The not-for-profit Rochester Girls, Inc. presented “Arabian Nights” as the theme for its annual spring show to raise funds for the group’s upcoming calendar year. The three-set show featured members from the house cast of Illusions out of La Crosse, dancers from Blue Lotus Middle Eastern Dancers and of course, the Rochester Girls themselves.
As a matter of variety, the breadth of individual performers’ experience ranged from brand new Hanna Detox to 60-something siren Champagne.The Rochester Girls typically organize four local drag shows per year and – with the exception of the spring show – donate the proceeds to any number of charities including the Professional AIDS Network, Minnesota Greyhound Rescue, and Paws and Claws Humane Society.
Rochester Girls co-founder Darren Wendt (who performs as Sidonia Dudval) noted the particular importance of Saturday’s show as marking the 10 year anniversary of the passing of Rochester drag queen Celeste DeVille.
DeVille, whose real name is Tony Hegna, perished in a single-car crash while driving home from a Twin Cities drag show in 2000.“Celeste and Savannah [Skye] were really the two people responsible for bringing drag back to Rochester in the late 1990’s,” Wendt said. “What they did led to the founding of The Rochester Girls.”
“This show also honors the memory of Sadie Seville who passed away in November of 2007,” he added.
Without further ado…
Eager patrons filed into the bar and packed the room by the time Illusions emcee John announced that Blue Lotus dancer, Raja, was ready to take the stage. Outfitted with Isis Wings for dramatic effect, Raja opened the show on an intriguing – and authentic – note.
Raja and other members of Blue Lotus took the stage several times by the end of the evening – including a sensational rendition of Hot Chocolate’s ‘You Sexy Thing’ featuring dancers Charron and Adeline. Rochester Girls member Leroy LeBlanc coupled with Raja later on in the show to perform ‘Touch Me’.
Other highlights of the evening included two live vocal performances from the remarkably Josh Groban-esque singer, Scotty. The first was a theatric (genie costume and all!) song from Aladdin and the second was (appropriately) a Josh Groban number.Savannah Skye and Sidonia Dudval commanded the stage in true diva fashion and although each strutted to Lady Gaga, their individuality as performers made their time on stage uniquely thrilling.
Drag kings Antonio and Reggie added a touch of suave and soul (respectively) and Prince Amir offered a new twist on traditional belly dancing.
The aforementioned is only a sampling of the remarkable performers who offered their time and talents in support of a worthy organization. To see these acts – and others – check out The Rochester Girls’ next show.