From Instinct Magazine: It was a case of “Is she or isn’t she?” at a recent performance of “A Diva-Licious Brunch” in Las Vegas when diners paused for a moment not sure if they were watching iconic 80s songster Debbie Gibson popping a bop or a really good drag queen.
Frank Marino, who has been drag royalty for over three decades headlining on the Las Vegas Strip, hosted the event at the popular-with-the-gays DW Bistro at The Gramercy.
Marino brought along several of his drag cohorts to entertain the patrons with tributes to Diana Ross, Katy Perry, Cher, Lady Gaga, and Whitney Houston.
The Gibson look-alike was introduced to the strains of 1987’s “Shake Your Love,” and within moments the audience realized the voice was real and so was the singer.
Gibson, who owns a home in Las Vegas, was attending the event and an associate from Marino’s team asked the 48-year-old if she’d like to say ‘hey’ to the crowd or perhaps sing a bit.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal’s John Katsilometes, Gibson was down to play.
“I was like, ‘Oh, you want me to do 30 or 45 seconds?’ ” said Gibson. “I said, ‘We’ve come this far. I’m wearing sequins. Give me a full song and a live mic.’ ”
Stepping out onstage in bedazzled high heels (girl comes prepared), the platinum-selling popster worked the room as she belted out her song, at times stepping up to dance on tabletops.
As she neared the dance break, she returned to the stage calling the queens to come out and shake their ‘love.’
As the former teen pop star took a bow to a standing ovation, Marino bragged, “Now you know, DW’s has the budget to get the real Debbie Gibson!”
Gibson is scheduled to tour soon with fellow 80s hitmakers New Kids on the Block, Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany and more on the upcoming 53-city “Mix Tape Tour.”
Here in Las Vegas, though, Marino is teasing there are talks of a new incarnation of Divas Las Vegas, his legendary line-up of drag impersonators, on the near horizon.
Plus, word is “A Diva-Licious Drag Brunch” could very well become a regular event at DW Bistro.
To paraphrase the old saying, “What happens in Vegas, SLAYS in Vegas.”
(photos: Dayna Roselli)