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Gayest and Greatest 2018: Entertainment and Nightlife

Alexye’us Paris pays homage to the likes of Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and Patti LaBelle.

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Most Divine Drag Queen: Alexye’us Paris

Houston’s Most Divine Drag Queen, Alexye’us Paris, made her first appearance on Halloween 1997 when friends coaxed Demarcus Hardin to enter a costume contest at a gay bar in his hometown of San Angelo. 

“I looked like a boy in a wig, but I was good enough to win $400. I was so good that the bar owner asked me to come back and perform once a week. I was a preacher’s kid and didn’t know anything about making my hair or doing my makeup, so I had to pay somebody. For six months, I paid attention to every detail, and I learned how to do them myself.”

In San Angelo, Hardin says, he learned at the sparkling stiletto-clad feet of veteran female impersonators Teairra Mykelz and Chyna Blue, both of whom began their careers in San Angelo. Mykelz and Blue followed their stars to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, enjoying fame in dragdom before returning to their fans at home. 

Sixteen years ago, when Paris decided to “make a change and move to a bigger city,” she picked Houston for her home base as a full-time professional female impersonator. “I do a lot of ‘old school’ drag: Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin. I leave Beyoncé and what we call ‘radio music’—younger artists who are on the radio—to other girls. My favorite number is Gladys Knight’s ‘End of the Road.’ My most requested is ‘I Will Survive’ by Gladys Knight.” 

Paris performed at various Montrose clubs that have since closed before landing the prestigious post as director of entertainment at Hamburger Mary’s, where she’s able to book top talents by employing the digits she gathered while traveling across Texas and the rest of the country as Miss Gay Texas USofA at Large 2013 and Miss Gay Houston USofA 2015. “She was a great titleholder for both of those titles,” says Houston drag guru Craig Henderson. 

Most recently, Paris won the title of Miss Gay Barbie USofA and placed as third runner-up at Miss Gay Texas USofA in August, when she surprised audiences with a hip-hop dance to a Paula Abdul medley. 

“I am half black and half Hispanic,” says Paris, whose status as a pageant queen doesn’t come with a platform or agenda. “I am a quiet person and usually do not have much to say, unless I am asked something specifically.”

—Don Maines

Best Drag Show Bar

Hamburger Mary’s
Finalists: BARCODE Houston, Guava Lamp, JR’s Bar & Grill, Michael’s Outpost

Favorite Bar to Shoot Pool

George Country Sports Bar
Finalists: Houston Eagle, JR’s Bar & Grill, Michael’s Outpost, Tony’s Corner Pocket

Favorite Bar to Two-Step

Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon
Finalist: Ranch Hill Saloon

Favorite Club after 2 AM

Alibi
Finalists: Neon Boots, Rich’s

Favorite Club for Dancing

Alibi
Finalists: Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon, Numbers Night Club, Rich’s Houston

Favorite Club if You’re Under 21

Blur Bar
Finalists: Numbers, Rich’s 

Favorite Community Bar

Houston Eagle
Finalists: George Country Sports Bar, JR’s Bar & Grill, Michael’s Outpost, Tony’s Corner Pocket

Favorite Women’s Bar

Pearl Bar Houston
Finalist: Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon

Favorite Men’s Bar

Houston Eagle
Finalists: Michael’s Outpost, Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon, RIPCORD

Favorite Drag King

Richard Long
Finalists: Braxton Phresh, Ian Syder-Blake

Most Divine Drag Queen

Alexyeus Paris
Finalists: Blackberri, Martinique Bouvier, Kara Dion, Dessie Love-Blake 

Favorite Drag Show Host/Emcee

Blackberri
Finalists: Kara Dion, Kofi, Alexyeus Paris, Angelina DM Trailz

Favorite Female DJ

DJ Melle Mel
Finalist: DJ Athenz

Favorite Male DJ

JD Arnold
Finalists: DJ Eddie E, Joe Ross

Favorite Local (Non-Drag) Female Entertainer

Wendy Taylor
Finalists: Nina Lombardo, Kayla Nicole Martinez, Morena Roas

Favorite Local (Non-Drag) Male Entertainer

Mykey Whitney
Finalists: Marty Adamson, Ty Frazier

Favorite Local Band

Dirty Disco
Finalists: Doomstress, Houston Pride Band, Space Kiddettes

Favorite Place to Show Off Your Leather

Houston Eagle
Finalists: Numbers Nightclub, RIPCORD

Favorite Place to Watch Male Dancers

Tony’s Corner Pocket
Finalists: Houston Eagle, JR’s Bar & Grill

Favorite Straight Bar

Barbarella
Finalists: Darwin’s Pub, Glitter Karaoke 

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Don Maines

Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
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