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DC Kings Celebrate 14 Gender-Bending Years

DC Kings 14th Anniversary

Phase 1 hosts spectacular anniversary show on March 9

DC Kings 14th Anniversary
Kendra Kuliga has boundless energy and artistry—both on stage and off. Since 1996, Kuliga has been entertaining audiences as Drag King Ken Vegas. And, this enterprising entrepreneur has been leading the DC Kings since founding the troupe in 2000 ( In March of that year, Club Chaos hosted the debut of these diverse gender-bending performers. Today, they still mesmerize audiences throughout the Metro D.C. area and beyond. March 2014 marks their 14th Anniversary. The DC Kings are the longest, continuously running Drag King troupe in the world.

The Original Phase 1, in D.C.’s Eastern Market area, serves as home base, featuring the DC Kings on the second Sunday of each month. A spectacular anniversary show takes place on March 9 (details below).

Ken Vegas, DC Drag King

Ken Vegas’ Mission
Ken Vegas strives to increase Drag Kings’ visibility in mainstream culture. For many years, the Black Cat and, later, the 9:30 Club hosted The Great Big, Vegas’ gender-bending extravaganza, starring national and international acts. Vegas has performed throughout the country and in Canada, the U.K., and Sweden. With Belladonna, a world-famous tribal fusion belly dancer, Vegas co-produces Raven’s Night, the Birchmere’s annual Halloween belly dance event.

Having produced more than 370 shows, with 275+ Drag Kings, throughout 168 consecutive months, at myriad venues, what motivates Vegas to continually welcome performers into the troupe and expand its repertoire?

“I love seeing the new generations of Kings explore gender-bending performance with music of the day,” beams Vegas. “Also, I am inspired by how veteran Kings help very shy new ones overcome their fears and self-doubts and develop into outrageously entertaining performers, with great confidence and creativity.”

Fatherly admiration,” derived from watching such transformations over the years, encourages Vegas to continue to provide “a supportive and fertile ground for the Kings to grow.” The DC Kings are truly a family, and Respect—for each other, their audience, and the community—is both a key element of the troupe’s policies and a factor in their longevity.

Even after 14 years, the DC Kings still have broad appeal and an ever-increasing fan base. In addition, the troupe remains diverse in race, gender, sexual identity, age, and background. At any given show, the high-caliber productions might include lip-syncing, live singing, male impersonation, dancing, burlesque, and theatrical skits, to name a few categories. And, these avant-garde entertainers push beyond gender boundaries, shattering preconceived notions of what is male and what is female.

At their shows, the DC Kings often raise funds for an organization within or an ally of the LGBTQ community. Over the years, Capital Queer Prom; One In Ten, The Women’s Collective, Transgender Health Empowerment, Wanda Alston House, Wanda’s Will Project, and Youth Pride Alliance, the Prom’s beneficiaries; DC Rape Crisis Center; Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN); Mautner Project (now Mautner Project of Whitman-Walker Health); and Phasefest, The Original Phase 1’s Annual Queer Music and Arts Festival, have benefited from the DC Kings’ generosity.

Vegas’ appreciation of the performers reflects a humility that helps to explain why the DC Kings hold their founder and producer in such high regard.

“The DC Kings truly are a supportive group of amazing, diverse, and talented individuals,” Vegas asserts. “Watching my King brothers discover the stage and develop into great entertainers is rewarding. They have helped me grow and become more sensitive to the world around me.”

14 Years of the DC Kings
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Location: Phase 1, 525 8th Street, SE, WDC
Time: Doors at 7 pm; Show at 9 pm
Cover: $10 at the door; cash only bar
Age Restriction: 21+
Extra Info: Visit

DC Kings: Chronology Highlights
March 2000–January 2008: Monthly at Club Chaos
2002–2006; 2008–mid-2011: Monthly at Apex
2005–Present: Monthly at The Original Phase 1
2008–2009: Weekly at BeBar
2008–2010: Monthly in Vixen Variety Shows at Palace of Wonders
2012–Present: Featured at The Lodge (Boonsboro, MD)
2012–2013: Monthly at MOVA
2013–Present: Featured at Cobalt’s LURe parties
Ongoing: Members of the troupe perform frequently on both the main and side stages during The Capital Pride Festival and at many other public and private events.