- Kelly O
- MAMA TITS Ready to stuff your brunch hole.
The combination of hot food and Seattle drag has a long and sordid history. Ground zero of the trend: Neighbours nightclub, which in the 1990s circumnavigated Seattle's draconian liquor laws—which decreed that only those establishments that offered food could sell hard alcohol—by setting up a six-foot steam table of breakfast delights that will live forever in infamy. Some imagine the Neighbours buffet as too monstrous to be real, like God or Dracula. But I saw it, with my own eyes, roiling and hissing in its darkened corner throughout many a drag show. Besides nourishing a generation of street hustlers, the Neighbours buffet operated as a sort of self-regulating intervention machine: If you were drunk enough to actually consider eating from it, you needed help. (To be fair, many people still speak wistfully of the buffet's sordid charms, especially those who appreciate trays of coagulated eggs mixed with cigarette butts.)
The spirit of the Neighbours buffet also informed Seattle's next great fusion of drag and food: the super-weird and pretty wonderful brunch shows given by Dina Martina in the early aughts at the defunct gay bar Thumper's. In the hands of the deranged Dina, who is essentially the Neighbours buffet in human form, these brunches were a woozy affair, blending point-blank daytime drag with driven daytime drinking and barely okay food. But even the last worked in its way—with the spottier dishes, it was easy to imagine Dina had done the cooking herself, perhaps using only her feet.
Which brings us to 2013, when not one but two Seattle drag stars are dishing out their crossdressing arts in rooms offering full bar service and food that humans without death wishes will eat on purpose. Once a month at the Columbia City jazz club the Royal Room, there's Queen's Brunch with Sylvia O'Stayformore. Once a week at the Capitol Hill hot spot the Unicorn, there's Mimosas with Mama, hosted by and starring Mama Tits. Recently, I attended both....