I was gingerly fingering through a major Sydney newspaper a couple of weeks ago, and was a little flabbergasted to discover a story just three pages in about the supposed death of Sydney’s drag scene. Has it died and someone has forgotten to tell me? I’m usually the last to know and never seem to receive the memos many others get, but surely they wouldn’t have closed up shop without letting me know.
We have seen the departure of the Newtown Hotel recently, but we lived through the closure of the Albury Hotel. It was sad but we always move forward. And although the Imperial Hotel is out of action for the moment, we have been guaranteed that it will be up and running with its new facelift as soon as humanly possible.
They are only two venues – there are others out there for those who need their regular showgirl fix.
Most venues have become wise and try to cater for all of their patrons’ tastes, offering boys’ shows, girls’ nights, drag shows, karaoke, bingo, talent quests, amateur nights and bloody Tupperware parties.
You find that most of those girls who are not commonly cast in major production shows are those captaining these nights, having to offer more than what many believe a “real” drag show is.
Personally I have quite a healthy career (yes, this is my full-time business). I was not the first choice for any dance cast or production show, being a fat chick for many years, so I had to put my thinking cap on and offer the audience something different. Blessed with the gift of the gab, I found it a natural progression to follow this route. We couldn’t just sit around and wait for a hotel or club to approach us to put on a show, we had to source and sell our ideas. This is why you see showgirls like Penny Tration wearing the bingo hat at five different straight venues around Sydney, Verushka at Slide presenting amazing performance art dinners and even Portia Turbo turning up at your door with an armful of plastic ware.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to see a fabulous production show, with many venues like the Midnight Shift, Arq, Stonewall, and Mr Mary’s having some of the best in Sydney. But these venues offer so much more by trying to cater to all tastes.
By no means is drag dead in Sydney. For all those lovers of drag, we are here, maybe not in the type of performance that you are used to seeing, but still glittered up and ready to go.

© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.