Don't let 'em fool you. Dallas is a gay city. Big hair, shimmering rhinestone dresses, skin tight Wranglers. Think about it. In the Miss Gay America's 39 years, six titleholders have hailed from Dallas, and our fair city has hosted the pageant 12 times, while seven Dallasites have held the title of Miss Gay USofA (formerly Miss Gay USA), which has taken place in Dallas for the last seventeen years.
And with so much rich inspiration from vivacious Texas women, it's easy to see why we do drag so well. But on any given night, where are the best places to find great performances in Dallas? Here are our five favorites.
1. The Rose Room at Station 4 (above) The preeminent locale for Dallas' very best gender illusion, this one is a no-brainer. A 24,000 square-foot rumbling party that never ends, Station 4 is one of the largest gay dance clubs in the country, but its Rose Room Theatre & Lounge upstairs is where the real entertainment begins. Legendary performers like Layla LaRue and Cassie Nova have graced its full-sized stage in fabulous form, and Lady Gaga (the real one) even felt so inspired by the atmosphere, that she belted out an impromptu performance of Born This Way there last year. Showtimes are 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and Thursdays at 11 p.m. But whenever you go, be sure to bring dollar bills; she works hard for her money, and it really is the best for yours.
2. Los Altos de Jalisco Unexpected, if anything, Jose Ralat Maldonado's expose on taquería drag shows opened our eyes to a side of Dallas few knew existed. An unassuming restaurant by day, Los Altos de Jalisco is among a few taquerías that burst with the comedy of "travesty shows," headlined by acts such as Gaby Duarte, Chantal and Karina Duarte.
3. Randy's Club Cherries Don't let the exterior dissuade you. While Cherries may seem a bit ... well, Maple-and-Tollway from the outside, it boasts high-shining, sparkling glamour indoors. "Home of the National Title Holder, Whitney Paige, Texas All American Goddess at Large 2012 and All American Goddess at Large 2012," Ms. Paige and a host of lovely ladies do their thang on Wednesday nights among the pristine patio bar and VIP lounge.
4. The Vixin Lounge at Sue Ellen's If you think girls have all the fun, the fellas of Mustache Envy want to set the record straight. Hosted by "femme fatale Lillith Grey," Mustache Envy performs the first Friday of every other month, aiming to "cultivate and encourage performers in the art of male illusion and drag kings" by "promot[ing] transgender awareness and discourage stereotypes within the gender binary."
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5. Queen at It'll Do Dancing Club One of the newer gay nights in town, Queen has already scored one of the biggest names in drag: winner of RuPaul's Drag Race season 4, the unnerving "undead" Sharon Needles, performing tonight. A "throwback to the "wearhouse" clubs of the 80"s and 90'S when it was about the MUSIC, fashion, freedom and kickass people," Queen has also, in its brief tenure, featured national names like Carmen Carrera and Manila Luzon, and is poised to become one of the city's most eclectic performance venues.