In Loving Memory of Michelle St. James

Michelle St. James

Michelle St. James

Michelle St. James was the illusion of Michael Canterbury and had been an entertainer for more than 34 years.  Based out of South Charleston, West Virginia, she had held 135 titles over the years.  Michelle sadly passed away in January of 2017.

Titles and Awards

Miss Driftwood 2002

*Michelle was also a former Miss Leather International and Miss West Virginia Pride.

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In Loving Memory of Leslie Rage

Leslie Rage

Leslie Rage

Leslie Rage, a forever Miss Gay America, was known for her dancing abilities. She showed us this in her signature talent presentation, ‘Let Me Dance For You’ from ‘A Chorus Line’ that she brought to the Miss Gay America pageant.

Beyond just her talents on stage, Leslie was even more known for how kind she was to others.  Sadly we lost Leslie about 6 months after her reign as Miss Gay America 1993.

Titles and Awards

Miss Gay America 1993

Miss Gay Mid East America 1993
Prelim to Miss Gay America

1st Alternate to Miss Gay America 1992

Miss Gay New York State 1990

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In Loving Memory of Divine

Divine

Divine

Divine was the illusion of Harris Glenn Milstead.  Born on October 19th, 1945 in Baltimore, Maryland, Divine would become a huge figure in the drag culture.  Though her life was short lived due to her passing at age 42 on March 7th, 1988, her over the top personality and presence etched a place for her in history.

Most well known for work with filmmaker John Waters, “Divine” became a character actor performing in several of Waters’ theatrical features.  Through this work, Divine also launched a music career with such hits as “You Think You’re a Man” and “I’m So Beautiful”.

We salute the artistry that was Divine!

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In Loving Memory of Dusti Hymen

Dusti Hymen

Dusti Hymen

Dusti Hymen was a well loved entertainer out of Columbus, Ohio where she was featured at places like Wall Street Night Club.  Dusti was a part of many production shows with Mary Ann Brandt like the annual “Back to School” and “Christmas” shows.   Sadly Dusti passed away in April of 2013.  Our heart goes out to all those who knew and loved Dusti.

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In Loving Memory of Vicci Laine

Vicci Laine

Vicci Laine

Vicci Laine was an entertainer out of Bloomington, Indiana where she was featured at Uncle Elizabeth’s.  Vicci started performing in 1980 at a night club called Bullwinkles in Bloomington.  She has also been on cast at 21 Club and The Ten in Indianapolis.

We sadly lost Vicci in July of 2017.  We salute the artistry that was Vicci Laine.

Titles and Awards

2008 Celia Busch Award

Top 12 at Miss Gay USofA 1988

Miss Gay Indiana USofA 1988
Prelim to Miss Gay USofA

Miss Gay Bloomington 1985

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In Loving Memory of Justin

Justin

Justin

Justin was an entertainer out of Cleveland, Ohio where he was featured at places like Cocktails.  In Columbus, Ohio he was featured at places like the Bow Wow.

Sadly we lost Justin in August of 2013.  Justin made many friends on his path of life and they will hold special memories of him that will last a lifetime.  A benefit remembering Justin was held October 15th at MJ’s Cafe in Dayton.

Show Ad | MJ's Cafe (Dayton, Ohio) | 10/15/2013

Show Ad | MJ’s Cafe (Dayton, Ohio) | 10/15/2013

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In Loving Memory of KiArra Cartier Fontaine

KiArra Cartie Fontaine

KiArra Cartie Fontaine

KiArra was an entertainer who last resided in Cleveland, Ohio, but she got her start in Chicago, Illinois under the name of KiArra Lee when she was dared to enter a Halloween contest at the Baton Show Lounge. She was painted by the wonderful Kim Cleveland, who also helped her pick a melody, Diana Ross. She won the contest and hasn’t stopped since.

She then started performing at several clubs in Chicago and doing talent contests including Continental preliminaries. In March of 1995, she relocated to Akron, Ohio. It was there in July of that year, that she won her first title as Miss Akron Newcomer.

In 2001 she made a move to Toledo, Ohio where she became the show director for Caesar’s Show bar for two and a half years. KiArra made her another move to Columbus, Ohio in April of 2006 before moving back Cleveland. She had performed all over the country and has countless titles to her name.

KiArra has had a few names to note. Besides KiArra Lee, she has also been known as KiArra Fontaine Marlowe …and of course many of her friends just call her ‘Kiki’.

At the end of May and the first part of June of 2006, KiArra started two new weekly shows at Somewhere Else Club in Columbus, Ohio. Every Wednesday she hosts ‘Dicks with a Diva’ with the best in hot male erotica and on every Thursday, she hosts ‘Cocktail Talk with KiArra and Guests’ featuring the best in female impersonation.

Sadly KiArra lost her battle to cancer on May 29th 2013.  Our deepest sympathy goes out to all of Kiki’s friends and family during this difficult time. She was a legend and friend to so many during her life and now she will always live on in our hearts as we remember those wonderful times we were blessed to share with her.

Titles and Awards

Miss Ohio Continental 2012
Prelim to Miss Continental

Miss Gay Ohio United States 2012
Prelim to Miss Gay United States

Miss Interbelt 2011
(Interbelt Night Club – Akron, Ohio)

Miss Pennsylvania Premiere Continental 2011
Prelim to Miss Continental

Miss Addicted to Glamour 2011

Miss Dock 2009
(Dock Complex – Cincinnati, Ohio)

Miss Unlimited Classique 2009
Previously known as Miss Gay USA Classique

Miss Queen Cities 2008
(Caesar’s Show Bar – Toledo, Ohio)

Great Lakes Entertainer of the Year, F.I. 2007
Prelim to National Entertainer of the Year, F.I.

Miss Tri-State All-Star 2007

Miss Gay Great Lakes USofA 2007
Prelim to Miss Gay USofA

Miss Gay Indiana USofA 2006
Prelim to Miss Gay USofA

Miss SomeWhere Else 2006
(SomeWhere Else – Columbus, Ohio)

Miss Ohio Gay Pride 2005
(Axis Night Club – Columbus, Ohio)

Miss Sandusky Gay Pride 2004
Prelim to Miss Ohio Gay Pride

Miss Ohio Diva 2005

Miss Gay Detroit 2005

Miss Diva Midwest Continental 2005
Prelim to Miss Continental

Miss Gay International Inc. 2004

Miss Keystone International 2004
Prelim to Miss Gay International

Miss Gigi’s 2004
(Gigi’s – Detroit, Michigan)

Miss Cocktails 2004

Miss Toledo Diva 2004

Miss Rainbow Room 2004
(Rainbow Room – Detroit, Michigan)

Miss Michigan Continental 2003
Prelim to Miss Continental

Miss Seven 2003

Miss Gay Ohio America 2002
Prelim to Miss Gay Ohio America
(Celebrity Nightclub – Dayton, Ohio)

Miss Gay Akron America 2002
Prelim to Miss Gay Ohio America

Miss Glass Citi 2001

Miss Gay Galaxy 2001

Miss Cosmopolitan Continental 2001

Miss R House 2001
(R House – Toledo, Ohio)

Miss Caesar’s 2000
(Caesar’s Show Bar – Toledo, Ohio)

Miss Gay Ohio USofA 2000
Prelim to Miss Gay USofA

Miss Gay City Lights America 1999

Miss Mixx 1999

Miss Gay Black Ohio 1997

Miss Gay Columbus USofA 1997
Prelim to Miss Gay Ohio USofA

Miss Gay Canton America 1997
Prelim to Miss Gay Ohio America

Miss Cabaret Sweetheart 1997
(Club Cabaret – Hickory, North Carolina)

Miss Gay Youngstown America 1996
Prelim to Miss Gay Ohio America

Miss Stage Door 1996

Miss Gay Akron USofA 1996
Prelim to Miss Gay Ohio USofA

Miss Tear-EZ 1996
(Tear-EZ – Akron, Ohio)

Miss Akron Newcomer 1995

*KiArra is also a former Miss Metro Emeritus.

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In Loving Memory of Tara Richmond

Tara Richmond

In Loving Memory of Tara Richmond

Our Community Roots is happy to be able to release a tribute in the memory of Tara Richmond. In January of 2005, we were able to receive this incredible information from Tara’s husband Ray Glenn who was her partner for 17 years.

Born as Richard Henson on April 29, 1961, Tara Richmond began practicing the art of female illusion at the age of 18 when she became a cast member at the Twilight Lounge. While a cast member at the Twilight, Tara was taken under the wing of Brandy Lamonte, who then became her “Drag Mother”. After holding the position of Show Director at the Grotto II, Tara then went into retirement for over 8 years.

Returning to the stage in April 1996, Tara was crowned Miss Mardi Gras in 1997. Tara was also crowned Miss Columbus Gay Pride in 1998, and reigned as the first Miss Ohio Gay Pride also in 1998. This title afforded Tara the honor of performing at the 1999 Gay Pride Celebration in Columbus, Ohio.

Tara was then crowned Miss Remo’s 1999 as well as Miss Gay Columbus America 2000. With the support of Remo’s, Hidden Woman, Tremont and South Bend Tavern, Tara competed in the 2000 Miss Gay Ohio America Pageant. Winning the categories of Creative Fashion and Evening Gown. Tara placed as First Alternate, qualifying her to compete in the National Miss Gay America Pageant. Tara was then crowned Miss Wall Street 2001, and competed again for the Title of Miss Gay Ohio America in 2001. Winning the category of Evening gown, Tara placed again as First Alternate, qualifying her to compete a second time in the national Miss Gay America Pageant.

Tara was also the first winner of the Spotlight Magazine Award for Best Female Illusionist, and was also honored with the Golden Teddy Bear Award by the Columbus Centurions for her outstanding fundraising efforts. Tara was Show director at Tremont, South Bend Tavern, Remo’s, Garret’s Saloon, Club Utopia and Woody’s. Tara hosted Shows at Tabu’ every other Saturday Night with her friend, Brazon, and performed regularly at Pyramid and the Columbus Eagle. Tara also held the position of Events Director for Hidden Woman where she hosted the Hidden Woman Rising Star and Hidden Woman Search for the Stars which was a talent contest showcasing new female impersonators.

Tara traveled throughout Ohio and West Virginia performing in various clubs and Pageants. It was not unusual for Tara to perform every night of the week. A witty comedienne and a wonderful dancer, Tara loved the stage and enjoyed working with entertainers like Brandy Lamonte, Coco Kayne, Amanda Kayne, Lita Mannon, Darah Landon, Georgia Jackson, Jonda St. John, Vivi Velure, Vanessa Brown, Amanda Love, Cari Wayne, Amber Marie, the Legendary Brazon, and many, many others.

It was Mary Ann Brandt who named Tara the “Queen of the South”. Sadly, Tara died unexpectedly of a heart attack on July 28, 2002 at the age of 42. Tara is survived by a daughter, 2 sisters, a brother and a very loving family in addition to a group of very dear friends and many adoring fans who keep her name and memory alive.

Titles and Awards

1st Alternate to Miss Gay Ohio America 2001
Prelim to Miss Gay America

Miss Wall Street 2001
(Wall Street Night Club – Columbus, Ohio)

1st Alternate to Miss Gay Ohio America 2000
Prelim to Miss Gay America

Miss Gay Columbus America 2000
Prelim to Miss Gay Ohio America

Miss Remo’s 1999
(Remo’s – Columbus, Ohio)

Miss Ohio Gay Pride 1998

Miss Columbus Gay Pride 1998
Prelim to Miss Ohio Gay Pride

Miss Mardi Gras 1997

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In Loving Memory of Misty Knight

Misty Knight - Photo by Tios Photography

Misty Knight – Photo by Tios Photography

The Legendary Misty Knight was an entertainer from Dayton, Ohio where she was featured at places like Celebrity and  Masque Night Club.  She performed throughout the country and was very involved in pageantry.

On April 6th, 2018, Jim Flint announced that Misty would become an Honorary Miss Continental Elite for her lifetime of love, dedication, commitment and participation in the Continental Pageantry System.  The news came as as Misty was battling her fight with cancer.  When told about the honor bestowed upon her, she opened her eyes and smiled.  Misty would pass away a couple hours later knowing that she achieved one her biggest dreams.

Misty will be remembered for her kindness, generosity, and compassion and love for others.  She was a mother and sister to so many in the community and will be remembered for the rest of time.

Titles and Awards

Honorary Miss Continental Elite 2018

Miss Illinois Continental Elite 2017
Prelim to Miss Continental Elite

Top 12 at All American Goddess 2016
Tied for Creative Costume Category Award

Ohio All American Goddess 2016
Prelim to All American Goddess

Top 12 at Miss Gay USofA Classic 2016

Miss Gay California USofA Classic 2016
Prelim to Miss Gay USofA Classic

Miss Heart of America Continental Elite 2015
Prelim to Miss Continental Elite
(The Baton Show Lounge – Chicago, Illinois)

L’PFIA 2015

Miss Unlimited Classique 2013

Miss Masque 2013
(Masque Night Club – Dayton, Ohio)

Miss Gay Ohio USofA Classic 2012
Prelim to Miss Gay USofA Classic

Miss Aquarius 2009
(Club Aquarius – Dayton, Ohio)

Miss Celebrity Las Vegas 2005
Celebrity Show & Dance Club – Dayton, Ohio

Miss Metropolitan Continental Elite 2005
Prelim to Miss Continental Elite

Miss Gay North USofA Classic 2005
Prelim to Miss Gay USofA Classic

Miss Old Street 2001
(Old Street Saloon – Monroe, Ohio)

Miss Gay Midwest USofA 1991
Prelim to Miss Gay USofA

*Misty is also a former Miss After Dark and Miss Northern Kentucky.

The Legendary Misty Knight

The Legendary Misty Knight

The Legendary Misty Knight

The Legendary Misty Knight

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In Loving Memory of Billie Boots

Billie Boots

In Loving Memory of Billie Boots

Billie Boots, who was also known as “Florida’s Queen Mother”, was an entertainer out of Daytona Beach, Florida where he was featured at places like the Hollywood Barn Door.  In the early days of his drag career, Billie also tried the names Eve Paradise and Candy Barr, but in the end decided to stick with his own name as Billie Boots. Billie started performing at an early age, when as an orphan, he ran away and joined a carnival where he lived as a woman stripping until he was old enough to work.  The owner of the carnival also owned a night club in Miami Beach and Billie would work there in the Fall and Winter when the carnival was not running.

One of Billie’s last known recorded performances was in 1998 at the Hollywood Barn Door in Daytona Beach for the documentary “Queens for a Night”.  In that film Billie talked about the requirements when he first started doing female impersonation and how you had to have a male name.  He also had to come to the bar as a male dressed in a shirt, tie and suit, do the show and leave dressed as a man at the end of the night.  As a consequence, he would have to take off his wig at the end of a show, something he continued to do years later when this was no longer a requirement.  In those early years, female impersonators were also not aloud to mix with the audience when dressed as a woman, so after each performance they would have to go back to the dressing room right away.    Billie talked about being arrested and laws that existed at that time where on one block it was against the law to be dressed as a woman on stage and another block over in another jurisdiction it was against the law to be dressed as a woman in the audience.  One other interesting historical period Billie talked about in the film was the requirement that when entertainers were finally allowed to leave bars dressed in drag, they had to carry entertainer cards or police cards that they got from each local police department with their picture and names on it when they were traveling in the event that they were pulled over.

When living in New York City, Billie was a seamstress and made costumes for many big stars like Totie Fields, Lena Horne, LaVern Baker, and Ruth Brown. Billie also traveled with Tubby Boots, his partner of 21 years, for a period of time.  When one of the venues he worked at closed he moved and worked out of Nashville, Tennessee.  Billie also performed in places like Grand Central and the Old San Juan in Orlando, Florida in the late 1970’s.

Two strokes in Billie’s later years slowed him down but his enthusiasm and passion to entertain a crowd never failed. He also always gave back and supported local charities like the AIDS Coalition and Our House, which gave him several awards of appreciation. Billie Boots was truly a legend and someone who helped pave the way for so many who came after him.  Sadly this great individual and entertainer is no longer with us but we will always remember his contributions to the GLBT community.

Titles and Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award 1997

Honorary Miss Florida F.I. 1997

The Tubby Boots Memorial Award for the Comedy Award of the Decade 1996

2nd Alternate to Miss Gay America 1974

Miss Gay Florida America 1974
Prelim to Miss Gay America

*Billie was also crowned the official Miss Florida Queen Mother.

Above are some of the last photos of Billie Boots taken at the Hollywood Barn Door in Daytona Beach, FL. (Photo courtesy of Eric Brown Yaughn)

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In Loving Memory of Mia Landon

Mia Landon

In Loving Memory of Mia Landon

Mia Landon was the illusion of Clayton Hamilton who was an entertainer in Atlanta, Georgia and around the southeast for approximately 12 years. She worked as a fulltime cast member at the Heretic in Atlanta as part of the Harlots cast and she was a Show Director for Josh’s Rainbow Room in Atlanta.  Additionally, Mia was regularly featured at places like the Armory, Metro, Blakes, Burkharts and other venues in the Atlanta area.

After retiring from performing, Clayton still assisted other entertainers in their quest at achieving their dreams and judged the occasional pageant.  Clayton sadly passed away on August 10th, 2012 and will be missed by many friends and family.  Our heart goes out to all who called Mia/Clayton a friend.

Titles and Awards

Overall Interview Category Winner at Miss National 1999

Miss Armory 1999
(Armory – Atlanta, Georgia)

Miss Georgia National 1999
Prelim to Miss National

Miss Gay Anderson USofA 1998
Prelim to Miss Gay South Carolina USofA

Miss Atlanta Queen of Hearts 1997

2nd Alternate to Miss Gay Georgia America 1995
Overall On Stage Question Category Winner

In Loving Memory of Lady Chablis

Lady Chablis

Lady Chablis

The Lady Chablis, also known as “The Doll”, was an entertainer from Savannah, Georgia.   She got her big break in the early 1990s when she was featured as one of Savannah’s colorful characters in John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, based on a true crime story. In the book, Chablis and her larger-than-life adventures provided a counterbalance to the darker narrative of murder that was central to the book.

Chablis played herself in the 1997 movie of the same title, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack. Chablis made several appearances on talk shows when the book and the movie were released.  Chablis frequently performs at her “home” nightclub of Club One in Savannah. Chablis traveled the US performing at various venues and special events, such as gay pride gatherings. She has also appeared on many television and radio shows.

In her early career as an entertainer, under the names Brenda Dale Knox and The Lady Jonel, she won multiple titles in drag pageantry.

Lady Chablis passed away on Thursday, September 8th, 2016 in Savannah surrounded by family and close friends.  She was 59.  She will forever be remembered by the many who knew and had the pleasure of meeting her.

Titles and Awards

Miss Southern States USA 1998

Miss Georgia National 1998
Prelim to Miss National

Miss Atlanta Universe 1998

Miss Garden City 1997

Miss Cosmo U.S. 1997

Empress of Atlanta 1996

1st Alternate to Miss Gay Georgia America 1996
Prelim to Miss Gay America

Miss Sweetheart International 1989

The Grand Empress of Savannah 1977

Miss Gay World 1976

Miss Dixieland 1976

In Loving Memory of Clarissa Cavalier

Clarissa Cavalier

Clarissa Cavalier

March 11, 1971 – October 7, 2000

Titles and Awards

Miss Gay Iowa USofA 2000
Prelim to Miss Gay USofA

Miss National at Large 1998
Most Beautiful, Best Presentation, Best Interview, Best Evening Gown

1st Alternate to Miss Gay Illinois America 1993
Prelim to Miss Gay America

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In Loving Memory of Georgia Brown

Georgia Brown

Georgia Brown

Georgia was an entertainer who competed in the Miss Gay America pageantry system.  Sadly she passed away in 2011.  We salute the artistry that was Georgia Brown.

Titles and Awards

Miss Gay Illinois America 1986
Prelim to Miss Gay Missouri America

Miss Gay Illinois America 1983
Prelim to Miss Gay Missouri America

1st Alternate to Miss Gay Midwest America 1982
Prelim to Miss Gay America

Miss Gay Missouri America 1981
Prelim to Miss Gay Missouri America

In Loving Memory of Christi Cole

In Loving Memory of Christi Cole

In Loving Memory of Christi Cole

Christi Cole was an well loved entertainer out of Missouri.  We lost Christi on March 8, 1992.  The Miss Gay Missouri America pageant named their evening gown award in his honor, “The Christi Cole Award for Excellence in Couture”.

Titles and Awards

1st Alternate to Miss Gay Illinois America 1990
Prelim to Miss Gay America

Top 11 at Miss Gay America 1983

Miss Gay Midwest America 1982
Prelim to Miss Gay America

1st Alternate to Miss Gay Illinois America 1981
Prelim to Miss Gay America

Miss Gay Missouri America 1979
Prelim to Miss Gay America

*Christi was also a former Miss St. Louis.

In Loving Memory of Donna Drag

Donna Drag

Donna Drag

April 21, 1942 – April 20, 1993

Donna Drag was the illusion of Donald W. Davis and was an entertainer active in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  Along with his twin brother and fellow drag performer Lana Kuntz (Ronald Davis), they both performed in St. Louis, Missouri where they were featured places the Red Bull.

Lana started the Miss Gay Missouri America pageant in 1973 and in 1974 when she moved to Houston, Texas for business, Donna took over the pageant.  In 1979, Donna moved to Houston, Texas as well.

When recalling how Donna got her name we find that it was a tie in to her own boy name of Donnie and since he was doing drag he became Donna Drag.

Titles and Awards

2nd Alternate to Miss Gay America 1979

Miss Gay Midwest America 1978
Prelim to Miss Gay America

Miss Gay Illinois America 1977
Prelim to Miss Gay America

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In Loving Memory of Lana Kuntz

Lana Kuntz

Lana Kuntz

April 21, 1942 – March 1, 1993

Lana Kuntz was the illusion of Ronald Davis and was an entertainer active in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

After seeing the Miss Gay America contest in 1972, Ronald started the first Miss Gay Missouri America contest in 1973.

Along with his twin brother and fellow drag performer Donna Drag (Donald W. Davis), performed in St. Louis, Missouri where they were featured places the Red Bull. In 1974, Ronald moved to Houston, Texas for business.

Titles and Awards

Miss Gay Illinois America 1974
Prelim to Miss Gay America

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In Loving Memory of Lady Baronessa

Lady Baronessa

Lady Baronessa

Lady Baronessa, also known as The Lady Baroness Maria Andrea del Santiago, was the illusion of Carmel Santiago who was an entertainer originally from Puerto Rico and was later based in Chicago, Illinois.  Following his crowning as Miss Gay America in 1974, Lady Baronessa stayed very involved with the system.   1n 1990, he was featured on the “Sally Jessy Raphael Show” where he continued to promote Miss Gay America.  Lady Baronessa was very well respected and loved in the gay community and her passing in 1992 left a void in the entertainment industry.

Titles and Awards

Miss Gay America 1974
(Glass Menagerie – Nashville, Tennessee)

Miss Gay Illinois America 1973
Prelim to Miss Gay America

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