|by Eric Morrison
|Pulling Out All the Stops!
On Saturday, March 29, I attended the Miss Gay Delaware America 2008 pageant at the Christiana Memorial Fire Hall, and it was a wonderful event. Last year, Manakin Productions, owned by longtime partners Scott Ross and Barry Sabo, resurrected the Miss Gay Delaware America pageant, which is a preliminary to the annual Miss Gay America pageant. No Miss Gay Delaware America pageant was held in 2006. Prior to 2005, no Miss Gay Delaware America pageant was held since 1999. Last year's pageant was stellar, and Manakin Productions pulled off an encore this year. Organizing such a detailed and complicated event requires many months of planning, sweat, and diligent work. The theme for this year's pageant was An Evening at the Cirque. During an opening number by Miss Gay Delaware America 2007 Miss D. Meaner and the current reigning Miss Gay America Mikaila Kay, contestants were presented in red and white cirque-themed attire.
This year, three contestants vied for the coveted title. They competed in the categories of evening gown, on-stage question, solo talent, talent, and male interview. Male interview and evening gown were judged earlier in the day. During solo talent, a category that has replaced creative fashion, contestants have three minutes to impress the judges, and their number may not include props or back-up dancers. Then, during regular talent competition, which has a time limit of seven minutes, contestants can pull out all the stops, and they certainly did this year. Contestant number one, Deception, wowed the crowd with a musical mix from Hairspray, including "Good Morning Baltimore" and "I Can Hear the Bells," during which several "bride's maids" joined her on stage. Contestant number two, Sierra Spaulding, performed a high-energy dance number, complete with four very limber and energetic back-up dancers, all in matching red and black outfits. Contestant number three, Karyn Thomas, offered a captivating theatrical presentation of "The Girl in 14-G," a song about a young woman moving into an apartment who cannot get any peace and quiet, between the opera singer upstairs and the jazz singer downstairs.
The evening's other categories were just as competitive. For solo talent, Deception performed the disco classic "Car Wash" dressed up as a glitzy car. Sierra Spaulding performed "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News" from The Wiz, in an adorable, authentic outfit. Karyn Thomas offered up a very realistic and enthusiastic impersonation of country diva Reba McEntire, performing Reba's radio hit "Love Revival." During the on-stage questions, contestants searched their minds and hearts to eloquently answer difficult questions including what they would do to make the pageant better for future contestants, and how they define humility and why it is important to them. As part of the evening gown competition, contestants worked the stage for a few minutes in their gorgeous gowns. Sequins, beads, and stones sparkled in the spotlight, and each contestant shone during evening gown presentation. In every category, the judges truly had some difficult decisions to make. I have judged numerous pageants and it's always hard because the contestants put so much of themselves into preparation and performance. I did not envy this year's Miss Gay Delaware America pageant judges.
Each competition category takes a lot of backstage preparation time for the contestants. In between categories, audience members were entertained by a virtual who's-who line-up of Delaware and national female impersonation favorites. Former Miss Delaware title holders included Deana Brandell, Robin Banks, Toni Michaels, Stephanie Michaels, and Blair Michaels, who also served as a talented emcee for much of the night. Other performers included the current Miss Gay Delaware America Miss D. Meaner, Miss Gay America 1998 Maya Montana, and the current reigning Miss Gay America, Mikaila Kay. Entertainers' choices included sultry ballads, classic Broadway stage numbers, and high-energy dance mixes. Audience members showed their appreciation for the evening's entertainers by lining up to tip them. Several times during the night, audience members were still offering tips even after entertainers' numbers had ended.
At the end of the night, it was all about Karyn Thomas, who proudly captured the title of Miss Gay Delaware America 2008. First Alternate went to Sierra Spaulding, and Second Alternate went to Deception. Both Karyn Thomas and Sierra Spaulding will serve as Delaware's representatives in October 2008, as they compete for the coveted national title of Miss Gay Delaware America in St. Louis, Missouri. The national pageant is a grueling five days long, with about seventy contestants competing for the title in a variety of categories. The field is narrowed down to the top ten, and then one lucky "lady" is awarded the title of Miss Gay America, who must represent the title at all preliminaries throughout the year. Being Miss Gay America is literally a full-time job involving a lot of travel and exciting experiences. Best wishes to Miss Gay Delaware America 2008 Karyn Thomas, and First Alternate Sierra Spaulding, as they prepare to compete in October. I'm sure that they'll both make the First State proud! Also, congratulations to Miss Gay Delaware America 2007 Miss D. Meaner, on a successful reign. If you are interested in supporting Miss Thomas and Miss Spaulding as they prepare for national competition in the fall, several benefits will be held between now and then to help them raise much-needed funds for national competition. Also, numerous Delaware clubs hold regular drag shows, and Baxters Restaurant and Lounge proudly presents the return of the Miss Gay Wilmington pageant on Sunday, May 4, 2008.
For more information about Miss Gay Delaware America or to view pictures of the wonderful recent pageant, visit www.missgaydelawareamerica.com.
Eric and his feminine alter-ego Anita Mann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 03 April 04, 2008