“Trying to eliminate the old colorful ways of the East Village is like trying to put a marshmallow in a piggy bank,” said the transsexual with the inch-long nails. “It ain’t gonna happen, and why would you wanna?”
As the “Queen of the East Village,” Sandy Michelle should know. She’s hosted parties at Karma and Sin Sin, and now she presides over a weekly “trannie living room” at Mug Lounge on 13th Street. This evening, she’ll be among those participating in the annual Drag March from Tompkins Square Park.
Ms. Michelle’s dance parties are a carnal carnival where wallflowers need not apply. Aside from the occasional appearance from legendary drag performers like Ireland’s Marianne Madox and South Beach’s Ebony Excel, the dancers are all transsexuals and Sandy is their Mama Morton. Originally from Pittsburgh and once a show director at the notorious Club Edelweiss, she’s been promoting her dance parties at Mug for a year now, mostly through social media. (See here for the weekly lineup of “fabulous, sexy sassy gals,” including a recent Kim Kardashian lookalike, and see this video teaser unless, of course, you’re at your work desk.)
Ms. Michelle keeps her fingernails at least an inch long, except for one stubby one (“for texting,” she explained). At last week’s party, about 15 dancers entertained several guests (the parties usually draw around 60, said Ms. Michelle). “I love the East Village,” she said. “What I do in promoting these parties – it’s one of the reasons that we can still thrive here, especially since the nightlife is turning more vanilla lately.”
The scene will be anything but blah tonight at 7 p.m., when Drag Marchers will meet at St. Marks Place and Avenue A. At 8 p.m., the march, organized by the Church Ladies for Choice; and the Radical Faeries, will make its way to the Stonewall Inn in recognition of the 1969 riots. According to the event’s Facebook page, the first march happened 19 years ago, when “the organizers of Stonewall 25 didn’t wish leather or drag at their event.”
Other notable marchers include members of the Drag Initiative to Vanquish AIDS (DIVAS NYC), a safe-sex and drug use awareness group. Arguably, the must-see event is The March, which commences at noon on Sunday at Fifth Avenue and 36th Street and winds its way downtown to the intersection of Christopher and Greenwich Streets. Grand marshals this year include Cyndi Lauper as well as Phyllis Siegel and Connie Kopelov, the first couple to tie the knot in New York State.