An Evening with the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Star
Introduced to the world in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” the Lady Chablis continues to entertain travelers at Club One, Savannah’s premier gay nightclub.
Drag queen performances usually don’t top the things to-do lists when traveling, but thanks to John Berendt’s nonfiction novel and the 1997 movie of the same name, the Lady Chablis has become a living attraction in Georgia’s Hostess City. One weekend a month, the popular drag queen performs at Savannah’s openly gay nightclub called Club One.
Who is Lady Chablis?
She’s the spicy, sassy, outrageous, and saccharin sweet drag queen in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. “The Book,” as Savannah residents refer to it, is set in 1980s Savannah and focuses on the true crime of hustler Danny Hansford’s murder by art dealer Jim Williams. Throughout “The Book,” Berendt exposes the quirky and eccentric Savannah residents, including the Lady Chablis.
When it came time for casting the 1997 film directed by Clint Eastwood, the Lady Chablis, also known as the Grand Empress of Savannah, played herself alongside John Cusack and Kevin Spacey. More than a decade later, the now 51-year-old Chablis still performs throughout the United States and makes the monthly visit to her hometown Savannah club.
What to Expect When Seeing the Lady Chablis
Fun. Laughter. Blatant suggestive language. A handful of raunchiness. The Lady Chablis Show is not for children, those lacking a sense of humor or those easily offended. It’s for those who love to laugh, don’t take life seriously and like to groove to the beat.
Club One (1 Jefferson Street, Savannah; Tel: (912) 232-0200) is a multi-level dance club and bar. The drag show featuring the Lady Chablis is on the upper level. A handful of drag queens and female impersonators are selected by the Grand Empress to perform during the 60-minute show. Like other drag shows, most performers lip synch while dressed in glittery and shimmering costumes and flawless makeup. They’re confident, sassy and sweet. Bring along a wad of one dollar bills to tip the girls. And don’t be shy. Most won’t come into the crowd so members of the audience are encouraged to walk up to the stage and tip the girls accordingly.
The petite Lady Chablis performs two sets during each show with a costume change in between. She lip synchs her songs and leaves the stage to venture into the audience. Depending on her mood, the drag diva will chat with the audience and discuss adult matters such as hiding the candy and other references to male and female anatomy. [Note: Discussed in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, hiding the candy is what Chablis referred to as the act of hiding her male anatomy to become a woman during performances. In 1996, the Lady Chablis published the autobiography called Hiding My Candy.]
How to See the Lady Chablis
Tickets to see the Lady Chablis are $25 per person for the 8 p.m. show and $30 for the 10:30 p.m. performance. Visit the Club One Web site or contact the club directly for the performance schedule.
The venue is intimate with limited, open seating. Small round tables line the perimeter of the stage with tall chairs in the back. Bring cash to tip the drag queens and purchase beverages, the bar is cash only.
Seeing the Lady Chablis is a treat. Arranging a Savannah vacation around her Club One performance is worthwhile, especially for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fans.