Friday night after work, kproche and I drove up to the city and the Sir Francis Drake just in time to make the end of the out-of-town show and the bus run. K isn't reigning anymore, so he wasn't expected to perform there. This made life a lot easier. We caught Chris & LaLa from San Diego, Harmony and Kristoff from Long Beach, and a bunch of freaks from Alameda, and were on our way to the bars of San Francisco.
Stop one was Mr. Lee-Ona's Cocktail Lounge in the Tenderloin, and oy was it cramped. There just isn't enough space in that bar for two bus-loads of drag queens. We did, however, find Emperor John-Richard and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with a cooler loaded with hot dogs and corn dogs to feed the masses, and they were well received. The cheap drinks were also well-received.
Mr. Lee-Ona's was followed by a visit to Divas, a tranny bar in the Polk district managed by Empress Alexis Miranda. Divas always maintains an interesting mix of class and sleaze.
From there we went to Esta Noche in the Mission. Esta Noche is (not surprisingly) a latin bar in a beautiful old building. The Victorian cast plaster trim and arched ceiling over the bar is amazing. It's not really our scene, though, and was incredibly loud.
Finally we made our way to the Castro, to stop at Cafe Flore, a fabulous little restaurant that turns into a strange little nightclub as the evening moves on. This was the beginning of the end, and it began with a Martini. Across the street is Metro City Bar, and we closed out the night there with a few Expanding Cosmos. Rather than take the bus back to the hotel, we caught a cab. The bus and at least one less drink would have been the better part of valor. Still, it was a fun evening.
Saturday began with breakfast at Lori's on Powell and something of a hangover. We made our way to hospitality, printed and filed the protocol book, and then did a run to WholeFoods for our table catering. SF Coronation never has any food, so you've got to bring your own.
We weren't quite ready for a nap when we got back to the hotel, so we did a bit of walking around Union Square, mostly for a stop a the really fabulous Willams-Sonoma store and to hit Crate and Barrel to get a cheapie "stemless" martini glass with an icebowl to sit in (they make great caviar servers). On the way back to the hotel we ran into not only shipofools999 and Randy, but also reddheart and night_x_walker on a fabric shopping trip.
Then we napped.
We did get dressed and to the ball at a reasonable hour. We were joined by Ava & Allen, their neighbors, K's brother Swirly, and Tommy and Michelle. As it turned out, we had tons of food, because everybody brought something.
The set was by master of styrofoam Emperor Ken Barker of Denver, held together with what he calls "oriental re-bar" but you'll find in your grocery store in large packages: bamboo skewers. It was gorgeous and grand.
The court's opening production number was a bit thin, but very pretty; Emperor John-Richard is also a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence (Sister Penny Costal) and the Sisters played a major part in the number. John-Richard and Empress Tiger Lily entered in very opulent Egyptian robes (they had an Egyptian theme, go fig), and the show got started.
We weren't drinking much, but the show was still something of a blur, running over 4 hours. Empress Jose I, the Widow Norton, performed her quad-decade dedication to standing ovation (her voice isn't what it used to be, but she's over 80). Empress 31 Cockatelia did an absolutely mad production number with drums, giant percussion set-pieces and live singing. Candidates Gallilea (with a disco carnival number, "MacArthur Park" in Portuguese I think has left me scarred, how do you say "Someone left the cake out in the rain" in Portuguese anyway?) and Jason Ladd (with more naked flesh on stage than has probably seen since Cockatelia reigned) showed very well.
Finally the last walks came. John-Richard had a fabulous drag performer do a number for him which was followed by he (dressed as Emperor Norton) and a bunch of friends doing gumby mummy square-dancing. It was madder than Tilly, and that's an achievement.
Tiger came out in a huge red embroidered-satin dress with giant crinolines. I don't think we've ever seen Tiger in anything like this, but it was a great dress for her. She was absolutely shattered by this point, but still pulled off a great performance for the crowd.
Gallilea and Jason made their minimum vote, and were both escorted to the stage to be crowned by an assembly of perpetual title-holders led by Empress Remy Martin. Then it was time for congratulations and a ride back to the hotel graciously provided by Tommy and Michelle.
We went to bed. No party for us.
Also no early-morning grave-side visit for us. K isn't reigning or campaigning anymore, so it's not an obligation we had to keep, and the extra time in bed was worth it.
At brunch we sat with Tiger's husband Nathan, a pair of nice guys from Dallas, a pair of folks who worked a lot on Tiger & John's court and Empress Corvette of Boston (who we had been hanging out with much of the weekend). The cemetery bus wasn't too late, the food was better than average, Tiger & John gave out a reasonable number of plaques and awards, and Gallilea and Jason gave their titles and court name ("Traditions and Transitions", I think; say that three times fast while drunk).
Then we came home. Still too exhausted to care about doing other shopping. I also figured out what was wrong with the smell in the car that appeared last week; one of the rubber CV-joint "boots" developed a crack and has been spraying grease all over the catalytic converter and exhaust headers. It's a big crack now, and will have to be dealt with very soon. It's still better to know, though.