Going Gaga for Godfrey's
A glamorously unforgettable Sunday 'Drag Brunch'
Glitter, grit, and gastronomy—that's what defines Drag Brunch at Godfrey's in Richmond, Virginia. While savoring a steak omelette and fresh fruit like I did, you can watch some of the most talented drag queens in the region strut their sparkly stuff. Godfrey's turns up the dance music, offers cheap drinks, and, before you know it, there's a fiesta rocking the house at an hour when many Richmonders are still in church.
Drag Brunch is a whole Sunday experience. Since this was a shindig partially about dressing up, I couldn't help but search for my inner-diva myself. I personally chose a faux fur stole, black vintage dress, and kicking red heels to celebrate my arrival. One of my friends took my lead with the simple color scheme and classic flair, yet had the nerve to outdo me with her miniature top hat. Okay, so maybe I insisted that it'd look adorable on her. Somehow, I still felt upstaged.
On that note:
You, of course, are welcome to wear whatever you'd like to this memorable affair. Just avoid two things: 1) Frumptown, lest you wish for a bit of sass, and 2) Trying to outdo the queens. Nobody is more gorgeous than the likes of Mercedes Douglas and her fellow divas. Outdoing your friends, however, is encouraged. Cat fights only add to the already crazy atmosphere.
Choosing your attire only marks the beginning of your journey. The real adventure injects butterflies into your stomach the moment you approach Godfrey's door. Even if you come five minutes late, you will wait out on the sidewalk. We all know that waiting heightens our level of excitement. The shows are supposed to begin at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., but Godfrey's operates on QST (Queer Standard Time). Huddling with all the other hungry, giddy folks, it seems like decades before the emcee bursts out the front door to interrupt your thoughts of devouring your feather boa. I'd be lying if I said my purse didn't look pretty tasty at that point.
My friends and I perked up as the emcee greeted us and established the ground rules. No standing, except to go to the restroom. No video cameras. No cover charge, but everyone in your party must order something. None of this discouraged us, so we blasted into the restaurant as soon as they called my name.
Nobody gets into Drag Brunch without a reservation. This does not prevent Godfrey's from selling out almost every Sunday. If anything, it makes customers like me feel more exclusive: “Yay! I made it! I get a glimpse of Dragland!”
People settled into their seats, placed their orders, and then wiggled with anticipation as the emcee introduced the day's performers. As funny as he was, I craved immediate glamour and decadence! When drag queens hit the floor, there are wigs, sequins, and fake nails galore. Skimping on shine is a sin. As far as I was concerned, the eye candy needed to come sooner.
My friends and I shrieked as the first drag queen—all stately and vampy—entered the room. By the time the last act went on, my throat was nearly hoarse and my hands were tired from clapping so hard. Normally, hearing the songs of Madonna and Cher alone liberate me. Throw in a man who's fabulous enough to convince me of his feminine wiles, and I'm overwhelmed with life's possibilities.
For me, Drag Brunch is not only fun; it's a chance to venerate beautiful, talented people who have faced years of persecution simply because they loved. As often as I whooped and whistled at Godfrey's, I cried, too. I wanted to hug those drag queens. I wanted to say that I wished society accepted them, that it is never wrong to love, that everyone has the right to feel fabulous.
Yet I kept those words to myself. I batted away my tears, shoved strawberries into my mouth, and belted out “Like a Virgin.” I was losing my Drag Brunch virginity, and I didn't regret it.
Godfreysva.com | 308 East Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23219, (804) 648-3957