When Wilton Manors’ beloved country-western club Scandals Saloon closed its doors unexpectedly last month, it left me with two burning questions: Where would my boot scootin’ friends go to party? And what would happen to Lady Fancy’s Gospel Jubilee, the incredibly popular monthly celebration of good, old-fashioned southern gospel music.
Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long to have both my questions answered. New owners plan to have Scandals back in business before Independence Day, and Lady Fancy is moving the Jubilee over to The Pub Wilton Manors. Her first show is this Sunday, and I thought this would be the perfect time for me to sit down for a chat with Lady Fancy — and remind everyone why she’s a queen we love. Can I get an amen?
Tell me about the first drag show you ever saw.
It was in Indianapolis many years ago at their Pride day. A drag queen came riding down the street in a horse-drawn carriage, and when it stopped she performed [Christian music star Sandi Patty’s 1988 single] “Indianapolis Indeed!,” which was absolutely perfect. I still love that song. I’ve performed it, off and on, through the years.
When did you decide you wanted to do drag?
Years ago my good friend and local drag queen Nancy Ross and I decided to put on a surprise drag show at her Christmas Party. We’ve always called ourselves “The Backyard Broads” because the party, and the show, was in her backyard. That’s when it all started, and the rest is kind of history.
Who is your drag mother?
My drag mother would have to be [Fort Lauderdale] drag queen and winner of countless titles, Sharde Ross.
Besides Sharde, who is your favorite queen?
My favorite would have to be Ruth Dix, an Indianapolis icon who passed away earlier this month. Ruth made drag fun. She would do anything to entertain you. She was not about just being pretty; Ruth was about being an entertainer.
What’s your favorite number to perform?
My favorite number would have to be the gospel song “Born to Serve the Lord.” I was raised, rooted, and grounded in gospel music, and being able to perform this song in full drag means the message is still going forward, just in a different way.
What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in drag?
The friends I’ve made along the way, my drag sisters and brothers who have become my chosen family. We share a common bond as entertainers. We’ve experienced so many good times. And the things that go on in the dressing room? Lord, help us!
What differentiates you from other queens?
I guess what makes me a little different is the Gospel Jubilee. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind show. We have drag queens, we have real singers singing, and I usually play the piano at some point. At the beginning of every Gospel Jubilee show, I always say: “If you’ve come here expecting us to make fun or light of gospel music, you will be disappointed. We are here for one reason only, and that is to celebrate gospel music. So, have fun — and welcome to church of a different kind!”
What does the future hold?
Well, I guess the future for me will be to keep doing what I’m doing — and looking forward to where it may go. Remember, I’m not exactly a spring chicken, so if something big is gonna happen, it better hurry up!
Lady Fancy’s Gospel Jubilee. Sun Jun 24, 7–9pm. The Pub (2283 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors).