Stuck in Vermont: A New Era for the House of LeMay | Stuck in Vermont | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Stuck in Vermont: A New Era for the House of LeMay 

Episode 651

Published November 4, 2021 at 7:30 a.m.

On Halloween night in 1992, Bob Bolyard and Michael Hayes donned women’s clothing before heading to a party at Burlington’s gay bar, 135 Pearl — and on that momentous evening, the House of LeMay was born. The duo created drag queen alter egos: Bob became Amber LeMay, and Mike became Margaurite LeMay. They were spunky sisters from the Hot Damn Trailer Park in Beaver Pond, Vt. In 1995, they were joined by their cousin, Lucy Belle LeMay, also known as Johnnie McLaughlin.

The trio spent the next three decades conquering Burlington and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars and awareness for local charities and organizations. The LeMays attended hundreds of events wearing eye-popping, hand-sewn costumes crafted by Mike. For each performance and party, he designed three different ensembles using the same fabric so the threesome were sure to make a splash. Everyone knows the LeMazing LeMays, and they graced the Winter Is a Drag Ball, Vermont City Marathon and Seven Daysies awards party with their presence year after year.

In early 2019, Mike had a stroke and everything changed for the LeMays. Mike had to undergo rehab, and conversation became more difficult for the witty guy who used to slay audiences with his one-liners. Bob and Mike had been housemates for more than 20 years. Their basement was LeMay HQ, where all the costumes were sewn and the ladies got gussied up. Mike moved into an assisted living facility in Burlington and was no longer able to perform as Margaurite.

Then the pandemic shut down everything in 2020. Bob began a new web series called "Amber Live!," which streams online every Sunday. Lucy Belle often joins Amber for cooking segments, and the series has more than 80 episodes. Amber also posts to TikTok, where she has more than 12,000 followers. The LeMays will be at the Drag Ball this year, but they are not sure whether they will perform without Margaurite.

A few Saturdays ago, Eva attended a historic garage sale in Burlington at Syndi Zook’s house — Syndi is also a member of the House of LeMay. Mike was selling his sparkly handmade costumes, jewelry, wigs and heels. Fans and friends of the LeMays, neighborhood kids, and members of local theater companies came to hug Mike, enjoy his hearty laugh and sort through his decades of creations.

Music:
Kevin MacLeod “Blippy Trance” & “Werq”
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

This episode of Stuck in Vermont was supported by New England Federal Credit Union.

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About The Author

Eva Sollberger

Eva Sollberger

Bio:
Seven Days senior multimedia producer Eva Sollberger has been making her award-winning video series, "Stuck in Vermont," since 2007. New episodes appear on the Seven Days website every other Thursday and air the following night on the WCAX evening news. Sign up at sevendaysvt.com to receive an email alert each time a new one drops. And check these pages every other week for insights on the episodes.

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