Season’s greetings, boys and girls! Where has the time gone? Here we are at the end of another year of shows and pageants. What will 2012 hold? Who’s to say? I think it will be a fierce year of comebacks and maybe a good new queen or two. Let’s hope for the best!

This one will be short and sweet as Miss Della has had a lot of excitement going on lately (for a change!) It’s all good!

I’ll start off by mentioning the next state-level pageant I know about — Miss SC U.S.ofA., taking place at Scorpio on Thursday, Jan. 20. If memory serves me correctly, this will be Luscious’ 4th prelim to the pageant she won in Dallas back in May and we are so proud of our girl. Come out and see who will compete for this open regional. There are always surprises, it seems.

Congrats are going out to Neely O’Hara who recently won Miss CO2 in Winston-Salem. The ole girl’s still got it! Also, congrats are going out to the winners of the Miss and Mr. Renaissance pageants just held in Atlanta — Sunny Dee Lite of NYC won the Miss and the new Mr. is Darryl Kent, formerly of Asheville and now calling Atlanta home. Darryl is also on staff with national U.S.ofA. pageants.

Last time, I was all about the Miss NC All-American Goddess and At Large contests that just took place here. What a fun time we had, everyone meeting out to eat at places like Lupie’s, Mert’s, Azteca and then after the shows, either IHOP or Skyland. Oh, and let’s not forget the trip to Twin Tops with Dena Cass then going to look at the lights in McAdenville! Dena was in the show on Saturday night down at the Hide-A-Way in Rock Thrill along with India Ferrah and Alana Steele. They were joined by our Miss NC America Jessica Raynes Starr, Miss Hide-A-Way London Dior and the hostess with the mostest, Makaylah DuShot. Kelexis Davenport was at Scorpio that same evening, hosted by Elaine Davis.

As you may know, the pageant was over two nights. Other than being joined by Candi Stratton and Lauren LaMoore, there was a star-studded show to beat the band, including Brooke Divine, Jessica Raynes Starr, Arionne DeCardaza, Jennifer Warner, Chip Matthews, Miss Tri-States America Tanisha Starr and Miss U.S.ofA. Classic Catia Lee Love. I’m sure I’ve left someone out — just write me then read me, ok?

The winner of the Miss was Asia O’Hara; her runners-up are Arabia Knight-Addams and Paris Cartier. For the At Large contest, the amazing Alexis Nicole Whitney won and her RUs were Extasy Grey and JoAnna Blue. What’s this I hear about whispers of doing a guy contest and calling it All-American God? I wanna judge, I wanna judge!

Oh, where are my notes when I need them? I do know the EOY calendar is filling up for that gorgeous Aurora Sexton, Miss Gay America Kirby Kolby has been to visit with her bosses near Memphis for her workshop and they have a new Mr. Gay USA and At Large, GQ and Felix Correa. Keeping it national here, okay? I just broke one of my own rules — do you remember?

It is with much regret that I mention a show that I missed recently. They did an Oleens reunion at Divas at Scorpio back on Dec. 4. Brittany Gwynne (Miss Charlotte U.S.ofA. 1997) hosted, and she and David Moore, the former editor of qnotes, made sure to invite me out. Too damned bad duty called and I could not make it, as one of my favorite queens of all times, Kelly Raye, made an appearance. With her were legends of that South Blvd. stage including Kasey King, Kerri Nichols, Boom Boom LaTour, Tina Terrell, Linda Locklear, Sasha Tate, Lady Day 2000, Gypsy Starr, Tiffany Storm and Veronica Leigh. Some of these were winners of the bar title, Miss Oleens. Sounds like I missed one hell of an old school show! At the end, I’m told they had a memorial by placing ornaments on a tree to honor great memories of our fallen sisters. I know in my heart (surely), at least, one was placed to honor one of the greatest queens ever, Toni Lenoir.

In closing, it is with heavy heart that I dedicate this column to Thom Guinn, a former performer and mentor/pageant coach to many a diva. Thom and I were from the same hometown and I met him early in the days after coming out. He was brilliant, talented and had a wicked sense of humor. He was an aficionado of the artform of female impersonation and classic films/music. At one time, he had a collection of movies and CDs that would rival any retail specialty store. After performing himself as Beehive back in the day, he began designing talents for competitors in the EOY, U.S.ofA. and Miss Gay America systems and actually helped produce pageants and pageant winners, including several Misses NC and even a Miss Gay America or two. Thom was the first person I ever knew from here to go to Miss Continental (the year Chanel Dupree won). I remember well the trip he made with Renee Rollins and myself to Dayton, Ohio, the year Maya Douglas won Miss Gay U.S.of.A. For a time, he was show director at Scorpio and once brought in his dear friend, the late, great Tandi Andrews. Those were the days. Thom also managed Elgin Kenna, Charlotte’s famous Cher impersonator who travelled with her doing her illusion. Thom was influential in so many careers and lives…he will be terribly missed. : :

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