WEEKEND: Dudes to doll themselves up for Rhody scholarships in Saturday's Port Townsend event
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Linda Sutton
Jason Hollingsworth strikes a pose on the runway as he performs at the Rhododendron Royalty Scholarship Benefit at the Elks Lodge in Port Townsend in 2012.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — This weekend's incarnation of “Dude Looks Like a Lady” will provide its audience a more professional experience than when it started five years ago.

“We have really graduated from when we began,” said Steve Spencer, who has organized and danced in the fundraiser since the first one in 2010.

“At the beginning, it was just dancing to a portable stereo,” he said. “Now we have a professional DJ and a professional lighting system that makes it a lot better.”

The event, a kickoff for the 79th annual Rhododendron Festival, which is Monday through May 17, takes place from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday at the American Legion hall at 209 Monroe St.

Admission to the event, which includes a fashion show and silent auction, is $5.

It features local men who have dressed up like women to dance to songs as the audience stuffs tips into their clothing.

The proceeds go to the scholarship fund that benefits Rhody royalty.

Saturday's show is the second to be presented at the American Legion. During its first three years, it took place at the Port Townsend Elks Club.

Changes in 'Dudes'

One difference is that the Legion is a 21-and-older venue, allowing the show to be a bit more risque, according to Christie Spencer, Steve's wife and an organizer of the event.

Also present is an experienced lighting person, East Jefferson Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Ted Krysinski.

Music will be provided by Louie's World, a professional-quality DJ/karaoke service.

Each dancer provides two songs for his performance, with music ranging from standard disco to death metal, Christie Spencer said.

Aside from Steve Spencer, confirmed dancers include Sam Kirk, Mike Aman, Jeff Overman, Marko Herr, Logan McMahon, Don Fristoe, George Fisher and Zack Tally.

Each dancer also selects a stage name.

There will be one “surprise” dancer who will appear in a disguise because he doesn't want his family to know he is participating.

“It's mostly younger guys. I'm one of the only older ones,” said Steve Spencer, 45.

“There aren't as many older guys this year because they don't want to compete with the ones who are in really good shape.”

Performances are spontaneous, Steve Spencer added. Dancers don't rehearse aside from a brief pre-show session in which they will work out the moves for the grand finale.

He has learned to do his own makeup and uses his instinct in determining how to behave onstage.

Authenticity not needed

But authenticity isn't the point.

“This isn't a professional drag show,” Christie Spencer said.

“A lot of guys say they don't want to participate because they don't know how to look like a woman,” she said. “They don't want to shave their beards. But we don't care about that.

“Steve won't be shaving his goatee.

“We just want people to go up there, have a good time and raise money for a good cause.”

There is no set goal, but Christie Spencer would like to see the event take in $2,000, which would cover scholarships for two of the four Rhody royalty court members.

The first Dude show raised a little more than $2,000, she said.

For more information or to be in the show, email Steve Spencer at
sspencer154@gmail.com.

________

Jefferson Editor Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@
peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 08. 2014 5:56PM
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