Bao at Yuan Wonton. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Dining Out With Felony Misdemeanor, a Food-Loving Drag Mom

How does a drag queen rate a dish? By lipstick of course. 

BY Linnea Covington


As Pride Month comes to an end, we want to pay homage to Felony Misdemeanor, a talented drag queen and self-professed foodie. In fact, she has an Instagram account dedicated to her reviews, which are both hilarious and informative. 

In order to really paint a picture of what it’s like dining out in full drag, Felony created a ranking system based on lipstick and high heels. The more stilettos the better the place. For example, she gave Stoney’s Bar & Grill five heels for its burger, and a “you will need to reapply” lipstick recommendation. Little Arthur’s Hoagies also got five heels, and a, “you cannot eat this with lipstick,” comment. 

We sat down with Felony at one of her favorite spots, Yuan Wanton in Park Hill, for a feast of dumplings and noodles while she dished. Find out more about how this drag mother got started, why food is so important, and where else she likes to eat.

Felony Misdemeanor in all her beauty. | Photo provided by Felony Misdemeanor
Felony Misdemeanor in all her beauty. | Photo provided by Felony Misdemeanor

How did you get into drag? 

I got into drag 23 years ago in El Paso, Texas. So I’ve been doing it for a hot minute. I’ve always been a performer. At family barbecues I’ve always been like, ‘hey, watch me, watch this.’ I always had some kind of routine or something, so I’ve always had the bug to perform. And then I was just presented with the opportunity to do it. 

[Getting into drag] was just by chance really. One of my great friends was a bartender at a gay bar called the San Antonio Mining Company. He was having a birthday party and one of the drag queens had dropped out. He came to me and said, “Hey, I know you love Janet Jackson, if I get someone to dress you up will you come as Janet Jackson?” So I did it and got up there and then got a bite from the drag bug. 

How did you end up in Colorado?

Those same buddies, they were like, “hey Turtle,” my nickname. “Hey Turtle, we’re moving to Denver, do you want to go?” 

Without a thought I said yes, let’s go, let’s go. And, three months later, I was here. It was my time. There was really nothing holding me back. There was nothing really there for me in El Paso, Texas besides family. I felt that I had bigger aspirations and I just wanted to be in a bigger city. The opportunity presented itself right here, and I never went anywhere else. I got here December 17th, 2003 and really, I grew up here.

Yuan Wonton OG wontons. | Photo by Linnea Covington
Yuan Wonton OG wontons. | Photo by Linnea Covington

How did your drag name Felony Misdemeanor come about? 

I was just hanging out with my cousins up in El Paso and we went to a Circle K. They went inside to get some beer, and, there’s a sign outside of the door or outside of the building that said, “It’s a felony-misdemeanor if you shoplift from here.” And, me being a big fan of Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, so I said okay, that’s it, that’s my name.

Have you performed as Missy Elliot? 

She was the second person I performed. It was Janet Jackson, Missy Elliott, and then Bjork of all people. 

What Bjork song do you do?

It’s Oh So Quiet.

That’s my karaoke song! It’s the only one I can really do. 

Okay, you’re doing it right. People who can sing and come to karaoke, I hate them. I think they should take it somewhere else like a piano bar. Karaoke is for the tone-deaf people.

Felony Misdemeanor has been doing drag for over 20 years. | Photo provided by Felony Misdemeanor
Felony Misdemeanor has been doing drag for over 20 years. | Photo provided by Felony Misdemeanor

Speaking of performing, what else do you do for an occupation? 

That’s my only job right now. Yeah, my only means of income is drag. It’s hard. I specialize in sex health education, but no one is hiring currently. So I just have been living off of drag for almost two years now. It’s really difficult. For one, a lot of venues, well, I guess we make it look easy so they don’t really pay us. 

On average it’s $100 a gig. When I started to venture off and do shows with Champagne Tiger, they paid well. Or private parties, you can charge a higher rate. Bigger corporations or bigger agencies, like universities, I could ask for a little more. But as far as getting regular pay from the gay community, well. There’s a lot that goes into it, you can easily spend three or four hours before you even get to the venue. 

For the record, it doesn’t look easy, it looks like a real workout. Now, from the makeup to the clothes to the sweet moves, the art of drag is very involved. How did you learn to do it? 

Well, it was before YouTube so I either had to ask someone to teach me or it was all trial and error. When I first started I had someone do my makeup. I would sit there and I would watch what they would pick up, like the foundation and what color. 

Then I saw how and where they put it on my face, so I would try to emulate that when I was at home. Because they didn’t paint me in the mirror,  I couldn’t really see what’s happening. It’s all just really about feeling. 

Spicy noodles at Yuan Wonton. | Photo by Linnea Covington
Spicy noodles at Yuan Wonton. | Photo by Linnea Covington

I met you through Chris Donato of Champagne Tiger, and he called you the mother of Denver drag. Does that mean you mentor baby queens? 

I have been a mentor to quite a few girls. You know, I have my own family. There’s nine of us in total. There’s me, the matriarch. But Minor Misdemeanor was my first drag child. So there’s Felony and Minor, which are the only ones that are playing off the name. I wish they all played off the name, but they didn’t. So they all have regular names and I hate it. 

So that’s why Minor is your favorite…

(Laughing) Yeah!

So Minor wanted to do drag and she didn’t have anybody help her with it.  We became friends before I knew she wanted to do drag and she asked if I would be her drag mom. I said yeah, so that meant I helped her with her makeup and clothing and any advice. And most importantly, just being a support system for the girl. 

It’s can’t be easy to be a drag queen in this current political climate.

It’s not. And even in our own community it’s not easy because there’s always someone who’s going to hate on what you do. There’s always going to be those people around. And so with the family, it’s to help you navigate around that. Because of course, you do need someone to talk to you. 

Spicy peanut wontons at Yuan Wonton. | Photo by Linnea Covington
Spicy peanut wontons at Yuan Wonton. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Okay, onto the other reason we met up at Yuan Wanton today. Talk to me about your love of food. 

Really, if I could do anything, I would love to be a chef. That’s always been one of my things. It’s just that I love food so much and I want to cook it for everybody. 

When did you start your Instagram account, Felony_Cafeteria?

I started doing it because all my good friends know that I love food. I’m always talking about it. I always tell my friends to let me pick the restaurant and they’re always blown away. Food is my love language. 

People already like my opinion when it comes to food, so I thought I would go ahead and tell it to the masses and have fun with it. I just post what I normally eat. It’s not for Instagram likes, you know, because they have those restaurants that are Instagram picture worthy but are terrible. 

No, I’m not looking to do that. I’m looking to find good food that just happened to look great. So I’m putting it out there mostly for my queer family, my queer kids because a lot of us don’t really taste a lot of really good food. 

Felony loves a Whataburger once and while. | Photo by Whataburger
Felony loves a Whataburger once and while. | Photo by Whataburger

So what are some of your favorite places? 

Well, it really depends on what you’re trying to get. If you want fancy schmancy, like for a celebration, definitely Beckon. I go there every year for my birthday. And next door Major Tom is quite amazing.

Hop Alley is one of my favorites. My all time favorite dish there, and it’s not on the menu, it’s on the chef’s tasting menu, is the oyster omelet. Shells and Sauce is another place. The pork chops are to die for. The chicken parm is good to me, but ask for extra sauce. 

For every day, Pepper Asian Bistro on Colfax. It’s really good American Chinese. I get delivered and it’s always super hot and crispy. You know how you can get some sesame chicken and it’s just like goo? Well this one is still crispy. 

Also, I’ll take a trip to Colorado Springs for a burger from Whataburger. I grew up on Whataburger and it’s everything to me. So, I go to get that fix. I get double meat with no cheese, extra onions, and extra jalapeños.

Can your lipstick pass Felony's test? | Photo by Linnea Covington
Can your lipstick pass Felony’s test? | Photo by Linnea Covington

Okay, so back to Felonys_Cafateria, tell me a little more about the lipstick scale. 

Well a lot of time eating out I’m in drag, and so I have lipstick on. I tend to look at the [dish] like, okay, do I need to reapply? 

So, after spicy peanut sauce wontons ($18), OG wontons ($18), and the popcorn chicken bao ($16), would you have to reapply the lipstick?

This would definitely take it off because of the chili oil, and you’d have to reapply. But it’s worth it. 

Find out where Felony will be performing next through Instagram. Want to read more from our local celebrities? Check out our interviews with metrologies Kylie Bearse and author Adrian Miller.

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Linnea Covington

Linnea Covington is the managing editor of DiningOut. She comes to us with a long background in food, restaurant and drinks journalism. Over the last two decades she’s written for tons of publications including Denver Post, Washington Post, Forbes Travel Guide, 5280 Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Times, Time Out New York and more.