''It'll be like a talent show in space,'' says Shea Van Horn of Town's debut Crack party this Saturday, dubbed a ''Journey to Uranus.'' Van Horn, who hosts the party as his drag alter-ego Summer Camp, says his inspiration for the night is Barbarella. ''Think full outer-space regalia,'' he grins.
Van Horn co-produces Crack with Karl Jones and Chris Farris. This will be the sixth Crack, a low-blow, high-jinxed performance art party where anything goes. The three started the party at the small club DC9 in 2006. But after last year's ''Circus''-themed event, when the house was beyond full and dozens of people were turned away, it was painfully clear they needed a bigger venue.
Van Horn says Town, with more than twice the space downstairs as DC9, wasn't an obvious host for the party. ''We bill ourselves as a low-budget mess of stage and screen,'' he says. While DC9 is akin to someone's rickety living room, Town is a decidedly high-budget glamour den.
But Town is a great space, Van Horn notes. In addition to better sightlines to the stage, it will allow room for more performers as well as spectators. ''We don't really vet the performers,'' says Van Horn. Anyone is welcome to take the stage, and to do whatever they want. ''We really want this to be a showcase for those who've fallen through the cracks'' of traditional theater and drag shows. There will also be short films and audience games.
Town will suspend its regular drag show for this special event. Van Horn's Summer Camp is an edgier, more theatrical brand of drag queen, one drawn from Van Horn's background in alternative theater.
''It will be interesting to see if we'll turn people on or if there'll be heckling,'' he says. Crack performers, unlike Town's drag queens, don't work for tips. ''But if someone wants to give me a dollar, I'll take it,'' says Van Horn. ''Summer will do anything for a dollar.''
Crack takes place this Saturday, Feb. 28, at 10 p.m. at Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th St. NW. Cover is $8 from 9 to 11 p.m., $12 after 11 p.m. Visit www.towndc.com.