Surrounded by inquisitive but cautious cats, drag performer Annie Manildoo (“any man will do”) led a bingo night at the Shabby Tabby Cat Café on Saturday, Nov. 21.
The six-round bingo night filled the north room of the café to capacity (masks and social distancing were observed), while adoptable kitties visited players at their feet and on their tables.
Some cats were downright rude, as they sat on top of active bingo cards and attempted to chew on human-held markers. Players acquiesced and forewent playing bingo to cuddle with the cats.
Contestants came from as far as Queens and East Moriches, as the café is one of the only of its kind on Long Island.
Manildoo added her sparkle to the evening, performing with both lip-synced and heart-sung renditions of a wide variety of musical selections. From Broadway to Adele, Manildoo’s lungpower and showwomanship glittered through. Her facial expressions, highlighted with some Kardashian-level contouring, were at times whimsical or menacing, but always spectacularly grand.
With a majority of her songs on the mature-audience side, Manildoo had the audience roaring with laughter at her raunchy puns and her scandalous treatment of number announcing (such as an overenunciated and wicked moan mimicking copulation with every “O” number she pulled, which the audience was asked to reciprocate).
Teasing the audience in a demure animal-print top and black pantsuit, Manildoo stripped down to a feisty pink bodysuit and cream-colored fishnet stockings a couple of games into the evening. Her facemask was bedazzled around the perimeter and on the nose bridge to complete her look.
Bingo Night—some held without Manildoo’s magic—is a regular feature of the café and offers guests a welcoming way to play with cats that are both regulars and up for adoption.
“The events that we hold in the café help the cats to socialize and feel comfortable around people. It also helps aid in adoptions because attendees get a feel for which cats are more shy versus those who are the life of the party!” said founder Ryan Shea. “Drag Bingo has been one of our favorite events because it’s tons of fun, while also reinforcing our message of inclusion, hoping to represent a safe space for the LGBTQ community and its allies.”
The ambiance is a cross between Pinterest and cat lady, as it boasts decadently styled but modernly painted chandeliers, along with every cat tier playground in feline heaven.
A joking sign on the back door directs humans farther down the hallway and cats to the left for appropriate bathrooms.
Inside the back room of the café are mountains of quality kitty litter and cat food, which the territorial furry members dance and leap from without impugnity, despite a human using the bathroom.
Opened in 2018, the Shabby Tabby Cat Café has been home to dozens of feline friends and has adopted out over 500 pets. The walls of the café are adorned with photos of happy families cradling their new cats.