1995 – Present
Fudgie Frottage, Lu Read, Byrd Turgler, Rusty Scrotum
Country of Origin
Birth – Death
If Howard Stern is the self-proclaimed King of All Media, then there is no dispute, Fudgie Frottage, best known as the creator, producer, promoter, and performer for the annual, iconic San Francisco Drag King Contest. and “The Man With The Biggest Balls in Show Business,” is the self-proclaimed Drag King of All Media.
The artist formerly known as Lu Read started performing drag in the early 1980’s as a singer/guitarist fronting a huge Motown cover band and appearing with notorious drag trendsetters, Doris Fish and the Sluts A-Go-Go who he cites as major influencers.
Lu Read began promoting club events in 1988, teaming acts like The Del Rubio Triplets with The Popstitutes (a very Cockettes-esque performance group started by Diet Popstitute, founder of Klubstitute). Lu had a knack for organizing fellow drag artists who relished creating and participating in outrageous, bizarre, and hilarious performances.
In 1993, Lu Read masterminded Merkinstock as a West Coast response to Lady Bunny’s New York Wigstock, featuring performers like Justin Vivian Bond, Pearl E. Gates, Elvis Herselvis, Arturo Galster, Jerome Caja and a cornucopia of other entertainers.
With so many talented Queens and a burgeoning number of Drag Kings anxious to entertain, DragStrip was launched by Read as a monthly showcase of both Drag and Strip/Burlesque acts, and to top it off a fetish lounge, “Dungeons and Drag Queens,” was incorporated. Every show benefitted local charities like PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), a volunteer-based organization that provides for the comprehensive needs of companion animals for low-income persons with HIV/AIDS and other disabling illnesses, as well as other AIDS charities.
In 1995, DragStrip debuted at San Francisco’s Transmission Theatre, and quickly grew into the more spacious DNA Lounge. Lu Read has also produced, hosted and co-hosted the nightclub talk show Throne at the DNA Lounge, and countless memorable parties and fundraisers including: Mondo Porno with New York club promoter Editrix Abby and Chez Badunkadunk an underground GLBTQ strip club at the notorious, now shuttered attic at the Cat Club.
As a producer and promoter, and all encompassing performer and emcee, Fudgie Frottage is best known as the brains, brawn, and balls, behind what has become the longest running and best known Drag King contest in the world, the legendary San Francisco Drag King Contest, which will celebrate its Silver Jubilee 25th Anniversary Live Performance at the Oasis on Aug. 22, 2021.
In 1997, a magnanimously philanthropic side to Fudgie Frottage emerged when the Second Annual San Francisco Drag King Contest was promoted as a benefit for author and activist the late great Les Feinberg called “More For Les,” organized by Jordy Jones of Club Confidential.
Every DragStrip-produced San Francisco Drag King Contest since 1998 features a truly caring and giving charitable bend, continually donating proceeds from ticket sales to organizations such as PAWS, (Pets Are Wonderful Support). In 2019, ticket sales proceeds were also donated to Rocket Dog Rescue, the San Francisco Bay Area volunteer-run dog rescue organization that saves dogs from death at overcrowded shelters and finds them loving homes. Now in its twentieth year, Rocket Dog Rescue has saved over 12,500 animals.
Promoted as San Francisco’s internationally-known sizzling summer night of swaggering cockitude, the San Francisco Drag King Contest is an epic cavalcade of Sex and Drag and Rock & Roll, replete with primping, preening performers of all persuasions.
The media concurs… “One of the most boisterous parties of the year,” states the SF Chronicle, it’s also “Sexy, campy, dragalicious, professionally executed and full of talent,” says the SF Bay Times, and “Impressive, varied, and wild,” per The Onion. The SFBG.com states, “Prepare to be amazed by the variety, astounded by the veracity, and properly impressed by the figurative and literal balls on display.”
“The San Francisco Drag King Contest has evolved into a huge community event where a myriad of artists, including gender illusionists, film stars, and burlesque legends, leave their mark on the stage like dogs in heat. It’s a mash-up of the Miss America Pageant, American Idol, Halloween and a Monster Truck Show… Expect everything from lip-synching to mud wrestling and beyond,” states Fudgie.
The San Francisco Drag King Contest is co-emceed by Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who offers Divine Inspiration and sexually-charged perspiration. And she happens to be the most photographed nun in the world.
Contestants are judged on talent, creativity, studliness, sex appeal, originality, humor, make-up/facial hair and fashion by the illustrious panel of local as well as internationally known celebrity judges.
DragStrip and SFDK has featured all local SF nightclub royalty as well as international stars like: Holly Woodlawn, Justin Vivian Bond, Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go’s, Animal of Bitch & Animal, and Drag Kings Mo B. DIck, Murray Hill, Landon Cider, Dred, Vinsantos, Wang Newton, and more.
Regionally, Fudgie Frottage has hosted and performed on the SF Pride Main Stage and Folsom Street Fair, and the grand stages of the legendary Warfield, Regency, Castro, Victoria and Kabuki Theaters, (major performing arts venues) and every last underground nightclub and “speakeasy” that makes San Francisco the wild, gay, charming, and eccentric City it is.
Nationally, Fudgie has performed at NYC’s legendary nightclub Jackie 60 and Theatre St. Marks in New York City and at The California Institute of Abnormalarts in Los Angeles.
As an actor, Fudgie’s favorite film appearance to date is “Hush Up Sweet Charlotte” where he shared a scene with Dreamlander cult goddess, Mink Stole.
Fudgie has appeared as a nearly indistinguishable Andy Warhol impersonator in public appearances, the SF Bay Times compared him to Groucho Marx, and somewhat recently he debuted a new drag alter ego character, Byrd Turgler, his cousin from Calabria, who sings in Italian.
Fudgie Frottage was voted Best Drag King by the Bay Area Reporter (eBAR) Besties Awards 2020. He has been featured by the HuffingtonPost.com’s Queer Voices section in “28 Drag Kings You Should Know”, and has been recognized for his artistic and cultural contributions by the City of San Francisco and the State of California.
(Submitted by Fudgie Frottage, San Francisco, CA)