Prancing princes and princesses (1 of 5)
Pirouette pride (2 of 5)
Rink rats, santa's little helpers (2 of 5)
Holiday card material (4 of 5)
Skate with the stars! (5 of 5)
A San Francisco winter wonderland is nontraditional by default. There’s no snow in sight, even if the weather has been freezing by local standards, and instead of horse-drawn sleighs we’ve got disruptive Google buses.
But a new, fittingly Bay Area tradition combines the conventions of downtown holiday shopping and ice skating with our local heritage of queer performance. That is, of course, Drag Queens On Ice: An Eleganza Extravaganza. Tomorrow evening at 8 to 9:30, local drag queens and kings will don their skates—and their gayest apparel—in Union Square.
“Society women coming by with their shopping bags will be arrested by this display of drag that you don’t usually see in Union Square,” laughs Donna Sachet, the event’s drag impresario, First Lady of the Castro, and a past Pride Grand Marshal. “[Drag] injects a nice sense of humor into what can be a torturous holiday experience—shopping.” But what’s so funny (and queer) about drag? The traditional practice highlights—with necessary hilarity— how gender is constructed and enacted. Put that show on ice, and Sachet may have found the perfect metaphor for gender as performance. Or at least a damned good time.
In this, the celebration’s fourth year, expect special holiday performances (and sexy Mrs. Claus themed couture) from Mutha Chuka, Ana Conda, Holotatt Tymes, Nellie, Kim ChiChi and Mahlae Balenciaga. In a showing of solidarity with San Francisco’s queer communities, the SF Bulls hockey team—along with their cheerleaders—will also be skating and posing for photos. And, for a small donation, admirers can pose in a photo booth with the photogenic Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Advance tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by visiting www.unionsquareicerink.com.
This being California, skating comes about as naturally to us as bobsledding or snow-shoeing. So, we asked Sachet how the drag stars usually fare on slippery ice. “With all the attention and the applause they receive, the performers get a little confident," she says. "They fall on their butts — which is where drag queens have the most padding.”