Balls out

You probably missed the show at the DNA Lounge on August 17. For one, the venue is some 70 miles away, in that faraway land some of us like to call “the City.” For two, it was a hefty 25 beans to get in the door, and the event was tailored to an obscure subculture you might not call your own. But if you did make it out, you were delighted. It was the 11th annual San Francisco drag-king competition, and Sac was there, holding it down. Much to the chagrin of the residents of the 415, who tend to fancy themselves as living in the apex of queer culture, Sacramento took the gold in both solo and troupe performances.

The contest was like any other event with male-attired women lip-syncing to hip-hop hits and familiar country tunes: It had the spirit gum and fake facial hair, the bound breasts and the busted moves. The collective gender-blurring fun was a pleasure all its own. But if you were looking for real machismo swagger, you found it in Sacramento’s Buck Naked.

Buck, a drag legend around these parts, said backstage that the organizer who put him at the top of the bill would be in for a surprise when he took the stage and set a standard that would go unmatched—at least until Sac’s Slickk Bois came on. He couldn’t have been more dead-on. Buck wowed the audience with a well-pressed suit and cane—plus backup support courtesy of two crimson-lipped dancers from Sacramento DanceSport (itself a three-time gold medalist at the recent Gay Games VII in Chicago).

Buck was certainly something to swoon over, but the audience went wild for the seven sexy queers of Slickk Bois. They shook and “got crumped” to a musical montage covering everything from Violent Femmes to the Federation. Backed up by a video projection, the Bois sent the audience into a frenzy with their choreographed moves and then stole the show with a crushing interpretation of Wyclef and Mary J. Blige’s “911.” The troupe set the scene for a showdown between transgender folks and their enemies by re-enacting both a female-to-male and a male-to-female transition. Lip-synced to the chorus of “someone please call 911,” the sense of emergency they created was answered with a call for reform. The decidedly political tone of their finale brought the house down and secured the Bois an obvious win.

When the kings were crowned, the feeling among Sacramentans in the crowd was pure elation. The 25 bucks at the door and subsequent cash given up to bar’s till was all well-spent. Now you probably want to catch these title holders doing their thing a little closer to home. Check them out over the weekend as they bring it on during the revelry of the Rainbow Festival, at 20th and K streets. Visit for details.