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Monday, May 4, 2009

Missing Persons

If Miss California's gay-unfriendly remarks ruffled your feathers, take a gander at London's Alternative Miss World, where imagination is encouraged and differences celebrated. Here, eccentric artist Andrew Logan, who began the event thirty-something years ago, ruled the roost Saturday night. Co-hosting with Ruby Wax, he lived up to the theme of The Elements with a Bauhaus-like outfit designed by Zandra Rhodes. Earth, air, water, fire—I was in my element! Music was supplied by The Irrepressibles, who had all been styled in cosmic costumes, à la Bladerunner meets the Triadic Ballet.

The majority of the twenty contestants had clearly spent the better part of the last few months constructing their insane outfits and choreographing their entrances and routines. It was a riot. Each one was as outrageous as the next. The size and complexity of the presentations escalated throughout the three rounds: daywear, swimwear and eveningwear. And yes, an interview, quality entertainment in the sense that none of the misses offered any kind of coherent enlightenment. Ruby showed no mercy.

By the end of the night my cheeks were hurting from smiling so much, and I can only imagine the fun that went on in the judges' huddle, which included Tim Curry, Julian Clary, Molly Parkin, Zandra Rhodes and Jonny Woo. But the most uplifting aspect of Alternative Miss World was the participation of so many generations. One contestant was eight months pregnant while another was probably on the the agenda from the inaugural contest in 1972.

text/photos by Fred Butler

Award Ceremony

Miss Bubbles of Hope

Miss Trailer Trash, Little Miss Sustainable

Miss No Signs of Any Civilisation Whatsoever

Judges Zandra Rhodes and Jonny Woo, Mademoiselle Sea-Sea-Sur Mer

Miss Fancy Chance (the winner)

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