Wanda Woman

SoBe's NBA-size drag queen's antics have resulted in his virtual banishment from clubland

He's not without admirers. Ernie Harrell, the promoter of the funk-theme Fat Black Pussycat at Liquid, where, incidentally, Wanda is banned, appreciates Wanda's honesty. "Wanda is one of the few people who say exactly what they think, and a lot of people don't like that," Harrell asserts. "I've partied with her -- she's crazy. She's constantly walking the line. Sometimes I even have to tell her, 'You've gone too far.' But when she's walks that line, she's great. She's an artist. Come on, a six-foot seven-inch black man with balloons for breasts and size sixteen feet wearing ladies' pumps? You've got to be an artist to pull that off."

Eric Lepkofker, the beefy head of security at the Living Room, concurs: "I think the dude's a riot. I think he could make millions as a comedian. However, when you dress a certain way you've got to expect people are going to react to you."

But where some see art and comedy, others see cuts and bruises.
"She's eighty-sixed from this club," says Gary Thoulouise, general manager of Chaos, where Wanda used to do promotional work. "She's a menace to society. The most irritating thing is not that she's rude, abusive, and loud. It's more than that. Wanda herself instigates negativity; she brings a whole negative vibe to the customers."

During a New Year's Eve party at Chaos, Wanda was in the VIP section when he stepped on a woman's foot. "You can imagine a six-foot-seven drag queen -- over 200 pounds -- in heels stepping on this woman's foot," adds Thoulouise. "The woman is screaming and Wanda is acting like nothing's wrong. I said to her, 'Wanda, you really have to be careful,' and she said, 'Darling, if she doesn't want to get stepped on, she should get out of the VIP room.'"

"I banned Wanda from here," huffs Jacques Milhomme, manager of the WinWin Bar (formerly Rose's Bar & Music Lounge). "He/she may be a drag queen, but she is definitely a drag."

During an open-mic night at the club, Wanda pushed his way to the front, sang an obscenity-laced song, and then insulted those on-stage at the time, Milhomme contends. Then he got into a brawl. A bartender who asked to remain anonymous recalls watching the incident. "I saw Wanda get into a fight with a bull dyke," the bartender says. "It was the funniest thing I've ever seen. I hear glass break, and I look around and there's Wanda stepping out of her tutu. Out come the balloons and she's handing them to a friend. Then she's putting her hands up. I mean, she was ready to go. It took three guys to break it up."

According to the bartender, Wanda eventually apologized to the woman.
Not true, counters Wanda. He does not own a tutu. "Do you know what those look like?" he sneers. As for the fight: "She hit me first. I've got to protect myself."

Other club workers are too scared to give their names. "Please don't use my name -- she's extremely vicious and vindictive," says one club manager. "A lot of people are scared of her. Yes, she's banned from here."

Wanda cops to being involved in some trouble. "I got into a fight with the owner of Moe's Cantina a couple of months ago," he remembers. "You didn't hear about that? He had to get eight stitches over his eye. It was at KGB. He hit me first. Now we're friends again. We made up."

Morgan Craft, co-owner of Moe's, smiles as he confirms the scuffle. "I decided it was better to kiss and make up," he says, rubbing a spot over his left eye where Wanda left his mark, "because Wanda pissed is like a spider monkey on crack."

Wanda points out that he is tiring of the South Beach scene and wants to move to New York City and get discovered -- maybe get his own talk show like Oprah. (Or RuPaul.) While many would applaud his departure, promoter Harrell, for one, would see it as a loss, part of the ongoing taming of South Beach. "Look, this town needs its degenerates," he declares. "It's what gives the place color.

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