Thursday, January 14, 2010

Miss'd America Is Back - Atlantic City

Given that RuPaul’s back on the runway with RuPaul’s Drag Race, and now that the former Miss California’s sex tapes and breast augmentations (can we just say boob job?) are up for scrutiny--what better moment in American culture to re-introduce the dearly beloved Atlantic City drag queen pageant known as Miss’d America.

Created in 1993 as an Atlantic City fundraiser for the South Jersey AIDS Alliance, Miss’d America was a spoof of the legendary beauty queen pageant, which took place annually and became part of Atlantic City folklore. The spoof pageant initially took place for the hair, make-up, and costume pageant workers--that is to say, the entire LGBT community of Atlantic City.

These behind-the-scene worker bees had to miss the actual Miss America pageant the night before because they were working on the show. For the next thirteen years, Miss’d America was held on the deck of the now-shuttered Studio Six, the well-loved gay club where celebrities appeared after their concerts (Cher! Neil Sedaka! Connie Francis!).

The event raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for local charities before the nationally broadcast Miss America pageant packed up their hair rollers and stiletto heels and headed out West, to Las Vegas, in 2005.

Now, after a five-year hiatus, Miss’d America rises again on the 31st of January 2010. This time, the event will be held in real glory. In an ironic touch, the pageant will take place at the 2,800-seat Adrian Phillips Ballroom at historic Boardwalk Hall--the longtime home of those long-legged beauty queens.

With competitions in evening wear and talent, as well as a swimsuit segment, it’s no wonder that drag queens all over town are currently starving on Tic-Tacs and lettuce leaves.

This year’s version of Miss’d America will have as its host television star Carson Kressley ("Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"). In keeping with tradition will be written and directed by Robert Hitchen (otherwise known as Miss Sandy Beach).

Village Voice gossip columnist Michael Musto is serving as one of several celebrity judges. Sponsored by Grey Goose, and presented by Trump Entertainment Resorts, Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., the Atlantic City Convention Visitors Authority, and the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance, in association with the Schultz-Hill Foundation, this latest incarnation of Miss’d America ain’t just any dog-and-pony show.

With seven of Atlantic City’s casinos between them, Harrah’s Entertainment and Trump Entertainment have previously sponsored LGBT weekends such as OUT in A.C. in their ongoing effort to insure that the LGBT community is recognized and represented in Atlantic City-and both casinos are offering special package prices for the weekend, as well as hosting pre- and post-pageant parties at nightclubs such as DUSK at Caesars.

Underneath all the wigs and dresses and hilarity are some very worthy beneficiaries, which include the Greater Atlantic City GLBT Alliance, the William Way Center of Philadelphia, Broadway Cares-Equity Fights AIDS of New York City, the South Jersey AIDS Alliance-as well as the Schultz-Hill Foundation, which plans to establish a college scholarship for an Atlantic City-area LGBT student.

Don’t miss the triumphant return of Miss’d America to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Here she comes-again, Miss’d America!

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