Brisbane drag queens Lucy Lockjaw and Tamara Tonite have joined the Sportsman Hotel’s Drag Hall of Fame, honouring their long careers on the stage and TV.
Each year the Brisbane venue honours drag performers for their contributions to Queensland’s drag scene and LGBTQIA+ community.
Lucy and Tamara’s careers were intertwined for years after meeting in the 12th Night Theatre’s Joannie Follies. The drag duo were also regulars at Sporties, Options and Terminus.
But both found a new outlet for their drag when Lucy fronted her own TV show The Lucy Lockjaw Show on community station Briz31. Tamara joined Lucy on the show in November 1995.
“It was a lot of fun but early on in the piece, I had some family problems and had to walk away from the show,” Lucy recalled.
“I asked Tamara to take it on and she ran it for many, many years very successfully. I thank her for that so much.”
372 episodes of Brisbane drag TV
Tamara reworked the show as Tamara Tonite in 1997, and it would run for 372 episodes until March 2004.
“The show had on almost every drag queen imaginable, as well as Melbourne and Sydney performers,” Tamara recalled.
“Sportsman Hotel really supported the show. We filmed most of the drag acts on this stage. Everyone who worked here got on TV with us.”
Tamara also hosted another TV show The Beastly Beauties – a drag spin on panel show Beauty and the Beast – with Tamara in the Stan Zemanek role, once more spotlighting drag queens.
‘I was taken to the Federal Court’
Off stage, Lucy Lockjaw and Tamara Tonite both got involved in activism and politics. Lucy was part of Queensland’s push to decriminalise homosexuality in 1991.
Tamara ran for Brisbane Lord Mayor against Jim Soorley in 2000. The drag queen came third out of seven, winning 12% of the vote.
“On the radio Jim was told I was running and asked, ‘What do you think of that?’ He said, ‘Well I don’t know whether he thinks he’s Arthur or Martha,'” Tamara recalled.
“Peter Beattie, I suspected, used to laugh at Jim for that but then 12 months later I was running against him [in the 2001 state election].”
But she recalled a subsequent bid for federal politics was hit by a lawsuit.
“I was taken to the Federal Court to have my name Tamara Tonite taken off the electoral roll,” Tamara recalled.
“They considered my name to be frivolous, fictitious and not in the public interest. That cost you $20,000 and me $11,000 and I couldn’t run in the federal election that year.”
Lucy still performs around Queensland and currently hosts Birdcage at Yamanto Tavern.
Tamara moved to Far North Queensland but teased a new project with fellow Drag Hall of Famer Dame Liz Taylor.
Sportsman Hotel Drag Hall of Fame
Ceremony host Miss Synthetique said both queens had distinguished careers, including bringing Brisbane drag into people’s living rooms.
“The Sporties family is so proud of what they and all of our Hall of Famers have achieved for the community,” she said.
Every Drag Hall of Famer is immortalised on the wall of the Sportsman Hotel’s Lounge Bar. The earlier inductees are:
- Dame Sybil Von Thorndyke
- Dame Liz Taylor
- Miss Synthetique
- Wanda D’Parke
- Betty Nature
- Trixie Onassis
- Yana Michelle
- producer Gavin Anthony
- Candy Surprise
- Ella Va’lay
- Tara Ra Boom Deay
- Sue Wridge
- Hazel La Belle
- Toye de Wilde
- Iona Toyboy
- Sasha Trajik-Mole
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