Slice of Life

SLICE OF LIFE: When life is a drag

2012-07-22T00:00:00Z SLICE OF LIFE: When life is a dragBy Vanessa Renderman, (219) 933-3244

I opened my purse during Mass on Sunday to tithe whatever crumpled bill was in my wallet and noticed a glow emanating from inside.

It wasn't a celestial sign thanking me for chipping in to cover the church's utility bill. It was a glow stick the size of an index finger, with the brand name of a liqueur written on it.

Ah, the glow stick.

About 12 hours earlier, I was sitting in a crowded, dimly lit, two-drink-minimum Chicago club watching drag queens lip sync and shake their business while draped in sequins and sparkly costume jewelry.

It was my first time at the Baton Show Lounge, a popular place for bachelorette parties and birthdays. We were there for a bachelorette party for our friend, Carrie.

The only other time I saw female impersonators was during an amateur style lip syncing show on the North Side of Chicago. But the entertainers at the Baton Show Lounge are professionals, so I didn't know what to expect.

Our group was first in line and first seated. We watched as bachelorette party after bachelorette party filed in, with giggling girls flanking the bride-to-be, identifiable by her costume veil, sash and/or glowing, flashing necklace and tiara.

Some of the fancier drinks were served with a glow stick. My friend Megan bought one and was kind enough to give me her glow stick, which became a photo prop on the ride home, eventually settling into the bottom of my purse.

A montage of video clips introduced us to our lineup of entertainers, who emerged in a group number. The crowd — 99 percent female —turned into a screaming, hootin', hollerin' group.

The show continued, with the performers lip syncing to modern hits and classics. People tipped their favorites. My group pressured me to follow suit. 

"I'm waiting for my moment," I said.

And then it happened.

The entertainer appeared in a way-too-big fur coat that hinted there was more to the act. Lip-syncing to Tina Turner's "Simply the Best," she dropped her coat to reveal a White Sox jersey with crystals coating the Sox logo.

Megan and I couldn't grab our money fast enough.

"This is my moment!" I shouted, running to the stage with a dollar bill in my fist.

In church the next morning, I chuckled when I saw the glow stick.

"If they only knew," I thought.

Vanessa Renderman is the health care reporter for The Times. You can reach her at

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