More than a dozen drag queens vie to become the toast of the GLBT community in this can’t-miss annual night of pageantry.
IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN. Atlantic City’s tradition of pageantry continues with an evening of talent, poise, and eloquence in the third annual Miss’d America Pageant.
This revered and glamorous ritual originated in the 1990s at the now-defunct Studio 6 nightclub as a parody of the Miss America Pageant, which also famously took place — through 2004 — in the city the same weekend.
The drag-queen event occurring the Sunday after Miss America Pageant was a positive and glamorous means to raise funds for various GLBT charities as well prolong the stay of tourists, explains Larry Sieg, the president of the Atlantic City GLBT Alliance.
“It was an opportunity to raise money for GLBT charities as well as to extend the stay of those people coming in for Miss America,” says Sieg.
“[The event would get tourists] to stay over another night and eat in the restaurants, go to the bars and so forth.”
But the Miss’d America pageant wasn’t just for the city’s visitors it was also for locals who had been working during the Miss America Pageant.
“All the people that worked on the Miss America Pageant never got to see it,” says present Miss’d America pageant director, Mark Dahl, who also works at Resorts Casino Hotel, with the property’s director of GLBT nightlife, Joel Ballesteros. “The costume people, the hair people, everyone that was working on Miss America put this together, so they could have their own pageant to Watch,” adds Dahl. “That’s why they called it Miss’d America, because you missed the pageant.”
But this pageant tradition, which grew to be as famed as the actual Miss America Pageant itself, fell into dormancy in 2005, when the Miss America Pageant left Atlantic City.
It was eventually revived, however, in 2010 by the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance.
This year, the Miss’d America Pageant returns in force to Historic Boardwalk Hall on Saturday (Jan. 21) and will seek out that special contestant that will become the next toast of the LGBT community.
“[The pageant is] a very large undertaking for a group made up entirely of volunteers,” Dahl says. “Right now, it’s crunch time.”
But never the less, organizers are promising a night of absolute splendor.
“It’s pageantry at its finest,” says Dahl. “The biggest difference [this year is] we will have world-class entertainment.”
This year different properties in town will hold related events and parties aimed at attracting folks in town for the pageant. Caesars Entertainment, for instance, will be hosting its fourth annual Out in AC weekend of GLBT themed events (see p. 10 for details).
Coming off of a two-year win streak as far as success goes, this year’s Miss’d America Pageant will again feature host Carson Kressley (of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fame), as well as a performance by former Weather Girls member Martha Wash, who is expected to sing the group’s hit “It’s Raining Men.”
Erika Schiff, who has also performed previously at the Miss’d America Pageant, is also scheduled to sing and dance.
According to Sieg, the 14 contestants, who were announced last week (see sidebar) were selected from a very large pool of entries, from various states.
With over 25 submissions, this was the first year the pageant ever had to narrow down contestants, according to Dahl.
“Obviously, the word about the pageant and the quality of the pageant is getting out there in the entertainment community,” explains Sieg. “The first year we did it [in 2010], it was mostly contestants from New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Now, we’ve reached as far as Kentucky, South Carolina and Florida.
“We’re reaching contestants of a much broader base,” he adds.
And with more applicants comes more versatile and higher quality performances.
Among the 14 drag artists and female impersonators in the running is renowned performer Jason Cozmo, who will be representing the Jersey Shore region.
Cozmo, who was born and raised in Salt Lake City, has recently moved to Atlantic City to join the cast of the hit show Believe - Divas in a Man’s World, which has had a long-running engagement at Resorts, and is slated to continue through Feb. 27.
Unlike drag artists, who perform using their own stage-personas, Cozmo has appeared on stage as many famous figures including, Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton (see cover), Lucille Ball, Bette Midler, Marilyn Monroe, as well as fictional characters like Snow White.
“I love what I do so much,” says Cozmo. “I love performing, I love my characters. I take it so seriously and so personally.”
“I wish I could say I did it dancing, but the truth is that I tripped over my dog."
It’s that time of the year again. The votes have been counted and the winners have been named for the 4th annual ACWeekly.com Readers’ Choice Nightlife Awards.
Video, photos and more from Saturday's Miss'd America Pageant.
And, thank God we joined you as one, and not apart. Think of how dull this world would be without our creative energy. It would be the light bulb hanging on a wire from the ceiling, without the decorative fixture — or the lamp without the lamp shade.
J. Edgar Hoover, perhaps one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, sometimes considered more powerful than the presidents he served under including Roosevelt, Kennedy and Nixon, was also rumored to be a cross-dresser with numerous stories having emerged about Hoover dressed in drag in New York City, usually in red dresses he called "Mary."
ATLANTIC CITY — Caesars Entertainment has again assembled a weekend full of fun events focused on Atlantic City’s gay community. It starts Friday night, Sept. 23, with a four-course dinner party at House of Blues’ Foundation Room featuring the Hearty Boys — a gay couple who host a cooking show on the Food Network — and several other segments served up in a festive atmosphere and hosted by famed Las Vegas drag queen Frank Marino. This is the third annual OUT In AC event put on by Caesars Entertainment (an organization that regularly receives high commendation from the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index), and one of many GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) events to materialize on the Atlantic...
“I’m very much looking forward to visiting Atlantic City,” says de Medici, who will also be in attendance during Saturday night’s post party at the Pro Bar at Resorts.
So last week, there was Hitchen, head to toe decked out as “Knockers Johnson,” filming the opening skit for this year’s pageant on the beach. Other characters were Lucy Luckyano and Ally Capone, possibly the first time some of America’s most famous gangsters ....
Plus the Tun Tavern's Pumpkin Spice Lager, Bad Religion and 'Dracula' at the Stockton PAC
Definition of a drag queen? A man who likes to eat, drink, and be Mary! It may sound funny to some and it’s easy to crack a joke here and there, but until you get to an event such as this past weekend’s Miss’d America Pageant, you cannot imagine the talent, sincerity, and camaraderie that fills the room.
The Wrecking Crüe
Laughing with George Lopez
Fight Night at Boardwalk Hall