THE NIGHT OF 1,000 GOWNS: Grandeur, Glamour, & Gaiety!


Pics 1-5: Crystal Waters
Pic 6: Uber-promoter Mark Nelson & Lady Clover Honey
Pic 7: Paparazzi Michael Alexander & Jeff Eason (Wilson Models)
Pic 8: Queen Mother of the Americas Panzi & Lady Clover Honey
Pic 9: ICNY President of the Board of Directors, Emperor X Gabriel Della Notte
Pic 10: Singer/songwriter Sir Ari Gold, Lady Clover Honey, & singer/songwriter Kelly King
Pic 11: NYC socialite Anu Singh & Lady Clover Honey
Pic 12: Lady Clover Honey, journalist Samara LaRiviera, & friend
Pic 13: Under the Pink Carpet TV’s MeliMel Reyes
Pic 14: Audra Fox, Zondra Foxx, & Lady Clover Honey
Pic 15: Zondra Foxx & her men
Pic 16: XXX film star Donnie Russo & friend
Pic 17: Jed Ryan, Lady Clover Honey, & Anu Singh 
Pic 18: Drag legend Rollerina & Jed Ryan
Pic 19: Rollerina & Lady Clover Honey
Pic 20: Jed Ryan & Ari Gold
Pics 21-28: Miscellaneous pics
Pic 29: Lady Clover Honey & the boys of Broadway Bares
Pic 30-31: Miscellaneous pics
Pic 32: Two boys from Broadway Bares
Pic 33: Samara LaRiviera (left), Lady Clover Honey (right), & friend
Pic 34: The newly crowned Emperor Jack & Empress Farrah Moans
Pic 35: GLBT music guru Tym Moss & Lady Clover Honey
Pic 36: Under the Pink Carpet  TV’s MeliMel Reyes, Lady Clover Honey, & the boys and girls of Broadway Bares 
Pic 37: Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut Imperial Crown prince Nick DeSabella & ICNY Emperor His Majesty XVI Craig Hollywood

Grandeur, Glamour, & Gaiety!
     On Saturday, March 27, The Broadway Ballroom of The Marriott Marquis Hotel was the most grand, most glamorous, and definitely most gay place to be in New York City. At the risk of sounding clichéd, I’ll say that it was an event fit for a queen… and king too. Or, more accurately, for an Empress and Emperor. It was the highly anticipated Twenty-Fourth Annual Night of 1,000 Gowns, produced by the Imperial Court of New York. Founded in 1986, ICNY has events all year long– from fundraising performances to marching for equality in Washington, D.C. This night is widely known as the crown jewel of ICNY’s tiara. The Court currently has 170 members, and boats celebrity Honorary Chairs from Dame Joan Rivers to Michael Feinstein. Pageantry meets philanthropy, community spirit meets fierce individuality, and great reverence for the past meets an eye on the future. As President Gary Cosgrove/Emperor X Gabriel Della Notte defines it, it’s an “over-the-top night of glamour, glitz, and fun“. Old school “high” drag was heel to heel with ensembles that blurred the lines of gender and era altogether. There were no rules except to be, at the risk of sounding clichéd again, fabulous! This might have been the night of 1,000 gowns, but it wasn’t just, as Kool and the Gang put it, “ladies’ night“. The guys of The Imperial Court get into it too, with some of the most elaborate wardrobe you can imagine– from S&M-flavored gear, to the classic tuxedo, to fashions influenced by royalty of centuries past. Even the most jaded Manhattanites, used to big spectacles in Greenwich Village on Halloween every October and Gay Pride every June, are still amazed by the level of creativity– matched only by the colorful personalities underneath. This was truly a “Who’s Who” of New York City nightlife: many of the City’s most well-known movers and shakers, and the people who love them. I mean, some of the poor young guys and gals there were so intimidated that they eschewed costumes altogether and were practically naked… Oh, no wait! Those were the Special Guest performers from Broadway Bares. Yep, there were guys in jockstraps and fantasy athletic wear, competing for tastiness with the event’s famous late night Viennese dessert tables. The Imperial Court likes to mock the medieval monarchy system, but when it comes to raising money, these guys and gals are serious. To date, the organization has raised and shared well over $1 million by their own estimation. This year, the beneficiaries of The Night were God’s Love We Deliver and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
     In addition to performances by the members of ICNY, the event featured an impressive roster of stars, the hands-down highlight being diva Crystal Waters. The gay icon performed three of her most iconic singles, including the ageless dance hit “Gypsy Woman”. Drag personality Sherry Vine was DJ for the night, and other celebs in attendance included Village Voice columnist Michael Musto; singers Kristine W., Kelly King, and Terri White; drag artists Jesse Volt and Coco Peru; some of the show-stealing ladies from “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, and Ari Gold, who left as “Sir Ari Gold”– he was knighted by ICNY that evening.  Emperor XVI Craig Hollywood said about the festivities, “The best thing about the evening is that everybody seemed to have a great time. Everybody enjoyed themselves. The Imperial Court of New York really knows how to put the ‘fun‘ back in fundraising.” Empress XXIII Anne Tique added, “We had a tremendous year. Jack and Farrah Moans (the newly crowned Emperor and Empress) have some big shoes to fill… but they’re gonna be fine! They’re fabulous!“  After midnight, it was time for the Farewell Walk of reigning Emperor XVIII Tony Monteleone and Empress XXIII Anne Tique, and the Coronation Ceremony of Emperor XIX Jack and Empress XXIV Farrah Moans. Particularly memorable was the Empress’ ”Sci-Fi and Fantasy: Couture Style” theme, which featured a procession of dozens of fictional icons of pop culture through the decades (from Disney princesses to superheroes to “Star Wars” villains) — with grand, operatic music to match. It climaxed with Farrah Moans seemingly exploding from a huge illuminated white box. It was fantasy come to life on stage– much like The Night of 1,000 Gowns itself. I asked Emperor XIX Jack what ICNY had in store this year. He responded, “So many surprises!  A lot more fundraising, a lot of parties, functions, and community events– and it all starts tomorrow morning at victory brunch!”  Indeed, all those who was there that night left with more than just fabulous gift bags. Everyone who attended this night of a thousand gowns went home with over a thousand memorable moments… 
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