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Alameda Coronation

So kproche and I spent the weekend at The Imperial Star Empire of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties Coronation. Deneka Ashley St. James and Alex P put together (with much help) a fitting send-off for themselves.

Friday night's Out Of Town Show at the Rainbow Room in Hayward was pretty good. Started an hour and a half late, but still pretty good. It was fun watching Ashley Harwood and Beej Martinez MC together; you won't have any problem guessing who was three steps ahead all night.

Out of Town Show was followed by the traditional bar tour, re-christened the Bus Run of the Damned...ned...ned...ned..ned. Our first planned stop was Club 1220 in Walnut Creek. Now, in good traffic (and the way Deneka drives) it's a half-hour from Hayward to Walnut Creek. We got on the bus to find there was no alcohol (no jello shots!) so stopped at a liquor store in Castro Valley. Yep, a busload of drag queens stopping at a trashy little liquor store near the freeway. It was a good thing (even if we wasted a half hour with the stop) because it took 45 minutes to get to Walnut Creek. 45 minutes of stories of Deneka and Alex at out-of-town coronations.

The stop was a bit short, but worth it. Who knew there were so many hot boys in the east bay hills? Now I know why this place is Deneka's favorite bar.

A reasonably quick hop back to Berkeley took us to the White Horse Inn. If you ask, K will give you the story of how he was mugged leaving the White Horse 20 years ago. It's actually a very nice place, but the crowd was a bit thin. Still, we caught up with Grand Duchess Angelique and a few other locals who didn't join the tour.

And that was it. Back to the Rainbow Room to pick up our cars and head to the hotel. Probably a good thing.

Saturday Hospitality was a nice chance to catch up with many of the folks who didn't come in Friday. Bar stock was a bit thin (no tonic water), but there was food and tons of gossip.

Ran out shopping to pick up gift bags for Alex and Deneka, and also pick up garment bags for ourself. Both goals were met. We came up with very appropriate gift bags. The Samsonite Carbon EXP turned out to be an excellent all-purpose garment bag.

Made it back for the Coronation itself. The room was fabulous, the sets were fabulous (it was a "Moulin Rouge" theme; they had elephants at the corners of the stage), and the show started on time. The included buffet dinner (pasta + roast beef) was excellent. It was just a bit long, though. The third act was nothing but entertainers: 8 commands, a "last dance," a candidate number and a last walk. Oh, and each act (except the last) had 16 guests on the dais.

Empress 26 Niyah and Emperor 26 Ellis were announced and crowned at the end of the show. Best wishes to both of them.

Rather than following the victory bar run afterwards, we retired up to the hospitality suite, where a large portion of the out-of-town guests were partying. An excellent time was had by all.

Sunday we went to the Victory Brunch, where Alex and Deneka handed out tons of plaques to folks who helped them through the year, and to all the guests on the dais, all the command performers and all the MCs. Ellis and Niyah announced their full titles and court name, but I can't remember the details for the life of me.

Finally, K, Empress Joyce and Emperor Steve of Modesto, and Empress Ro-Flack and her husbands of state Emperor Brenda and Emperor Mark joined together to host the victory show Sunday afternoon at The World Famous Turf Club, Performances, larceny and fundraising ensued, and by the time the show was over Ellis and Niyah had $1200 in their travel fund.

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