Drag entertainers to refresh Russian River Women's Weekend

  • by Sari Staver
  • Wednesday May 3, 2023
Share this Post:
Attendees had fun in the sun — and at the pool — during last year's Russian River Women's Weekend. Photo: Russian River Women's Weekend
Attendees had fun in the sun — and at the pool — during last year's Russian River Women's Weekend. Photo: Russian River Women's Weekend

Two popular drag entertainers with years of experience producing queer events hope the 2023 Women's Weekend Russian River, May 12-14, will mark the turnaround for an event that once drew thousands of women to Guerneville for the annual gathering.

Miss Shugana (aka Jodi Goldstein), left, and Madd-Dogg 20/20 (aka Tressa Young) are gearing up for Russian River Women's Weekend. Photo: Courtesy the subjects  

Drag queen Miss Shugana (aka Jodi Goldstein) and drag king Madd-Dogg 20/20 (aka Tressa Young) have formed a new company, Shug-Dogg Productions, to produce the three-day event.

In promotional material, the organizers describe Guerneville, 90 miles north of San Francisco, as "one of Sonoma County's natural jewels and a prime example of the region's accepting West Coast vibe ... that has also become a cutting-edge dining destination and burgeoning resort retreat." It has long been known as a getaway for LGBTQ travelers.

The annual celebration, launched four decades ago, "has ebbed and flowed" over the years, Goldstein said in a telephone interview with the Bay Area Reporter, from as many as 5,000 in attendance four decades ago to several hundred in recent times.

"The weekend promises to provide a sense of community, connection, and celebration," said Goldstein.

"We hope to bring back the tradition that drew thousands of women for decades with new features that will appeal" to the queer community, she added.

Everyone is welcome, said Goldstein, describing the event as a "LGBTQIA+ woman, queer femme-centered festival" including but not limited to trans women, trans men, nonbinary, and genderqueer people. Allies are welcome.

The program offers something for everyone, she said, including pool parties, live music, "rock star DJs, sexy body-positive burlesque, and smokin' hot drag king shows."

Entertainers include Alotta Boutté, Sydni Deveraux, RedBone, Smooth Daddi, Sadira Lady Liquid, Sgt. Die Wels, Angelique, The Front, and Erica Ambrin.

Passes for the three-day event are $100; tickets for individual events are $10-$40. Accommodations are available at over a dozen motels, resorts, and campgrounds, said Goldstein.

The weekend kicks off next Friday afternoon with a pool party at the R3 and a queer vendor marketplace. Other events include a trans meet-up, BBQ dinner at the Rainbow Cattle Company, evening karaoke at the R3, and a late night dance at the Main Street Bistro.

Saturday includes an afternoon pool party and evening drag and burlesque show. Sunday winds up with a music and mimosa brunch, an afternoon tea dance, and an evening karaoke party. For those who arrive on Thursday, May 11, a poolside movie party is planned.

Proceeds from the Women's Weekend will be donated to The Living Room, an organization that helps women and children in crisis in the Guerneville area.

A wide range of products and services will be available at the queer marketplace, open all weekend. Vendors include Dandy & Vixen, which creates a more visibly queer world by turning visuals from bygone eras, dandyism, and camp aesthetics into wearable drama, according to the website dandyvixen.com.

Justin Demeter is a queer, Oakland-based artist who creates paintings, prints, and cards that "explore gender, love, mental health, nature, and the occasional mythical creature," the website justindemeterart.com states.

Unique jewelry by Ray Kaplan will be featured by Moonlight Dichroic Fused Glass Jewelry.

OMG Witch Please at omgwitchplease.com creates laser engraved crystal grids, pendulum boards, spiritual tools, art, and jewelry by Sophia LaRosa.

Sacred Rose Tattoo will offer tattoos by Rachael Dobos poolside all weekend.

Deni Ratterree sells a variety of earrings and accessories as well as photography services and prints.

Laura's Bling Bling is a "paparazzi consultant," selling $5 jewelry by Laura Flores.

New Paradigm Productions will offer 20-minute vibroacoustic treatments by Tami Gosnell on her custom built sound table. Gosnell also plays drums and sings in the all-female power trio The Front and will perform poolside May 12 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Prife will offer health and wellness tools including terahertz frequency therapy devices, EMF shields, and Renew patches, the website states.

Suzanne Ash Realty specializes in property in the Russian River community.

Additional details for the weekend can be found here.

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.