The most fun, flashy and fabulous event you may ever have the luck to attend happens right here in Plano. North Texas Drag Bingo puts on quite the show every other month, giving attendees the opportunity to dance, laugh, sing, win prizes and yell “BINGO, QUEEN!” at the top of their lungs. And it’s all for a good cause.
Brian Ivanchan and his partner Jonathan Martin are the founders of North Texas Drag Bingo. Modeling their show after GayBingo which started in the 1990s in Dallas to raise money to fight the AIDS/HIV epidemic and is still going strong, North Texas Drag Bingo was created to be a way to visibly and financially support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Initially, the show was also a platform for Jonathan, who has a background in theater, to develop and grow his drag queen alter-ego, Mary Anne Somers. Mary Ann is a flawlessly beautiful creature who, with her quick wit, sultry voice and Marilyn Monroe-esque beauty, has grown into hosting the bimonthly events. She along with the other queens perform a show like nothing seen before in Plano.
Collin County is traditionally quite conservative yet, as Brian said, “That doesn’t mean there’s not an LGBT community. We’re not in Plano to change the minds of people, we are here to be visible to those who need to see us.” For some attendees, in the middle of all that glitter and glam, the experience affirms that there is indeed a place in Plano where they belong.
Being the first of its kind in town, it was a bit of a risk. “I had a feeling Plano needed something like this and I thought we could make it work,” explained Brian. And work it most definitely has, with Drag Bingo VIP tickets routinely selling out weeks in advance of each show.
Brian is constantly amazed at how something as lighthearted as an afternoon of bingo can make such a big impact. In just its first year, Drag Bingo has been able to provide more than $10,000 in donations to several groups that help the LGBT community, including Dallas Hope Charities, Denton Pride Foundation and North Texas Pride Foundation.
So what can you expect at North Texas Drag Bingo? According to Brian, “the most fabulous, outlandish and wildly popular fundraising event in the area.” DJ Bella Santos Tover keeps the music pumping and the laughs coming with perfect comedic timing. Her selection of epic tunes often cause random bouts of the audience singing at the top of its lungs.
Seasoned veteran queen Kabrina D. Sierra co-hosts alongside Mary Ann, and is a powerhouse of energy and enthusiasm. She wears some of the more spectacular costumes, with high energy dance performances to match. These ladies, along with queens Sierra LaPuerta, Sapphire Tailar and Salem Moon, put on an energetic show interacting with the crowd, taking selfies, making jokes, singing and dancing and most importantly, raising money for the LGBT community (both ladies and gents are encouraged to generously tip the queens).
While the show is high energy, the bingo playing is just as much fun. With special audience participation when certain numbers are called – such as O69 – and the opportunity to send a friend to “Queen Jail” where only cash donations will release her, the atmosphere is electric. Equally fantastic are the prizes that bingo winners can select.
North Texas Drag Bingo will hold its Plano shows on the odd-numbered months this year, jumping over to Denton every other month. There are two types of admission. General admission comes with plenty of bingo cards for up to 10 rounds of games. The VIP ticket offers the chance to reserve tables with friends when space allows, and will also allow early entrance for a sassy pre-show by the queens. Drink tickets are included in VIP admission.
Folks from every walk of life attend Drag Bingo. As Brian said, “Anyone can attend, the only requirement is that you come to have fun.” At our recent visit, we saw groups celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, bachelorette parties and just hanging with their girls for the afternoon. And yes, guys are welcome, too – even the straight ones. We spied several husbands enjoying the show with their wives.
“I love seeing the joy on everyone’s faces when they walk into the venue,” said Queen Sierra LaPuerta. “We get to act like fools and make people smile.”North Texas Drag Bingo >