Between the High Heel Race, Drag Brunch, and RuPaul’s Drag Race watch parties, drag queens get their fair share of exposure in D.C. But what about their dapper, mustachioed counterparts—drag kings? If you’re in the mood to watch local performers explore their masculine sides and seduce you from the stage for a dollar tip, look no further than the DC Kings. The kings have been performing monthly shows in the District (at Chaos, then Apex, then Phase 1) for over 14 years, making them the hosts of the world’s largest continually running drag king show.
“We have helped folks discover and come to terms with being [female to male] trans…and have developed a safe space for folks to identify how they choose in a respectful and supportive environment,” says group leader and founder Ken Vegas. Membership in the Kings is open to anyone—the group welcomes novices and offers training on everything from stage presence and lip-synching to binding (up top) and packing (down below).
Vegas likened the group to a family, which comes through in the performances’ high energy and audience rapport. A night with the kings can feel like a reunion with some loud, attention-hogging distant relatives that know how to get down and strut their stuff. Except, luckily, it’s not awkward when they rip off their track pants.