May 15th, 2013 by Nina with No Comments
Saturday night of Pride just got bigger!
with Alexis Stevens, Anisa Love, Freesia Balls, Fancy Punasti, Akasha O’Hara Lords, Amaya Sexton, Cool Ethan, Pretty Punasti, Bianca Debonair, Chutney Sinclair, Kiley Dash-West, Selena T. West, Mathilda Longfellow, Vivian Von Brokenhymen, Cookie Crumbles, and introducing Plenty O’Smiles.
April 30th, 2013 by Nina with No Comments
The Annual Denison University Drag Show was last night. I know this may sound terribly cliche but it is one of those bookings that really makes what I and so many others do worth it. Every year we get to go this amazingly picturesque campus in this quaint little town of Granville and entertain the students for a couple hours. And every year, I am reminded of my college experience at this university.
When I was a freshman at Denison, I remember seeing a table at the Student Activites Fair for a group called Outlook. I saw the rainbow stickers and a picture of Harvey Milk. I circled a few times, flirting with the table. Every pass by the table got a little closer and then a little closer. Finally, after I don’t know how many times, I was stopped. The jig, as they said, was up. That is when I met Lindsey and David. I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant at the time, but it changed my life.
I went to a meeting on a warm early September Monday night in the Women’s Resource Center that was then, at the time, in Fellows Hall. This was 1997. The blinds to the meeting space were all drawn. It was very private. My heart was still racing. I had only told a few people at this point that I was gay. And now, I was sitting in a room of about eleven other queer students. The returning students were doing the best they could, giving smiles of comfort. Their eyes said, “it is all ok.” The few freshman, like me, were fidgeting, and eyes seemed to be more on the floor than anywhere else. There were so many things talked about in that first meeting – Visibility Week, National Coming Out Day, allies on campus, GLBT staff like Dr. Ann Shaver and the incredible Fred Porcheddu, outings to Columbus, and then the first mention of the Denison Drag show, started by graduate James Smith.
My ears perked a little bit but more so out of fear of this thing I didn’t know – drag. My first experience with a drag queen had only been a couple months prior to that when I went out for the first time to a gay bar in Akron with my friend Matt. I was already on edge because I had lied to my parents about where I was going. I think the excuse this time was a trip to get coffee somewhere and head to a bookstore to find the latest Stephen King to pour over before bed. Alas, that night, I didn’t return home with a book. Rather, I came home with a vision of a very colorful and cacophonous entertainer – this person was larger than life. I had never seen anything like it. Here I was, finally, in the wilds of a gay bar staring at my first encounter with the she-beasts I had seen before in Too Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar and The Birdcage and I was lost. I will never forget that feeling of seeing my first drag queen, and honestly, I was scared.
So, in hearing about these drag shows, I didn’t know what to make, but that would happen in April, and it was just September. I could worry about that when it came. Months passed, and I was coming into my own, becoming more comfortable with my sexual orientation and what that meant to be openly gay. In almost a flash, the year was coming to an end and the drag show was here. That first year, I sat in the audience, watching entertainers come onto the Slayter Student Union stage. That is the night I met many friends, but wouldn’t know it until years later. I met Maria Garrison, Missy Marlo, Sasha, Janet Garrison, Dominique Larue. What was this I was seeing? It was amazing, awesome talent – gorgeous flips, splits, and shakes. I was sucked in, and that night in April, I officially became a drag hag. I loved it. After the show, the entertainers did a quick question and answer portion and talked about their lives outside of the glitz and glamour. It was all so fascinating. I sat there with bated breath, curious to know about what their life was like. That night was magical.
After the show, I remember walking back to Curtis West, my residential hall, waiting to talk even more about what I had just witnessed. It was unreal. And this was the experience every year. One of my lifelong friends from college, Justin, and I would cackle and plan for every show after that, excited to work with the entertainers. We were ready to wait on them hand and foot – scouring for fans for the dressing room and trying to ensure that all of their needs were met. It is because of this show that I got in drag for the first time ever, my senior year, with my best judy Justin. That was the night that Meisha Mae and Nina West were born. It was a March evening. I want to say the 30th. Somewhere in that area. 2001. It was because of this show that I met Virginia West, who, for the Drag Show at Denison my senior year, allowed me to take her last name for that one-night engagement. I don’t think she thought it would turn into this all of these years later. It is because of this show that I got even closer to my friend Patricia. She was the very first to ever paint my face before a party in Smith Hall. That was an odd night. Another story, another blog. It was because of this show that I met people who became my friends, idols, and family. Other than Virginia, I met Virginia’s then-boyfriend Brian AKA Pretty Punasti. I also met Mary Ann Brandt, Tula Tubesucker, Carizma, Beverly Ford, Alexis Fontaine, Blossom, among many others.
This show has been going on for years. I remember going to a GLBT conference my junior year, talking about this particular event that we did, and other schools were just in shock we had a drag show. When I was in school, I can only think of Oberlin in northeast Ohio doing what we were doing. And that is because of the awesome vision of James Smith. James Smith changed my life. Is that the point? I think through writing all of this out, it is what I have realized. And I am so thankful for him.
So, last night, we went back to Denison. We went home. And all of these emotions come flooding back for me. Stepping on stage, looking out at the students, I saw so many people I know sitting in the crowd. I saw a young Justin Garrison, throwing his hands up and cheering. I saw a young freshman version of myself, sitting there, newly out and trying to negotiate what he sees in front of him. I saw Patricia Taylor, sitting there, holding her best friend’s hand because of this fatastical sensory overload. And because she wants to share in this brief evening of happiness before the reality of the world sinks in after the lights are up and the queens have all gone home. But for me, heading to Denison was like heading home. Going home always feels good, and last night felt awesome.
Thank you Anisa Love, Virginia West, Jareja Rashad, Pretty Punasti, Cool Ethan, and Natasha West for an outstanding evening.
Thank you to Outlook, Taylor and the executive board, and the students of Denison University for having us and allowing us to continue to create and share memories.
Andrew Levitt, ’01
August 24th, 2012 by Nina with No Comments
Playing all weekend long! Join us for a fabulously fun evening with some of your favorite girls!
June 8th, 2012 by Nina with No Comments
My Pride schedule this year is everywhere YOU want to be!
TUESDAY, JUNE 12
Come to Camelot Cellars Winery on June 12th from 7-9pm and have none other than ME, as your bartender. I will pour your glass of locally crafted vino for you and enjoy your company.
There will be $1 off selected glasses of wines and $2 off all flights. A portion of the Wine Bar sales for this event will go to my selected charity, Project Zero: Ohio, which raises funds for HIV/AIDS research here in Central Ohio. Also, for every bottle of our Limited Edition or Specialty Wines purchased that evening, Camelot Cellars will donate $1 to the charity. Come to Camelot Cellars Winery for the start of Pride Week to enjoy some wine and support Project Zero: Ohio.
Following this event, I will be heading down to Union Cafe for Nina’s Pre-Pre Pride Party at Union Cafe! 10 pm! And it is Tequila Tuesday!!
Wednesday, June 13
I will be joining the Pre-Pride celebration with Virginia West at Virginia’s Top Shelf Wednesday! This cast is fantastic and features special guest INDIA FERRAH, from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 3, as well as some of your favorite entertainers!
THURSDAY, JUNE 14
I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for this event. It really is one of my favorite shows to do every year, and this year, i have really tried to bring you some of the best in female illusion and impersonation. Make sure to get your tables early as they always sell out! The cast for the Pride Kick Off Show this year is stellar, featuring Virginia West, Maria Garrison, The Royal Renegades, Freesia Balls, Candi Panties, Kari Kerning, Stefanie Sexton, a cameo by Kiley Dash and more!
FRIDAY, June 15
Such a hot night is planned for YOU! First, we have the Diesel Underwear Fashion Show, featuring the very hot and sexy Rod Daley. I will be hosting outside with Rod and an amazing Torso Fashion Show, and then we will head inside and join Virginia West, Anisa Love, Maria Garrison for the Axis Lounge All Male Review happening all night!
SATURDAY, June 16
After the Pride Parade and Festival, make sure you get some rest in because we are gonna party all night long! UNITY BALL and DRAGAPALOOZA are the biggest Pride parties in the city! First, join me and Virginia West outside for the largest drag event in the midwest, and starring PHI PHI O’HARA from RuPaul’s Drag Race 4 and LATRICE ROYALE from RuPaul’s Drag Race 4! The event will also feature India Ferrah, RuPaul Drag Race 3 star, Nova Star, former Miss Gay United States At Large, Toledo’s own Deja Delaterro, as well as many of your local favorites including Anisa Love, Alexis Stevens, Maria Garrison, Freesia Balls, Kari Kerning, Candi Panties, Samantha Rollins, Paige Passion, Vivi Velure, Barbie Roberts, Sandy Von Lipshitz, Vivian Von Brokenhymen, Cassandra Terrace, Akasha O’Hara Lords, Kiley Dash, Sonya Ross, Selena Terrace-West, Drew Terrace, Stella Boheme, Mathilda Longfellow, Britney Blaire, Mikaila Denise! And if that isn’t enough, come inside for the hottest dancing at UNITY BALL 2012, with an all-male review downstairs in the lounge hosted by Virginia West, Anisa Love, and Alexis Stevens, and a fabulous drag review in the cabaret hosted by me and featuring Phi Phi O’Hara, India Ferrah, Deja Dellaterro, Nova Starr, and Maria Garrison and more!
SUNDAY, June 17th
Just when you thought the weekend was over, it is time to come out for that game of games BAT N ROUGE 2012! Where else will you see a bunch of drag queens play softball? This year, the event is hosted by myself, Virginia West, and special guest Latrice Royale!
I hope you make it out to one or many of my appearances, but more importantly, i hope you have an amazing Pride 2012!
May 2nd, 2012 by Nina with No Comments
We will be making a big announcement about Bat N Rouge next week at the bat N Rouge All Star Show! Friday, May 11, at Axis Nightclub!
May 1st, 2012 by Nina with No Comments
Going to Denison University every year is truly one of my favorite shows to do. The energy. The fun. It really is an unreal and amazing experience. Some photos from our shenanigans last night.
Pretty Punasti and me!
A message to Sandy Von Lipshitz
April 26th, 2012 by Nina with No Comments
I have a lot of “homes” I guess. I mean, there is the place I actually lay may head at almost every night. That would be “home base”. Then there is my home town, Columbus. It is home too! And then, my home stage, which is really Union and Axis, depending on the night of the week and the gig. So that is a home. And then, you have Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is home to many things, like the Louisville Slugger and I even think the Broadway Series is from Louisville. And hell, Kentucky bourbon is from the area too, i think. But Louisville is also home to Entertainer of the Year. I have a lot of friends down there. Family. I am excited to say that tonight I will be taking a somewhat impromtu road trip to go down to Louisville and perform tonight at the Connection Theatre. What is the occasion, you ask?
My EOY sister, Vanessa Demournay, has qualified for the national dance, Miss Gay USofA, and honestly, I would do anything for her. So, I am packing up the car and taking a road trip to my second home…or is it third home? Fourth? Who cares, it is definitely a home for me! And, in all of this madness, I get to see my sis Dee Ranged! And if that wasn’t enough, I get to also chill with my friend and newly crowned Niagra Falls Regional EOY and former Miss Continental, Mokha Montrese! Wait, there’s more? Oh yea, check out that line-up above!
And sharing in this fab road trip with me?
I get to travel with to of my favorite peeps ever today! Kira and Anisa! HAKUNA MATATA, BITCH!
Tonight, will be great! If oyu are in Louisville, come out if you can!
And tomorrow, guess where I will be before driving my happy ass home? One of my favorite restaurants in the entire world! LYNNE’S PARADISE CAFE! It is like walking into Pee Wee’s playhouse during that breakfast scene from Big Adventure…and the food is cute to boot!!
needless to say, I am excited! Louisville, here we come!
January 17th, 2012 by Nina with No Comments
January 5th, 2012 by Nina with 1 Comment
Virginia West and her crew of rockin’ vixens are ready to rock and roll and want to take you on this unique journey through music and madness!
STADIUM VIRGINIUM 2: Slippery When West will open at Axis Nightclub on Thursday February 9th at 8 pm, with a weekend full of shows to follow, including Friday, February 10 at 8 pm, Saturday Feb 11 at 6 pm and 10 pm, and Sunday Feb 12th at 8 pm!
This cast of hard rockin’ bitchin’ babes includes Nina West, Maria Garrison, Alexis Stevens, Natasha West, Sandy Von Lipshitz, Freesia Balls, Candi Panties, Pretty Punasti, Anisa Love, Chutney Sinclair, Kiley Dash, and the West Family Dancers — Katy Malys, Julie Hazlet, Lydia Feddern, and Sara Ernest.
Tables are on sale now by calling 614-421-2233 or by stopping by Union Cafe! OR contact Nina West directly at email@example.com to reserve yours today!
November 9th, 2011 by Nina with No Comments
There are many things that I have been apart of and helped plan and bring to life. I am so proud to even be apart of this event and stand with a true hero and welcome him home. Please, if you can, make plans to come out to Axis Nightclub on November 19 for a very special evening, helping to welcome home Captain Steve Hill. All proceeds will benefit the Stonewall Veterans.