Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Kings are wild


Oasis to host 22nd annual Drag King Contest

Left to Right: Madd Dogg 20/20, Max Manchester, and Drag King Contest creator Fudgie Frottage. photo: Ruby Rieke
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For a long time drag kings didn't get the respect that their queen counterparts took for granted, but Fudgie Frottage has done a lot of change that. Thanks to Frottage's efforts, the Kings are now packing them in at clubs here in San Francisco and around the country. For the 22nd year, Frottage brings San Francisco's annual and now venerable Drag King Contest to local stages. This time the fun, laughs, and mayhem will be seen at Oasis on Thursday September 7 at 10pm.

This year's show has been dubbed Summer of Glove . Proceeds from the evening will benefit PAWS: Pets Are Wonderful Support, a non-profit which provides food and medical care for the pets of people who live with HIV and other chronic illnesses.

"PAWS is a wonderful non-profit organization that started 25 years ago by helping people with HIV with their companion animals," Frottage said as he explained why the organization was chosen as the contest's beneficiary. "It has grown over the years to assist all people with disabling illnesses with things like vet bills, dog walking, pet food, etc. and has merged with Shanti as of last year, so the organization is now much larger."

Frottage also explained how Summer of Glove ties in with the love-ins of fifty years ago.

"Our theme this year merges Folsom Street Fair," he said. "Leather Daddies, with Summer of Love Hippie Dandies. The drag possibilities are endless! We will mix in some great throwback '60s music, psychedelic lighting and fetish flair, too. Glitz, glamour, sass, sexuality, style, you name it; the San Francisco Drag King Contest has it all!"

For those not in the know, Frottage explained the difference between a drag king and a drag queen.

"The original definition of drag was 'dressed as girl,' but the word 'queen' got added in at some point to describe men dressed as women," he said. "So then the term 'drag king' evolved for women dressing as men. But at this point, especially in San Francisco, we are all genders and all genres and that goes for the performers and the audience."

This year's performers include Mr. Landon Cider, who might be considered a bit of a controversial figure in the drag world. Cider was allegedly banned from RuPaul's Drag Race.

"I was never officially 'banned' from the show," Cider tells us. "I think the promoters were just having a little fun with that! What they're referring to, I think, is an Op-Ed I wrote for The Advocate where I called out Ru when, during an interview, she denied kings as contestants with her explanation that we 'don't mix'.

"In the piece I was honest about the misogyny and under-representation of kings. Kings have a long history, having stood by, and sometimes fighting alongside, queens in many moments of our LGBTQ History. The piece was received with mixed reviews, but those that disagreed did so passionately! So it's pretty safe to say that I burned the bridge to casting heaven!"

And yet, Cider retains a great deal of respect for RuPaul.

Landon Cider

"Ru is still a heavy inspiration of mine and a well-deserved icon to our community," Cider said. "She has a heavy influence on magnifying the industry, allowing me to be a full-time entertainer, and in no way would I deny that. She admits that we live in a male-dominated society, and celebrates our community's 'herstory,' but continues to excludes her drag brothers, the very women she's made her career of impersonating."

Cider may not be appearing on Drag Race anytime soon, but he's thrilled about his San Francisco appearance.

"What a phenomenal run the king contest has had," he said. "I tried competing when I first started in 2010. But since I didn't live in the Bay Area, I wasn't allowed. I recognized even then, as a new king, the importance contests like this have in inspiring more kings to approach their drag with an element of theatricality and production value. I'm so excited to have been invited to perform and judge this year's contest."

"Drag kings have been gaining more and more attention over the years, not just in San Francisco, but all over the world," adds Frottage. "There are weekly king shows, Instagram contests...hashtags galore...the Annual SF Drag King Contest helped pioneer the way for Drag Kings everywhere. SFDK is an honored, incomparable tradition. There is a magical energy every year at the contest. That is what keeps me going and what keeps the contest going."

The Rebel Kings of Oakland in a 2016 performance. photo: RJ Johnson

The Drag King Contest at Oasis, hosted by Fudgie Frottage and Sister Roma, includes special guest Landon Cider; performers Max Manchester, SF Drag King 2016, Madd Dogg 20/20, Momma's Boyz, Klingon Vanna White, Rebel Kings of Oakland, Mason Dixon Jars, Gender Queer Society, and Simone 3rd Arm.

Judges include Leigh Crow, Arty Fishal, Kitten on the Keys, and Clammy Faye. $20-$35. Proceeds benefit PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) Thursday, September 7. 10pm. 298 11th St.

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