Punk Victory 

Alcohol, duct tape, pudding and royalty—it’s the SLUG Queen 2002 Pageant!

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In a mock-tawdry competition tradition that began only a year ago, your local punk-zine institution crowned its 2002 SLUG Queen on Friday, Aug. 30: Jen Nielsen, a 23-year-old non-drinking/smoking vegan (!) representin’ from the ’hood of West Valley City (!!). She takes over royal duties (handing out free stuff at SLUG events, looking hot at SLUG events, generally being a SLUG event) from outgoing 2001 Queen Jenn Buchanan. It’s a Jennifer world; we just live in it.

There’s no logical reason the SLUG Queen Pageant should have been a sold-out, standing-room-only blowout on a Labor Day weekend—and yet there was the Zephyr Club, crammed to sweaty capacity. Was it the celebrity judges? The folks who read SLUG couldn’t care less about celebs. The music? Local rock gods Starmy played a quick set, but cleared out well before prime time. The promise of half-naked women performing bizarre acts at the behest of ab-fab drag queen Nova Starr? Well, maybe.

“It was sold out before 11! Last year, it took until at least midnight, and the venue was smaller,” says SLUG publisher Angela Brown. “We were stoked.”

The more aggressively sexual antics from this year’s nine competing women also took Brown by surprise. “Last year was G-rated compared to this,” she says. “I think Contestant No. 1 [a naughty Nikki 666] set the tone, and the rest of the girls felt they had to keep up.”

All but Jen Nielsen, that is. Aside from seductively deep-throating a banana at one point (on her Queen application form, she listed her greatest assets as “My 401K and no gag reflexes”), the chestnut-haired, tattooed beauty was the model of modesty in a parade of debauchery and duct-taped nipples. Combined with her clean-living ethic and bubbly personality, Nielsen is a kinder, gentler SLUG Queen—what gives?

“I knew what most of the girls were going to do, the obvious ‘Look at me and my naked self,’” she told City Weekly later, reflecting on her victory. “I wanted to do something different, more me. Like everyone else, I have my moments, but I usually try to keep my clothes on. It was really fun!”

Most of the SLUG Queen 2002 Pageant’s “fun” can’t be described in a family newspaper—or even City Weekly. This is not completely due to the lewd content (sorry, alleged lewd content); things were just too noisy and chaotic to keep track. When you’ve got a crowd of SLUGgers who “get it” butting up against a crowd of frat-boy meatheads, all being presided over by a salty-tongued drag queen (“I look like your mother, but I’m hung like your father!”), details tend to fall by the wayside. Also, like the rest, I was drinking waaay too much. Now you know why I’m not sent out “on assignment” very often.

Besides, the interview, swimsuit and fetish-wear portions of the evening were merely foreplay for the hotly anticipated one-on-one wrestling showdown in a pool of chocolate pudding (“18 cans, 100 bucks worth,” according to Brown). The panel of celebrity judges—City Weekly’s Ben Fulton showed up on the wrong night, if you were looking for him—elected the finalists to be No. 8 (Nielsen) and No. 9 (Tank Girl ringer Jean Tenore).

At that sticky-sweet point, it was no longer Salt Lake Underground, but Slippery and Lubricated Untamed Girls. Arms and legs flailed, chocolate flew, tops were ripped and the ripped audience experienced a gladiatorial orgasm, but that just wasn’t enough for Buchanan, who suddenly leapt into the pudding pool and clenched both ladies in an impressive double headlock. The first to free herself from the reigning SLUG Queen’s royal armpit would be the victor … and it was No. 8—Jenn is dead, long live Jen.

Nielsen’s debutante ball, her presentation to society, will be this weekend’s annual Sabbathon concert (see Live, p. 53), and she’s more or less ready to honor the crown of SLUG Queen 2002.

“I love music, and part of the reason I wanted to win was to get in free to concerts,” she says. “But I’m going to be more involved, possibly write a column for the magazine, which I would love. I can fake it; I’m not the best writer, but I’m sure there are people who pick it up who can’t read, either!” [Laughs]

She’s going to do just fine.

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