Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Harvey Milk Academy Benefit Drag Show: Over-the-Top Drag Queens for a Good Cause

Grand Duchess Cookie Dough with Harvey Milk Academy Principal Christine Velasco

Some of San Francisco’s most over-the-top drag queens performed at the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood to benefit the academy’s Parent Faculty Club on Feb. 11. The “adults only” designation on the show's promotional postcards and underground Muni signs were an accurate warning that the show was more of a fun, trashy, Trannyshack type of entertainment than a classy show like Donna Sachet’s Sunday's a Drag brunch at the Starlight Room.

More than 260 people crammed into the academy’s auditorium. There was a grand aisle down the middle of the room with two huge spotlights in a crossfire that MC and co-producer Ivy Drip craved and exulted in as she wildly vamped back and forth. Exuberant Drip explained Drag Queen Appreciation 101, with a primer on how to tip with thrown rolled-up dollar bills and how to react when a performer suddenly leaps onto a surprised lap. Then Drip laughed and repeatedly leaped onto laps and spoke about the beneficiary, which drew the first of many waves of applause.

Ivy Drip and Ana Mae Coxx

MC Drip has two children in the school and the much-needed funds will help with the Healthy Food Program, before- and after-school programs, and arts education. Drip and restrained co-producer Ana Mae Coxx described the raffle prizes and then they warmed up the runway for the dozen-plus performers including always fantastic Grand Duchess Cookie Dough.

Attentive school principal Christine Velasco greeted guests, and event coordinators Susan Tramontana and Shawn Maceiro joined Liz Torres and Whitney Berry to serve the food and drinks and arrange the seating. There were Harvey Milk T-shirts for sale — and they were not the brightly colored tops with a gun aimed at Milk’s head which have disgusted the gay supervisor’s friends.

Liz Torres and Whitney Berry

Children and teenagers checked in with their parents at the door and then went to the lively alternative party upstairs at the Milk Academy, away from the loud music and suggestive repartee.

It was a well-organized event that even had superior security from Ken Craig and the Castro Community on Patrol on duty.

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