Let’s Go, South Florida host Arlene Borenstein goes behind the scenes with the ladies of Lips as Fort Lauderdale’s drag queen palace reopens.
Cue your favorite Britney, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Whitney. The drag queens who have long helped us celebrate the best times of our lives — bachelorette parties, birthdays, baby births, even divorce — are bringing sexy back to Lips for the first time since the pandemic shutdown.
“People are so happy to be here. They were so hungry to be entertained and it’s happening and you can feel it in the people,” says Mirkala Crystal, a longtime female impersonator who has been an entertainer at Lips for 15 years. She started at the flagship location in New York City, but has performed in Fort Lauderdale for five years.
“When they said we were going to reopen again I was so excited. I went to the closet and I started looking for new things and started sewing things again and doing some wigs,” Crystal says.
The Puerto Rican entertainer brings down the house performing Latin numbers and lip synching to legendary musicians like the late Celia Cruz.
“I missed it a lot,” she says.
Because of COVID-19, the venue had been closed since March 2020.
“Lips took a prudent approach to reopening, being mindful that vaccinations were underway and loyal fans and cast members were more comfortable to come together. Safety continues to be a top priority,” says spokesman Michael Goodman.
Capacity is limited at Lips and not every show has returned. Performers wear clear plastic shields throughout the shows and staff also wear masks.
The venue reopened April 22, kicking off with “The Divas” on Thursday nights, Glitz & Glam every Friday and Saturday. There’s also Lips’ drag-a-licious Gospel Brunch on Sunday.
And like Latin bombshell Mirkala Crystal, the stars we’ve watched for years are eager to welcome you back including: Amanda Austin, Nicolette, Franchesque Richards, Selena, Velvet Lenore, April Chanel, Daisy Deadpetals, Nicole T. Phillips and Trinity Beat.
“For me, I started off at choir in church and in school,” says Fantasia, who left Homestead as a kid because of Hurricane Andrew.
She later studied jazz voice at Miami-Dade College, and that’s when friends asked her to perform in a drag show. After earning 10 bucks as a broke college student, Fantasia says, “It was hook, line and sinker.”
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The entertainer joins Lips along with new members Asheeria Pryce, Aaliyah Jae, Crystal Famouz and Karma Sutra.
“Let your hair down, relax your nerves, get your drink on, eat some delicious food, and have a lot of tip dollars,” Fantasia says.
Prices vary depending on the show. Prix fixe menus are available and include show cover charges (tax and gratuity not included). On Thursdays the cost is $30. The price goes up to $41 on Friday and Saturday. Sunday brunch, which includes unlimited mimosas and Bloody Marys, is $29.95.
Lips Fort Lauderdale is at 1421 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. You can also call 954-567-0987 or go to lipsusa.com. Reservations are required.