In what has seemingly become an anticipated annual event at Unity II, Drag Ball 2005 happened this past Saturday evening. As a newcomer to the event, I was blown away by how many men there are in Montreal who look great in drag! The club was packed and everywhere you looked were statuesque drag queens. I was feeling a little height challenged myself! Just taking a look around the club I was impressed by the obvious hard work that went into many of the drag outfits and how technically skilled these men are at applying makeup! There was every type of 'woman' represented: a bride, a prom date, a dominatrix and walking flower garden.
Resident DJ Gilles Jr. was spinning the music in the club this evening and almost everyone in the club was on the dance floor. The atmosphere at the bar was accentuated by two large screens over the DJ booth, which were showing two 'drag' movies Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and Party Monster. Drag Ball 2005 was hosted by well-known Montreal drag queen Mado and the panel of judges included Plastik Patrik, Montreal musician and drag queen. I knew the event was a serious one when Patrik was in a full-length red leather dress as opposed to his usual g-string.
Everytime they made an announcement about the Drag Ball 2005 the crowd went wild. The event was set up in that the participants, who were assigned numbers, would just move around the club or dance on the dance floor and the judges picked out the top 10 to make the semi-final. Throughout the evening impromptu 'shows' would happen on the small stage or on top of the different bars around the club and the participating drag queens were very good at including the crowd. At 1:30, Mado finally took the stage and instructed us that the top 10 had been chosen and he would bring them up on stage. The judges had chosen 8 drag queens and, much to my surprise (only because I had not seen any), 2 drag kings (women dressed as men). Mado was the perfect host for this event in that he is over-the-top, funny, and rude. Just the skills required of the host of a Drag Ball. He told the crowd that the judges would confer for 10 minutes and then the two winners would be announced. Mado and Plastik Patrik came back on stage and Mado asked him about how they chose the winners. Patrik said it was very hard and Mado jokingly agreed saying that they were all so ugly. All joking aside, the runner up was awarded his $250 in cash and $250 worth in gifts. He was a stunning 6 foot blonde with a black dress. As the tension mounted, Mado finally announced, that the drag queen whose entire costume was made up of flowers (complete with a Mohawk made of flowers) was the big winner. Shrieking, hugging people and jumping up and down by the winner proceeded and it seemed like the crowd was in accordance with the judges' pick as winner. All in all, it was a very fun-filled and interesting evening for everyone in attendance, so much so that come 3 o'clock the party continued on because no one seemed to want to go home!