Every spring the city of San Antonio, Texas, celebrates Fiesta, a 10-day stretch of over 100 parties, parades and events that include a Mexican rodeo, a four-evening block party, a floating boat parade on the River Walk and a stodgy yet opulent debutante ball called the Coronation. At the Coronation, young women from rich white families wear ridiculously ornate gowns with huge sequined capes as a narrator explains how the state’s brave white settlers “won” (stole) the state from the unfriendly Mexicans and Native Americans. Well it turns out there’s an annual queer parody of the Coronation called the Cornyation. It has drag queens, burlesque performers and biting political satire, and we got photos of Cornyation 2018 from a front-row center seat.
Here’s a short 2017 documentary about the history of Cornyation:
Now celebrating its 53rd year, the Cornyation is basically a Fiesta-time sketch show that parodies local and national politics in deliberately bad taste. The performers stage six showings over three nights, with profits benefitting a local HIV charity and an annual scholarship for theater arts majors.
This year’s theme was “Court of the Frenetic Frantic Kingdoms,” a play on the chaos surrounding the White House. A loose connection of sketches with no real plot, the stage production included a huge floating pig-head of U.S. President Donald Trump, the words “Lord of the Flies” written in dripping red letters around it.
During the height of the production, the pig head spews a long, clumpy brown ribbon resembling poo.
Here are some photos from Cornyation 2018:
The Coronation gives its many debutantes overwrought titles like “Princess of the Gardens of Glamorous Femininity,” so the Cornyation gives its performers titles like “The Duchess of Stormy Rendezvous and Melania’s Revenge” and “The Empress of a Big, Stinking, Fly-Infested Pile of Poo, Representing Diarrhea of the Mouth and Constipation of the Brain.” Subtle.
The writer behind this year’s Cornyation says the Trump administration’s real-life sexual antics were so lurid that he had to “tone it down.” But the show also poked fun at the Texas gas shortage following hurricane season and the state’s legalization of medical cannabis products (with a buxom woman eating vegan fast food and smoking joints while sitting on a costume of the state capitol).
— Trey Porter (@treyporterlaw) April 26, 2018
— Daniel Villarreal (@hispanicpanic79) April 27, 2018
The Cornyation is actually just one of several annual LGBTQ events at San Antonio’s Fiesta, including the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil masquerade party, the Chili Queens Cook-Off, the Pride Ride and the Battle of Flowers After Party.