by Emperor XVIII Austen Daniels and Empress XVIII Jacqueline DiMera.

Empress Jealousy Jonz & Emperor Ryder Hard

Empress Jealousy Jonz & Emperor Ryder Hard

With the International Court System (ICS) marking its 50th anniversary this year, the Imperial Court of Rhode Island at Providence joins in the Golden Jubilee celebrations with Coronation XXIII: The Glamourous Life – A Retrospective Look at Fashion taking place the weekend of April 17-19.

Founded in 1992 by Lee Daniels, BB Hayes, W. Fitzgerald Himmelsbach, and Ralph Martino, the Imperial Court of Rhode Island performs noble deeds with its own style of pomp and circumstance in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Since its inception, the court has raised over $750,000 directly benefiting local organizations, including PFLAG, AIDS Care Ocean State, Rhode Island Pride, Sojourner House, Youth Pride Inc., and the Providence Journal Summertime Fund.

Coronation XXIII: The Glamourous Life – A Retrospective Look at Fashion (April 18) promises to be a spectacle of glamour, jewelry, and over-the-top couture, and also celebrates the reign of current monarchs Emperor XXII Ryder Hard and Empress XXII Jealousy Jonz. It will also serve as the official election of the Court’s next monarch. Angela Soprano- Butana, a former Miss Gay Rhode Island and current Imperial Crown Princess, is the sole candidate for Empress XXIII. In addition to the special guests and performers from across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the Imperial Court of Rhode Island will also celebrate the anniversaries of former monarchs including:

  • 5th Anniversary of Emperor XVIII “Big Daddy” Austen Daniels & Empress XVIII Jacqueline DiMera
  • 10th Anniversary of Emperor XIII Earl Taylor & Empress XIII Vi’let
  • 15th Anniversary of Emperor VIII Michael Duarte Sousa & Empress VIII Candy Wills duBarry
  • 20th Anniversary of Emperor III Stephen Hartley aka Miss Kitty Litter
Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan

The Imperial Court of Rhode Island is excited to announce the Honorary Co-Chair for Coronation XXIII: Michelle Kwan. Ms. Kwan is a two-time Olympic medalist, a five-time World Champion and a nine-time U.S. Champion figure skater. Currently, Ms. Kwan serves as a senior adviser of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the U.S. State Department. She is married to Clay Pell, a recent Democratic candidate for Governor of Rhode Island.

The reigning monarchs, Emperor XXII Ryder Hard and Empress XXII Jealousy Jonz, have also selected AIDS Care Ocean State and A.I.D.S., Inc. of New Bedford, MA as the beneficiaries of these Coronation XXIII weekend events:

  • Friday, April 17, Out-of-Town Show featuring performances from out-of-town Court members, The Dark Lady, 17 Snow Street, Providence, 7pm-10pm, $10.
  • Saturday, April 18, Coronation XXIII Ball, Providence Biltmore Grand Ballroom, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, 5:30pm cocktails, 7pm dinner, $100.
  • Sunday, April 19, Victory Brunch, Providence Biltmore Grand Ballroom, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, 10:30am, $35.

The International Court System is one of the most exciting and diverse LGBTQ organizations on this continent. Its members utilize their unique talents to raise funds and awareness, educate and teach, and help fulfill the needs of their communities. The ICS has grown across the country and over the borders, building up to 70 active chapters in North America, and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for worthy causes, including the Tijuana AIDS Project, breast cancer organizations, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and the Harvey Milk Foundation. Their combined efforts help feed the hungry, keep people warm, fight HIV/AIDS, spread holiday cheer, comfort seniors, register voters, support our gay brothers and sisters in the military, and fight for our equality. A recent achievement is the successful campaign for a Harvey Milk U.S. postage stamp.

Jose the Widow Norton

Jose the Widow Norton

The origin of the Imperial Court System stems from a group of San Francisco gay bar owners who formed The Tavern Guild in early 1965 as a means to stand in solidarity with one another under the pressure of police harassment. The Guild put on the first large public drag ball in San Francisco’s history called the Beaux Arts Ball. In its third year, José Julio Sarria was declared the Queen of the Ball, and then declared himself Empress. With that declaration, the Imperial Court System was born.

The ICS officially kicked off its Golden Jubilee year in February at the Imperial Court of San Francisco’s 50th Coronation Ball, which included a gala celebration held under the Rotunda in San Francisco City Hall. Events marking the 50th anniversary will be held across North America leading up to the Golden Jubilee Imperial State Dinner to be held in Portland, Oregon in October. For more info, visit,, or

CAPTIONS: Empress Jealousy Jonz & Emperor Ryder Hard Jose the Widow Norton Michelle Kwan