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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 24, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 39
Headliners at A/PI Pageant: Massive Monkees, Arnaldo!, Smokee, Shanghai Pearl
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Headliners at A/PI Pageant: Massive Monkees, Arnaldo!, Smokee, Shanghai Pearl

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The Asian Pacific Islander (A/PI) International Pageant, held Saturday at Neighbours, promises to be a night of glamorous pageantry. Once a year, the pageant features the best in beauty, talent, and diversity within the LGBT Asian community. This year, however, the A/PI Council is promising much more in the way of headlining entertainers and guest performances from drag queens, live vocalists, and a nationally known dance group.

Kicking off the night of stellar entertainment will be America's Best Dance Crew's b-boy/b-girl Seattle-based Massive Monkees. 'We're looking forward to being a part of the A/PI festivities this Saturday for our first appearance at Neighbours Nightclub' Brysen Angeles, an organizing member of Massive Monkees, told SGN. "Our dance crew is supportive of any event, organization, or community that is supportive of us and our art form. The A/PI Council has invited us to rock the house and it's important for us to make sure the audience is well-entertained and has a great time. They can expect the best in world-class entertainment with a kick-ass show!"

The A/PI audience will get the chance to see the legendary Miss Gay Seattle 22, Smokee, as Cher. "I've been doing drag since the mid-'70s. I started in Hawaii on a dare from a close friend," Smokee explained to SGN. "Around 1976, I started working at a notorious drag impersonator show-bar called The Glade. My drag career has gone for 30 years and the time I spent working at The Glade influenced me tremendously. The impersonators that worked there were the very best in the business!"

Smokee told SGN she is flattered and honored that the A/PI Council always includes her in their events. "I think it's especially important to participate in A/PI events such as this pageant because so often people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent are invisible in the media. Often we are excluded from TV, movies, music, and magazines, or portrayed as stereotypes. I feel these events raise awareness of the A/PI community."

"I hope everyone comes to see the pageant," continued Smokee. "It's not just about the contestants or people of A/PI ancestry or Gay people; it's about everyone who comes to show their support. We're all part of the same large family. See you there!"

Seattle cabaret icon Arnaldo! Drag Chanteuse will bring her smooth vocal stylings to the show. "I am performing 'I Wanna Be Evil' by Eartha Kitt, the original material girl chanteuse," Arnaldo! said. "I asked my dear friend Charles Baker to record me an accompaniment track to sing to. You know that Eartha Kitt is my cabaret muse because of her originality, her immense honesty to who she was, and how she always fought for what she stood for."

Arnaldo! told SGN she was honored to be asked by the A/PI Council to perform at the pageant. "These ladies are all titleholders & and I am not," she said. "And for them to embrace me into their royal community is a wonderful gesture. I am friends with most of them and respect them very much because they give so much back to the community."

For Arnaldo!, pageants like A/PI are important because, "Being a Filipino American, the A/PI community is my community and as you know, I am out there - not just in the LGBT community but in the mainstream community. It is important to be visible, to be counted, to stand up and to identify ourselves & especially to those communities who know us less. Pageants like these are vital stepping-stones to affirm who we are, first within our comfort zones, and then eventually the world. I believe that only when we are truly proud of who we are can we conquer the ignorance and the bigotry - opening hearts and minds through music, one cabaret at a time, indeed!"

Sharing the stage with the aforementioned acts at the A/PI Pageant is the beautiful burlesque performer Shanghai Pearl. "I accepted the invitation to perform because I believe in the work that GLSEN does," she told SGN.

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is the beneficiary of the evening. Throughout the pageant, audience members and performers alike will be asked to donate to the organization. Since January of this year, "Gaysha Star Presents," along with SGN and Neighbours Nightclub, have helped raise over $5,000 for GLSEN Washington state.

"Events like the A/PI Pageant highlight and create space for performers of color," said Shanghai Pearl. "I think this is a grand and fabulous necessity. I am a burlesque performer. I play with my gender, sexuality, experiences, and fantasies of being feminine with theatrical striptease, humor, and glamour."

In addition to the A/PI performers, the council has produced a stellar lineup of guest performers, including the gorgeous Universal Show Queen 2010 Perla Welch; an exciting dance production from Lady Chablis and Company from R Place; the tallest drag queen in the Northwest, Miss Gay Seattle 45 GLAMAZONIA; and a special appearance by Seattle's newly crowned La Femme Magnifique International 2010, Lily Armani.

The evening's hostesses will be Regina King, Shaka Kwan, Gaysha Starr, and Teriyaki Temple.

The A/PI Pageant is the must-see event of the fall. Remember, all are welcome, and tickets can be purchased at the door for $15. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the pageant is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

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