By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
EAST VILLAGE — With the fanfare of Miss America, but the look of a freak show, men strutted their stuff at the Mr. Lower East Side Pageant Wednesday on the Bowery, where more than a dozen beer-swilling contestants competed in various states of undress for a shot at the title.
The contestants squared off in three categories — talent, swimsuit and evening wear — with only women and gay men in the audience allowed to vote for their favorite.
Jeremy Karyl "Moonshine" Shorey took the title, besting a field of lewd acts that kept the standing-room only crowd at the Bowery Poetry Club cheering and cringing.
The event, now in its 12th year, is the brainchild of Lower East Side artist and author Saint Reverend Jen, who emceed the pageant clad in her trademark elf ears.
"Get ready to have your minds blown and get scarred for life," she told the packed house, hardly exaggerating.
With that, 13 contestants ranging from Angry Bob to the Masked Poet to Dick Velour took the stage to show off their goods, oftentimes ending their performances dressed in only a thong — or less.
"I have a talent that no one in this contest has," boasted a man who goes by the nickname Electric Penis. "I have the ability to pay my rent on time every month."
Contestants showered the crowd in everything from beer and balloons to sliced bread, while another offered any woman who could wrestle him to the ground a free drink. Nearly all displayed an inappropriate amount of skin.
"I saw Jesus in the stretch marks backstage," noted contestant Gentleman Scumbag of the pervasive nudity.
In the end, the audience awarded 2009 winner Mike Amato third place, or "Mr. Nolita," while contestant Fritz-tastic took runner-up honors as "Mr. TriBeCa."
Moonshine, the winner and clear crowd favorite, admitted that he didn't decide to compete until the morning of the contest.
"I love the art on the Lower East Side," he said. "Art's hard, but it doesn't have to be taken so seriously."
Moonshine was one of the few not to bare all during the pageant.
"I think it's lazy," he said.
After the winners were announced, Amato was asked what the Lower East Side means to him.
"I'm too drunk to answer questions," he responded.