Pre-sale profits of House of Villadiva to benefit Food Outreach

It has been six years since I released Delusions of Grandeur, and while House of Villadiva is a continuation of those tales, I’ve written it so readers unfamiliar with Delusions quickly get up to speed.

The premium “Society Edition,” which aims to grace the finest queer coffee tables, is now available for pre-order. All profits on orders placed with retailers through June 2nd will benefit Food Outreach, which is the only St. Louis area organization whose mission is to provide nutritional support and enhance the quality of life of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS or cancer.

We are a dramatic people, which makes for interesting stories, but we are also an incredibly giving community. At the end of the day all of the feuds recounted in the book are a kind of performance art, and I love the thought of extracting actual nourishment from them. It’s like we’re composting our differences and raising crops. Our community has no greater natural resource than drama, so let’s tap into it.

“Maven of Mardi Gras” Luann Denten

The $100 Society Edition will be released on June 3rd with a weekend of events. “Maven of Mardi Gras” Luann Denten, known for her Vices and Virtues Ball, will host an opulent red carpet extravaganza at Boo Coo in Soulard, which will be followed by signings throughout the region and a summer book tour. (Please note that retail orders will ship on June 3, so they won’t make it in time for the first signing).

A more affordable black and white edition as well as an ebook will be released later in June.

Size queens rejoice

At 548 pages, this is an enormous book, and there are over a hundred characters mentioned. In many instances actual names were used, with permission. Pseudonyms were used for many reasons, including to maintain continuity with Delusions.

While Delusions chronicled 14 years and was set in multiple cities, House of Villadiva spans six and is set almost entirely in St. Louis. This gave me an opportunity to focus more on character development, and examine the way things intertwine in this place I choose to call home.

Critical Acclaim

House of Villadiva was named “A must-read for 2021” by St. Louis Magazine. Additional reviews can be found here.

Supporting the House

One of the best ways to help spread the word about the book is to invite friends to like the Facebook page. Once you have read the book, please take a moment to leave a review.

I believe House of Villadiva explains St. Louis culture in a way that has never been done, and makes an airtight case that this haunted old metropolis is a fascinating place.


In a single weekend the St. Louis community, along with friends and fellow entertainers from around the country, came together to ensure Chasity Valentino had the legal representation she needed to defend herself against the big money individual who singled her out in a lawsuit. Dozens of donations as modest as $5 added up quickly, followed by an anonymous $740 contribution Sunday evening.

We want to thank everyone who shared the story and who donated. Without representation Chasity would have been easily railroaded. Because of all of you, Chasity can go to court with dignity, and she has more than a fighting chance of winning.

Chasity Valentino

All donors listed in alphabetical order.

Joshua Alexander
Chris Andoe
Jennifer Armer
Alison Bacon
Ryan Bandy
Jerid Bates
Jordan Braxton
Dan Boyer
Mike Campise
Thomas J Choinski
Candace Counts
Patti Daigle
Emma Delaney
Chris Dexter
Jesse Doggendorf
Abby Dorning
Lance Frutiger
Denise Hart
Webster Heffern
Jeffery Houston
Matt Huber
Josh Jordan
Joan Lipkin
Michael Lonergan
Jessica Lyons
Dawn Noel
Arthur Nunn
Lindsey Phoenix
Lisa Reynolds
Kimberly Rockwell
Gregory Schmelig
Ryan Shannon
Nick Stanton
Chris Taylor
Mac Taylor
Jonathan Tennant

Opal Wiley


Pardue’s lawsuit has elevated Chasity Valentino’s stature in the community.

Dozens peacefully demonstrated outside of Hamburger Mary’s St. Louis in July after the firing of drag legend Krista Versace. The termination ignited a much larger conversation among entertainers, former employees, and even customers about allegedly offensive and inappropriate behavior on the part of co-owner David Pardue. 

Trans activist and entertainer Chasity Valentino emerged as one of the protest leaders, and is now one of two individuals singled out in Pardue’s audacious defamation suit. The other individual is producer Chuck Pfoutz

Euclid Media Group, the parent company of Riverfront Times and Out in STL, is also named. Neither publication covered the story or the protest, but Pardue’s attorney is arguing that Euclid is responsible for reporting on since I was the editor of Out in STL at the time. While the argument is unusual, it is a common strategy to pursue a link to a party with resources when seeking monetary damages. While mentioned in the filing, I am not being sued.

Anthony Rothert of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri reviewed the file and said, “It does seem like a bullying piece of litigation, particularly against this person [Chasity].” 

Richard C. Reuben of ReubenLaw LLC has agreed to represent her for a flat fee of $2,500. Chasity is young and survives on a limited income, and must now come up with the money or risk a judgment that could reach upwards of a million dollars. 

On July 5, 2020, Chasity stood up for her community. Please stand up for her in return. If you can only give $5, please give it and then ask your friends to donate as well. Chasity doesn’t have David Pardue’s deep pockets, but she has an entire community that has her back. Each donation, regardless of size, is a statement that we stand with Chasity.

For those able to make sizable donations, I’m offering the largest single donor an exclusive evening where I’ll read excerpts from my upcoming book, House of Villadiva to your small group at your home or virtually. Offer is open to anyone in the United States.

Let’s do this.


***UPDATE*** Jordan Elizabeth Braxton is offering a Miss Leon’s chicken dinner for 6 to the first person to donate $300 or more.

My Hamburger Mary’s STL Experiences

Terrence Stokes was mistreated by David Pardue
Terrence Stokes was mistreated by David Pardue

My issue with cancel culture in St. Louis is that it’s too often co-opted by someone trying to settle a score. Of course that’s what’s brought the long-simmering tensions at Hamburger Mary’s St. Louis to a head. 

Gay Republican Matt Schiermeier got angry at Just John’s Kareem Lahai-Pumagoi over a Facebook debate and called owner John O. Arnold to try to get him fired. When that didn’t work he vowed to have his followers destroy Just John online, but instead aimed his fire at Krista Versace, who had been defending Kareem. Schiermeier was successful in costing Versace her job at Hamburger Mary’s. 

I’ve been hesitant about bringing up my own issues with Hamburger Mary’s owner David Pardue because they’re not nearly as interesting as many of the other testimonials, and I didn’t want to appear I was trying to settle my own score. I decided, however, that all of our perspectives are needed at this time. 

I was invited to bring an entourage to their soft opening, and a dear friend of mine by the name of Terrence Stokes was one of my guests. Terrence is Black and I felt he was disrespected on that basis. Everyone was served but him, and he approached Pardue to inquire about his order. Attempting to talk over the loud music, Stokes explained that everyone else had been served half an hour earlier. Pardue shrugged and said everything was free since it was a trial run, and gave no indication he would check on the order. He then asked Stokes, “Why are you shouting? Who brought you?” 

I can attest that Terrence was simply talking over the music. He was in no way shouting. 

Then and there I determined Pardue was not cut out for the hospitality business, and I’ve never been dissuaded of that belief. Still, I did what I could to support the business because it’s such a spectacular venue and is, to my knowledge, the only place in town where a drag queen can earn a full-time living practicing her craft. And despite the owner’s apparent flaws, it was still a “family” owned business. 

That support included running their press releases, patronizing the establishment, and planning a big magazine event there. 

Normally venues roll out the red carpet when you’re planning to bring people to their space, but Pardue made it clear he didn’t care. On at least two occasions when I went to see him in advance of the event he left me and an associate sitting there and never came out. The event was cancelled due to COVID, and the truth is I was relieved. I didn’t know how I was supposed to host in an environment where I myself didn’t even feel welcome. 

Pardue called my friend Janessa Highland “garbage” and even though she’s Miss Gay Missouri America 2018, and Miss Gay Missouri America paid to rent Hamburger Mary’s for their pageant, he banned her from participating because of his personal dislike of her. To Jade Sincair’s credit she objected to the unfairness, although the decision was not overturned. 

Stories worse than mine continue to cascade out and show no signs of slowing. Stepping back I see that I should have written off Hamburger Mary’s much sooner. I wanted to see them succeed and I tried to ignore the elephant in the room. That was wrong.

In summary, I believe David Pardue created a spectacular venue for St. Louis but is profoundly ill-suited to run the day-to-day operations. I think he, the business and the community would be better served if he either sold Hamburger Mary’s St. Louis, or hired a community-oriented and hospitality-minded professional to operate it and then stayed away.