Blokes and daggers

Lesbians can pull off ribald naughtiness like no other faction of society. Take the scene at Club 21 on December 13, the night of the most recent Strap It On show. Go-go girls were gyrating under black lights in neon bikini tops. Women lined up for a lap-dance contest and, one by one, ground their crotches over one of the show’s performers. To win sex-toy prizes, women shrieked fake orgasms into a microphone until their cries were bouncing off the walls of the tiny nightclub. Mr. G Spott, the show’s emcee, was forced to intervene when an overzealous audience member tried to undress a particularly convincing moaner.

At a hetero meat-market bar, staging these kinds of Girls Gone Wild shenanigans is tacky at best and criminal at worst. But somehow, in a 98-percent female environment like Club 21, the same actions give off the aura of a sex-positive slumber party. Go, sister! Reclaim your sexuality and scream into that microphone! We’re right behind you (or out in the audience swooning, as the case may be).

The dance floor was crowded with women alternately hollering and swooning for Strap It On, a one-hour drag-king revue held quarterly at Club 21, located at 1119 21st Street. The December 13 show featured Mr. G Spott; male impersonators Rusty Hips and Jay Walker from San Francisco; queer burlesque troupe the Diamond Daggers; and a few local drag kings, including Sexual Chocolate and Tyrone.

Rather than the glamorous impersonations of specific celebrities popular at drag-queen shows like Faces’ Downtown Divas, the Strap It On drag kings favored humorous, campy numbers emphasizing the art of male illusion over any particular performer. Mr. G Spott began the evening with a rousing lip-synch to the Trammps’ “Disco Inferno,” complete with polyester shirt, Travolta-style finger pointing, and stripping to reveal a swatch of chest hair that rivaled Austin Powers’ for thickness. Jay Walker transformed from a nervous Boy Scout to a leather-and-chains club kid for his rendition of Wham!’s “Bad Boys.” Rusty Hips’ performance of Frank Zappa’s “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?” was a plaintive tribute to the pain of venereal disease.

At regular intervals, the seductive Diamond Daggers offered the feminine complement to lip-synched masculinity. For each routine, the quartet wore coordinated outfits (red, sparkling evening gowns or plush, leopard-print coats). Accompanied by sultry lounge music, the daggers slowly stripped down to panties and pasties in traditional burlesque fashion. Judging from the roar of the audience after their last number, one would have thought they’d exposed much more.

When the catcalls finally died down, Mr. G Spott swaggered out onstage, shook his head at the audience and said, “You know, I’m starting to think you all are a bunch of lesbos.” Hearing that, the girls went wild yet again.