Lounge Lizard Queen

For a big night on the town, here in Juneau, Alaska…we planned to have a nice dinner out and then head over to the show. When I told my mom a few weeks ago the Femme Fatales were back in town, she jumped for joy and said, “let’s get tickets!”

If you aren’t familiar with the Femme Fatales, it’s a draq queen show. The proceeds go to the local AIDS program. I love draq queens! They’re fearless, have a sense of humor and are slightly intimidating at the same time. Good for them! They also have great theme music.

Mom said she wanted to go to Zootopia for dinner. (Again, the name has been changed to protect the guilty.) I had checked, earlier in the week their Saturday dinner hours. The sign on the door said Sat: 4:00 – 10:00PM. Perfect!

Side note, I can count on one hand how many times I have dined at Zootopia. It’s too expensive and the service is slow. If the food is stellar, I don’t mind expensive but when the service is slow and the food unmemorable….that’s a double whammy. I’m paying your wages and you can’t manage to get my food out while it’s still hot? I’m not paying for rubber lamb – it’s not rocket science! I know this because, yes, I have been a waitress in a previous life, thank you.

But….Mother, insisted she had been here recently and had great food, service and a pleasant experience.

We wanted to arrive at the drag show early to get good seats, so we planned to eat about 4:30.

I want to be close enough to the drag queens that I don’t have to strain my neck but far enough away they can’t grind on me. Close enough they can put their head in my chest if they lean back, but far enough way they can’t sit on me.

Second row, second seat works perfectly for this! My better half, Eric, came with us and he, for obvious reasons, got the aisle seat.

The three of us walk up to Zootopia and open the front door. Nobody else is inside the restaurant. An older guy hesitantly walks up to us and gives us a perplexed look as to what we’re doing there.

He asks if we’re there to eat.
Ah yes. This is a restaurant right? Or is it a front for a gambling lounge and we haven’t provided the password yet?

He advises us they don’t open until 5:00, but if we’d like to sit and have a drink then by the time we’re finished we could order.

For clarification, my mom says, “so we can order dinner?”
The guy confirms and shows us to a table.

Okay, when we walked into the place and my gut turned on the “this is a mistake. Warning! Warning! Warning strobe light” we should have turned around and left. It would have saved us time.

But no.

We sat down.

At a table that came complete with dirty table cloths.

I’m not talking crumbs either. Full on oily stains and crusted over white shit that looked like dried up phlegm.

Well okay, let’s go ahead and see what happens. The young waitress comes over, completely dressed in black, like all hip wait staff are these days. She puts down, what I assume are menus, on our table and proceeds to pour three waters. I ask if she has a wine list we could look at….mistake number one.

Uppity waitress looks at me and says, as she’s pouring another glass of water:

“I can only do one thing at a time with one arm. The menu is right there.” And she starts to pass out the food menus.

Wow, really? We all exchange glances. I very graciously thank her for the menus…..all of them.

She departs the table and Mom says to me….the wine is expensive. I tell her most are by the bottle. We’re talking $40 and upwards. We continue to look through the wine menus and the angry, self-righteous waitress comes back to take our drink order.

I advise her we’re going to need another minute. She advises us that:
“If you want to order salads and spreads we can do that for you.”

Eric verifies what she just said and we did hear her properly:

Correct: we can’t order dinner until 5:00, but if we wanted to order salads and spreads off the menu, then the chef could do that. She said, “anything fresh like gnocchi is going to take until after 5:00.”

And before I could get it out of my mouth the surly waitress says, “He needs to change the time on the door.”

Well duh. Really? Now there’s a smart idea.

Eric, putting on his “getting ready to throw down” New Yorker attitude politely advises her we have somewhere to be at 5:30pm.

Hold on tight cause here we go….

Waitress: Oh? Where’s that?

Eric: The Baranof. For a show.

Waitress: What show?

Self: The Femme Fatales

Mother: Well, is there somewhere else open?

Self: The Gold Room at the Baranof.

I honestly think this waitress thought we were making stuff up so they’d be forced to feed us. Seriously? We have other options in this town. Watch us as we get up and leave…..

Needless to say, I won’t be back and will advise my nearest and dearest to do the same. Good customer service can make a world of difference. I suggest they start by putting their actual business hours on the front door.

So we left, ate at the Baranof and watched the draq queens walk by to the show room.

The show was a lot of fun – of course. I knew one queen….which was exciting. It was his first show. He performed to Madonna’s Vogue. See, good music!

My mother knew one queen as well. We’ll call him Roxie. He was the one responsible for getting this show started 15 years ago as a local fundraiser. I saw him perform 15 years ago and he was stunning. Gorgeous, couldn’t believe it was a man, stunning.

15 years, drugs and alcohol have aged Roxie into what I can only describe as an iguana in drag. Frightening. Gives whole new meaning to the term, “lounge lizard.”

I knew this queen was Roxie because the bartender greeted him as I was getting a refill at the bar. Immediately I sat down next to Mom, in the show room and told her who I just saw in the bar….

Hold on, the train is leaving the station and we’re gonna wreck.

One of the first performers of the evening…Roxie.

Teased, teased, teased, honey blonde long, ratted up wig. Long, tan dress with a slit up to the forbidden fruited area and beyond. Super cute leopard print high heels.

I’m thinking, whatever happens, don’t make eye contact. Scary. Imagine, Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones, dressed up in drag.

After the Roxie performance, he continued to wander through the audience….showing off his legs and black underwear. Was that supposed to be a turn on? If so, I missed the switch.

Finally we arrive to the end of the show. All the performers are up on stage. Roxie leaves behind his seated leg kicks and crotch exposure routine and joins the group up on stage. She nearly nearly falls off into the laps of the front row. Luckily the queen behind her grabbed her by the waist and reeled her in like a fish.

We’re picking up speed and about to crash. Ladies and gentlemen, please put on your oxygen masks and assume the crash position. If you have a crash helmet, I suggest you put it on immediately.

The show concludes with a fabulous rendition of “We Are Family.” Everyone leaves on high spirits. Except for Roxie.

On our way out, Roxie is seated in the bar area. Mom wants to get a picture with him. It’s my suggestion we’re just happy with a snap from a distance. Kind of like, “don’t poke the lions” at the zoo. No, she insists.

Well Roxie, although unable to keep his eyes open any longer, or his skirt pulled together, eyes Mom and realizes he knows her. This isn’t going to be pretty.

I get my camera and try to get it focused on the two of them. He keeps wiggling in his lounge seat, trying to find a good picture position for us. Mom puts her arm around him and pulls the trigger.

Roxie screams:


Mom jumps about three feet and lands on me. I immediately turn us around and the three of us are bolting out the hotel doors.

Eric’s asking, “What did you do? Touch the wig?”

Apparently she nudged the wig when she put her arm around Roxie.

Damn, nearly gave us all a heart attack. Kind of like when you are walking through your house and your family member leaps out from behind the door, scaring the shit out of you…when you least expect it.

I nearly soiled myself.

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