Pick a Winner

Millennium Cotillion

You might be able to hide the truth from your co-workers and casual acquaintances, but all your roommates know: Whenever the Miss America pageant is broadcast, you just happen to "stumble on it" during an A&E commercial break. Then you go into an elaborate song-and-dance about how you just can't tear your eyes away and "ooh, poor little Miss Illinois." It's OK, you love the Middle American glamour of it all, no harm done. But where's the mystery? Where's the challenge?

At the TransGender San Francisco Millennium Cotillion, that's where. Following a 16-year tradition, 10 of the city's latest lasses strut their stuff in grand and luscious style before a panel of celebrity judges. You thought vaseline on the teeth, tape on the buttocks, and eye shadow in the cleavage were legerdemain; honey, you haven't seen nothing yet. All of tonight's 10 lovelies may or may not be cross-dressers, transgenders, or transsexuals; luckily, this is not the challenging question to decide. Contestants are judged in three categories: active wear (everything from bathing suits to BMX pantsuits), talent (we've been promised Spanish, Hawaiian, Iranian, and Celtic performances), and formal wear, with a final, nerve-racking question being posed to five finalists.

As show director and infamous advice columnist Dear Diva says, "This is not about sexual-orientation; it's about gender-orientation." So don't come expecting Gloria Gaynor lip-syncs all night. Expect, instead, Studio del Sol, a jazz dance company from L.A. doing a little something with Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin in mind, gospel diva Edna Love singing songs about San Francisco, Finocchio's star Brian Keith, Empress XXX Donna Sachet, and stage personality Trauma Flintstone, all with a live five-piece show band, bare-chested escorts from the latest Miller beer calendar, and dinner. The Cotillion will be held on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the San Francisco Design Center Galleria, 101 Henry Adams ( at Alameda), S.F. Admission and light meal is $30 in advance (at Kimo's and Marlena's, among others) and $35 at the door (semiformal attire is requested); call 381-2651.

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