Riotous and incredibly talented singer Lavinia Draper and a number of guest performers took the upstairs cabaret room at Mark Nayden and Richard Kennedy’s Excelsior bar, in Park Slope—at its newish location at 563 Fifth Avenue, between 15th and 16th Streets—by storm on December 19. Richard, AKA DJ RDK, was in charge of music, lights, and sound.
Lavinia, in Christmas regalia, began by seducing us with “Santa Baby” and segued into “The Christmas Song,” adapted for this kinkier era. She saluted our city in song and dance with “New York, New York,” with great sustained high notes, before returning to seasonal fare with “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree,” with a deft dance break.
Todd Joseph, who was recently affianced to Logan Hardcore, joined Lavinia in singing “Suddenly Seymour,” from “Little Shop of Horrors,” and their encore was “Fly Me to the Moon.” Logan gave us “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” at Lavinia’s request, and Lavinia sang “Honkytonk Woman,” altering the words to make them about Logan and Fire Island. Lavinia conjured a mystical mood with “Take Me to the River,” Logan’s request.
Lavinia sang “Class,” from “Chicago,” before turning the stage over to other fine singers Lailah Lancing, who tends bar and performs at Excelsior, and here sang “O Holy Night,” and reigning Miss Fire Island Vita Summers, who sang “Fancy.”
Lavinia returned to the stage to pair “I Who Have Nothing” with Radiohead’s “Creep,” as she raided a fan’s wallet. She then sang “I’m the Only One” for her lesbian fans. Angel Draper, Lavinia’s drag daughter, took the stage for “Oh, Santa!” Lavinia sang “Tell Him” (“I know something about love”), as “Tell Her,” apparently the original version, for Mary and Jo, and we all sang “Happy Birthday” to Jo.
Lavinia and Vita remembered Amy Winehouse with the former’s “Valerie” and the latter’s “Back to Black.” Lavinia favored us with her Disco Medley, including “I Believe in Miracles,” “Bad Girls” using this writer and spouse Joe Saporito as props, “Ring My Bells” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” and “It’s Raining Men.”
Lailah and Lavinia joined voices for “Piece of My Heart” and, despite the lateness of the hour, Lavinia still sang and danced up the proverbial storm in “River Deep, Mountain High.” Yours truly and Lavinia collaborated on “All of Me” as a duet.
Lavinia concluded this multi-faceted show with “And the World Goes ’Round,” Mark’s request, and “The Rose.” Watch for announcements of Lavinia’s next appearance here.