Ignite the Arts will host “Drag City USA,” a variety show featuring performances by local and regional drag queens who sing, dance and lip sync, on Saturday, April 22.
The fundraising event benefits the Focus on Friends organization and will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the upstairs banquet hall at Legends Steakhouse and Sports Bar, 411 S. Main St., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.
Performers include Ivy Winters; Candi, Wantsome?; Taj Mahal; and Majestik.
Winters, the show’s headliner, is a former circus performer who routinely incorporates fire eating, stilt walking and juggling into her act. A sought-after costume designer, she won the “Miss Congeniality” title in season five of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and resides in rural Michigan when she’s not touring.
Candi, Wantsome? is the persona of Ben Hippensteel, the event’s emcee and a Findlay and Fostoria native. Hippensteel began his drag career in 1998 and majored in musical theater at Wright State University, going on to perform with Thelma Houston, John Cameron Mitchell and RuPaul.
He uses his performance medium to help others, with emphasis on those in his LGBT community, who are struggling with addiction and self-acceptance. In 2005, he was asked to join the Rubi Girls, an Ohio-based drag troupe which started in the late 1980s. The group has raised over $1 million for LGBT charities.
As someone in long-term recovery, Hippensteel introduces himself in character as “the 39-year-old, super sober, Drag Queen Hostess with the Mostess.” He will share stories of his recovery at the event and says his goal is to show it is possible to be in recovery and still have fun.
Focus on Friends is a peer-led recovery center that offers support and resources to people impacted by mental health and addiction issues. Hippensteel is a board member for the recovery center and developed the show with Donaldson. His connections with Rubi Girls helped attract
Taj Mahal and Majestik’s participation.
Standing room general admission tickets are $20. VIP tickets cost $50 and include special seating, swag bags, entry to meet and greet with food and two drink tickets. Only 250 general admission and 50 VIP tickets will be sold.
The event is open to those ages 16 and older. All ticketholders who would like alcoholic beverages will have to go downstairs to the main bar. Food can be brought upstairs, but only limited bistro tables will be available for general admission. An elevator will be available for handicapped accessibility.
Tickets can be purchased at Coffee Amici, 328 S. Main St.; Focus on Friends, 509 W. Trenton Ave.; or online at www.ignitethearts.com.
Those interested in sponsoring the event can email firstname.lastname@example.org.