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November 10, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 45
 
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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

 

 



 
Gay Seattle Pageant, the longest running Gay city title in the country, celebrates new firsts
Gay Seattle Pageant, the longest running Gay city title in the country, celebrates new firsts
by David Luc Nguyen (Teriyaki Temple) - SGN A&E Writer

History was made when the country's longest running Gay city title pageant crowned a new Mr. and Miss Gay Seattle this past weekend. More than 200 people crammed into the Best Western Executive Inn ballroom to bid farewell to last year's Mr. Gay Seattle Nick and Miss Gay Seattle Gia and elect their successors.

Competition was fierce at the event, which was produced by the non-profit Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle, as representatives from affluent drag families duked it out for the crown and medallion. When all of the votes were counted, attendees were also privy to witness two monumental firsts with the election of Dynasty as Mr. Gay Seattle 31 and Regina King as Miss Gay Seattle 43.

The election of Dynasty, who is twenty-two years old, is significant because he is the youngest person to win and is the first African American male to be Mr. Gay Seattle -- except for Dave Smith who has some African American heritage. "I would really like to involve more people of color in positive and self-rewarding activities and show them the importance of community service. I really want to show my peers that there is more to being Gay than sex and drugs," he says.

Along with striving to be a role model Dynasty believes it is his duty to champion of causes close to his heart. "Many people do not know that I was a ward of the state for a majority of my life. I hope to aid organizations that have made a positive impact on my difficult youth. I also hope to help Queer homeless youth and try to aid struggling families during my reign," he added.

Dynasty's title partner Regina King also made history with her election. When Regina King was elected as Miss Gay Seattle she became the first Transgender woman to win the title in its 43 year old history. "It is such an honor to be elected the first Transgender Miss Gay Seattle. It means so much to be able to represent people that unfortunately aren't as understood as some of the other groups in our very diverse and unique community," says King.

Coming into the competition, Regina knew that winning would not be an easy task because of the great competition she was up against. "The past two weeks it felt like I had a second full time job. I told my closest friends that I have never been so sleep deprived in my life. I would work my regular job from 9-5, Monday - Friday, and afterwards every night (pre-pageant) I was making appearances, distributing posters and flyers, performing, or at speaking engagements. There were moments that I was so over-whelmed that I want to just quit but -- thanks to the amazing people endorsing me -- I stuck with it."

Fortunately for the community she did not quit and completed a very convincing win at the pageant on Saturday. In the tradition of great Gay Seattle title holders, she plans extensive work on behalf of the community. "I will speak out to elevate tolerance, awareness, and respect for a way of life that some may not understand. I also plan to continue to raise money to support organizations which encourage and promote a better Queer community. I really haven't ever felt so passionate about anything before and I truly look forward to serving the GLBTQ community to the very best of my abilities."

With so much passion and exuberance between the new Mr. and Miss Gay Seattle, the community should expect to see great things from their new representatives. Congratulations to Mr. Gay Seattle Dynasty and Miss Gay Seattle Regina King.
Native Son plucks at the very roots of the legacy left by slavery
by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Native Son
Directed by Kent Gash
Starring: Earl Alexander, Kimberly King, Carl Roscoe, Chic Street Man
Ato Essandoh, Ricard Kline, Lukas Shadair, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Ken Grantham
Felicia V. Loud, MJ Sieber
Intiman Playhouse
October 20-November 18


Hopefully if you go and see the newest adaptation of Richard Wright's seminal book about racism in the USA, you won't sit in front of 'the horribles'. This is the nickname I gave to the two folks who sat behind me at opening night and chattered (honey, in a quiet theatre, a whisper sounds like construction noise at 6 a.m. -- what I wanted to say to the 'her' in the group), through the whole play. Then, to add insult to injury, a couple of them -- I think the noisiest female of the group -- whimpered 'crocodile tears' at one particularly harrowing moment toward the end. Then, it was the whispering and chattering again. To their credit -- if there's any to be given these sillies -- the play was unsettling on many levels.

All of that out of my system, I can say that the play version of the book my mom read in college is a powerful, seamless piece of work, presented by a more than capable ensemble cast. Ato Essandoh as 'Bigger', the tragic protagonist in 'Native Son' is first presented to the audience naked, singing, as if he is back in Africa, in a much less complicated world than the one he lives in. And paired with Felicia V. Loud as Bigger's long-suffering and beaten down girlfriend, 'Vera', the play crackles and hisses, daring the audience to make any assumptions about their own views on racial relations, even those between members of the same race and class.

Set in the '30's, at a time when Blacks were struggling even in Northern cities like Chicago, this 'Native Son' moves forward with a pre-ordained sense of doom, getting us ready for the inevitable ending. From the moment 'Bigger' goes to work for the Daltons, a wealthy white family, and meets wild, impetuous Mary Dalton ( Carol Roscoe), the audience knows young 'Bigger's' fate is sealed and that his own inner demons, as well as the illusion put forth that he has 'rights' by Mary and her pal, Jan (MJ Sieber), will be his undoing. But, even as events unfold that sentence 'Bigger' to a wretched fate, we, the audience, are still wanting to believe in hope; hope for this young man, for all Black men. But mostly, the audience is pulled in and made culpable along with the 'good guys' and 'bad guys' in the play, both of which have gray areas, as does 'Bigger'.

I left thinking that the reason this play is so powerful, still, is that it plucks at the very roots of the legacy between Black and whites left over from slavery, and that most people are still in denial about their role in this system of oppression. And I couldn't help but wonder if that was the reason 'the horribles' and other white audience members fiddled with watches, chatted, or avoided discussion with some Black audience members after the show. A telling and disappointing situation, and one that shows there's so much work to be done, if anything is going to change and more 'Bigger's' don't suffer the fate of the young man in the play. Go see this unnerving, but worthy show, and again, hopefully there'll be no 'horribles' sitting anywhere near you, so you can get the full impact of Wright's still timely message. For ticket information, call 206-269-1900 or visit, www.intiman.org.

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