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Volume 68, Issue 20, Monday, September 23, 2002


Gay men show off at pageant

By Ashley Clark
The Daily Cougar

Cullen Performance Hall turned into a cruise liner and housed men wearing sequined gowns, bathing suits and tiaras for the 34th Annual Miss Camp America Pageant.

"All A-Board" was the theme for Saturday night's show, an annual event put on by the Houston-based Miss Camp America Foundation.

"It is wonderful and I am amazed at the show," said Anne Bathazar, a UH alumna who came to watch the show. "It is a huge and glamorous production. The dresses are elegant and the performances are lively."

The Miss Camp America Pageant allows gay men to transform themselves into drag queens for one night and creates a parody of the Miss America Competition, which took place on the same night.

Costumes ranged from elaborate sequined bathing suits to sparkling strapless evening gowns.

"The men that participate choose a feminine stage name and assume that personality," said Ted Roundtree, the pageant director and Miss Camp America 1998. "The men that participate in the pageant are doctors, lawyers, insurance agents and we have two professional drag queen performers."

Not only is the night full of entertainment, it also serves as a charity event to raise money for those afflicted with HIV/AIDS.

"Contributors to this year's charity pageant included MAC Cosmetics and Luis Miranda Salon and Altura Day Spa, who both donated $10,000," said Gerry Clifton, the evening's master of ceremonies.

Miss Camp America, which derives its name for the word "campy," meaning funny, gave the audience plenty of opportunities to laugh. The talent portion contained song selections ranging from The Sound of Music to Britney Spears.

" We worked hard on all the performances," choreographer Stephanie Mitchell said. "We hope that everyone enjoys the show and has a great time with the fun."

Unlike the Miss America Competition, the Miss Camp America Pageant begins the show with the top 10 states from the previous year's competition.

"We allow all of the previous nine finalists to participate as well as the state that won last year," Clifton said. "We crown the winner of tonight's pageant based on the winner of the Miss America Pageant."

The show had an audience of more than 100 people, who screamed, laughed and rocked to the six-group musical performances and 10 solo talent performances.

"This is our first time," said Darlene White, whose co-worker at American Express has been a contestant in the show twice. "We love this because it is so entertaining and different."

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