I first ran into Ms. Adriana Sparkle on a Wednesday at midnight, in what has now become a legendary weekly drag-off: the Fresh Start Drag Showcase on the Iberian Rooster’s sub-level stage.
Adriana’s signature long-beard (glitter-matched to her wigs) has been presiding over 15 to 30 aspiring and established dragonettes each week who give it their all into the later hours of hump day to an audience that has increasingly become more college-age and eclectic. One never knows who they’ll run into within the burgeoning audience. And the queens vying for attention have become increasingly risque in their performances, varying from monsterglam to the macabre-chic.
But that’s fodder for another night.
In her newly minted Saturday drag brunch at 11:00 AM, 12:30 PM, and 2:00 PM, Adriana Sparkle offers a more curated spectacle. Enlisting the aid of Juno Vibranz, winner of Miss St. Pete Pride 2016, and Nicole T. Lane, another comedic queen who can hold her own, Adriana has created a dinner-theatre-like space for laughs and relaxed delectation.
One might assume it’s like her Wednesday night show, where flying wigs and heels abound amid the screaming fans’ dollars. Instead, this brunch is long-tabled and clothed. Naturally, the drag is superb, but the best moments are the punchlines between the queens and with the audience.
As opposed to their evening events, the Iberian Rooster is flooded with daylight, where one can clearly see the antique plush furniture and artwork, lending an after-the-ruckus effect that is clean but pregnant with tales, some of which the queens share with the audience.
As for the food, the Iberian is an award-winning and much commended restaurant, so even the smaller brunch menu (six items to be exact) is top-notch. And for $28 (including a mimosa or Bloody Mary, plus unlimited coffee and pastries, and the show), where else would you want to be on a Saturday for social recovery hour?
Note: if you are simply looking for the Iberian Rooster’s gastronomic experience, and can avoid being mesmerized by Adriana’s spitfire-wit, you are more than welcome to just eat. The restaurant’s Portuguese colonial fusion cuisine is best enjoyed without the tongue’s training wheels. Do not go for the safe choice and freely ask the staff, whom, I might add, are strangely over-elated to share about their favorite dishes at this place. My personal choice: chorizo-everything.
By the show’s end (1:00 p.m.), after Adriana had lip-synced on the piano, the grand stairs, and with her heel on my date’s thigh for a quick motorboat segment, I was struck by what a fun and family-friendly place Adriana has created with her new show. Our bartender (Harrelson)’s mom, sat next to us at the bar; she had just dropped in for a quick visit to see her dashing lip-glossed boy. She shared with us that the queens are like his sisters. We also saw a 21 year old celebrating his birthday with some college friends.
Miss Juno Vibranz was O so right to mouth Chrissie Hynde at closing, singing “nothing you confess, could make me love you less …,” like a renewed alliance through clinking flutes and laughter.
To find out more about the Iberian Rooster or their future events, click here.