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Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Kennedy Yanko, Reginald O’Neal, and Cajsa von Zeipel

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Lifestyle

Art World Strikes a Pose in Rashaad Newsome’s King of Arms Art Ball

By Meenakshi Thirukode

March 12, 2013

We don’t know what your Saturday night was like post manning booths or visiting them at the fairs, but ours was an explosion of spectacle, color, shine, and attitude like we’ve never seen before. That night, Marlborough Chelsea and Rashaad Newsome hosted The King of Arms Art Ball at Westway, which brought voguing to the art world, and was every bit as raw and entertaining as it could get.

The night began with beats by DJ Mike Q and the energetic brilliance of host Dashaun Evisu. They were joined by commentators Kevin JZ Prodigy and Snookie Mizrahi who kept the crowds going and got everyone to participate with the kind of energy you would expect to see at an event that had such a cool, underground vibe to it.

The mood was all flair and drama. With the stage set and ready to go, the competition began with an introduction of the judges–and boy did the contestants channel their inner diva to bring out their best strut and dance moves.

On the art side, judges included Rashaad Newsome, Whitewall’s very own Amani Olu, SFMoMA curator Frank Smigiel, and New Orleans Museum of Art curator Miranda Lash. From the Vogue community, distinguished judges like Dashaun Evisu, Trace Mizrahi, Twiggy Garçon, Arturo Mugler, Aisha Prodigy, Twiggy Prada (featured in Newsome’s Untitled New Way in the 2010 Whitney Biennial), Tigga Calore, and Tyra Allure were present to maintain the ball’s tradition and integrity.

Both groups of judges issued “10” or “Chopped” scores to contestants who competed in categories like “Realness,” which asked dancers to create and sell a character; “Runway,” which saw many ladies and gents as Kings, Knights, Dukes, and of course Queens, and “Best Dressed,” which paid homage to New York City, asking voguers to present their best all-black ensemble.

Other categories included “Face” for the most beautiful contestant sans makeup, won by a woman (biological) with a striking resemblance to Queen Nefertiti. “Sex Siren ” followed this event, which was the most tweeted and instagrammed category, thanks to some very fine display of men in Grecian drapes, sandals, and nothing else.

If the half-naked men weren’t enough to get the proverbial “roof on fire,” the final category, “Performance,” was intensity at its highest with legendary Leiomy Maldonado igniting the crowed and taking the $1,000 award for Queen of Arts of Vogue Style Ball.

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