PHOTOS: Amazing Drag Queens Raising Money for HIV
BY Daniel Reynolds
October 09 2013 3:46 PM ET UPDATED: October 09 2013 3:46 PM ET
Stephen Molinaro took home top honors at last weekend's Best in Drag Show.
Molinaro dazzled the crowd at the annual HIV and AIDS charity competiton as Vava Fanculo, a tough-talking, showstopping Italian-American drag queen who represented the Garden State as Miss New Jersey.
Fanculo had some of the most memorable looks of the evening, which is a satire of a Miss America pageant, including a bathing suit patterned after an Italian flag that was accented by a pizza slice, ice cream cone breasts, and trailing seagulls. Fanculo's evening dress, which incorporated a Ferris wheel and spinning carousel, received wild applause from the capacity crowd at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.
However, it was Fanculo's talent portion that received the most enthusiastic reaction of the evening. After splashing white paint on a large canvas in a seemingly random pattern, Fanculo spun the portrait upside down to reveal the face of Marlon Brando in character in The Godfather. The crowd gave a standing ovation.
Following the performance, judge Melanie Griffith began an impromptu bidding war for the portrait. Members of the audience began yelling amounts to Patrick Rush, the master of ceremonies, who raised the house lights to see the bidders from the stage. The painting sold for $10,000.
In total, the evening raised more than $300,000 for Aid for AIDS, a program run by the Alliance for Housing and Healing that provides shelter and food for impoverished Angelenos living with HIV or AIDS.
Check out photos of Miss New Jersey as well as the evening's other contestants, Sash Carl (Miss California: Beverly Centre), D'Nez Westmoreland (Miss Michigan: Electra Caprice Riviera), Mike Cativo (Miss Puerto Rico: Mimi E), Dajuan Powns (Miss Washington, D.C.: Ciera Lyon), and Aron Ross (Miss Wisconsin: Misty O'Portunity).