On February 21, a wry and boisterous audience packed the dance floor of Old Town gay nightclub CC Slaughters to witness the character destruction of one of Portland's most beloved figures, Darcelle XV Showplace hostess Poison Waters.

“This was terrible. I have been a subject of roasts, and I've been a roaster. This was terrible,” Poison Waters said to a stage full of her friends and fellow queens. “I thought you were going to give it to me. Nobody called me fat, nobody called me old, nobody called me ugly—you did call me greedy, but that's not greedy, that's business sense.”

Those assembled—Bolivia Carmichaels as emcee, Summer Lynn Seasons, Alexis Campbell Starr, Valerie DeVille, Cassie Nova, and Daniel Pulver (out of drag as the bartender Madame Dumore)—fired the jugular reads one might expect from drag queens, with only occasional misfires. And they did so on behalf of a worthy cause.

The affair was a benefit for benefit for Camp Kids Connected, or Camp KC, a Cascade AIDS Project summer camp for children living with or otherwise affected by HIV. Waters is a longstanding supporter of Camp KC and has earned a reputation as someone who will put herself out there to support youths—whether it's by hosting storytime reading events picketed by bigots, or calling open season on herself from her peers. 

“I never do drag for free, that’s my motto. But I’ll do it for Camp KC,” Waters said. She later announced the event raised over $3000.

When the right jokes landed, the roasters' audacity and wit lit up the room. Carmichaels introduced a video montage of clips of CC’s employees and patrons calling Waters “a treasure that deserves to be buried,” “who?” and “what happens when you order RuPaul on Wish." 

Pulver went for Waters with: "There's two things you need to know about Poison Waters: She will never pass a sobriety test, and she will never look like a woman.”

“Poison walks the line between sassy and bitchy, and then snorts it,” DeVille mused.

“You are leading the charge, and we are proud to stand behind you—broke, busted, and disgusted,” Campbell Starr told Waters. “She cashes the big checks, and we get the chump change.” 

As the roasters ripped into Waters, she reacted loudly enough not to need a microphone, announcing at one point: “I'm so sad these girls didn't do their homework and their research, I am so bored!”

It seemed like her friendly detractors packed as much, if not more, heat for one other as they did their professed target. In example, Pulver turned to DeVille to impart: “You look like a lady who would go shopping with food stamps at New Seasons so you know what it's like to be around money."

DeVille later fired back at Pulver: “[Madame] models herself after the ideal 1950s woman. I wish she'd be like Jayne Mansfield and go drive in a convertible.”

Campbell Starr called DeVille thirsty, alleging she would perform at the opening of an envelope. Deville hit back harder: “You work at Silverado, you live above Silverado, and you still can't find dick." 

Waters confessed that DeVille taught her about buying fast fashion costumes: “I said, ‘Where did you get that dress, it looks like it covers your belly!’ and she said FashionNova. So I buy what she buys, but in the 3x, and, well, I can afford more."

After Campbell Starr claimed that her dress was from Neiman Marcus, Waters told another story and offered wisdom: “This lady comes in selling $15 dresses, and I said 'Oh, I know you aren't talking to me; you must be looking for these broke bitches.’ So we throw her out of the club and go next door for drinks. This bitch is set up with piles of shit, and who is that in the middle of the piles of shit? Alexis, trying on 37 dresses at $15 a pop.... Where did this bitch get these dresses? I said 'she threw a brick through a quinceañera shop on 181st, and you fucking drag queens are putting this on.' It’s terrible, and it’s embarrassing. Pay for your shit on bad credit, like I do, and worry about it later.”