Monday, August 10, 2015

Queen Mary

Heather Fontaine @ Queen Mary Drag Show Bar 


If there ever was, a transgender Mecca that required our pilgrimage it was the “Queen Mary” Nightclub in Studio City, California. For those of us on the east coast it carried legendary significance.   If any of our friends went west they always visited and brought back stories.   Get a group together and the question would always come up ““Did any of you ever get to visit the Queen Mary?”

My first time there was in the late ’80 and it was all I had envisioned it would be.   A great show, with many of “us” in attendance and place to hang out after the show – the back bar.  As much as we do not talk about it, many of us built our confidence going out to drag bars.  Somewhere we could go dressed and maybe meet the occasional transgender like us.  Yes, be ourselves for an ever to short evening.  
So, long live my memories of the “Queen Mary”.  Too bad, it is never more.

Los Angeles Time, July 6, 1992

"Who hates wearing pantyhose?" sniffs the Joan Rivers look-alike, doing that ribald, let's-bare-it-all-ladies humor Rivers is famous for.

About a dozen hands go up in the audience. "Good. Now how about the girls?"

This kind of gender-bending humor has been a staple at the Queen Mary in Studio City for 29 years, making it the second oldest show bar featuring female impersonators in the United States. Only Finocchios in San Francisco has been operating longer.  

So what are your memories of the Queen Mary?


  1. While I have never been to the Queen Mary I do feel most comfortable in LGBT friendly establishments. I am glad (perhaps with a touch of envy) with your ability to engage in the civilian world as nicely as you do. As for me I like to consider that I am still in my 'confidence building' stage that you mention in this post.

  2. My many memories of the Queen Mary were something I will carry to my last breath as the ability to escape the prejudice that existed even before the constant hate now in our community post Trump. I was one of the lucky ones, I did get to attend many of the ladies nights at the back bar, drink smoke dance socialize not feel afraid, if only for it being few hours late at night in hiding (even in the nineties). They were amazing and those we met or became friends with, they were life long. I will forever be grateful for the Queen Mary, little Debbie the bartender, the barbacks and security, all the regulars who attended, we all looked forward to visiting when we could make it. Missing you Queen Mary, you were the Rhiannon of our time, "once in a Million years a lady like you, rises..." thank you for the memories and great times xo