The District of Columbia may be the seat of America’s democracy, but at least one monarchy is thriving here. On Wednesday, March 2, the D.C. Kings celebrated five years of gender-bending drag kings at Chaos. The Kings claim this anniversary makes theirs the longest running drag-king show in the world.
“It’s kind of hard to wrap our heads around the specialness of five years,” says Kendra Kuliga, a.k.a. Ken Las Vegas. “It feels pretty amazing.”
Kuliga, who opened the show with her Prince impersonation, guesses that the anniversary show drew a crowd of about 250. “We packed it,” she says. “We always pack it, but this one was particularly packed.”
And that wasn’t the only treat of the evening.
“We had a cake. It had a crown on it and a big ‘5,’” she says. “Carlos [Aguilar, the owner of Chaos] surprised us.”
During the course of the evening, 11 drag kings did their best to show how far the D.C. Kings have come in five years. Quite a ways, says Kuliga.
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“It’s pretty much night and day. All of the kings have risen to an equal level. We have a lot more support and that affects the quality of the show,” Kuliga says. “For this show, I asked everyone to do their most favorite number. It was a ‘best of’ show. They all affected the crowd differently, and they all did a fantastic job.”
Though Kuliga seems pleased with how far the Kings have come, she seems equally pleased with where the future might take them.
“I think we’re going to have a lot more leaders in the drag king community,” Kuliga says. “We’re seeing that evolution now. And kings in the African American community want to reach to members of the community who are not just [in] Dupont or Capitol Hill. We want to reach out to more people of color. We’re really working to diversify our group. The nice thing about the king shows is that they provide a voice for everyone who performs, and we open it to everyone.”
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