Backstage with the Trailer Court
Sunday night. The green velvet top of the billiard table of Babe’s has been transformed into a green room of sorts. It’s layered with wigs, makeup cases, and costumes jewelry – the makings of a drag show. The stars of tonight’s show are frantically getting ready. Strapping things into place, concealing, arching brows, tucking. Showtime is at 8. It’s already 8:20.
“We run on drag time,” ringleader Esta Bunny said. “It’s always 20 minutes later.”
Welcome to Esta Bunny’s Estavaganza which has been bringing something different to drag for over a year. The Trailer Court originated during drag bingo at Z2 when Esta hosted trailer shows featuring performers with facial hair and little makeup. For tonight’s show, some are guests, some are regulars, and some are filling in.
“My head still looks small,” Natasha Carrington said as she adds a few finishing touches. “Oh, I’m just going to turn to this side to perform all night.”
Before the show, Michelle D. Livigne has changed outfits once again for tonight’s guest appearance before the Trailer Court. She boasts that her makeup only took 45 minutes as she stands in front of the mirror applying a tin-foil lightening bolt to her face for a Lady Gaga megamix. Now the showcast director at Pearl on Tuesdays, last month, Livigne celebrated her one year dragiversary. It was a passion for dancing that drew her into drag.
Backstage, you learn a lot of underground tidbits – like drag queens not dating other drag queens. Although no one really could provide a clear explanation why. “I’m sorry, I just don’t,” summed it up.
Drag queens also need adequate space to get ready. The group shared stories of small dressing rooms in Norfolk, getting dressed in a kitchen, and a dress catching on fire.
And sometimes there’s a wardrobe malfunction. Sharon Husbands had a few complications with a sparkly belt made of chains and license plates. “As long as it lasts for three minutes, that’s all that matters,” Husbands said.
It gets hot in all that clothing…some drag queens go into dormant in warm weather, so see them while you can.
“I usually don’t do drag in the summertime because it’s too hot,” Christina Carruthers said.
Esta Bunny’s Estavaganza is the third Sunday of each month at 8 p.m. at Babes of Carytown. 3166 W. Cary St. (804) 355-9330.
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