Drag queens bring hosiery, heels and hi­lar­ity

Solomons brunch show brings drag queen style to South­ern Mary­land

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

The process to get ready for the show is no easy task. There are ny­lons to put on, then the dress, the heels, the makeup, and of course, the wig. And then fi­nally, as the mu­sic starts, Vic­to­ria Bohmore steps out from be­hind the cur­tain and waves to her ador­ing fans to kick off the Solomons Drag Brunch, held Oct. 20 at the Hol­i­day Inn Ma­rina & Con­fer­ence Cen­ter.

“My mom had never been to a drag brunch and to­day is her birth­day, so I de­cided to bring her here,” said Melissa Puf­fen­barger, who lives in La Plata and works for the U.S. Navy. “I liked it. It was very en­er­getic and fun and en­ter­tain­ing.”

“My daugh­ter and I like hav­ing fun to­gether,” said Hol­ly­wood res­i­dent Kathy Bossen­berger, re­fer­ring to daugh­ter Al­li­son Samo. “I thought it was great. The best part was the tall, skinny [drag queen]. There were some parts that were a lit­tle over the top for me, but over­all we had a good time.”

The show fea­tured drag per­form­ers Bohmore, Jordin Jami­son, Onyx D. Pearl, Kr ys­tal Nova and Sab­rina Som­mers. Male en­ter­tainer D’Moj stepped in as a late re­place­ment for a sixth per­former, and did spot-on im­pres­sions of nerd Pee Wee Her­man and fit­ness guru Richard Sim­mons.

The per­form­ers strolled and strut­ted around the crowd lip-sync­ing to pop­u­lar dance songs, and in­ter­acted with the en­er­getic and bois­ter­ous sold-out au­di­ence of 360.

“I’m very pleased with how it went,” said Bohmore, 39, who lives in La Plata and works with the Charles County Depart­ment of So­cial Ser­vices. “For lack of a bet­ter word, [the peo­ple who are here are] kind of like, ‘Let’s go to a freak show and see what hap­pens,’ but it was a great show and a great turnout.”

“The au­di­ence was amaz­ing,” said Som­mers, a hair­dresser from Ran­dall­stown. Th­ese shows “just bring to­gether all walks of life. It’s nice be­cause you don’t get a lot of love in the world, espe­cially in the times we live in to­day, and to get the love and the re­spect that th­ese peo­ple — straight, gay, what­ever — give us and make us feel wel­come.”

Nova fol­lowed Bohmore, dressed in a huge black boa that could help con­tain an oil spill and a green, black and white form-fit­ting dress loaded with tas­sels. Jami­son was up next in a huge 1980s-style blonde wig and gold lame body­suit.

“About nine years ago I got a lot of at­ten­tion one year at Hal­loween dressed as a drag queen at a club in D.C.,” said Nova, who lives in Columbia and helps train peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties to find em­ploy­ment. “The crowd feeds off your en­ergy so you don’t re­ally have to be a big-time show per­son, but if you look like you’re en­joy­ing your­self, ev­ery­one else will too. The se­cret is to learn how to do makeup well and just have fun. The hard­est part is putting all the gar­ments on and cinch­ing ev­ery­thing to­gether.”

Dur­ing the brunch show, the crowd ea­gerly tucked $1 bills into the hands — and waist­bands — of the per­form­ers.

Bohmore — which is a stage name for the drag queen — like the other drag per­form­ers at the brunch, prefers not to pub­li­cize his ac­tual name. Em­cee­ing Satur­day’s event as drag per­sona Bohmore, the per­former grew up in St. Mary’s County and grad­u­ated from Leonard­town High School. About 20 years ago, he started bar­tend­ing at The Hippo in Bal­ti­more and found his part-time ca­reer path when he dressed in drag for the bar’s an­nual em­ployee show.

“I re­ally got into it,” said Bohmore, wear­ing a black cock­tail dress with huge sil­ver ear­rings. “A num­ber of my

co­work­ers said, ‘You look like you’re re­ally get­ting into it and you have a knack for it. You should try it.’”

He re­turned to school and was a drag queen as a side gig, but in 2016 he won a re­gional com­pe­ti­tion and then placed 11th at the na­tional All-Amer­i­can God­dess Pageant. He is also the cur­rent reign­ing Miss Rowan Tree, a bar in Bal­ti­more. Bohmore, who cur­rently

per­forms a few shows a year, in­clud­ing the monthly An­napo­lis Pride brunch, in ad­di­tion to his day job, said the hard­est part of his side job is not hav­ing eye­brows.

“I’ve shaved mine off for 10 years now be­cause I hated glu­ing them down,” he said, adding it takes him 30 min­utes to pre­pare for a show and 90 min­utes for a pageant.

Bossen­berger and Samo were seated with sev­eral friends, all of whom house their horses at Be­gin Again Farm in Leonard­town, and the women roared with laugh­ter through­out

the show.

Later, Puf­fen­barger’s mother, Melinda Bing­ham of La Plata, posed for pho­tos with Nova, who is in a black out­fit and a Cleopa­tra-style neck plate.

One woman put her dol­lar bill in her teeth, where it was re­trieved by Jami­son, who wore a black-and-white check­ered out­fit with large wings for the num­ber.

Pearl got into the up­com­ing Hal­loween spirit when she stepped out on the floor look­ing like an ex­tra in Tim Bur­ton’s “A Night­mare Be­fore Christ­mas.” Som­mers wrapped

up the event as she pranced around the floor in a tan and rose-col­ored body­suit.

Though there were ca­su­al­ties — a breast­plate snapped — the show went off with­out barely a hitch, and guests clam­ored for self­ies fol­low­ing the event.

“My fa­ther told me I had a lot of tal­ent bot­tled up in­side and that I should prob­a­bly be a drag per­former be­cause I would prob­a­bly be re­ally good at it,” said Som­mers, who has been per­form­ing for 25 years. “The next week we went shop­ping and that was pretty much it. It was ter­ri­fy­ing

[the first time I per­formed] be­cause you don’t know how the crowd will per­ceive you, but I had a good time. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t still be do­ing it.”

The next show will be a drag pageant from 8 p.m. to about mid­night Satur­day, Feb. 16, also at the Hol­i­day Inn. Doors open at 7 p.m. Early bird tick­ets are $30 to $35 through Mon­day, Dec. 31.

Go to www.eventbrite. com/e/miss-gay-south­ern-mary­land-amer­ica-tick­ets-51596616870.

Vic­to­ria Bohmore sings to the crowd dur­ing the Oct. 20 drag brunch.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY MICHAEL REID

Melissa Puf­fen­barger of La Plata, left, takes a photo of her mother, Melinda Bing­ham, and per­former Krys­tal Nova dur­ing the Oct. 20 drag brunch.

Sab­rina Som­mers works the crowd dur­ing the Oct. 20 drag brunch.

Per­form­ers Krys­tal Nova, left, Sab­rina Sum­mers, Jordin Jami­son, Onyx B. Pearl, D’Moj and Vic­to­ria Bohmore en­ter­tained the crowd at the Oct. 20 drag brunch.

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