It was a balmy Sunday evening and I was prepared and psyched for an invigorating performance. I expected the event to take place at a capacious joint, with a dynamic stage and a gratifying airy setting with scattered round tables. But to my surprise, the Velvet Lounge in Santa Ana was nothing but scanty. The scandalous atmosphere filled the Smokey narrow room as I walked into the Lounge. The only thing that was going on in the dark mauve room was the busy bar, which was overly compacted from the thirsty alcoholic consumers.
As my family, friends and I waited patiently for some assistance; a friendly waiter welcomed us to the “spectacular” event with his high pitch feminine tone and led us to the next room behind a red curtain. The room itself was small especially for the amount of people who attended the event that evening. Even though the room had a dinky stage and was filled with cluttered tables that made it difficult for the people, let alone waiters, to pass by, the workers did an incredible job on making the whole room look alive from the red walls, colorful lighting, and the upbeat music that was bang out from the DJ who was adjacent from the stage.
The waiter sat us at a square table that was covered by a soft black cloth that you typically would see at most restaurants with a dazzling centerpiece of a black sculpture of a puny tree with diamonds and fake red blossoming flowers on it. As soon as we sat down in our seats, we were immediately greeted by one of the so-called “sexy” drag queens. He was about 5’8 with his bright yellow 5-inch heels on, and looked like he could be over 200 pounds.
His extra tight, bright and sparkly orange dress and headband on his big but short yellow-blond hair wig reminded me of John Travolta in the movie, Hairspray. Even with his bulky figure, bold sense of style and walking rigidly from his suffocating dress, he was still able to work the look through his electrifying and jollity personality. “How are ya’ll cutie patooties doing this fab evening?! Are ya’ll ready for a sexy performance from the gorgeous, including myself, drag diva queens?! ” he asked the crowd enthusiastically with his Texas accent.
The crowd wooded back in eagerness, including the elderly 75-year-old couple sitting next to my table, and I could feel the adrenaline level in the room boosting up in the air. 7:30pm struck, colorful lights slowly turned dimmed, and the upbeat music changed to a dramatic slow song. The poster I saw just a few days prior to this event was about to come alive. I can feel the rush of excitement in the lively room as the provocative host, Shannel, slowly and seductively walked onto the open stage.
Shannel came on stage exploiting his sexy self-wearing a very tight black Onesie with a diamond chain around his hips and neck under his thick skin. On top of that was a black cardigan with gold designs at the edge of the sweater and sleeve. As if that was not enough, he wore a black feather hat on top of his short red hair wig and marched on stage with a black cane. He carried out a very bold and sexy gothic look. When the music stopped, he look all around the room with his heavy black eye makeup and yelled at the top of his lungs “How are you mothere**ers doing tonight?!
Now if you want to have a fun night, you all better drink up. Drink as much as you can” too bad I am only 18. ” I can already tell by his energetic and up beating character that it was going to be an amusing night. After introducing himself, Shannel went around the room and greeted everyone table to table with his snarky attitude. When he got around to our table, he turned to the crowd and jokingly introduced us as the tourists from Vietnam. If anyone wants to get their nails done, which I need to by the way, come along this way and they will do it for you.
Careful though, they might rip you off. They’re very good at that. ” There was not one thing he said that made everyone cry from laughter from his agile and facetious remarks. The opening act was exactly what I expected it to be. Before the individual singing impersonations, three out of the six alluring drag queens including the not so striking back up dancers performed a seductive performance to Don’t Ya by the Pussycat Dolls.
The venue featured a small stage and pulpit upon where the enchanting dancers lip sync and gyrated their loving hips, which enrapture the audience to their feet to cheer, stomped, and wooed throughout the whole performance. The animated room was full of energy and it only increase when the audience threw wads of bills towards the stage, trying to aim at certain inappropriate body parts. Each performer wore exquisite costumes and I am still astonished by the way the drag queens walked in their 5 to 6 inches heels as if they were walking barefooted.
Between performances, the silver tongue and witty Shannel would generally host and interact with the crowd, introduce other captivating performers, and poke fun at other drag queens and the audience. The performance was amazing at the start of the show, but as the show went on, the performance became very repetitive. Although the drag queens did an excel job of their performance considering the circumstances, the crowd grew less enthusiastic and was not as excited as they were in the beginning.
It was also very hard for the crowd to stay electrified because we were all expecting the same thing; we expected the drag queen divas to have a sexy and tone figure, not a thick and chunky physique. As the impersonations got a little more boring after the other, Channel was able to wake the audience up with her enlighten attitude and really tuned up the whole show. But through it all, it was most definitely worth driving to Santa Ana to see the exuberant show that the drag queens put on. A night full of amusement memories I will never be able to forget.