Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Drag History Continues- The Imperial Court
The Imperial Court of New York is a social, fundraising organization which has raised and donated back into the community millions of dollars to both social and health support organizations. In addition to their own fundraising, they often lend support and talent to other organizations in their ventures by performing, selling raffles, or just adding beauty and style. The mission of the Imperial Court is to raise funds for organizations including those supporting the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered community, HIV/AIDS services and youth enrichment programs. It was all started in 1984 by it's founder, Empress I Jose, the Widow Norton she declared herself, starting the long line of Emperors and Empresses since then.
Empress I Jose, is recognized around the world as one of the pioneers of the gay and transgender movements of modern times,and a major figure of study in gay and lesbian studies in colleges across the country. Empress VII, Coco LaChine,the Celestial Dragon Empress is currently Heir Apparent.
Coco's visibility and tireless activism have made her one of New York's most popular and respected drag queens. The membership is broad and varied from carpenters, therapists, florists, jewelers, performers, retail workers and many more,and they all enjoy the "game"of court and royalty such as being Lord and Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses, and Prince and Princesses all for much needed monies and social awareness. Hell, fellow blogger Empress Beth already has a title so she would fit right in. The biggest night in the drag world is The Imperial Court's Night of a Thousand Gowns. The first one was in 1985 and under the reign of Empress Sybil, and was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria. Since then it's moved locations but is always a very up-scale event and will cost $300 and up for tickets for the whole evening and usually $125 at the door for entry after all the opening acts and dinner. Night of a Thousand Gowns is every March, and besides the big hair, bigger jewels, and the biggest regal attire you can find, it is a chance for the hundreds of drag queens and their men to show off their finery while fund raising thousands for the community. If you ever have a chance to go even once it is a wonderful evening you won't forget!