential people list and this year one of the honorees was Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith. In the biographical sketch accompanying Smith’s listing, Time writer Kristen Arnett noted “in the fight for equality in Florida, there has perhaps been no greater advocate for LGBTQ people than Nadine Smith.”

“I am deeply honored to be included in the TIME100,” said Smith, a Black, queer woman. “This recognizes decades of work not only by me, but by the dedicated team of volunteers, staff and supporters I’ve had the privilege to work with at Equality Florida.  Our work is far from done as Florida, once again, stands at the center of the fight against extremism and hate.  We are bearing the brunt of a governor willing to sacrifice the safety of children and destroy our most basic liberties in his desperate bid to be President. But this is not simply Florida’s fight. The wave of anti-LGBTQ, racist, freedom-destroying bills sweeping the country calls each of us to fight for our rights and, indeed, our democracy.”

The list, now in its nineteenth year, recognizes the impact, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals. 

Smith comes from a long line of activists and barrier breakers. Her grandparents helped form the Southern Tenant Farmers Union to fight for the rights of sharecroppers. While in college, Smith co-founded IGLYO, the world’s largest LGBTQ youth and student organization. She co-chaired the 1993 March on Washington that drew a million marchers and she was part of the first Oval Office meeting between a sitting President and LGBTQ leaders. In the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, Smith and her team coordinated a national response including raising millions in direct resources for survivors and families of the 49 killed. 

Smith’s recognition comes as Florida has taken center stage in the right wing, anti-freedom agenda aimed at erasing LGBTQ people from classrooms, propagandizing curriculum, censoring history, banning books, and putting politicians in control of personal medical decisions.

“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential ambitions have fueled bills like Don’t Say Gay, the Stop WOKE Act, a 15-week abortion ban, and dangerous national rhetoric that seeks to dehumanize LGBTQ people in service to the most extreme segment of his base,” Equality Florida stated in a press release Monday.

The 2022 TIME100, and its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, with related tributes appear in the June 6/June 13 double issue of TIME, available on newsstands on Friday, May 27, and online now at

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