aka Lois Carmen D'Nominator
1954 - 2010
Mike Blizzard, 54, suffered a heart attack and passed away at his Munster, IN, home July 16, 2010. Blizzard was known to many in Chicago as Lois Carmen D’Nominator and was the International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs Honky Tonk Queen of 1995. He was one of the original She Devils who performed at early Northalsted Market Days events. The She Devils were the 1992 Gay Chicago Magazine Entertainers of the Year.
In 1997, Blizzard told Gay Chicago, “The concept was born in Vancouver. It was at a square dance convention. …So we were all sitting around in a hotel room, and I put on a black crinoline, and I said, ‘Oh, it makes you feel so Spanish,’ as it was like a mantilla, and I started singing ‘Carmen.’ Then someone said, ‘A fabulous drag name would be Carmen D’Nominator.’ And to be a She Devil, it had to begin with L, so I became Lois Carmen D’Nominator. Dana (Blizzard’s roommate, aka Lucy Ann Purchase) didn’t want me to be a She Devil – at all. He didn’t want two of us doing the same thing together in the same house, and he didn’t want me to steal any of his glory, because he knew that I would be a better She Devil than him…and I guess history has proven that. …She’ll never forgive me for saying that.”
Friends said he had been in poor health for several years due to complications from diabetes, but he had been well enough to appear at an IAGSDC gathering in Chicago [Chi-Town Shakedown] several weeks ago.
[Printed in the July 22, 2010 Gay Chicago Magazine.]
• With the Good comes the Bad
As many of you may know by now, Mike Blizzard, 54, suffered a heart attack as a result of failing health and passed away at his Munster, Ind., home July 16. Mike was a long standing member of the Chi-Town Squares and a highly recognizable face in the Chicagoland area. For years, his unique brand of humor, honesty and biting wit spread smiles to the many people he had touched in his life. At the wishes of his relatives, a memorial service was held in Chicago on July 31 for family, work associates, fellow Chi- Town members and the Chicago Community at large. Mike’s good friend Dana Mee along with the family and close friends who had been helping Mike for the past few months put together a remarkable event at Ebenezer Lutheran Church auditorium to honor our dear friend, now gone. Mike’s sister Lisa and his Uncle Gary attended along with Mike’s Winston and Strawn associates where Mike was a legal secretary for 13 years.
In a related turn of events, it was discovered that prominent She-Devil and former HTQ Lois Carmen D’Nominator – not being one to share the spotlight – passed away several hours later in the same town where Mr. Blizzard had taken up residence. Still under investigation, Munster police are baffled by the colorful and disorderly state of the room Ms. D’Nominator sublet from Mr. Blizzard. An odd assortment of lipsticks, powders and paints were found along side several half empty bottles of glitter fixative and flesh-colored liquid latex adhesive. Strong Final Net fumes where also detected. Mounds of cheap jewelry, garish sunglasses, Lane Bryant close-out garments, empty candy dishes and multi-colored crinolines were strewn about the room. A flag pole was found in the absolute center of the room – apparently nothing had been rotated around it. After interviewing friends in the square dance community, Munster officials learned that Ms. D’Nominator and Mr. Blizzard were well acquainted with each other.
The She-Devils and other colorful characters from the IAGSDC family are planning an additional celebration gathering to remember both of these larger than life individuals. Friends from around the US and Canada who were unable to attend the family memorial are invited to share personal stories of Mike and Lois on Saturday, September 4th, at Ebenezer Lutheran Church auditorium starting around 4:30 PM. Wear something pretty. If you aren’t able to travel that weekend, messages to be read during the celebration may be sent to email@example.com
• Mike had been in frail health for the last couple of years due to his diabetes. He faced an amputation of his lower right leg that never happened, had surgery on his thyroid, had his gall bladder removed and had a couple of surgeries on the leg they would have amputated. So I’m sad at the passing of a friend – someone who I’ve always admired. He was witty, fiendishly sarcastic, ready always with a joke or funny story and was always making people laugh. And he was generous and gave of his time and skill and helped whenever one of his friends needed anything. Mike was sui generis and he will be missed by many, many people.
Of course I "knew" Lois Carmen D'Nominator for many years before I actually met her. We all did. We were the new kids on the block, lately come to the party and eager to see all the sights and learn the ropes. There she was, up on the stage, bigger than life, funnier than anyone one actually knew in real life, prettier than all the others too. It wasn't until I made my debut as a lowly convention hostess [LCLA! '99] that our paths chanced to cross. Oh no, not ON stage. She limited herself to the glamorous world of the HTQ and a simple girl like me could never have trod those boards. No, I met her backstage or rather in a rather spacious bathroom with bad lighting nearby.
My very talented make-up artiste, Lita Rosen, was fussing on my make up in the dim back stage light in the bowels of the Bonaventure Hotel's Los Angeles Room. Really, she's such a miracle worker, I don't know how she managed to get my eyebrows on straight with the conditions she had to work under. I of course was delayed by other pressing commitments [I was busier in those days, you see] and we had less than an HOUR for her to make me up to perfection for my big appearance at the convention banquet which was proceeding on just the other side of the temporary stage. It had taken twice as long to get me ready for the photo shoot that led to the large cut outs of me and my side kick, Oprah [who's such a simple girl and quite apparently willing to go before the cameras almost au naturale as I think she barely brushed on some powder to reduce the shine and perhaps a little lip gloss. Pretty girls are sooooooo lucky!]. We had barely half that much time, but sometimes you have to go with what you have.
Anyway, once I was made up to Lita's satisfaction, I made a quick trip to the loo to put on my frock and who should come in but Lois. She was dressed in "mannish" clothes, but I certainly recognized her. I thought, "She must be taking a page from Katherine Hepburn and either trying to set a style trend or to avoid being recognized by the paparazzi." She did have on some dazzling ear bobs. It was a FORMAL banquet you see. The lighting wasn't the best in the head either. Florescent bulbs make me look just awful and quite gray. Well, Lois took one look at me and said, "Honey, you cannot go out looking like that! Let me help you." I looked in the mirror to see what could possibly be wrong. No stains on my crushed velvet royal purple dress. My pearls, though faux would certainly be fine at the distance they were going to be viewed by the crowd and would pick up the Super Trooper [Jr] light perfectly. And yes, my wrist bangles were simply strands of faceted, silvered bead necklaces wound around my limbs. Shoes? Well, black DOES goes with everything and it wasn't like I was going to be kicking up my heels out there. My red nerf ball falsies could have used some lace to make them look more like a Victoria's Secret Bra. but my long, lank, lifeless, stringy blond hair would mostly distract from them as well as cover them somewhat.
"Your face, dearie," she said patiently. "We don't have time to pluck your eyebrows and I'm in no mood for the crying anyway, but you'd look less like death warmed over if you had about 3 times more rouge on. Perhaps your people don't want to call attention to the redness of you nose so that is why they applied the foundation with a trowel. But I'll be damned if I'm going to let you go out there in the WRONG SHADE OF LIPSTICK!" [I mostly was in a daze because she thought *I *had "people"!] And with those gracious words, she opened her fashionable evening clutch [covered in black jet beads that might have even been real], grabbed out half a dozen golden tubes of lipstick and began squinting, er peering, um CON-sidering the labels. Finally, she chose one called "Fire Engine" and applied it to my face rather like a mother washing up her errant son for church. "That will just have to do. Let me see your teeth. Oops." but that was fixed by a couple of sheets of TP she quickly obtained. "Now, don't smile until you go out there. Keep your mouth relaxed and your teeth wet so more doesn't stick. Make us proud of you."
And with that, she swept out of the baño and back to her table. I think she even forgot to pee. I had no time left to rehearse the perfect speech my ghostwriter, David Kalmansohn, had written and I'm afraid I botched it rather badly. But I felt pretty, dammit. I'd been given the Lois Carmen seal of approval and it just didn't get better than that. I took a deep breath [well, as deep as I could since the dress didn't allow me to completely fill my lungs, really only about 1/4], and sailed out into the light, nearly right on time. And you know, history was made that night. You see, by only two degrees of separation, Lois Carmen D'Nominator kissed the handsome and dashing caller Vic Ceder since he accepted my challenge that night, came right up on stage and planted a wet one on me. I know that Debbie has yet to forgive me. I hope that Lois realized what had happened when it did. I don't think I ever told her about it and if she was off getting a cocktail or deep in conversation with one of her adoring fans [or realized she still needed to pee], she might have missed the whole thing. But I firmly believe, that but for the gracious loan of Fire Engine lipstick, regally applied, these lips would have never crossed paths with El Hunky Vic.
Having done it once, it became easier to arrange for it to happen again, of course. At my dress retirement party in Feb 2000, I got dipped and fully kissed on the lips at the North Hollywood Masonic Lodge by none other than Michael Kellogg, who was my intended target on that first fateful night, but he was nowhere to be seen. Lois would have been proud of me, I know. But I don't remember what shade of lipstick I wore the 2nd time "it happened", because Lois wasn't there to make me feel pretty. I hope that I can carry on in her fine example and someday help some other poor struggling convention hostess or even a hat check girl, struggling street mime or barmaid with her facial allure. It won't be easy. I don't keep nearly the range of shades on hand that Lois obviously toted around with her habitually, only trying to do good and help others have the confidence to do the things that ought to be done. Perhaps if I get to SLC in 2014, I'll sit in a kissing booth in Temple Square and give away free kisses to anyone who looks like they could use a lift in honor of the 15th anniversary of that kind, generous, motherly, loving act. I think I'll wear Fire Engine in her memory.
I'll miss her.
Uma Winfrey Convention Hostess, ret, LCLA! '99
The Great Lois Carmen D'Nominator has passed away. How sad to lose such a great person, and a magnificent Queen.
Mike/Lois passed away reportedly from a massive heart attack on Friday July 16, 2010. This is a great loss to the gay square dance community. Mike/Lois was always a star and a presence to be dealt with, I am so glad that I was able to spend many times with him. On the last night in Chicago I sat with Lois and enjoyed a cocktail and queenly banter, not knowing this would be my last time to do so. I have a pair of flamingo pink Dame Edna sun glasses with rhinestones that Lois lent to me in Cleveland, that I had never returned--now I will treasure them as a lasting memory.
Though in pain and having had a particularly unpleasant year of surgery and recovery, Mike appeared in Chicago and was as glorious as ever. Few realized the degree of pain and unpleasantry we has masking behind the cheery outside. In retrospect many of the things he said foreshadowed this sad departure.
I remember Lois'. first with the appearance of the SheDevils, and who can forget her presentation the night she won Honky Tonk Queen--done in mime, since she was so traumatized from losing the year before. The only time Lois was speechless.
Mike was a sheer pleasure to spend time with, and though a master (Mistress) of bitchiness when on stage, a good and loving person with a heart of gold (encrusted with rhinestones)
I don't know what plans are made, or what Mike would have wanted, but I can't help but picturing a bright pink casket with rhinestones, and Lois in big hair, big make up and very sensible, but color coordinated shoes, all of the She-Devils in full regalia, Tami and Virginia in attendance, with all of us who knew and loved both Lois and Mike.
Mike/Lois: we will miss you so much!!!! Conventions will never be the same.
-- Harlan Kerr/Belle Whatling
P.S. Now there is no one to keep Tami in line!!!