Grand Central's employee show is tonight
Midnight Sun guest writer John-John Williams IV has this report:
Don't be surprised if Beyonce, Pink, Lil' Kim and Britney Spears have a hint of stubble and an Adam's apple when they perform in Mount Vernon tonight.
The annual Grand Central Employee Show has become a popular event among patrons at the city's largest gay bars.
For close to a decade employees have painted their faces and perfected strutting their stuff in women's shoes. (Employees are required to dress in drag and perform lip syncing performances.)
"The customers look forward to it every year," said Antoine Preston, head bartender at Grand Central who is also directing this year's show. "It is a chance for us to give back to our customers." ...
A fee employees have been a little apprehensive about getting in touch with their feminine side, Preston said. Surprisingly the bar's heterosexual staff have been more excited than their gay co-workers to participate in the show, he added.
"They already got their jewelry and have already been fitted for their gowns," Preston said.
All 14 tables and 290 of the 300 advance tickets have been sold, according to Preston. Tickets at the door are $15. Doors open at 8 p.m. The show starts promptly at 9:30 p.m.
"It's a great show. We have a lot of fun in doing it," Preston said. "It gives us a chance to give something back to our customer base. We like to put on the show to let them know we have a different side."
Preston, who has worked at the bar for the past five years, plans to perform as Pink and Lil' Kim. He will have three outfit changes throughout the course of the night.
The employees have enlisted the services of professional drag queens to help them. Sabrina White, a former Miss Gay America, will be doing all the employee's makeup for the evening. Anita Minute, Shawna Alexander, Nikki Cox, and 2009 Mr. and Mrs. Grand Central, Mirage Cruz and Victoria Blair, will also perform.
"Hopefully it is better than the last," Preston said. "We've had three rehearsals. And we've practiced individually."
Employees gain a new found respect for drag queens after preparing for the show, Preston said.
"It's not the easiest thing to do-- walk around in heels, dance, and lip sync all at the same time," he said with a laugh.
(Photo from Sun archives)