What is the name of the game?
How do you play it?
Who is going to win?
That is how every game begins at Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary in WeHo. Even if everyone can’t really win, you can definitely lose with style.
Firsts the odds: There are about 200 people in the room, some of who are using a secret 2 for 1 coupon to double their odds, many of whom are drinking. Over 10 rounds, the odds are about 1 in 13. If you stay for the entire evening 1 in 6. We had 5 people at our table so someone better win something.
Two games in, I hit BINGO!! But I’m not the only one. In case of a tie you pick a bingo ball from the hand of the drag hostess and the highest number wins. My number is 70 and I’m feeling pretty good, but the other guy gets 74. DARN!! I’m left to pick a consolation prize from the “Bag of Crap”. They pronounce my new green squishy fish friend to be a sex toy, though I rather doubt his/her/its effectiveness.
We have multiple other close calls, repeatedly coming only one away (“IT’S ON”), but other tables are hitting bingos fast. The prizes sound pretty good – such as spa passes to Burke Williams, but not for us. We are left to throw our crumpled up and now worthless game cards at the heads of all the lucky winners. Even more unlikely is the fact that people are telling the truth – no false bingos through the first 8 rounds. Then on the penultimate game, it finally evens up. Perhaps the alcohol is finally kicking in. The goal of the game is to mark all four corners on all three games on one sheet (12 total numbers). There are multiple false BINGOs as people forget that key detail “ALL THREE SHEETS”. If you have been to drag queen bingo, false bingos can be the most entertaining part as the unlucky players are spanked by the drag queen hostess. One guy tried to hide and blame the false call on his girlfriend, which only resulted in both of them getting whipped (I wouldn’t want to be him when they got home). At the other extreme, the next guy was so ready to be spanked that he climbed up on his chair before anyone had a chance to even check his bingo card. Only after he got the full treatment, did he reveal that he was the real winner after all.
As we are still empty-handed we decide to stick around for the second game. This time around my brother calls BINGO but so do 3 other players at the same time. Somehow he beats the odds and wins the tie-breaker. He takes home a bag of Mad Men paraphernalia including season DVDs, a book, restaurant tickets, and champagne. Then there are the auction. As all the process from the auctions go to charity, I am always tempted to help push up the bids that seem undervalued. At one point I find myself bidding on an autographed Guns n’ Rose drum head. Meanwhile my wife is glaring at me with a “what are you thinking??”. I don’t win that auction but do end up with 4 tickets to the Magic Castle in Hollywood, which will be fun. We drop out of an auction for VIP tickets to see Cher as it passes the$800 mark. At this point the hosts all know me by name (perhaps there aren’t that many other 6’2 women around). So in the end, success and we all leave feeling like winners – and we look great.