The time has come for you to lip-sync for your life.
Patrons at Woody’s Bar will have the chance to embrace their inner drag kings and queens at the Philly Beauty Ball next weekend.
Amateur drag performers will lip-sync, walk down a runway and twerk to RuPaul’s song “Peanut Butter” at the sixth-annual event Nov. 7. Members from Stonewall Sports, the city’s largest LGBT athletic league and a partner for the event, will judge the best queens and kings to be crowned.
In the past, the Beauty Ball was a house party until it expanded and became a charity event at Woody’s in 2013. This year, proceeds from the event will go toward The Attic Youth Center, which provides programs, counseling services and a community atmosphere to LGBTQ youth.
Ryan Wyrofsky, 26, who helped organize this year’s event, said he was lucky to have a supportive family but realizes this is not always the case for others.
“It’s great to have a local organization that provides services and a sense of community to those that are less fortunate in the area,” Wyrofsky said.
In recent years, Rick Naughton organized the Beauty Ball until he moved to New York and handed organizational duties to Wyrofsky and Drew Gaver, 33, who will host the event for the second year in a row as his drag persona, Bev.
The “kamikaze”-style lip-sync competition, where the DJ picks out a random song for drag performers to lip-sync and dance to, has always been a staple of the event. Gaver won the contest while performing to Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing” in 2013.
Gaver said other drag queens always ask him how to prepare for the competition. While he enjoys seeing people get into it, he also believes it’s more important to have fun.
“Now that drag has blown up in Philly over the last few years, I get all of these girls who are emailing me or texting me, asking, ‘What should I prepare?’” Gaver said. “I [tell them], ‘Don’t prepare. It’s not that big a deal. Just come. Have fun.’”
In addition to the usual lip-sync competition, the Beauty Ball will also feature two new contests to increase participation: the “Sissy That Walk” Sashay Runway Walk-Off and the “Peanut Butter” Twerk Contest, where participants twerk to RuPaul’s dance song. Additionally, there will be raffle prizes and the opportunity to have your face painted before the show by professional drag performers for $20.
While Gaver noted it’s not a requirement to dress in drag, he will definitely have some fun with non-drag attendees.
“I’ll just say that I will have a microphone in my hand and I will probably judge you,” Gaver said in a tongue-in-cheek tone.
Wyrofsky, who dressed in drag for the first time at last year’s Beauty Ball, said he will also be decked out this year.
“[Wearing high heels is] this boost of confidence,” he said. “It makes everyone’s legs look better anyway. So, why not?”
Wyrofsky said the Beauty Ball was his favorite thing last year in Philadelphia and it’s a Saturday night not to be missed.
“It’s a very welcoming and safe environment to try [drag] for the first time, but also it’s just a lot of fun.”
However, some amateur performers begin to have a deeper understanding of the drag life as they spend time in high heels. Gaver says it’s “hysterical” to see guests take off their uncomfortable shoes as the event goes on.
I’m like, ‘Yeah, welcome to my world,” Gaver said. “‘Welcome to the world of drag queens.’”
The Beauty Ball will be held from 7-10 p.m. Nov. 7 at Woody’s Bar. The $10 admission will go toward The Attic LGBTQ Youth Center. Signing up for the contests is first-come, first-serve.