Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club on Halsted Street hosted a viewing party and fundraiser for a new film called The Queens on Jan. 25. For a donation, attendees received complimentary appetizers, one entree, and a martini along with the early screening.
Director/producer Mark Saxenmeyer introduced the project and described some controversy over the inclusion of transgender artists as part of the drag scene. He said, "Some say that because male-to-female transgender performers are already living their lives as women, that they are not considered female impersonators."
The Queens addresses that controversy and follows a few individuals as they compete for the crown of Miss Continentalwith complete backstage access. Topics such as body alterations and the strict rules of the 38-year-old competition are addressed. The Baton Show Lounge, in Chicago's River North area, is also featured in the documentary, as the owner of the club Jim Flint created Miss Continental.
Sunny Dee-Lite and Naysha Lopez, from the film, attended the screening. A Q&A followed the screening, and feedback was encouraged.
Proceeds from the evening will go to post-production costs and to aid in widespread distribution of the production.
The Queens travels to Minneapolis, next with a similar event on Feb. 8 at Honey at Ginger Hop.
A short preview of another project, The Innocent Convicts, was shown as well. The Reporters Inca journalistic organization that Saxenmeyer is the executive director ofis behind said project. This documentary covers wrongful-conviction cases across the country.
More information on both endeavors can be found at TheReporters.org .
Photos and text by Jerry Nunn