Exactly. It’s what the upcoming Night of Illusions: Halloween Style event does best, Drag. Or in the words of Night of Illusions (NOI), ‘where every beautiful woman is a man’.
A riot of an event that calls for double the costumes on October 31st at San Chez Bistro where six award-winning Queens will offer audiences word-class performances including singing, dancing and wild stunts.
In good Halloween spirit, the Queen’s will also judge YOUR costumes with the help of GR celeb judges. Prizes will be awarded for the most elaborate costumes and Halloween garb, and the grand prize being, well, of course…a tiara!
A full San Chez tapas meal will be provided while you are entertained by Queens and their dance, flips, spins, twirls, jumps, stunts, and fall in and out of splits on the floor while wearing 6-inch heels.
Don’t forget the full costumes involving highly crafted hair and makeup in front of a crowd and lights while lip-syncing to favorites like Janet Jackson, Tina Turner and Ella Fitzgerald. Oh yeah, one more thing, the dancing. They make ‘Dancing With The Stars’ look like a polka two-step. Be prepared to see incredible dancing such as salsa, ballroom, hip-hop and more.
Never been to a drag performance? Wondering, ‘since when did Grand Rapids start offering drag performances as nightlife entertainment’?
Well get ready to leave you’re old standby bar band, and a burger special behind because life in downtown has gone to new heights…at least new for some. Most probably do not know drag has been thriving in GR since at least the 1970’s, but mostly behind closed doors.
Co-Producer of NOI, Richard Carnegie, surprised me with a brief history of drag in our seemingly sleepy town. “It’s not behind closed doors anymore,” revealed Carnegie.
“Grand Rapids has had a strong drag community for 40+ years that has been mostly enjoyed by the gay community,” continued Carnegie. “The evolution of drag in the past 10 years has gone from large outrageous costumes and hair to a more “real girl” look where the “girls” look stunning,” explained Carnegie. “You may even believe they are real, whereas in the past that wasn’t usually the case.”
Carnegie exclaims that a current local partnership is “bringing drag to an entirely new audience”. NOI is managed by locally owned MP Talent Management Group and hosted through San Chez Bistro, allowing an unbiased central downtown setting for a drag performance.
“As the last show proved,” raved Carnegie. “This truly amazing form of entertainment can be enjoyed by everyone with an open mind.”
Businesses and their owners are proving that their minds are already open towards bringing this caliber of performance art to the forefront of Grand Rapids.
Malinda Petersen, Founder & CEO of MP Talent knows first hand that Grand Rapids is looking for different and unique entertainment.
“San Chez approached me,” shared Petersen. “They were looking to partner and offer their third floor event space to hold new and fresh entertainment.”
Now, together they offer various events such as dinner theatre, improv acts like Pop Scholars, and of course, Night of Illusions.
And don’t forget the food. San Chez offers each event access to food and a full cash bar that is staffed by the restaurant. For the upcoming NOI show on Halloween, San Chez will be offering a full cash bar, a free shot of smoking liquid courage, and of course a dinner of tantalizing tapas that would bring any zombie’s taste buds back to life.
Still a little unsure and timid about the whole ‘drag’ concept? Thought you might be.
So I asked Malinda the questions for you…out loud:
“Why do men dress in drag and perform? What compels them to do this?”
Petersen welcomed the question and answered without thought or hesitation.
“Men performing in drag is a personal way of honoring the feminine spirit and fashion. They see it as a celebration of what it means to be a woman,” Petersen elaborated.
Every woman should feel honored and celebrated by that statement!
As a woman who attended the last Night of Illusions show during Laughfest, I did feel honored and celebrated.
The Queens were stronger and more confident in their performance than I sometimes am as a full-time woman. Honestly, their ability and caliber of performance was so high that it was easy to forget that they are even men.
Good entertainment is good entertainment. It really does not matter how you slice it.
You won’t want to miss this incredible Night of Illusions.
Night of Illusions: Halloween Style
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Doors and bar open at 6:30 p.m.
Show and tapas begin at 7:30 p.m.
RSVP to San Chez Bistro 616-774-7282
$59 ticket price includes:
A shot of smoking liquid courage
Dangerously good drag performance by award winning Queens
Hosted by GR’s own crazy-scary Sarah Jean Anderson
San Chez Bistro meal of tantalizing tapas
Juried Costume Contest with prizes and GR judges
More info on Facebook: ‘Night of Illusions: Halloween Style’
Be sure to check out the Women’s Lifestyle Event Listing for this fantastic performance.
Jenny Luth is a senior associate at Clark Communications in Grand Rapids. You will probably see Jenny: A. Eating local food. B. Drinking local beer. C. Supporting local bands. D. Smiling. Connect with Jenny on Twitter: @GRJenny