Expo 2016: The Main Event

Dear Constant Reader,

I know this is the missive you’re eagerly awaiting. Who were The Howard Award Winners?

First, I want to tell you about the opening number. Scratch had this idea… and he got Willy Barrett to make it reality. Scratch sang (yes, he actually sang) “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with new lyrics, of course. Whilst he did so, Willy Barrett led a bevy of beauties around the stage in a Follies-style parade with them first displaying and then discarding banners with the numbers 1 through 9. Then Betty and I came out to either side of Scratch and displayed “1” and “0”.

I try to keep my involvement in The Expo low-profile. From year one I’ve said “I’m not in charge of anything!” So, I didn’t really want to be so prominently featured in the “Parade of Years”, but Willy insisted and I can’t say no to him. As I stood in the wings, watching the showgirls (and boy) swoop and prance, I actually got a bit teary-eyed. I’ll chalk it up a little to stress and lack of sleep, but mostly it was seeing our very own Follies number live on The Expo stage.

And then I raced to the Green Room to put on something more appropriate for judging than a bra, panel skirt, and feathered hair ornament. On to The Main Event!

Allow me draw attention to a couple of acts I particularly liked:

  • Maggie McMuffin‘s hot strip to Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar” in which she demonstrated her mastery of the eye-fucking techniques she had taught earlier that day. I did not expect the ending. Also, I love her 70’s aesthetic.
  • Shimmy LaRoux as a booty-ful mermaid. Not only was her act adorable and funny, her music mash-up was *perfect*.
  • Delilah as “Annie White”. Due to my particular cultural illiteracy someone had to explain part of this to me later, but I still enjoyed the half-and-half act, even if I didn’t recognize the Jack White half.
  • Although this was a tough slate to judge, I have to say that my fellow judges made this a delightfully easy deliberation experience. We were done in twenty minutes! (I timed it.) In fact, there was still business happening on stage when we got back.

    And that was when I got blindsided. Scratch began calling up people who had worked on The Expo for the past 10 years. First Hunter, our long-time tech director. He and Scratch have been working together since before The Expo was even an idea. Then Willy Barrett, who was at the first Expo because Betty took a workshop with him in New York, thought he was amazing, heard he used to do burlesque, and invited him. And the rest is, as they say, history. Betty Blaize, of course, who was the original Conference Coordinator, became Queen of Registration, and has been in charge of making the new website happen (you have no idea how hard she’s been working on that, non-stop, for at least two years). And me. I almost did cry then. So much for keeping a low profile…

    And now the awards!

    Honored by Gabriella Maze: Jacqueline Boxx*
    Honored by Matt Finish: Private Tails
    Honored by Dangrrr Doll: Sunny Sighed & Bal’d Lightning

    The Howard Award Winners
    Judges’ Choice: Mimi MaShuga
    Best Hybrid: Sunny Sighed & Bal’d Lightning
    Most Comedic: Ruby Spruce
    Most Beautiful: Freaky Candy
    Most Classic: Red Velvet**
    Best Group: The Duet That Do It (aka Scarlett O’Hairdye & Bolt Action)
    Best Solo Performer: Egypt Blaque Knyle

    And then it was definitely time to party!

    * Jacqueline was appearing as a special guest, rather than a competitor, but a Legend gets to give her personal award to whoever the hell she wants.
    ** Red Velvet joins the small club of those who have won two Howard Awards.

    Published in: on 1 March 2016 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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