Divine divas dancing and lip-synching their hearts out

Before attending The Downtown Divas Variety Show, you should be aware of two things. First, this is not Gong Show-style “variety” with acrobatic dogs and amateur accordion soloists, but rather a showcase of gorgeous performers dressed in stunning ensembles, dancing and lip-synching their hearts out. Second, “female illusionists” are not women pulling rabbits out of top hats, but rather gorgeous performers in stunning ensembles dancing and lip-synching their hearts out. With these concepts firmly in place, you’re ready to catch the Downtown Divas’ Sunday night revue at Faces and see gorgeous performers in stunning … well, you’ve got the idea.

The revue takes place in Faces’ video bar, a neon-lit room with a dance floor, full bar, DJ booth, candlelit tables and a 16-screen video wall. The show is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. (by 7 p.m. it’s standing room only). A bikini-clad Jennifer Lopez rolls in the sand on all 16 screens as the crowd socializes and a waiter carrying a glow-in-the-dark tray of test-tube shots winds his way through the masses. One dollar will buy the alcohol-enhanced contents of a tube. However, it looks as if many people are saving their dollars to tip the divas.

Tonight’s show promises to be more mellow than usual because Danielle, the divas’ regular Mistress of Ceremonies, is on vacation. But the show must go on, and the divas gamely take turns introducing one another.

The divas themselves are fabulous. There is Naomi, “the Cha Cha Queen,” who dances to frantic mambo rhythms in tight black outfits and stiletto heels. Bianca performs a sizzling Latin number, moving through the crowd like a cyclone with frantic swishes of her rainbow colored, ruffled Flamenco skirt. Adrienne delivers sentimental ballads and hip-hop dance singles with equal vivacity. The crowd lines up to tip Julianna, who sings heart-felt love songs in clingy evening gowns. Ivy, a voluptuous blonde, gives an emotional rendition of a popular club hit. Racine, looking sharp in black vinyl shorts and jacket, fishnets and a massive silver choker, performs a dynamic dance routine—working all sides of the bar, climbing steps in her stiletto heels without missing a beat and laying breathlessly on the stage at the song’s conclusion. Afterward, she admitted to the crowd that she’d been dancing on a swollen ankle. The divas give and give.

The fans beam love in return. Women and men jump up from their tables and crowd the stage when their favorite diva appears. Hollywood divas are unreachable, but in this little corner of Sacramento, glamour will kiss you on the cheek and allow you to share the limelight for a moment. All things being relative, a mellow night at Faces is still pretty lively.