Six hours ago, I was Events Editor Steve Reno, and I just wanted to get this day over with.
It wasn't so much that I had cold feet, but I had not taken the time to get a costume together and prepare an act for the AS LGBTA's Drag Karaoke. I was secretly hoping the rest of The AS Review staff would forget I ever volunteered to write an inside story about the experience of auditioning for the 17th Annual Drag Show.
Unfortunately, they didn't forget.
It was 3 p.m., and I had until 7 p.m. to come up with a costume and memorize the lyrics to “These Days” by Jackson Browne as performed by Nico. For those that don't know, Nico was a model and singer-songwriter in the ‘60s who became famous by associating with Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground. Here's the story:
3:31 p.m.: I walk to Buffalo Exchange and find a black turtleneck for $14, which I figure is a bargain. At the counter, I ask the clerk where I might find a wig, and she suggests LaRue Costumes or Mad Hatter Clothing. Mad Hatter is within walking distance, so I decide to try there first.
3:50 p.m.: None of the previously-owned wigs at Mad Hatter resemble the pictures on their packages. Some of them don't even resemble wigs. My only hope is LaRue, which is on the corner of Cornwall Avenue and Alabama Street. I'll never make it there on foot before the sun goes down. I decide to walk back to my apartment near south campus and get my car. I don't know what time costume shops typically close, but I can't imagine it's after five. Time is not on my side.
4:10 p.m.: I just caught the crowded 190 shuttle leaving the Viking Union. KUGS Promotions Director Sam Parker tried to ask me a question on the way here, but I couldn't stop. Sorry Sam—I'm on assignment.
4:34 p.m.: After flooring it through three yellow lights on Holly Street, I've made it to LaRue. I've never seen so many wigs in one room. The ladies helped me pick out a chin-length sandy blonde number with bangs. It looks lovely. Unfortunately, it costs $30. “It's all in the name of journalism,” I remind myself as the clerk swipes my debit card. I wonder what kind of wigs Woodward and Bernstein would prefer.
5:26 p.m.: After swinging by Fred Meyer for cheap eyeliner and lipstick, I am back in my office, sporting my wig for my co-workers. In less than two hours, I've managed to put together a somewhat convincing Nico costume. Bellingham is a wonderful place.
7:25 p.m.: AS Review photographer Erik Simkins is enjoying watching me trying to put on eyeliner in the men's bathroom. Who the hell invented this stuff, and what is its purpose? I don't care if my future wife never, ever wears eyeliner. It's horrible.
7:30 p.m.: I just entered the Underground Coffeehouse and signed up to perform. I didn't know I'd have to sign in under a drag queen name, so I asked a random stranger for a suggestion. She gave me “Clarissa Sunshine.” I went with “Edie Sunshine.”
7:40 p.m.: I find myself noticing how quickly I've grown accustomed to wearing a wig. I also find myself thinking that “Dancing Queen” is a pretty good song.
7:49 p.m.: I am sitting on a stool on the stage, fumbling through the first verse of “These Days.” I'm nervous, but the crowd seems to be enjoying it. I feel slightly awkward, but only slightly. I am—dare I say it—“having the time of my life.”
9:04 p.m.: I am back in my apartment watching “Battlestar Galactica,” and I can't help but wonder if I made the cut for the drag show. After all, I made a financial commitment; I didn't buy a $30 wig just to use it for one night. But it's more than that. Without realizing it, I made an emotional commitment. Somewhere along the way, this became more than a story. It became the beginning of a journey. I've had a taste of stardom, and I want more. I want to be that girl…I want to be the dancing queen.