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and article on Drag Fundraising




The AIDS crisis and the start of the Fabulous Four began the same year, 1982, and the group's place in Montrose bar history is well cemented. Originally called the Fabulous Four, they were the crème de la crème of drag entertainers in Houston. Tiffany Jones (Kenneth Whitehead) was an early star, becoming prominent in the mid-1970s as the Texas Tornado. She was so prominent that she was booked to perform summers in Provincetown, and did shows all over the South. At the Copa the Fabulous Four had a verbal agreement that they were only to perform under that name at that club, though of course they could do solo work anywhere. The other members of the first four were Naomi Sims, Donna Day and Hot Chocolate, all very popular and frequent pageant winners.

The group went from Four to Five for practical reasons. In late 1983 Tiffany knew she was booked to do her summer Provincetown tour, so Tasha Kohl joined the group, and she fit like a glove. They performed as a group of five until mid 1984, and by the end of 1984 Tiffany had phased out, and they were again four. Tiffany died of AIDS in April 1985.

Naomi Sims (Newman Braud) was a bright star, beginning her climb in 1978 and soon winning Texas Entertainer of the Year, in 1979, 1980 and 1981. She also won Miss Gay USA, and just about every pageant you could name. And like Tiffany she joined the Fabulous Four at the Copa. After the Copa closed, in the fall of 1986, she continued irregularly with the Fab Four to the end of 1991, and died of AIDS in 1992.

Donna Day (Donald Sheldon) had a similar start, winning pageants, such as Miss Gay Texas America in 1977, and many others. She moved to Dallas in 1983 to work for Caven Enterprises and be Queen of the Rose Room for the next twenty years. But of course she could still do Houston shows, which occurred into the 1990s. She had established herself as an emcee, comic and dramatic and versatile performer. She died in 2003.

Hot Chocolate (Larry Edwards) is indeed a star, also having pageant wins such as Miss Gay Florida 1976 and Miss Gay America 1980 before moving to Las Vegas in 1985. She has been performing in Las Vegas for many years, as Tina Turner in the "Divas Las Vegas" show, and at the Piranha Club, and has done numerous television and film appearances.

Rounding out the Fabulous Four is Tasha Kohl (Jery F. Kohl Faulkner) who also came through the pageant route, garnering Miss Gay America 1984 and National Entertainer of the Year 1991 along the way. Living in Dallas, she has been performing for almost forty years, always packing in the crowds to see her edgy over the top performances.

As these performers reigned in Houston in the early 1980s, they responded to the AIDS crisis, and did countless benefits to raise funds. The two living members have told us that they estimate about 30 percent of the shows they did then were AIDS fundraisers, and often at short notice, as the need was so great.


See extensive coverage of the
Fantastic Five/Fabulous Four