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New monthly Vogue Nights series aims to bring ballroom culture to downtown San Antonio

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San Antonio native Antonio Padron, a featured performer on HBO series "Legendary," will DJ the new Vogue Nights: San Antonio Edition, a monthly series that kicks off Saturday, September 25. - BRYAN RINDFUSS
  • Bryan Rindfuss
  • San Antonio native Antonio Padron, a featured performer on HBO series "Legendary," will DJ the new Vogue Nights: San Antonio Edition, a monthly series that kicks off Saturday, September 25.
With roots that date back to Harlem masquerades thrown by Black and Latino LGBTQ+ communities as early as 1869, ballroom culture is enjoying a mainstream moment — thanks in part to TV shows such as Ryan Murphy’s Emmy-winning FX drama Pose and the HBO Max reality competition series Legendary.

Introduced to the masses via Jennie Livingston’s ever-influential 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, the world of ballroom is inseparable from the runway-inspired poses and acrobatic choreography of vogue — the underground dance genre famously co-opted by Madonna (1990’s “Vogue”) and Malcolm McLaren before her (1989’s “Deep in Vogue”).

A San Antonio native and South Side High School grad, Antonio Padron has been following vogue and ballroom closely since 2009. Mentored by fellow San Antonio dancer Karma Styles and inspired by the influential troupe Vogue Evolution, Padron adopted a performance style dubbed “vogue femme.” Alongside Styles, Padron became a founding member of the House of Kenzo — a San Antonio troupe that blurs boundaries between vogue, performance art and avant-garde fashion.

After years of honing his craft and auditioning for reality competition shows, Padron landed on the second season of Legendary as part of the freshly formed House of Luxe. Brought into the fold by Dallas-based house father Nemo Luxe, Padron competed under the moniker Akasha Luxe. “There’s a feminine side to my performance,” Padron told us earlier this summer. “That’s who Akasha is.”

In addition to being the youngest troupe in the competition, House of Luxe lost a member due to a broken arm right before filming started. Setbacks aside, the house put up an admirable fight until its eventual elimination on episode three.

After returning to San Antonio in the wake of Winter Storm Uri, Padron also suffered an injury: a broken fibula caused by poorly executed dip — a ballroom staple known in the drag world as a “death drop.”

Now off the crutches and back in action, Padron is gearing up for the debut of Vogue Nights: San Antonio Edition, a new monthly series presented by Shayla Lepore (of the House of Lepore) and Dallas-based Father Tye.

A flyer for the first edition of Vogue Nights: San Antonio Edition. - COURTESY IMAGE / VOGUE NIGHTS: SAN ANTONIO EDITION
  • Courtesy Image / Vogue Nights: San Antonio Edition
  • A flyer for the first edition of Vogue Nights: San Antonio Edition.
Slated to take over the cavernous space below downtown’s Playland Pizza, the Saturday, September 25 kickoff aims to attract regional talent with competitions in various categories — several of which are OTA, or open to all — including New Runway, New Performance, Best Dressed, OTA Face, OTA Sex Siren, OTA Performance and OTA Realness.

While Dallas-based Michael Aaron Banks is set to emcee, Padron will act as resident DJ, providing a dance party atmosphere before and after the ball.

“It’s going to be a pretty interesting event because it should bring down people involved in ballroom from all the regions of Texas,” Padron said. “The judges are definitely going to be people from the ballroom scene. This is not affiliated with mainstream, this is the [less-competitive] kiki scene. Legends in the kiki scene, up-and-coming legends, people who are known for their categories and that have made a mark on the scene here in Texas — those are the people [you can] expect to be on the panel. … And we’re trying to get cash prizes involved, so we’re looking for sponsors. … The best thing about it is that it’s going to be a monthly thing. So it should activate a big queer spark and a queer interest. It’s going to be an amazing set of events that we have planned for the ballroom culture in San Antonio.”

SAVE THE DATE: Vogue Nights: San Antonio Edition
$10, 10 p.m., Saturday, September 25 (ball starts at midnight), Playland, 400 E. Houston St., (210) 994-0015, instagram.com/gotmy10z.

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