The Red Dress Party 2011 [Tall Glass of Shame]
I awoke today with my feet throbbing and a frightening red wig and dress thrown across the room. The smell of hairspray hung thick in the air. My terror only grew when I saw make-up smudged across my pillow. Yes my friends, another Red Dress party has come and gone and I must say, it was a lot of fun!
For those of you who are confused, The Red Dress Party here in Los Angeles takes place at a gay bar in West Hollywood called The Gold Coast. Now in it’s 16th year of merriment, the party originated as a vow between two Gold Coast bartenders who years ago were diagnosed HIV positive. They made a pact that when the first one passed away, the other would go to their memorial wearing a red dress. Mark Ferguson passed away while Yves-Claude was out of town, so the rest of the staff at the bar decided to have a party when he returned to show support where everyone was wearing a red dress. The event took on a life of it’s own and has happened annually ever since with a sea of red dresses passing through those same doors every mid-July.
For years I have attended the event with friends but have only found myself brave enough to toss on a red dress the last two years. What have I learned by taking part in this yearly pilgrimage you may ask? Well let me break it down for you…
1. Heels were not invented by women, they are the devil’s work. There is no such thing as a comfortable heel especially when you are rocking this much red.
2. If you drop your sparkly wig off your Vespa somewhere on Franklin, the Red Dress fairies will watch over it safely till you zip back to scoop it up off the ground…. (My friend Booka now refers to this as the Red Dress Miracle.)
3. No matter what you wear at this event, you will look fabulous! The idea of participating is more important than execution here, and everyone always has a great time no matter how much or how little time went into their ensemble.
4. When in doubt, go for bigger hair. There is no such thing as too big… Don’t forget, they open up the parking lot for this party just to accommodate such large “looks.”
5. When your friends gather at your home to get ready for the event, for the next week you will find make-up and glitter in the strangest places while cleaning…
6. Being a big scary drag queen is fun, but it certainly puts into perspective some of the rituals that women endure for what is generally considered “Beauty.” Memo to self: next time try to look pretty and less like I am about to murder someone. Also, thank god I have a husband that is a make-up artist and has friends who are good with make-up, otherwise i’d be lost…
7. Props MAKE an outfit, this year I had a fan… that thing got so much play it is falling apart today.
9. If you are ever in need of any creepy drag gear, come borrow it from me and my friends. Somehow in the last year I have managed to acquire a box of crazy crap for people to wear to this event. In a matter of five minutes we managed to throw together a respectable outfit for one of our friends just by digging in the box.
10. A little liquor, a wig, and a funny name is all it takes to have a blast at the Red Dress Party. It’s about fun, and a party where everyone is always welcome! See you there next year.
Here is a fun video of the Red Dress Party a few years back:
Thank god the police have a sense of humor when every year the event spills out onto Santa Monica Boulevard!
PS: This season of RuPaul’s Drag U is MUCH better than last year. They have amped up the playfulness and the women are more enjoyable to watch. I still find it strange we are changing women into drag queens but I can at least giggle while watching it now! Check it out on Logo or for free on Logoonline.com