Sahara Davenport update: Cause of death, fundraising for burial

Antoine Ashley, who performed as Sahara Davenport, died “of heart failure” at Johns Hopkins Hospital, according to a post on Sahara’s Facebook page. No other details were reported.

Also on Sahara’s page was a request for fans to make a donation to “give Antoine Ashley a burial he deserves. We encourage you to donate even one dollar via PayPal to: saharadavenportmemory@gmail.com.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Former Dallas Drag Racer Sahara Davenport reported dead

The Twitterverse is abuzz with reports that Sahara Davenport, the dancer and female impersonator who was a favorite on Season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, has died.

Reports are non-specific; one blogger, in a piece calling the reports “erroneous,” offered as his sole “proof” that is sounded like a hoax to him — and that Sahara’s death was not reported on her Wikipedia page (a crowd source site anyone can edit — yeah, strong evidence). Another commenter noted that now her death is on the Wiki page, so it must be true.

So far, though, despite hard facts, it appears to be true. Jujubee, a fellow Drag Racer, posted an “RIP” notice on her own Facebook page late last night, and, in response to questions of “what happened” said merely, “It’s not important what happened. Just send prayers.” Avoidance of the cause of death, of course, only fuels suspicions of a hoax, although it is not uncommon not to announce a cause of death immediately, especially if the reason was something considered “shameful” (suicide, a drug overdose), though at this point there is no evidence of that.

Jujubee isn’t the only colleague of Sahara’s to note the passing; the official RuPaul Facebook page also offers condolences for her passing. (Oddly, there is no mention of it yet on any official Logo channel websites.) It has also not been refuted on the many offers of sadness of Sahara’s own page and that of her partner, fellow contestant Manila Luzon. Within the past few minutes, People magazine online and the gay blog Towleroad have also reported the death.

When we know more, we’ll report it.

On a personal note, Sahara and I were friendly. She got her start in Dallas, and she would often message me when she was coming to town; I also interviewed her on a few occasions (most recently here). It’s very sad in any event.

Davenport was born Antoine Ashley. He was 27.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

The big news in theater this weekend is the opening of The Producers from Uptown Players. The massive musical stars B.J. Cleveland as a sleazy theater producer who tries to mount a huge flop — with disastrous consequences.

Over at Sue Ellen’s Friday night, drag kings Mustache Envy perform a benefit show. And you can move from kings on Friday to queens on Sunday: Drag Brunch at Dish in the ilume continues to grow. This weekend, there are three seatings for the Sunday Funday meal-and-a-show: 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Four queens — Jenni P, Erica Andrews, Jenna Skyy and Krystal Summers — will perform while DJ Paul Paredes fills in the music the rest of the time. A three-course meal is available for $25; add $10 for bottomless mimosas for 90 minutes. Reservations can be made at 214-522-DISH or on OpenTable.com.

Lots of groups are putting the “fun” in fundraiser this weekend, too. AIDS Interfaith Network’s Great Gatsby party takes place Sunday, with Jazz Age chic encouraged. Legal Hospice of Texas is also having its big benefit this weekend — a casino night at Edison’s Dallas on Saturday. You can even get discount tickets if you email events@legalhospice.org before 5 p.m. Friday. The kickoff party for the Boyish to Bearish calendar, which includes a bachelor auction featuring most of the models, is at The Round-Up Saloon on Saturday, starting at 6 p.m. And the Texas Gay Rodeo Association is hosting a barbecue at Woody’s Sports & Video Bar on Sunday with food being served starting around 6 p.m., then live entertainment at 8.

On Thursday, you have to choose between the Newcomer of the Year contest at the Rose Room, or seeing Drag Race winner Sharon Needles perform at It’ll Do Dancing Club. Of course, you could try to do both …

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

This week’s edition is The Food Issue, and we cover a lot (check it out), but the big news this week is that Monica Greene has, exactly five years after closing Ciudad, reopened in the gayborhood. Last night was the first service for Monica’s Nueva Cocina, her revision of Aca y Alla now at the ilume. The formal grand opening won’t be for two weeks, but you can get a sneak before then.

Theatre 3‘s new season officially kicks off upstairs on Monday (following previews this weekend) with Present Laughter, a comedy by gay British icon Noel Coward. Avenue Q will continue to play its extended run downstairs until September 16 (although I heard a rumor it will go even longer). Mark-Brian Sonna Productions’ The Importance of Being Lovely continues its successful run at the Stone Cottage in Addison, having just been extended as well to Aug. 18. Across the way, WaterTower Theatre’s Smokey Joe’s Cafe has also been extended, to Aug. 19.

Liz Mikel is also performing an extended run in Joseph as DTC, but you can see her out of one character and into another as she performs the songs of Moms Mabley, Ma Rainey and more on her night off. Her cabaret show will be at the South Side on Lamar Blue Room on Monday night.

On Thursday night, two more Drag Racers come to town to perform at the new I’ll Do Dancing Club on Elm Street, with music from DJ Redeye.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Sharon Needles at the Rose Room Thursday night

Photo by Patrick Hoffman/Dallas Voice

Last night, Sharon Needles, the spooky drag queen who won season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, wished the roughly 300 people crowding S4′s Rose Room a happy Halloween. Though she performed at S4 and JR.’s as part of the requisite Absolut summer Tour that all Drag Race winners must do, Needles did so with her trademark mix of shock, defiance and darkness.

By 8 p.m., a line of people wrapped around the block from S4 to Throckmorton and by 8:30 p.m., all the unreserved seats in the Rose Room had butts in them. The audience, including many who stood along the walls and beside the bar, waited about two-and-a-half hours for the show to even begin; the room growing hotter, the pre-show music thumping ever louder and the lines to the bar getting longer with each passing minute.

For photos of Needles at JR.’s, click here.

—  Daniel Villarreal

Well that takes the cake: “Drag Race’s” Carmen Carrera receives apology from TLC’s “Cake Boss”

Carmen Carrera, the self-identified trans woman who appeared on Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, got a bit of a shock on Monday night. She made a guest appearance on the TLC show Cake Boss, where she apparently thought she would be portrayed as a role model for trans youth. Instead, it turned out to be a prank between the eponymous cake boss, Buddy Valastro, and his cousin Anthony. Anthony hit on Carmen in a bar, only to be told later — incorrectly, of course — that “that was a man!”

Carrera was outraged and complained — not the least of her complaints was that Anthony referred to her as “it.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones