by August 27, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,487 0

From Fox Deatry. Email him at fox[AT]


Shi-Queeta Lee at The Howard Theatre. (Fox Deatry)

As summer draws to a rainy finale, we bid farewell to the interns and tourists who came and pillaged the District for three months. They have grown to learn that you must never stand on the left side of the escalator, that you can order taxicabs through Smartphone apps, and that you must simply accept and never understand the traffic lights in Dupont Circle.

While we offer a momentary pause for the departed, I cannot help but wonder: Is there anything permanent in this supposed-transient city?

Come to think of it, the answer lies in a Borderstan legend who comes by the name of Shi-Queeta Lee. You might know her as Town’s famed Friday night headliner, a performer who ‘rolls down the river’ with Tina Turner, and a showstopper occasionally disrupting traffic as she skates along U Street — all part of her Sunday Drag Brunch routine at Nellie’s. (See The Making of Shi-Queeta-Lee.)

Shi-Queeta Lee has made DC her home and has made no reservations to represent the energy, diversity and grace of the city.

The ‘SHI’ in Washington

Here are some reasons Lee puts the ‘SHI’ in Washington:

  1. While DC might be a swamp and its high humidity gives you the Art Garfunkel curls, it bears a semblance of classic elegance due to its myriad of monuments and memorials. Shi-Queeta, sans the marble edifice and the presence of park rangers, bears the same quality. To some she might be a man in a dress, but to others she is a queen of hearts. Gurl-friend even invited the District’s prime drag queens to perform in her ‘Divas’ extravaganza at The Howard Theater. Now, that’s the kind of classic kindness and elegance we all want to see on the Reflecting Pool.
  2. While DC is no NYC or LA, and carrot tan bodies here are courtesy of sprays in tanning booths instead of natural UV rays, the District can be a party town. You don’t have to look beyond Borderstan to know since 14th Street is alive and jiving during the weekends. Now while I personally do not know Shi-Queeta, she seems like she could party ’til its tardy. After all, this Queen truly earns her dollar tips. She might even do cartwheels, pirouettes and synchronize swimming on land for entertainment. Naturally, all carried out with poise. She might be the total party girl, but she strikes yours truly as the kind of person who would puke with you yet make sure you get home in an Uber cab all safe and sound.
  3. While we sip our sweet teas, listen to crickets and debate all day long whether the District is the South, we cannot help but experience its southern hospitality. You don’t have to spend much time to know that Shi-Queeta exudes such. She’s a charm — the kind that can be bottled up like pecan preserves. Although I wonder whether she crosses her arms, exclaims ‘fiddle-dee-dee,’ and gives a lasting pout in times of annoyance and distress.
  4. While the West might have the Rockies — which my conspiratorial, drunken Saturday night mind reckons as the hiding place of America’s gold bars — the District owns another American treasure in the form of the Library of Congress. This gem feature books and ideas written by diverse thinkers. They are in every shape and form like Shi-Queeta’s stage acts. They represent high-minded, creative concepts brought together to engage, amuse and sometimes impart. Books might feed our mind, but Shi-Queeta Lee is a DC queen that feeds a spectator’s soul. That’s the kind of legend that sticks around.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories.


Subscribe to our mailing list