7 posts tagged RuPaul's Drag Race
Can I get an aspirin? (It was an easy pun I couldn’t resist, sorry.)
Kind of a cute idea to see how good their makeup instincts are, but breaking down the concept comes down to queens trying to be boy scouts and cast a glint off their glitter eyeshadow for light to get a roughin’ it merit badge. I adored Alaska’s idea though and the funeral bug net reveal.
I’m sure they would rather have makeup on when their excitement…
…is like a discontinued lip gloss.
Here’s a lesson that’s easier to keep in mind when there aren’t cameras intimately shoved so far up your butt that it makes a colonoscopy look like a long distance relationship: Cheering is always going to sound louder when there’s a unified group. It doesn’t mean there is less support or expectation of your success, but you’re not dating or in alliance with any of these people and thus they’re simply not interested in anyone who isn’t living in the mirror.
Every season they accuse the girl making the teams, “you had a strategy!” they whine. Well… duh. That’s what people do in competitions. Hag before humanity.
Ivy won this challenge and I absolutely agree. She had managed to have personality without being obnoxious and sang the damn song. Let’s be real though, her runway outfit was just okay. The judges tend to get all Michael Kors and forget about fashion aesthetics if someone gets a little crafty with a non-fabric material. It’s layered paper with her face on it, a cute dress but let’s not act like she delivered Balenciaga. Considering how many underwhelming looks are being delivered this season, we have to take what we can get.
Alyssa surprisingly held it together so far, to recap what she’s been read for this season: Being disqualified from the pageant, being fat and her singing. She may be saying things that aren’t quite nice herself, but she hasn’t been making it personal on attributes that are physical or can’t be changed. I think I’ve officially claimed a side. (Btw, for a “proud juicy girl” Roxxxy, you’ve been looking shady ms. lady.)
Frankly, it was a long time coming with Alaska. Her outfits tend to be basic (not plain) with little accessories or fleshed out themes. If you’re not going to do camp or glamour then what is there? She’s not understanding that what the judges mean by vulnerability, they refer to committing to a character and giving us some kind of, ugh I hate to say, brand of who she is. However the Sharon comparisons have become arbitrary and downright hurtful.
My absolute favorite moment of both episodes: Jinkx laughing in Coco’s face. I mean, girl. Really? For someone constantly serving up sour patch kids, when the candyman delivers she slams the door and acts as if she never made the order in the first place. Her and Alyssa are becoming twin sisters that won’t stop arguing about whose hair is prettier and the glue gun of this constructed feud is showing at the seams.
I was glad that it wasn’t a dramatic confrontation episode this week and focused on (most) people knowing they fucked up and being honest about it, as well as breaking down individual unhealthy defensive behavior.
- Does sound guy Lucien get happy being anywhere? Maybe he needs to quit his job and fulfill his dream as an Adam Scott impersonator or allow himself that whole milk latte in the morning.
- Can Alaska join Jinkx and Ivy already? She’s already run out of messages to send on her shirt. She should really start spelling out “HELP I’M STUCK WITH HIGH-OCTANE BITCHES AND THEY ONLY FEED US VODKA AND VIDEOS FROM OUR ESTRANGED PARENTS”
Droppin’ babies at da club
Vivienne dryly flips her invisible wig hair to the girls simply having too much personality. Though Roxxxy would easily get on my nerves, I’m not a drag queen who deals with large personalities on a weekly basis. And “big personalities” usually means “I don’t know how to stand out and I’m worried.”
Let’s skip the mini challenge which was more of a goofy montage and go to the entree.
Though it’s a cute idea, wasn’t expecting to be all that excited about this challenge. Aside from self contained tributes to the Greek gods (i.e. last week) not being all that interesting of material, ballet is a very technical and restrained style of dance. Of course I went in knowing they were doing a bastardized version, and saying that very forgivingly, which was carried off relatively well with classic campier elements, but aside from the obvious highs and lows, it all kind of blended together.
Alaska clearly would’ve went bolder if she weren’t worried about judgement of the choreography and being first. But thems the breaks of RPDR where you’ve got to be the best at things you’ll never do in your career again.
To see Ru and her opera glasses was all my heart could bear. If Ru said she just wanted to make a challenge to accessorize for, I would easily concede to that.
Somehow Alyssa’s testing-new-nasal-spray faces paired with her dance training worked to her advantage. Ballet involves giving a lot of face but usually not THAT much face. Like the lip synching mini challenge, this was really more a test of who despite all mechanical restraints could still be a star.
The girls are clearly getting tired or pretending to be excited about the guests. We only want to see the choreographers during rehearsal, but who wants to hear them confirm what was already seen? Chaz Bono is also a fine young man, but he’s [somehow] just a normal guy [despite] having a famous mother and being dragged into television.
Jinkx is slowly being given Pandora Boxx status inevitably but I think Pandora had more a dowdy style with reference which Jinkx’s has yet to show.
Ivy Winters, I gotta give it to her, is slowly turning it out better and better each week even if I’m still not all that invested in her.
Honey Mahogany found out it’s not all about being comfortable in drag sweatpants every week and when she’s at JoAnn’s to at least buy a Simplicity pattern to go with those folded over yards of fabric in the dancewear section. The battle of the Diana Ross(es?) was more of a melted popsicle vs. the sidewalk: Nobody was eating it.
For all of Vivienne’s “I’m finally stepping out” talk, girlfriend was not even in the camera frame. She was wearing her Time Square club girl 2008 look surrounded by showgirls and models. She’s cute but not nearly as fishy as she thinks, but look around the room with the same sentiment.
…Well you saw it. Vivienne kept patting her shoulder and Honey looked up to the light. I could’ve gone and watched the microwave. We all mourned for Britney who was probably at home waiting for Amanda Bynes to tumble further into the abyss.
Everyone reads Honey’s fashion or ability to find enough curtains and
I have laundry that involved more effort. Then the tables turn on Alaska and suddenly fashion faux pas is within context. But luckily the show can keep milking her for Sharon Needles updates.
Vivienne hates attitude and also hates camaraderie. Clearly none of us should buy the brand of pantyhose she wears. RuPaul’s Backstage Race is in the bag.
I don’t think it’s uncalled for for Alyssa to call Jade out if she thinks she’s not bringing anything to the table though it’s also understandable to see why Jade would be bothered that she didn’t get to say her peace. At least Alyssa was honest and didn’t pretend that everything was kosher.
- Apparently Thomas Jefferson went through the portal with Bill and Ted because that is clearly his child with a Christie doll. Presidential erection.
- Roxxxy Andrews was looking like a lamppost in Boystown but somehow more painted and Jetsons hair.
- Does anyone know where Jade’s Little Ru outfit came from? I’d swear it’s a costume designer in LA who used to make baby clothes for adults but I can’t recall.
I could see how you’d feel that way.
Editor’s Note - RPDR sometimes goes blurry on my computer so the screencaps are blurry at moments, forgive me.
Damn Queerty using the the title I already had planned. It’s what I get for waiting to your reading schedule, children.
Surprise! Serena is gone and Monica has declared her ultra-special-top-secret-secret to everyone so we need a new thing to be a tizzy about. It’s back to the Coco and Alyssa arc for 80s soap drama, rhinestones and all.
For the most part I can’t call sides yet since we only have superficial details in the aftermath. Admittedly, I related to Alyssa in Coco wanting to start something and then couldn’t finish it. It reminded me of this girl who borrowed Frank McCourt’s 'Tis from me, because I was a sad child, and returned it without mentioning her younger brother drew all over it & tore out pages. I hadn’t confronted her but when she came to me, I asked her to buy me a new book. The girl broke down in tears in front of everyone and lamented how sorry she was to make me look like a tyrant when she in fact had made the mistake.
Granted that situation was different but Alyssa had no intention of bringing anything up, but when she tried to make her argument Coco suddenly brought in the head nods and waterworks. It was childish. It doesn’t help that she decided to throw unnecessary shade in the mini challenge, but wasn’t it just delightful anyway? If we wanted to see girls get along we’d watch Santino’s old show with Austin Scarlett.
Smile for mama, you’ll be doing this for police lineups soon.
This was a cute little amuse bouche to the episode. Coco seemed to think Alyssa was modeling the doll after her (which she probably was) but I doubt she meant “former Miss America” in the 10 minute lap sense.
It’s always strange when queens go the “serious” route, why would anyone want to see real pageant girls unless they get Logo in prison? Of course beauty is welcomed but you can’t rely on something to be funny that is already a joke.
Luckily Alaska knew exactly what they wanted and picked the camp route as well as a partner who had immunity and was just in it for the close ups.
I hope for the future makeover real people challenge, it’ll be pageant boys. If they thought the dog dress up was a bitch last season, just wait until they deal with the boys’ mothers who are clearly trying to raise their sons as drag divas.
The Mightyyy Buuuush/come, away with me
Alyssa Edwards was the dirty girl in the yard this week during kickball picks, though again decisions based on personality rather than talent. Of course she didn’t enjoy having an ugly character and the team resented that she didn’t like a decision made for her.
Honey Mahogany's motherly mellow personality was not reining in Coco's dissatisfaction with “not being the star.” If she'd ever seen an episode of Will & Grace she’d know everyone really watches for the side characters and the main character is about providing continuity. Or even any ventriloquist show ever. The fact their routine was so bad that Michelle had to pity clap, oof, felt that heartbreak.
As suspected, Lineysha is not a comedy queen but was just in the right part at the right time last week because this week she clearly didn’t give a goddamn. Her wig at least paid tribute to Miss Yvonne, although that was more a coincidence than anything. Her runway outfit was fug, she’s like Tyra Sanchez played by Jessica Wild.
I actually really liked Ivy's challenge outfit considering her previous wares of “unconventional” materials (i.e. high school fashion student who watches Project Runway) were not so polished. It channeled the 90s DIY children’s show aesthetic perfectly.
Did anyone else go “huh?” when Detox won this challenge? Aside from the aspect that she wasn’t getting a winner’s edit. I enjoyed there was Raven in her chicken but l wasn’t blown enough to start handing out scholarships. At first, I agreed with Paulina and knew she was going for that Elizabethan burlesque but it just looked like that mom on our block who won’t stop doing Top Model poses at the local pizza joint. It did look slightly better when I watched the Untucked. But her outfit was streets ahead of Jinkx's craft table Antoinette and as we all know about RPDR, it's fashion over poise-nality. Once I re-watched I came to terms with the decision, she was one of the few that made a joke and a good one.
Usually the judges have been resistant to more alternative genderfuck drag which I never agree with, but I understood what they meant about Alaska. I enjoyed that Pee Wee meets Beaver Clever (seriously, nobody made that easy reference?) but she probably should’ve had the influence of a little boy wearing his version of drag: a plastic princess tiara, put waves in her hair and wore a purple overall dress. Then she probably wouldn’t have been called out and might even have won. It was an acting challenge but as Jade said, within the confines of drag, not them as an actors.
Roxxxy looked sweet and her makeup right thought the proportions in the bust line was a tad bulky (the fabric, not her breasts.) There was just so much pink on the runway and the same tones of it that my eyes got tired, not sure if the looks warrant further discussion. Feel free to leave feedback if you disagree or find my evaluating necessary, I highly doubt it’ll be missed.
Ru brought it this week on the runway though the lighting kind of dresstroyed the details of the garment. The hair shape was a bit awkward, mixing up the texture a bit more due to the harsh lighting probably would create better definition.
We learned that Ice-T’s wife is apparently on a one name basis which seems like setting the standard low. Don’t get me wrong, adore her, any woman who posts a photo of her sexy posing while her sister is hysterically giving birth in a wading pool is my kind of lady. Let’s just assume the audience knows which Coco I’ve been talking about in context at all times.
At least Santino got a cute remark in, you can do it Hat-tie Jacques! (I’m desperate for a pun at this point, submit at your leisure in comments section.)
I know it’s a drag staple, but ugh Pussycat Dolls. Personal preference again, I know. The young people do not want to just hear Cher and Aretha songs forever. (But I do.) However this is one of those songs to bring epilepsy realness, as in don’t have any iron and actually convulse on stage like Robin Williams in a thunderstorm.
Coco’s creepy Virgin Shirley Temple quickly grew up into Mouseketeer Britney on the rocks which was wise, due to the overt sexuality of the song. She knew to turn it on and Monica did the general moves from last week which didn’t work to her advantage.
At least Monica walked away cuter, even if her mismatched bra straps were exposed and was serving up forehead.
Jade proves she could get a pink box clue, ask her former straight boyfriend. Ivy proves, however, she still doesn’t know anybody’s names or get wordplay.
Normally Untucked is almost the best part but all the she-said she-said business of vague recollection was kind of tedious. The reveal is losing more steam. Wasn’t motivated to rewind, sorry.
- The JLo Wishes Foundation: Bringing Bedazzled Apple Bottoms and caramel weaves to all the children in need.
- Can we STOP the emotional declarations on the runway? The catwalk is a happy place, darling. Plus none of these reveals are all that hidden.
- Vivienne Pinay looked EXACTLY like Jujubee in Country only regular hair and duller attitude. Hell this whole episode was the Country Queens episode without accents and the dolls were bigger.
- Though Jade Jolie seems like she’d detest children like every almost-stepmother Jane Sibbett has ever played, her voice and stature seems so appropriate.
- I was surprised how on point Paulina was considering she’s usually such a sleeper on ANTM. As a model, she knows all about stealing the spotlight in a group so Coco [Montrese] better not make Vegas excuses or she’ll have to Shannel her way out.
- Why didn’t they have Pee Wee Herman or Julie Brown as judges? Paulina doesn’t talk to children outside of work and Coco is banned from being near them. Just someone who understood that sort of alternative young culture they were aiming for.
- Obviously they planned the runway for Valentine’s Day broadcast but they could’ve had shades of red or bluish pinks or something. The colors are unexpected for drag which could’ve worked in one queen’s favor to actually stand out.
If you want to read my recap of last week’s episode: http://thedailyheynow.com/post/42511951742/rpdr-episode-2-recap-lip-smackers
Or RPDR’s Basic Bitch Guide to Performance Art: http://thedailyheynow.com/post/42354544041/rpdrs-basic-bitch-guide-to-drag-in-performance-art
Since I tricked some RPDR fans into reading, I figured (begrudgingly) that I might as well do a recap. Normally I try to be diplomatic but I’ll have to be harsh this kind of show, but know there are things I’m holding back. And I love you all, darlings. Cop out preface done.
It was refreshing to not have to skip through the usual recap reel about the prizes, keep mixing up the formatting RPDR editors so you don’t become ANTM. When Serena was trying to be all cute and “you guys wanted me here, right?… right?…” it was the equivalent of a homeless dude offering pamphlets and a handjob on the train, everyone was looking away because they didn’t have a quarter or a god. So comforting.
The new Heathers of the season decided to define themselves early while they had their t-shirt printers ready with stencils. Why do people suddenly need to become conjoined siblings and give us the afterbirth of their conjunctive name? Rolaskatox was trying a little harder than our mouths are willing to catch up to. It’s like people and their followers on twitter, just say “fans”, we already know your name and don’t need to be involved in a practice for Justin Bieber lovers.
Ru found another way to seamlessly hock his music (well, as subtle as tattooing “now on itunes” on his youthful forehead) into the challenge. It’s fantastic to still be surprised by such smart challenges that relate to drag as well as continue reference of reality tv competitions and reverence to a good ‘ol fashioned tacky gay humor. As Tom and Lorenzo bring up in their recaps, it can’t all be “it gets better” and hetero-normative couples of the federation, we need to keep some Charles Nelson Reilly and a little gloryhole here or there.
RuPaul threw Serena ChaCha a bone, er, cake lollipop and picked her for technical finesse, Detox for spunk (I swear this isn’t intentional) and Ivy Winters for… I don’t know, even lip application. There were a lot of mouths on screen at once, l wonder how Ru was able to do it in between twerking.
The challenge though. I seriously couldn’t even figure out what was happening or the challenge itself until judging. It was a lot of stuff going on, especially since we saw that extra stage performance in the untucked that literally never gets mentioned in judging or beyond that clip. The self referencing was little boring, when Lypsinka does it in her act it’s more in the vein of Joan Crawford, doing music and the old Hollywood acting that could be done from a single expression. So watching the girls act like hamsters on cocaine (i.e. any season of Bad Girl’s Club) was sometimes more jarring than humorous.
The runway/group performances:
Team Ivy Winters - Not sure I agree with this group win. I suppose as an overall group they had the most harmony between knowing their lines and being dramatic.
I’m guessing RuPaul just wanted to make sure that Lineysha Sparx a got a win this time before she headbutted the cast with her wig out of revenge. I know she’s one of the fishier queens but her makeup comes off a little more outlined than it should be (she’s already got a killer canvas as it is.) She did a great job so no qualms with this individual win.
When Honey Mahogany disclosed she thought she had it in the bag this week, I admittedly scoffed openly. I mean, you did a’ight girl, but just okay. Tape them tities on tight next time, they’re not low riders (although they are.)
Vivienne Pinay did a spot on Tatiana with all the hair-grabbing as well as aptitude of lip sync. Though girl? Stop just being that cute girl at the club, turn it out on the catwalk.
Ivy was okay albeit too understated, though didn’t her Morgan McMichaels look more Dynasty than anything else? I did love her runway jungle starlet look though the wings and stilts were incongruent with the dress, a little Carnivàle porch decor, next time just make them stylized trees with carvings in them or hot glue some glitter, it’s all good. Interesting that this circus trick was okay when the judges were livid about Shannel juggling.
Team Serena ChaCha - All that needs to be said about Serena has been said about Serena. I don’t love when the queens gang up on one person usually but this was totally warranted. Her runway outfit would’ve been fine if she just wore a yellow bikini bottom and ditched the flag.
I agree with Kristen Johnston, who by the way said everything l was feeling at all times and then some, Jade Jolie's impersonation of Delta Work was simplistic and crunchy. To quote Delta herself “a fat joke, that's so obvious.” Her runway look was cute, the girls are going to absolutely tear her apart in the future. As soon as she walked in the workroom with her innocent Southern belle drawl, we all knew she was trouble. I kind of adore that?
Roxxxy Andrews was spot on with her Mariah especially her haughty “over it” attitude Mariah would showcase. She gave mature Raquel Welch on the runway which was fine with me, I don’t mind mature as opposed to aged. There is a difference.
Jinkx Monsoon had me at her deranged cough-smile. I was eating her broke down showgirl version of Mimi Imfurst, smugly camp and appropriate. Her concept for Gaga meets Ava Gardner was striking but damned in the details. Just gotta spend a little more time at the MAC cosmetics counter at Macy’s. She’s so endearing, one of my favorites this season.
Alyssa Edwards was so Shangela, halleloo, end of catchphrases. From look to mannerisms, absolutely top 3 of that challenge. Girl is a professional even if she gets a little face crazy on the runway, but her use of posing did work in the group music number. I love how soap opera her and Coco Montrese get, it should be exhausting but so far it’s kind of fabulous. I doubt the crown snatching secret is all that exciting much like Willam and her boot from last season. Alyssa is the only one who since the first episode has been contextualizing Serena’s actions and turning the other cheek to her remarks. That takes serious prudence.
Team Detox - Coco's was by far the winner in my eyes, she was the only one who was natural with her speech without flubbing up and had the proper amount of drama-to-dialogue ratio. She's also the only one consistently pulling out memorable looks on the runway. But how she officially snatched my heart was her Mama Whoopi role she played for Monica as well as in handling Serena-gate. Tough love sprinkled was essential and delivered gracefully. Her studio responses of “I don't even know you like that” were killing me. Keep it up, dollface (but please let go of those fucking contacts.)
Detox did well though I think she’s capable of more. Loved her runway look which I would wear in a heartbeat. She got in her two cents on the Serena debacle and yes, educated does not necessarily imply college graduate. Look again at Willam. As my friend commented during the episode “when has anything good come out of a Florida university?” State.
Alaska, I admittedly knew was going to be problematic before she got to the show. She’s funny and relatively fashionable (albeit a bit safe on her looks), but she’s going to have Solange Syndrome forever. I was okay with her Phi Phi but it seemed a bit easy. The end made so much sense, as if a girl-on-girl make out hasn’t been used to save careers before.
Monica Beverly Hillz and the drama. On a personal level, good for her. On the RPDR soap opera secret component, enh. Shouldn’t we save that kind of exploitation for one of those Housewives shows? The second she said “I have a secret” I thought, “she better have a drug problem because if she’s trans I’m gonna be so pissed.”
Apparently the internet has been losing their shit about her status being against the rules or something. It’s a “drag” competition before it’s a “female impersonation” one, plus the transgender community has been intricately connected to the drag queen community since its inception as an artform. Plus 2 RPDR alum came out as trans on the show and nobody bat an eyelash. It’s cool, girl. At least she turned it out in the lip-sync and we could say BGB to Serena before her eyes were gouged out with Iron Fist platform stilettos.
Boy, does this photo explain a lot.
I was surprised by Monica, she was totally fluid and appropriate with the song. It was deliberate and no waffling around. Serena was doing the desperate dance girls who know they’re going home do although she at least kept her wig on. My friend noted she’s the Milan of this season.
Don’t love this Rihanna song but they made up for the travesty of what they did to Miley Cyrus. The fact you could hear Detox shout “Yes Monica!” was the nail in the car on fire for Serena.
Disdain sponsored by Absolut Mandarin Vodka
Ivy Winters reveals she cannot remember Serena’s name. Coincidence since I don’t remember her unless a high schooler going to prom with a DIY duct tape purse walked by or for the confusing Jimmy Neutron drag king hair he sports. All that stands out is the fascinating woodchuck voice that Ru uses to pronounce her name (seriously, WHAT is that a reference to? It’s lost even on me.)
Predominately necessary shade during the guess-the-queen game and the word “banjee” is brought back again from the archives.
This ain’t grammar school, put yo arm down
Support for Monica and a crack at Serena that broke the room and sound barrier. Instead of waiting until the laughter died down, Serena had to scream and force herself to be heard i.e. say more nonsense that was gonna make people want to murder her and toss her body in a swamp, never to be discussed again. She was getting so close to being that stereotypical blond white girl racist in black teen films who tries to flip her uneven layers for punctuation. “I mean, let’s speak like intelligent people, I don’t speak ‘gangster’,” her character would say while making air quotes, her thick French tips bouncing off the morning sun. Does anyone feel guilty for enjoying the ravenous “ghetto” fest that went down? Also, what books should I be reading? I’m thinking this or this.
It was a pile on that will remain infamous.
- I’m glad Jinkx kept it 100 and didn’t have to try to do a ridiculous bodysuit that made fun of the juicy gals. Drag is often a plus sized bitch world which the show doesn’t reflect that (or at least most of the famous broads.)
- Can someone tell Honey Mahogany to work on the midday shade that is casted on her face? At least it was intentional this time but it’s coming off a little SVU at the ICU. At least the makeup was intentional because normally she looks like a middle aged Daphne Maxwell Reid if an eraser were dragged across her face.
- On judging Mz. Coco’s outfit, “Because there are so many mirrors that catch up with the light.” …Serena, when has that ever been a bad thing in drag? This isn’t RuPaul’s Outdoor Photography Lighting Technician Race
- Kristen Johnston Season 6 judge to replace Santino if he doesn’t stop worrying what people think about him and getting back on his game.
- Juliette Lewis and her “can we say whip on television?” was adorable, though when her “I dabble in acting” joke was not followed by laughter, it brought me immense pleasure. Still love you, girl. Her little dance along warmed some of my very dead soul.
- RuPaul’s boy outfits have significantly overshadowed her girl outfits. I get your tailor is tired for having to draft patterns so fast, but damn, turn up the volume.
Girl, I feel you.
I’ll try to be nicer in the future…
Relieved I decided to take the early premiere option that Ru has been offering for the first episode of the last 2 seasons because I was having some SERIOUS feelings. But I gave her two episodes in case she turned things around. Enh.
Serena ChaCha came in and as soon as I heard “art school" and "performance art" coming out of her mouth, I knew I’d want to smack her behind and not in the playful Bettie Page-inspired sex tape kind of way. Though performance art is really thriving in the visual art world right now (i.e. trendy), I know that it’s still not a commonly understood term and thus gets dragged around like a bag of children in a river only to be pulled out and put on display for the mother to get on the after school news. Having the nerve to put that outfit up there as genderfuck or art or whatever you like, the point was it was decidedly NOT cute and not art because you say so. But there is a scene for that she’s attempting to reference and I’ll give you the update.
She’s right about the art form of drag as performing gender and playing with fashion. But how she thinks she’s doing that better than the girls, I’ll never know. To intellectualize what you’re doing vs. the action of actually doing are not the same thing, the number one rule of drag if there were any would be to put on a motherfuckin’ show and that is the bottom line. I’m not gonna go all etymology of queer and Paris Is Burning on the readers, but I won’t completely Stonewall those who aren’t of this decade. I’ll keep it quick and sloppy, just the way you guys like it, with bitchcaps in between.
First off, “soft sculpture" is Claes Oldenburg and Eva Hesse, not a melted draggy mess.
Second, of course drag isn’t just relegated to the gay male community, drag kings like Murray Hill, Shelly Mars, Dred and lots of WOW Café Theater members that have been doing it for themselves for years. As well as transgendered individuals who we’ve seen in Carmen Carrera and Sonique. Straight women occasionally can be involved in drag, as Heather Haneman has written a book about it, but we just watch them from afar like Beyoncé and Tyra Banks in the thunderdome.
I’m also not including straight male drag in the discussion because it’s an incredibly layered topic to which the majority of it is done simply to derive humor, especially out of seeing men perform the gender role of women as inferior and silly. I’m not saying they aren’t allowed to, as RPDR has done it twice, but generally speaking it’s uncommon outside of an Eddie Murphy or Robin Williams situation.
Vaginal Creme Davis, (who will actually be at Art Institute of Chicago in April, as my ass will be in the third row center) is intersex and uses male & female duality in her work while bringing the low-fi attitude of San Francisco’s DIY zine culture. She’s educated but also manages to imbue relatable characters who aren’t reciting textbook lines of gallery privilege. She’s in a Le Tigre song which should say enough about her.
The updated youtube version of this language would be Ryan Trecartin's I-BE AREA tween drag queens who works in a complicated language all his own that captures the ineffable essence of youth internet culture and the translation of self reference. Gender is transcended by form and emotion in these curated environments.
If you want to check out some of the more performance art angle of drag, try the monthly “Clump” party by Chez Deep in NYC:
Colin Self, who I disclose was in the graduating class before me, brings that raw edge young drag that I presume Serena Cha Cha speaks of. Him and his band of thieves (I use that term to mean gang, not to imply actual stealing) are bringing back the obscurity of life-and-art club kids spirit and elevating it to blur the line of drag as well as the audiences who enjoy it. They had an installation at Art Basel Miami which I believe was had choreography from RPDR favorite, Ryan Heffington.
The most recent permeation into popular culture would have to be Ssion (who is associated with a ton of groups, including Chez Deep) who make popular music as well as being an art collective. They stock a number of people in the LBGTQIA supermarket of humans led by Cody Critcheloe.
I could name drop tons of people: Kalup Linzy, Verka Serduchka, Switch N’ Play, House of Ladosha, etc. There’s a ton of people who fit the criteria of drag and trying to do more than gender impersonation, know their history and subvert image, but it requires more than declaring your knowledge as an assumed identity of being “different”.
If my tone is pointed, it’s because Serena Cha Cha is spitting out terms that are personally important to me and was lording them over everyone rudely and improperly. As soon as she heard the reaction to her bougie declaration of everyone being “ghetto”, Ms. Cha Cha knew she had to face up to the accusations in the room. Girl, there’s a difference between “ghetto" and "hood”, which was a “lexic” use as opposed to “lexicon”. I’m glad she was realizing the defense mechanisms she was deploying in order to deflect from the not-so-stellar performance. Unfortunately, then she ruined it in the ending. It’s an edited reality in a pressure cooker situation, but some meat had to be contributed to that stew.
Just gonna put a Rucap on this recap and be done with this. Coming from someone “educated” in a top tier fine arts school and majored in performance art, I understand miss thang, “pick up a book,” but it ain’t an excuse for what you’re doing, boo.
I’m sure you’re one talented queen in your own life, I wish you the best of luck, you’re young and you’ll figure it out eventually.
To do some more homework, I suggest to “pick up a book” with:
Bike Boys, Drag Queens, and Superstars: Avant-Garde, Mass Culture, and Gay Identities in the 1960s Underground Cinema by Juan A. Suárez
DRAG: A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts by Roger Baker
or for you lazy bitches who want to hear more than his herstory, online sources:
After the last episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, an all night marathon ravaged my bones with my friend Camila and led to a haze of coffee alongside a discussion on ichat on the celebrities we would impersonate in Snatch Game; if we had the equipment and such. For the record, my choices were former judge Merle Ginsberg seeking revenge on Michelle Visage by hiring a hit, or an emotional Ashlee Simpson pinching her nose down and holding her baby in a fedora.
Leading back to the point, we noticed the general lack of CharismaUniquenessNerveTalent in this season’s lip syncs, which are supposed to be one of the best parts! Your life is on the line bitch, get it togetha. There are some fabulous queens this season, but we long for the days of yesteryear when Michelle Williams was crying at her own damn song being performed by guys in heels that would make normal women, weep.
Here are what I felt to be the most memorable and dramatic LSFYLs. I haven’t slept, but I’m pretty sure they happened.
5. [Tie in Season 2] Raven’s My Lovin’ by En Vogue & Jujubee’s Shake Your Love by Debbie Gibson
I think these two LSFYLs show that lip-syncing isn’t just hard movement and choreography stuffed into every second one can physically manage. It requires attitude that is achieved with confidence in simple gestures.
Raven is all about owning her audience and making the voice appear like her own author.
Jujubee takes a more physical approach with moving her body to fit into the mood of the song and is more about dance than pretending she’s singing the music.
4. [Tie in Season 1 and 3] Shannel - The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston &
Yara Sofia and Carmen Carrera - Mickey by Toni Basil (en Espanol!)
Well we had to throw it up for the wig tossers and man kissers sometime, right?
Shannel managed to perfectly plan vulnerability and good editing to make one of the most dramatic moments of first season. Bad news is she unintentionally sent a message to other queens that throwing off your wig and pulling off your tits will keep you in the game.
Yara and Carmen were so deadlocked in their performances that Ru for the first time ever she keeps everyone in the game! Yara danced her butt off gracefully to the song, but Carmen better mouthed the words and, well, left a mark on the judges. Everyone loses, hurrah!
3. Season 4’s Dida Ritz - This Will Be by Natalie Cole
When I first saw this, I was like “What kind of Nutty Professor bullshit is this? Mop it up, Patti LuPone!” But I watched it a few more times and digested it. Gotta say that girl turned. it. out.
This song is so blatantly cheerful and been used on a ton of commercials, the only way to carry it was untamed energy. Not psychotic, frenetic flailing but spontaneous power to emphasize the vocals. Her drag mother probably brought out the expensive crackers to the Hydrate that night.
2. Season 3’s Alexis Mateo - Even Angels by Fantasia
To quote Manila Luzon, Alexis was feeling the music with her body and it was timeless. This is the one l remember most out of any of the others and not just because I love this song (that’s right, I have feelings).
I think Alexis serendipitously balanced between showy club moves that keep the audience interested and raw emotion. It was a soft song that called for more than pointing and backflips; it required vulnerability.
1. Season 3’s Raja Gemini & Carmen Carrera - Straight Up by Paula Abdul
Raja may have taken the lead, but Carmen did a pretty stand up job reacting to her bravado.
This could have easily been a duet between them, or a lucrative DVD copying business. But alas as we know, Raja dominated (in the legal sense) the stage with her ability to adapt to the rhythmic sensuality of the song. This was one of the times that nudity actually enhanced and not just a sad, Street Fighters death match casualty.
I was gonna make some RuPaul’s Drag Race themed cards but be damned if I can beat an image that good, Billy B would agree.