Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Drag Queen Bingo at The Bottom Line

Me with Bootsey (who bears
a striking resemblance to Dame Edna)
Life in Southwest Florida has something for everyone.  There's art and music and a full array of outdoor activities. There are gator hatchings and roller derby and pirate festivals. And then there's Drag Queen Bingo with Bootsey Cloverdale and Lady Licious.

Every Sunday afternoon at The Bottom Line bar in Fort Myers, people gather to be entertained by these drag queens extraordinaire. My friend Kathy Grey had been invited to check it out and asked me to tag along.  Why not?  I'd heard about this phenomenon and was eager to see what it was all about.  

We settled into our seats with Kathy's friends, waving more than a little smoke out of our eyes.  Although the game is advertised as starting at 4:00, that's really when people arrive to get lubricated for the bingo.  Bootsey roams the floor with a cart selling bingo cards and working the crowd.  You can tell from this picture that she is quite shy and reserved.

 Like any bar, there are a number of big screen TVs.  A couple were showing football games.  Other had NASCAR on.  And then there were several screens airing what I eventually figured out was the Mr. LA Leather 2014 competition on ReelGay TV.  I was definitely not in Kansas anymore.  

When it was time for the game to start, Bootsey explained the rules for people--like me--who were virgins to the experience:
1.  Whenever they call out a number that's on the "O" line, you are required to raise your arms above your head in a circle.  You will be punished if you do not do this.  (There was talk of having to go onstage and do 50 reps on the thighmaster.)  They are serious about this.  The first time an "O" number was called out, I went for my camera instead of following the rules.  Bootsey walked right up to me and I was sure I was heading for the stage.  Luckily, I got a pass as a newbie, but I whipped my arms overhead as mandated the rest of the time.  
2.  When you have one number left to get a bingo, you yell out, "I'm coming!" 
3.  If you get a bingo, you run onto the stage and spank Lady Licious vigorously.  
4.  If you incorrectly say you have a bingo, you must don the pink dress that's hanging onstage and wear it the rest of the night.  
5.  You must curse the people who get a bingo because they have made the rest of us into losers.
Periodically, the ladies would take a break from calling the bingo game to do a song or two.  There was, for instance, a song whose tune was taken from Mary Poppins' "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."  The refrain had been changed, however, to "Super trashy, cheap and nasty, country bitchy drag queens."  (Try it and you'll find it's actually quite catchy.)  I would say that Julie Andrews would be shocked, but she did do Victor Victoria.  Lady Licious' contribution was to the tune of Tina Turner's "Private Dancer," only she needed a private bathroom.  It was not what you would call a tasteful song. 

Kathy doing her first jello shot
After being there for three hours and playing four games of bingo, I hit the road. It was definitely a fun--and different--way to spend my Sunday night.  The only reason I won't be going back soon is the smokiness of the bar.  It's been a long time since I've had to air out clothes when I got home from a night out (and I definitely haven't missed it).  Still, I'm happy to be able to take drag queen bingo off my bucket list. 

1 comment:

  1. Bootsey roams the floor with a cart selling bingo cards and working the crowd. You can tell from this picture that she is quite shy and reserved. online bingo


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