Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-02-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Documentary about Miss Continental pageant set to debut in Chicago
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The hotly anticipated Miss Continental-focused documentary, The Queens, has been years in the making for former FOX Chicago special projects reporter Mark Saxenmeyer and his non-profit production company, The Reporters Inc. Saxenmeyer currently resides in his hometown of Minneapolis with his partner of 13 years, Adam Gower.

Chicago audiences will be the first to view the documentary at the Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m. Guests will be treated to a salad, entree and martini, shown the film, participate in a Q&A afterward and be entertained live by performers who appear in the film.

Saxenmeyer explained that the genesis of this film started when he arrived in Chicago in 1994 and saw his first show at The Baton.

"A co-worker suggested we head over to The Baton after work and check out a show," said Saxenmeyer. "I remember saying something along the lines of 'I do not really like drag shows.' This new friend explained, 'Oh no, this is not drag. These are female impersonators, most of whom live their lives as women when they are not on stage.'

"I was intrigued, and then I was immediately mesmerized once I watched an entire show at the club. There was an elegance and a mystique about the performers at The Baton that I had never seen anywhere else and, to this today, have still never seen anywhere else."

Over the years, Saxenmeyer ( who won 30 regional Emmy awards during his time with FOX Chicago ), reported and produced stories about The Baton and some of its performers but the idea of a documentary came after he left the station in early 2011.

At first, Saxenmeyer wanted to sell the inner workings of the club as a reality show and he pitched it to half a dozen TV networks—but none agreed to commission it to series. In the end, he decided reality TV was not for him, so he pivoted to a documentary format, and that is how The Queens came to fruition.

"All my years living and working in Chicago, I had never been to a Miss Continental pageant," said Saxenmeyer. "I had heard of it, but it just did not interest me because the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants did not really interest me either. After talking with Jim Flint ( who opened The Baton in 1969 and created Miss Continental in 1980 ), I realized that it would be insufficient to chronicle The Baton ( where many of the regular entertainers were former Miss Continental winners ) without delving into the spectacle of Miss Continental."

During filming, Saxenmeyer explained that he developed an appreciation of the time, energy and money the contestants put into winning the title. While filming the pageant, Saxenmeyer noted that one of The Reporters Inc.'s cinematographers said Miss Continental should be the focus of the project.

"When people ask me what The Queens is about I say it is a revealing and truly fascinating look at the transgender subculture of competitive female impersonation and the personal lives of The Baton performers and those competing for the Miss Continental crown," said Saxenmeyer. "I think that it will appeal to everyone, not just the LGBT community. Each will take something different from it but hopefully all audiences will find it both entertaining and enlightening. Miss Continental is not something most people know about, or have even heard about. For the entertainers vying for this crown it is truly the dream of a lifetime. Their stories are both uplifting and, at times, heartbreaking."

"I absolutely love what I do when it comes to performing and competing," said contestant Tiffany T. Hunter. "So, I am more than honored and grateful to have this small portion of my life forever captured. More importantly, I am excited for people to get a glimpse into our lives. We all have passions, dreams and goals no matter how obscure they may seem. The trailers have me wanting to see it so badly, I can't hardly wait."

"Competitions create and groom the best you," said contestant Sunny Dee-Lite. "Pageants bring out the best and the worst in you. Your passion during pageants will awaken a side of you that most will never understand. But in the end it is a phenomenal journey. I am so excited for people to see this documentary."

"This was a very gratifying experience knowing that someone was willing to shine a light on the art of what we do in female impersonation," said contestant Alexis Gabrielle Sherrington. "I love this platform that I have and was proud to be a part of this documentary."

"To be a part of The Miss Continental system has been a real blessing," said contestant Naysha Lopez. "Sharing the Continental stage with the most elite entertainers of female impersonation is a win in itself and now to be a part of a behind the scenes journey for the crown in this documentary is a true gift."

"I am glad that Miss Continental is finally being represented on film," said former Miss Continental winner Mimi Marks. "It is one of the longest running pageants in the U.S. that includes transgender women and I am so happy to be a part of this elite group of winners and contestants."

"Obviously, if not for Jim Flint there would be no Baton or Continental," said Saxenmeyer. "He sat for several interviews with us and provided us access to the videos of every single Miss Continental pageant. Jim provided an oral history about the struggles and setbacks he has experienced keeping The Baton alive, vibrant and relevant, and how trying to bring Miss Continental to mainstream attention has eluded him. He is a Chicago icon and legend, all by himself."

Saxenmeyer believes fans of shows like RuPaul's Drag Race and movies like Paris Is Burning will also enjoy The Queens.

"Even if you do not like beauty pageants, this is a pageant like none other," said Saxenmeyer, who added that the first three minutes can be previewed at

"We will also be premiering a brand new, never-before-seen trailer for our documentary The Innocent Convicts [; about wrongful convictions and criminal justice reform at the Chicago event," he said.

For more information and to watch the trailers, visit .

"I promise it will be a night you will not forget." said Saxenmeyer.

Tax-deductible tickets for the Jan. 25 event are $100 each; visit .

For more information and to watch the trailers, visit .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

WORLD Bollywood film, UK employers, assault, Rainbow Railroad 2020-02-25 - The India film capital of Bollywood is releasing its first major romantic comedy with a lead gay character, noted. Shubh Mangal Zyada ...

Gay News

SocialWorks' Black History Month Film Festival through March 1 2020-02-19 - SocialWorks' 3rd Annual Black History Month Film Festival will run at Showplace Icon Theater, 1011 S. Delano Ct., through March 1. Throughout February, ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2020-02-19 - "I thought, 'Why does he have to do that?' I mean, it seemed like he was living a fine life. Everyone who knew ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE TELEVISION Actress brings Da'Vine performances to various roles 2020-02-19 - Performer Da'Vine Joy Randolph grew up in Philadelphia and studied musical theater in school. This led to a Tony-nominated performance in the musical ...

Gay News

Reeling co-director stepping down 2020-02-17 - Richard Knight Jr. is stepping down from his role as co-programming director of the annual event Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival. ...

Gay News

NEA supports dozens of Chicago arts organizations 2020-02-14 - National Endowment for the Arts ( NEA ) Chairman Mary Anne Carter announced that organizations in every state in the nation, as well ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Sean Hayes, Rihanna, Cher, Billy Porter, Laura Dern 2020-02-11 - Sean Hayes, Carrie Aizley, Margo Martindale, Jim Rash, Matthew Broderick and Allison Janney are part of the cast of the film Lazy Susan, ...

Gay News

'Parasite,' Zellweger, Elton among Oscar winners 2020-02-09 - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences distributed the 2020 Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9. The South ...

Gay News

Facets names new executive director 2020-02-08 - Facets—a nonprofit that connects people to independent ideas through film experiences—has announced Karen Cardarelli as its new executive director. She succeeds founder and ...

Gay News

'We Don't Want Your MTV' Feb. 10-15 2020-02-07 - The exhibit "We Don't Want Your MTV" will run Feb. 10-15 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago ( SAIC ) ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.