By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We’re just two weeks away from New Year’s Day, and, in Philadelphia, that means the Mummers are shifting into high gear.
This year’s plans include the return of female impersonators, who marched last year after a decades-long absence (see related story).
And this year they’ll be joined by a brand new group of marchers.
“As they did with all the drag queens, we had a pageant, and any drag king that was interested came out,” says a male impersonator who goes by the name of Dandy Lion, “and I was named ‘king of the kings.'”
Dandy Lion (far left in photo) and five fellow drag kings — women who dress as men — will join the drag queens in the parade and as intermission entertainment at the Fancy Brigade show on New Year’s Day.
The queens had been a parade presence until actual women were allowed to march in the 1970s. Philadelphia city councilman Jim Kenney helped bring them back last year, and was pleased with the response.
“People were very nice and very celebratory, and that’s what this parade is about,” Kenney (far right in photo) said today. “It’s about celebrating the new year, it’s about celebrating a very unique part of Philadelphia — which no one can really explain exactly what it is.”
Whatever it is, Kenney says, it will be enhanced with the addition of the drag kings — though judging from Dandy Lion’s sedate suit and tie, they’re likely to stand out for being the most conventional-looking marchers in the parade.