Oh yes she betta do! Supermodel of the world, RuPaul, just announced RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race Season 2, three years after the first season premiered. The All Stars seasons of Logo TV’s ratings juggernaut are always a great opportunity to see our favorite queens back in the workroom and on the runway. These are our list of hopefuls to see sissying down the catwalk once again, and hopefully one of them will finally snatch that crown.
Willam Belli — “Your tone seems very pointed right now.”
The sleeper of season 7 (literally) surprised everyone by making it to the top, only to be ousted by Scarlet O-Hara-waisted Violet Chachki. Now that Pearl’s come out of her shell, it would be interesting to see more from her in the competition.
The former American Idol contestant has a long history of always being the reality bridesmaid and never the bride. Bianca del Rio was stiff competition, but Adore Delano may be able to sweep All Stars.
What IS Alyssa Edwards’ secret? A rivalry with fellow queen Coco Montrese throughout season 5 failed to overshadow her amazing lipsyncing skills and (sometimes completely unintentional) humor. With the successful web seriesAlyssa’s Secret, she’s certainly at the top of everyone’s lists to compete in All Stars.
Miss Congeniality of last season, it was a shame Katya didn’t make it to the final three. Outlandish (even for a drag queen) her rough communist hooker aesthetic kept viewers’ on their toes and won over their hearts. Plus, her Twin Peaks-inspired outfit at the finale show was EVERYTHING.
RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, theatre junkie, and space alien Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 just released one of the best dance albums of the year. Don’t believe us? Her debut album, titillatingly titled ‘Anus‘, shot to the number one spot on the iTunes Dance chart and number three on the Billboard dance chart. Now the performative provocateur will be in New York for the next week mounting The Gayest Show You’ve Ever Seen, a queer cabaret act at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. We spoke with Alaska right before she jumped on a plane from LA to NY to talk about the show, her album, and Caitlyn Jenner:
So, you’re back at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Can you tell me a little bit about The Gayest Show You’ve Ever Seen?
It’s really gay. My best friend [Handsome] Jeremy and I have been doing cabaret shows for many years. One of the main things that attracts us to the music that we like is that it’s all pretty gay shit. So we decided to do a show that’s celebrating all these really gay things that we like.
What kind of really gay music is a part of it?
I asked a bunch of people what they thought the gayest music was and everyone has different answers. We have show tunes and Ethel Merman. I wanted to throw a Liberace reference into it. There’s a whole ‘Golden Girls’ segment, which is really fun.
Is there anything from your new album ‘Anus’ in the show?
Absolutely. What’s gayer than an album named ‘Anus’?
It’s been really well received. Are you really excited about that?
I am. It’s pretty really cool. I’m glad people are getting into it because I put a lot of work into it.
It really shows when you listen to it. It’s really heavy dance-electronic, which your fans would expect from you. But you incorporate some trap inspiration on “Gimme All Your Money” and then you have that gorgeous piano intro to “Nails” which is kind of a throwback. Was it important for you to show a wide range on your first album?
Yes, because I’m the type of person who likes to perform so many types of songs. I like to go from rapping and swearing to singing really sweet, sad ballads. I wanted to make some of my own music that did that. I really love making music videos. This way, the music all sounds different, so the videos are all different.
Your music videos are really incredible—very well produced, and, visually, very alluring. Can you talk a little bit about that process?
Music videos are currently my drug of choice because they’re really expensive but they’re really gratifying. It’s like giving birth to a child because you have all these people involved and you’re hoping and praying everything comes together and everything works. Then you wait—there’s this gestation period where they’re putting everything together and editing it, and color correcting and everything like that. Finally you get it and [southern belle accent] all the pain and torture is worth it.
I want to backtrack a little bit and ask: do you remember the first time you performed in drag?
Yes I do! I performed when Chi Chi LaRue came to Pittsburgh. She did a contest called the Fishbowl Contest. You didn’t know what you were going to perform until you got on stage and picked your song out of the fishbowl. The prize was $200 or something astronomical. All the major queens from Pittsburgh came out and I had never performed in drag before in my life. But I showed up and I picked “How Many Licks” by Lil Kim, which is a song that I knew really well. I ended up winning the contest. That was sort of when I was bit by the drag bug and I got addicted.
Then jump-cut to you infamously auditioning for RuPaul’s Drag Race every season it was on and then getting in on Season Five. Fifth time’s a charm?
I guess so. I’m glad I wasn’t on before that because I wouldn’t have looked right and I wouldn’t have been ready, and I don’t think the world would have been ready.
Did Alaska evolve during those years? Did you try each time harder and harder to impress RuPaul?
I think it just comes down to learning your craft and getting better at it. The more you do it, the better you become at it. I definitely needed that time to just do it – go out on stage, do my makeup a whole bunch of times, learn what looks good on camera. The audition process, every year, was really helpful. You get to take an inventory on tape each time of what you have. “This is where I’m at.” That’s why I always encourage younger queens to audition to say, “okay, this is where I’m at right now.” Doing that, I think helps you grow and move forward.
And you went on to excel that season, even with a type of drag that’s maybe a little different from the mainstream, maybe a little more like performance art. How would you define “drag” and your drag? I know you come from a tranimal tradition, correct?
Totally. Those are kind of the crazy, wild, scary drag queens like the queens of Trannyshack: Squeaky Blonde, Jer Ber Jones, Phaedra. All of these queens were my heroes. I went to Trannyshack when I was 22 when I lived in San Francisco. That was the spark that made say, “I want to be that”. I went back to Pittsburgh and that’s when the Chi Chi LaRue thing happened. That was the spark that made it so acceptable, and you’re telling a story by being on stage. I really loved that aspect to it. There weren’t any rules. I’ve always been theater. I went to school for theater and I did theater. I love acting and theater but there are very few roles for someone who is like me – who falls between two categories. In drag, there aren’t those rules and restrictions. That’s what attracted me to it.
You’re coming to New York soon, but you’re living in LA. What spots do you like going to in your neighborhood?
I live near Silver Lake – I live right near The Eagle which is really fun because they play gay porn on the TV. That’s always nice when you’re catching up with your friends. I also love My Vegan Gold because they have these amazing fake chicken nuggets. I don’t eat meat and they’re really good.
I think it’s great. I think it’s a good thing. I think that we may have differences. Caitlyn Jenner is a Republican, so politically I think she might be at odds with a lot of people in the LGBT community. However, I think it’s great that she’s giving visibility to the transgender community because there are a lot of people who are on this journey and I think we all have to be a little more understanding and a little more sensitive. I think her having this huge visibility is moving things in the right direction.
Over Memorial Day weekend, RuPaul’s Drag Race runner-up (and fan favorite) Adore Delano invited us to follow her into her first New York performance since the show ended, at the Out hotel. From her hotel room to the party, we were entranced by Adore and her bubbly ‘Party!’ personality. She gave us the scoop of everything from what she’d been up to and what her latest record, Till Death Do Us Party, sounds like. Later, Adore introduced us to another queen also performing that night, Darienne Lake, who made us laugh with a great lip-sync to Legendary Lovers by Katy Perry. Adore is the total package, and she showed it by performing her first single DTF to a hungry crowd waiting to be slayed. Here are pics from the night, including a guest appearance from another fan favorite Ben DeLaCreme.
Adore getting ready at her hotel in Times Square
Adore in the green room at the Out hotel
Adore and fellow season sixer Darienne Lake
The scene backstage
Darienne changing into her ‘Shady Elephant’ look for her Katy Perry lip sync Adore performing DTF
Another season six queen Ben DeLaCreme stops by to say hi after the performance Adore with fans
There is a consistent desperation in the voices of friends and promoter-types; the summer seems to be grasping for straws or gasping for air or fill-in-your-own-saying/proverb. Mark Ronson is at The Montauk Beach House tonight. I asked a honcho over there what the game plan was for rain on a big event at their big pool party, and was told "we don’t have one…it hasn’t happened yet.” I love that attitude. But what can be done short of enclosing the whole place in a retractable dome? At beach retreats, rain-outs are part of the landscape.
I’m staying in Brooklyn tonight…maybe. I might slip into the city for Frankie Sharp’s escapades at XL. He’s in the Lounge of this chic playpen with the amazing Lady Bunny. They have Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race and performances by Ebonee Ecxell and Epiphany Get Paid. Amanda Lepore and Marco Ovando are in the big room. As I keep saying: keep your eye on Frankie Sharp. He’s an up-and-comer.
I’ll probably stay near home in BBurg…maybe. I am totally psyched to attend the One Year Anniversary of Eight of Swords, 8pm to 11pm, 115 Grand Street, Brooklyn. There will be live performances by CornMo, Wi Hula Hoop Harlot Melissa-Anne, sword-swallowing and fire-eating by the fabulous Lady Aye, and my friends from The Love Show. The group art show entitled “Hitmen and Harlots” will feature work from "over 35 tattoo artists, photographers, graphic artists, and fine artists including: Diana Brozek, Diana More, Jess Versus, Karen Rockower Glass, Kati Vaughn, Linda Wulkan, Mike Suarez, Nalla Smith, Nyahzul, Sweety, Tasha Rubinow, Woodz, Wyatt Mills, Zoe Bean, Nash Hogan, Mia Graffam, Adam Korothy, D.C.Wallin, Dan Bones, Drew Linden, Fred Harper, Gerald Feliciano, Guy Ursitti, Jim Gentry, Joey Wilson, Liz Huston, Molly Crabapple, Sara Antoinette Martin, Sara Best, Sarah Rockower, Sophie C’est la Vie, and others."
I caught Top Gun at McCarren Park Wednesday night, which completely reaffirmed my love for the borough. We headed to Williams Candy in Coney Island to stock up on caramel apples and gooey cashew treats. Next week, it’s Empire Records. The week after: Raising Arizona.
After a week of bad news about my pal Michael Alig, a bit of good has finally happened. He seems to be leaving the un-comfy confines of Southport Correctional Facility and is on his way to greener pastures. They probably won’t be too green, but when you refer to Southport, the grass is always greener on the other side. For those who care, Southport and Michael are a bad fit. He recently received yet another ticket. This latest setback was a positive test for THC. Friends and family were scrambling to raise money to challenge this ticket as he swears he is innocent…or at least not guilty of this latest infraction. A homophobic guard with a history of bad blood and other factors were cited, and a letter campaign to prison officials ensued. The result was a transfer to a not-yet-disclosed new facility. The logical choices are Attica, Marcy Hospital, and Five Point. Southport is a nine-hour drive to us respect-the-speed-limit types. Then, you have to stay over in a motel and have all your papers in order and hope that no other friend of his gets in before you and the trip is in vain. Hopefully the new ticket will be squashed with the transfer and hopefully Michael will be freed sometime soon.
It’s been over 14 years since he walked among us. He has never used a computer or cell phone. Last night, we rushed home from "Tranny" BINGO at the Bowery Poetry Club, where my pals and I won an insane five games, including two in the "naked round.” I came home with a puppy dog doormat! We had recorded RuPaul’s Drag Race and were dying to see who had won. I bet on Sharon Needles and was spot on. Back in the day when Michael Alig and I were partners, we opened up a joint in Union Square called the Palace de Beaute’. It was supposed to be called Yeah, Yeah, Yeah – but our other partner Larry Tee hated the name and went to Michael Musto unilaterally and gave him the Palace. It was in print and that was that. Larry brought in a few of his pals from Atlanta to host and DJ and do assorted club work. Larry’s band of merry "women" included LaHoma Van Zandt, Lady Bunny, and RuPaul. RuPaul stopped the music nightly and took to the mic on Tuesday Nights for Larry Tee’s Love Machine and asked the audience to say “love” with that multi-million viewer smile. She was a star in the making and everyone knew it, except in those days, drag queens didn’t become stars. Gay didn’t often break out to the world at large, and to all involved it seemed nightlife stardom was all any of that crew could hope for.
Michael Alig didn’t buy into this. He believed that those who surrounded us were ready to break out into mainstream America. He saw them as the future fashion designers, photographers, artists, stylists, etc. Appearances on Geraldo and a half a dozen shows and in hip magazines announced the Club Kid Movement as a force. Michael, with help from thousands of friends, led the way. RuPaul is huge, and somewhere in that success Michael must be credited. Ru worked in the clubs that Michael had hustled the owners of to support his vision. The Sharon Needles look and shtick was born in the clubs and the movement that Michael created was cultivated. RuPaul has taken things to heights that I never thought possible in the late ’90’s, but Michael knew it was.
I’m never going to sit here and feel sorry for Michael’s fate. I don’t sugarcoat it when I am with him either. He killed Angel and chopped him up and discarded him in a river, and he won’t get sympathy here for that devilish act… that cowardly act. It’s been a decade and a half in hellish places and Michael is a man now, not a Club Kid. He is remorseful and aware of his terrible actions. I can’t see him dressing up like…Sharon Needles or his old self when he hits the streets again. He is a middle-aged man. He has no delusions and no hopes to get a second chance from many quarters. I remain his friend and will be there when it counts. I loved Sharon Needles’ look, and rooted for her and screamed when she won, but to quote the great Yankee Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra, "It’s déjà vu … all over again".
You guys remember Lana Del Rey? It’s been a while since we’ve heard from her, meaning: it’s been a while since I’ve had to read a bunch of blog posts supporting or blasting her existence. Well, she’s still around, although hanging out in London where her vague European sensibilities (cold, distant, weird) are more appreciated than over here. And good news! She has covered Leonard Cohen’s classic "Chelsea Hotel No 2," which will be sure to bring joy to some and make others want to die. The best part is that the internet is here for all of us to go into great detail about how we feel about her! Enjoy!
My favorite part? Lana Del Rey couldn’t give less of a shit. Like, it seems like one big chore to her! I like it when famous people seem indignant about their jobs. I also love it when women look like contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race. This video has everything!
Fuck Dancing With The Stars‘ all-star cast. Don’t settle for Bristol Palin when you can have Latrice Royale, baby! RuPaul’s Drag Race is back this fall and here are the ladies fighting for the esteemed title Queen Of All Queens.
Coming Monday’s this fall starting in October, we’ve got Pandora Boxx, Nina Flowers, Alexis Mateo, Latrice Royale, Raven, Tammie Brown, Manila Luzon, Mimi Imwurst, Shannel, Chad Michaels, Yara Sofia, and Jujubee.
Like Oklahoma City Thunder fans and E.L. James, heavy-metal Pittsburgh-based drag queen Sharon Needles is having one hell of a summer. After winning the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and performing at Capital Pride in Washington D.C., Needles was honored in her hometown, as the Pittsburgh City Council declared June 12th, 2012 as Sharon Needles Day. Needles performed at the ceremony, reworking “Sweet Transvestite” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to reflect Pittsburgh parlance (“Yinz guys look like you’re both pretty groovy.”).
Councilman Patrick Dowd praised Needles as a trailblazer and for her outspokenness over the bullying of LGBT youth. But perhaps the most touching response comes at the top of the comment thread of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story on Sharon Needles Day. Needles’ mother, Joan Coady, left the first comment: “…your family is so proud of everything you’ve accomplished! We can’t wait to see what the future holds. Thank you for being a voice for those who are following in your footsteps! Love you, Mom.” Even if you’re not a fan of RPDR or of Needles’ work, you’ve got to love a mother who supports her kid in pursuit of the dream.
Not to overshadow this very special occasion for Ms. Needles, but the city has awarded a number of days to cultural entities, from ‘Google Day’(March 26th, 2010, as part of a strategy to lure the high-speed network), U2 360 World Tour Day (July 26th, 2011) and, back in 2010, through an initiative from councilman Bill Peduto, the city declared December 7th, 2010 Gregg Gillis Day, honoring one of its most popular musical native sons, party monster Gregg Gillis of Girl Talk. All we need now is for the ‘burgh to declare Wiz Khalifa Day.
Watch some highlights from this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Roll clips:
After leaving a party hosted by Lady Bunny at Manhattan’s XL nightclub this week, RuPaul’s Drag Race season four winner Sharon Needles realized she had to pee. Badly! So, she went into what she thought was a graffiti-laden alleyway and relieved herself. But this was no ordinary alleyway…
You see, Needles had actually been urinating on a police station, as she found out when she was subsequently tapped on the shoulder by a member of the NYPD. Needles tells Out she tried to reason with the officer, but he wasn’t having any of it, and was all "Shante, you stay right there!" before escorting her into the station.
Contrary to the assertions of one Phical Matter, Count of Snagula, however, Needles was not arrested–but she did receive a citation for public urination.
Needles is also attempting to turn her accidental police station pee non-protest into an intentional police station pee protest, for some reason:
Looking back on the incident, America’s Drag Sweetheart can see the humor in the situation.
“It wasn’t on purpose, but I think it was funny that it was a police station,” she says. “Because I find there’s so much unnecessary angst and brutality from American police officers.”
All in all, Needles says the ordeal wasn’t nearly as bad as has been reported.
“It wasn’t the worst thing America’s top drag queen could do,” she says, “it really sent home a message.”
A message, yes: figure out where you are before you whip it out and start peeing. Now… sashay away.