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Drag Queens, Atlantic City And A Hungover Brunch


A trip to the 2012 Miss'd America Pageant

I'm no fan of beauty pageants nor award shows in general. Have you ever heard of someone complaining about them being too brief? Brevity may be the soul of wit, but despite all this, the Miss'd America Pageant 2012 (the campiest, dragiest event of the year at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey) this weekend was still amusing--even at three hours. There's nothing like dudes in a dress slathered with makeup making rude off-color jokes to bring a smile to our faces.


This is the second year I'd attended Miss'd. The competition's been going on since the early 1990s, with a recent three-year hiatus, returning to town in 2006. It raises funds for local AIDS and LGBT charities. The setting of Atlantic City makes the pageant fun. It's a town devoted to pleasure and excess, which began by the media being picked up in a stretch limousine and driven to the Harrah's Resort in Atlantic City courtesy of OutinAC, an effort by Caesar's Entertainment to welcome the queer community.

Harrah's AC is a huge indoor complex, with 2,500 rooms, a dozen restaurants, the Elizabeth Arden Red Door spa, boutiques, and the centerpiece, a heated salt-water pool surrounded by palm trees, a large domed glass roof, Jacuzzis, and bars. Prior to the show, we attended the Pre Miss'd America Loft Party upstairs at the balcony level bar, which was presided over by the delightfully bitchy Bianca Del Rio and a few scantily clad go-go boys. Then, we stopped at the elegant restaurant Mia's at Caesar's, whose cuisine is on a par with any top culinary establishment. Dining in Atlantic City has improved a lot lately--boardwalk fries are no longer the best dish in town--with many noted chefs being wooed into town.

This year, the Miss'd pageant was bigger than ever, attracting a crowd of 1,300 with 14 contestants, many of them hailing from the northeast. The host was the acerbic Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Carson Kressley and was judged by a panel including Michael Musto, Hedda Lettuce, TJ and Ryan of The A List, among others. In between categories, we were entertained by singer Erika Schiff of American Idol surrounded by a team of muscular dancers and the fabulous belter Weather Girl Martha Wash, singing her hit, "It's Raining Men."

After sitting through the swimsuit, talent, and evening gown competitions, runners up were named: Victoria "Porkchop" Parker from North Carolina, and New Yorker, Bootsie LeFaris, who came in third. The Miss'd winner for 2012 was Sabel Scities (AKA Timothy Byars of Sunnyside, New York and formerly Portland, Oregon), who had won Miss Fire Island 2010. Last year's winner, Kitty Hiccups, sang the closing number, after passing on her crown to Scities.

After the pageant, part of the media gang returned to Harrah's to meet up with Jersey Shore's JWoww, who was hosting the party at the Pool After Dark. Getting into this party was a production since it was mobbed with partying hard twenty-somethings, girls in short short skirts and high, high heels and guys who look like they work out. "There's some pro football players in that cabana over there," one of the journalists said. Pushing our way to the roped off VIP area where JWoww was holding court was a challenge and getting to see her required some patience, due to the crowd. She was lounging with a retinue of men, including Roger, her tattooed burly boyfriend. "Hey, love your work," I told the brunette rather disingenuously, after finally arriving at the front of the line and the security goon nodded me in. I'd only seen Jersey Shore once and wasn't hooked, but I definitely appreciated the over-the-top excess of the cast. JWoww, whose name I later found out was Jennifer Farley, smiled at me sweetly.

She was undeniably pretty but sitting it out as a host, she didn't have the infectious energy of Snooki, who'd hosted at The Pool last September and who danced the night away. "Thanks, good meeting you," she said politely. Damn, this reality show star wasn't even going to spill my drink or dance me under the table, unlike her shorter more sprightly colleague. I never made it over to the party at the Pro Bar (formerly known as "Prohibition Bar"), the only gay bar in a casino, where Gunner de Medici was hosting and there was a long line to get in.

Although unfortunately it hadn't been a night of excess and debauchery, it was Sunday, so I slept in till noon and arrived to the Hangover Brunch late. With a name like that, no self-respecting partier would arrive on time. "No one told me we were getting actors from a Tim Burton movie," the tart tongued emcee Bianca Del Rio quipped, as I walked to the front of the ballroom and took my seat, Bloody Mary in hand. "Looks like she forgot to look in the mirror this morning." Was this insouciant hussy referring to my punked-out 'fro or black lipstick? After watching her mercilessly pick three lesbians and get them to shake their asses on stage in an impromptu dance competition. "Congratulations!" I told Sabel Scities, sitting at a table finishing her brunch. "What now?" After a brief pause, she replied politely, "I'd like to get more involved in the LGBT community and help people." She was wearing her crown and I could tell she meant business.

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