VIP Nightclub brings out the divas of the night

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Deshaun Thomas | Staff Writer

Oct 30, 2014

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A special kind of wonderful fusion takes place on Halloween. The fusion of the “normal” and the not so “normal.”

The minorities once regarded by some as peculiar get a chance to express themselves and be uninhibited in doing so. They are no longer bound by societal norms. They can defy pre-conceived notions and not only be accepted, but celebrated by their peers for their eccentricity.

One breed of misfit in particular takes the holiday very seriously (it is their Christmas, only more Pagan and full of fog machines). This freak is none other than the American Drag Queen. Pay a visit to one of these creatures of the night and you’ll get glitter, gore, and pantyhose.

Ginger Presley, a drag queen, frequent performer at Riverside’s VIP nightclub and honorary soldier in Elvira’s Army of the Dark, knows intimately the freeing spirit of Halloween.

“I began experimenting with makeup myself Halloween of 2011,” she said. “It gives the ability to be able to express oneself and show your femininity as well as your masculinity.”

The rest as they say, is history. Gay history. Her beginnings tie very deeply in VIP and her drag mother Azrael.

Founded in 1992, the VIP Nightclub has served Riverside’s LGBT community for 22 years. It is a place of reprieve for gays, non-gays, transgendered people and queens alike.

Outside hangs the rainbow flag that lets the outside world know that on the inside one is among its fellow friends, gay or straight. Inside hang paper mâché ghosts and synthetic fire cauldrons, reminding you it’s that sacred time of year again.

An air of calm and acceptance permeates as guests clink glasses and chuckle behind their beers and martinis. This atmosphere remains completely undisturbed well into the late evening. It is so relaxed in fact that you’d never guess it was a nightclub calling to its queer brethren, from the inside looking out. Not until the sun goes down at least, and the drag performers come out, faces painted and contoured for the ages, for one the most politically incorrect and outrageous live shows you may ever see.

From renditions in homage to the film “Death Becomes Her” to Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life,” freakish energy and talent abounds. The audience beckons the performers to take their tips and squeal in equal delight when they receive special attention (often by being butt of a quick-witted joke).

The hosts, Morgan McMichaels and Mayhem Miller act as drag ring leaders of sorts and command all attention in the room no matter who performs that night. It is their show. They run the VIP Nightclub with a verve that keeps the seats filled night after night.

Come Halloween night, VIP will again be aflame with ghoulish performances by outrageous queens such as Ginger Presley and Mayhem Miller in an event known as “Carn-Evil.”

“It’s rebellion. Drag queens and gays are a lot alike. We like things that are taboo, we like freaks, we blend in because it’s a day everyone dresses up.” Presley said. “People see a man in a dress and they have to look.”

Presley herself knows the rush of being the center of attention. The petite Elvira impersonator struts and poses like she is the center of the room. And she is. And will continue to be, including every Halloween for the foreseeable future.

This Halloween, we’re all freaks. The only question is: “What kind will you be?”

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