Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
Let’s cut to the chase and just say it. This is the way to hold a proper fundraiser. “Tantrums & Tiaras — Battle of the Bar Queens” was that and much, much more. Never knowing what to expect was the highlight of the entire evening and baby draglings graced the stage in full production performances was only half the fun. All the contestants deserved a tiara for being brave enough to face the packed Observatory North Park on Feb. 17, even though the crowd did nothing but cheer the contestants on from the beginning to the very end. With a bathing suit, evening gown and [questionable] talent competitions, they all had a chance to glitter the night with dazzling performances.
Uptown Tavern’s Joey Dematteo, aka Ashley Madison, took the title of Miss Tantrums 2019, but not without some fierce competition. This had to be a tough call for the judges, but Dematteo’s character Ashley Madison was incredible. A young, rich social media queen, she never left character and never stopped talking. Her props, including the doting stage mother, really added to her personality. With 10- foot selfie sticks, a wandering red carpet back drop (that her mother pushed around), and dancing boys lifting her in the air, Madison was absolutely a force to be dealt with. The only time she stumbled was during the ball gown competition when she dropped a diss to the fabulous host Babette Schwartz, who promptly hit back, and left the ditzy Madison speechless for once. You think she would know better than to go heel to heel with Babette, but it was all in drag fun and added to the show.
Competing for the title that night was Adro, representing Flicks; Ethan Kilgore, representing The Rail; Andrew & Keanu, representing Mo’s Bar and Grill; and Ricardo Sousa, representing insideOUT. And represent they did. All of the contestants had never performed before and were thrown into the fire of full drag, with only some having the experience of playing around with their mom’s clothes in the closet growing up. But that did not stop them from putting everything that they had into each performance. Although Madison took home the tiara and the title, there were some significant moments from the other contestants.
Ethan Kilgore (The Rail) had the most unique costume theme of the evening. He started by rising from the grave during the bathing suit competition, and his character transformed through the entire event. By the time she hit the evening dress competition, she was a stunning, fierce, red-headed witch (literally, hat and all) who commanded the stage just by her mere presence.
Andrew & Keanu (Mo’s Bar and Grill) were literally joined to the hip from beginning to end. The Siamese twin duo played well off of each other and the battle of sisters was an integral and hysterically funny part of the evening. And they too never left their dual personalities.
Adro (Flicks) brought his pet hog in for the competition, then tried to serve it up to Schwartz later for dinner. Ricardo Sousa (insideOUT) balanced a towering crown of plumes all through the night in every category — a victory for him for sure.
In the midst of all the fun, “Tantrums & Tiaras Battle of the Bar Queens” raised money for the San Diego LGBT Community Center. The Cockettes not only got the crowd in an uproar before and in between performances, but also spent the night going through the crowd collecting tips, taking in checks, and ferociously going after everyone’s purses and wallets.
Caroline (Cara) Dessert, Esq., CEO of The San Diego LGBT Community Center, said that the fundraiser was incredible.
“This annual community event benefitting The Center’s services and programs was truly outrageous, hilarious and fabulous,” Dessert said. “With a sold-out crowd of over 700 guests and one of the largest crews of over 100 performers, thank you all so much for making Tantrums & Tiaras a success! We’d also like to thank the brave and beautiful contestants from Urban MO’s, The Rail, Uptown Tavern, insideOUT, and Flicks that made the night so much fun. Tantrums & Tiaras is organized in collaboration with the MO’s Universe Group and we can’t thank them enough for their longtime generous support of The Center. Thank you! Mil gracias!”
— Albert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.