Three drag queens stand outside the backdoor of the IU auditorium, sucking on cigarettes and chatting about their performances later in the evening. An overabundance of gloss is poised drip over the edge of their lips, but numerous layers of lip liner block the fall. They're oblivious to the cold because they're wearing several pairs of panty hose and a body stocking.\nVicky St. James, Miss Gay Indiana and one of the emcees for Miss Gay IU, stumbles up with her silicon jiggling and floor-length, faux-cheetah fur coat billowing behind her. She drags her costume changes in a rolling suitcase that's thumping against the pavement.\nHalf an hour later, the previously frazzled James is completely composed and transformed. She's on stage with fellow emcee Brandy Ice, kicking off the festivities and playing her sassy southern woman persona to perfection. \nAbout 2,000 people gathered for the Miss Gay IU pageant. As impromptu as it was entertaining, the event was what Miss America would be like if everyone involved had an excessive amount of liquor in their system. \nThe emcees frequently lost their notes and ended up filling the time by making playful, catty remarks at each other about the expanse of their rear ends, size of their thighs, contents of their breasts and how many rolls of duct tape it took to tuck things away. \nContestant Della Licious was duct tape-free during the competition because of a previous experience, when her makeshift girdle cut off her circulation during a performance and was too painful to take off. \n"Imagine taking off a Band-Aid. Now multiply that by 9,000. That's what duct tape is like," Licious said.\nThe pain of primping was well worth it for the entertainers, whose routines were met with delighted cheers and dollar bills from members of the audience. Performers strutted on stage with only their extravagant or skimpy costumes and left with bouquets of cash.\nEmcees had a few gifts for the audience as well, tossing out Wonder Woman videotapes, miniature Grateful Dead bears and other miscellaneous trinkets. \nThe emcees did a cheering poll to find out what portion of the audience was straight, gay or "confused" and found it to be pretty evenly distributed.\nOne of the evening's highlights was the performance by Bloomington's Drag Kings. Sporting rat tails, gelled hair, sideways caps, vests, tight-rolled jeans, faux facial hair and sideburns, they danced to N'Sync's "Space Cowboy" and New Kids on the Block's "The Right Stuff."\nSophomore "Ian King" will be pushing for a "Hoosier Daddy" drag king pageant next year. \nContestant Senior Sugar Bear Blackman's feisty rendition of "Proud Mary" was also met with roaring approval. Blackman was an incredibly convincing woman, betrayed only by her bulging, muscular biceps. With envious poise, energy, rhythm and killer legs, Blackman took home the 2002 Miss Gay IU title. The judging was based on an on-stage question, evening wear and talent.\n"I'm ecstatic! I can't believe this crown is on my head," Blackman said. "I'm so happy -- I'm going to keep saying that all night."\nThe audience was happy, too, even though the program was four hours long and dragged a little at some points (no pun intended). \n"What's cool about Miss Gay IU is that it gives people a chance to show support for GLBT issues, and also it's just a really fun time," senior Jennifer Schug said. "I like that it's held on campus because it's right out in the open. For some people who go see Miss Gay IU, it's the first show of this kind they have seen, and I think it's an awesome way to encourage open-mindedness"
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