What To Watch: RuPaul’s Drag Race Updates

Okay so again, Drag Con was supposed to be last week, so I’ve just been diving into all things Rupaul. I wanted to give some updates to my previous “What To What Series” post regarding everything RuPaul’s Drag Race – as I have discovered new content!

all stars 5RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5: First, you can add All Stars 5 – (2020) to the bottom of the previous list. This summer series has some of the best fan favorites back to compete for the crown, and surprisingly, All Stars did not disappoint! My favorite queen of the season was absolutely 100% without a doubt Jujubee. She is absolutely hilarious and amazing, and we will now always keep the house at a sensible 75 degrees. This season is available on VH1 and the VH1 app.

drag race judgesRuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race: This was a fun mini-series, consisting of only 4 episodes. Different “celebrities” worked with Drag Race legends to compete for an amateur crown. I only knew a couple of the many celebs that came into the workroom, but I really did enjoy this series special. I hope they do something like this again in the future. Also available on VH1.

thiland Drag Race Thailand: If you are down for subtitles, this is actually really fierce. DR Thailand finds a way to make the show completely their own, while still giving us all the things we love out of the competition. There’s two (presumably) famous drag queens that act as co-hosts, with many guest judges who are very involved. It was really fascinating to watch and learn more about a culture that I was not super familiar with. I definitely need to watch a second time, since a lot can be missed when you have to rely so heavily on subtitles. Season 2 is available on WOW Presents Plus, but I’m still trying to figure out how to watch season 1.

canadaCanada’s Drag Race: Again, everything you love about Drag Race with some of its own Canadian charm thrown in. I will say, I definitely thought all the queens would be way way nicer to each other, just because of the stereotype. But these queens got heat, and are bringing their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. Brooke Lynn Heights and Jeffery Bowyer Chapman team up with Stacey McKenzie to make the 3 team judging panel. Weekly episodes are being released currently on WOW Presents Plus.

the switchThe Switch Drag Race: I haven’t watched this one just yet, but this is the Drag Race of Chile! My Spanish is mediocre, but hopefully I can maybe strengthen my abilities by watching these two seasons. I’m really excited to dive into this one as soon as I can, and hopefully have some good feedback. I believe both seasons are on WOW Presents Plus, but it’s honestly kind of hard to tell, because I think they have all the episodes grouped into one season for some reason. More on this soon.

drag uuRupaul’s Drag U: I also neglected to mention Drag U in my previous post, which has 3 seasons of its own in 2010, 2011, and 2012. This was in similar fashion to the Secret Celebrity Drag Race, where fan favorites came back to give makeovers – but to ordinary people. Many were women who didn’t take time for themselves or deserved some kind of pampering. There were many feel good moments to be found here. I’ve only watched the first season by purchasing it on Amazon Prime, so it’s honestly not the easiest to watch. But true fans I’m sure can find a way.

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I’ve read that Drag Race Holland has been confirmed! And I know they were filming season 2 of Drag Race UK, at one point, so hopefully production was able to continue there. There’s also a series being released in August that shows the behind-the-scenes of the Drag Race residency in Vegas – presumably because they may not have been able to film a new season with the pandemic. Honestly, I’ll watch anything drag related that is released – I need all the drag content I can get!!

Thanks for reading!

 

Quarantine Diaries: Digital Drag Shows

My biggest disappointment during COVID was the canceling of all my plans – specifically, DragCon. DragCon is legit my favorite time of year, and I’m still not done being sad that we can’t partake this year. So to help cheer me up, next up in the “Quarantine Diaries“, let’s talk DRAG!

There’s been many ways that you can get your fix of drag during this quarantine besides just binging every episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. First of all, there’s been tons of queens going live on Instagram. This includes both queens from the current season, like Jan and Nicki Doll, and some of the classic favorites like Ongina and Jujubee. There’s also been tons of digital shows that were hosted over the past couple and upcoming months from several platforms.

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First there is the Digital Drag Fest via StageIt, where you can find many of your favorite queens from the show and others doing 30 minute shows for roughly $10 each. You can also use the platform to tip the performers, and most of them give virtual meet and greets as a prize to the top tippers. Some of the virtual shows we have seen include:

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JUJUBEE – “Live From Boston”2
ALASKA – “The Quarantine Cabaret”
RAJA – “Socialite Distancing”
SHARON NEEDLES – “Call Me On My Ouija Board”
MANILA LUZON – “At Home With The Luzons”
BENDELA CREME – “Terminally Detained”
ALASKA – “Snatch Game Series: Mae West & Lady Bunny”
SHARON NEEDLES – “Snatch Game Series: Michelle Visage”

Our favorite show so far has been Raja’s, simply because she was the most raw and effortless. Juju also put on a great show, and I laughed a ton during Alaska’s sets. Manila and Dela also had wonderful shows prepared, but my girlfriend and I were slightly disappointed by Sharon’s show. While we love Sharon and her creativity, her songs were a little on the low-energy side and it wasn’t the most engaging. Still, we had a great time at all of the shows and will continue to look for more upcoming events.

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The “Werq The World” tour that the queens typically follow after the seasons of the show air has obviously been postponed for now, so they have taken things virtually. There’s been two shows, and what’s great is that these shows have benefited out-of-work drag queens and local performers. The first show raised over $30,00024 and the second was almost just as much. Both shows were hosted by Lady Bunny and Bianca Del Rio, who were hilarious and certainly delivered the comedy I was expecting. The first event was featured queens such as, Kameron Michaels, Gigi Goode, Miss Vanjie, Yvie Oddly, Plastique Tiara, and more. Each queen either had a live or pre-recorded number to show off for the show.  The second virtual event is the “Battle Royale”, which has queens going head-to-head for an ultimate showdown. Battling queens include Alyssa Edwards vs. Plastic, Vanjie vs. Yvie, Asia O’Hara vs. Brooke Lynn Hytes, and more.

Lastly, since DragCon 2020 had to be canceled for the year, they still are giving a livestream event for “DragCon Live” on YouTube. It definitely won’t be the same, but at least it’s something to have in place for that weekend.

Support the queens, in whatever way you can!!

Thanks for reading!

Diva Rules By Michelle Visage

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I bought this book during Drag Con, where I actually got to meet Michelle! She even signed the book for me, which honestly made it a little more exciting to read. Diva Rules is partly about her life, but also largely a self help book for the misfits and freaks who consider themselves fabulous enough to be a diva. Definitely read this if you are ready to start feeling your oats.

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It’s inspiring to hear the story of a girl from New Jersey with big hair and big dreams, who actually managed to make it big. I especially enjoyed the praise through the words of RuPaul, her best Judy. I always think it’s endearing to hear someone speak fondly of someone they love and admire, and Ru clearly adores Michelle. From both of their perspectives, they had a clear connection from the moment they locked eyes, hunty. From there the chemistry just sparked, igniting a lifelong friendship and legacy. 

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One of my childhood friends was adopted, and it’s made a lasting impact on me. I have plans to get involved in either fostering or adopting in my future, and I’m also partial to those who have some experience on the subject. Michelle was adopted, as was her brother David, by two parents whom she praises immensely. She absolutely adores her parents and appreciates the life they gave her; Michelle’s only disappointment was that she was unable to inherit her mom’s big tits. 

I’m incredibly, overly jealous of the time that Michelle got to spend in New York during the up and comings of VOGUE (!!!), and the legendary children and houses featured in 03acd17c0c4d1e0ab48aaf731026608aParis Is Burning (available on Netflix). I mean, she knew Angie Extravaganza (!!!!!!!!) and was winning trophies for voguing before Madonna even know what it was. I mean, that is ICONIC. If she had written about having a kiki with Venus Extravaganza… omg, the fan girl in me might have actually gone crazy. It was during this time that Michelle got her namesake, Visage. She was entering in categories in the balls with her house, and one of the categories was “face”. Her first nickname was “Cara” – roll the “R” – the Spanish word for “face.” But when bedazzled onto her jackets and hats, people were mistaking it for the name Cara. So instead she went with the French word for “face” – visage. Bam! *Said like Alexis Mateo*

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Michelle is inspiring because she works hard, empowers others, believes in herself, and never gives up. She is loving, kind, full of wisdom and also not afraid to clock you for the wrong hemline. Her end goal is always to make those who shine, shine their brightest, including herself. Follow her Diva rules to do just that.

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I really enjoyed this book, and it’s a quick read for anyone who aspires to live up to their full diva potential (available wherever books are sold, or at her booth at DragCons). I also recommend watching Michelle as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, of course. She is also a current contestant on the British version of Dancing With The Stars (Called Strictly Come Dancing) and was on the British Celebrity Big Brother as well. You may also recognize Michelle from her many many years on the radio, or for her role in the girl groups Seduction and S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. The bitch works hard, okurr!

Tens across the board! Thanks for reading.

NYC DragCon 2019

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My favorite time of year has come… DRAG CON NYC!!! I went last year with one of my best friends, Rachel, and we were eager to get back again this year. We had a blast at DragCon 2018, but now that we knew the lay of the land, we were ready to make out even better than before for 2019.

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Okay first, let’s talk about my wig. I wore a white one last year, that was cheap and just ordered off of Amazon. I really loved it, but it was very obvious that it was a wig. Not that I cared, it was just fun to participate. I did the same thing this year and ordered a new wig online, this time picking a lavender color with bangs. After posting a few things on my Instagram, everyone was complimenting me and asking about “my new hair.” LOL – I had to let several people know that this was a wig. I honestly did not think that it looked super realistic, but I’m still getting comments about this look a month after the fact.

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Anyway, like I said, Rach and I knew what we were doing this year. We got there in time to watch the queens arrivals again on the pink carpet, and then we were quick to jump in some lines. We got to IMG-5735meet SO MANY QUEENS!! It was really incredible. It started with Michelle Visage, from whom I also bought a signed autographed copy of her book, Diva Rules. Kennedy Davenport had a short line at her booth, as did Jiggly Caliente, IMG-5743so we were already making out great just within the first few hours of the day. Soju and Ariel Versace were together in a booth, so we actually got to meet both ofIMG-5771 them at the same time. My favorite queen that I met that day was Willam, who has always been one of my all-time favorites. Willam was releasing his new line of makeup called “CoverBoy”, and was sitting in a giant chair taking selfies with fans. I told her I was a ‘friend of the pod’ (Race Chaser Podcast), and we talked about the shade that she threw on her season. It was unbelievable! RuPaul was right on the main stage for a majority of the day, playing DJ and dancing along to all his favorite songs. It was honestly captivating to just watch him up there, standing less than IMG-5741100 feet from me. Later on in the day, Rachel and I were sitting against a random wall to give our feet a break while we scarfed down some hot dogs from a street vendor. Rachel was right in the middle of sentence when she saw Ru walk around the corner, and she immediately yelled out a quick, “HI RU!!” I snapped my head around just in time to see Ru wave hello directly to Rachel before going into a VIP louge. IT WAS AMAZING.

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To end the day, we went to a panel where Ross Mathews was reading an exclusive exert from his upcoming book, Name Drop. (His current best-selling book, Man Up, can be found anywhere fine books are sold.) I actually made sure that we were first in line, so that we could be front row. One of the staff noticed my eagerness for Ross, and actually gave us some free passes and also moved uIMG-5773s into the reserved section so that I was directly in front of Ross, completely in his eye sight! The panel was great, the exert was hilarious, and I got to talk to Ross to ask a question during the panel. He actually recognized me, and laughed about the fact that I had left him one of my famous voicemails earlier in the day. We took a picture together after the panel was over, and we are now definitely well on our way to becoming best friends. Just wait.

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And so concluded day one. We stayed with my friend Brian, who I’ve been close to since elementary school. He and his boyfriend live in Brooklyn, and the two of them provided us with some high quality NYC fun that night. We went to a Burning Man themed party, and were out til about 5 in the morning. I truly have no idea how I was able to be awake and functional for day two.

We got there the second day just in time to make it to Ivy Oddly’s Odd School – a panel about her fashion during her time on the show. Since she is the reigning queen currently, it was super IMG-5866cool to just be in the same room as her, listening to her iconic laugh. After that, we got right back to the booth lines. We were able to seeIMG-5890 Manila Luzon, who was always one of my favorites even before her time on All-Stars. We also got to meet the lovely Gia Gunn, who is such an influencing trans icon. There were plenty of other queens whose booths we may have been able to make it to, but some of the minimums kinda turned us off. (In order to meet a queen at her booth, you usually have to purchase something from her merchandise. Some required a minimum, so you had to buy at least $30 or so worth of stuff in order to get a picture. Personally, I don’t like the minimum purchase requirement, as it diverts some people from getting to visit some of their favorites.) The bestIMG-5854 queen of day two was the same as my favorite from last year, Ongina. I just love her so much – she’s so funny and adorable and 
super fun to just be around. I so hope to see her on an upcoming season of All-Stars or something, cause she is such a star and totally deserves more fans.

The rest of the day was spent doing some shopping within the vendors between booths and watching a totally awesome pole-dancing competition. We also had IMG-5895some fun playing around with the big photo props. There’s always iconic sayings from the show printed on huge signs with impeccable lighting. We spent so much time running around that we actually IMG-5911stayed all the way to the end of the event, where they started turning lights off and packing up to leave. We definitely got the full use of our tickets this year, between all the amazing queens we got to meet and the panels we got to attend. Not to mention, of course, all the photo opps for my Insta. The day ended with another street vendor hot dog and a long bus ride out of the city.

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DragCon is without a doubt one of my favorite weekends of the entire year, and I look forward to many many more! This tradition for us will not be short lived, and I’m thinking maybe for 2020, we’ll attend Drag Con 2020 LA…?!

Thanks for reading!

NYC Drag Con 2018

OH MY GAAAGG, HUNTYYYY! This was my first year attending RuPaul’s Drag Con, and I will never ever ever miss it again. I went to the NYC convention on September 29th and 30th. There is an LA DragCon every year as well in the spring, so as a result of the coasts there are different queens that are able to attend each one. Either way, I promise, you will not be disappointed.

drag con 1There was some shenanigans that happened on the Friday night of the event, but because of work, my friend and I were going to arrive into NYC too late to attend anything. So we made sure we got a fresh start Saturday morning to get there at the opening to watch the grand entrances of the queens.

First was the Crowned Queen arrivals! This included season 1 winner Bebe Zahara Benet, all-stars 3 winner Trixie Mattel, season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen, and the reigning queen from season 10 Aquaria. Next was the other arrivals of queens, including Mayhem Miller, Viviacious, Acid Betty, Blair St. Clair, Ongina, Miss Vanjie, and more. Rachel and I had decent enough spots on the pink carpet to see everyone walk right by us! (Other queens were at the convention as well that just did not take part in making a grand entrance.)

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Rachel and I decided to look the part of DragCon so we both wore silly wigs and jumpsuits to the event. Ru provided us with many photo opportunities, not just with our favorite queens in their booths, but also in a large photo area! This area had many different back drops, themes, props and displays to take pictures with – and we took full advantage!

After having some fun in the photo booths, we made our way to one of our favorite queens: Detox. We had an amazing experience with Detox and her booth as a whole. First, the booth was right next to drag con 4Alyssa Edward’s, and we were lucky enough to be standing in line while she made her entrance to her booth!! That helped to make the line go super quick, so it didn’t feel like we waited long at all. We purchased photos for Detox to sign (there was a minimum, but Rachel and I were allowed to combine our purchases so it was only $10 each), and then were shown to where Detox was posing for pictures. Detox is soooo tall! Which is hilarious, because she was actually not wearing any shoes at all in the pictures. Her panel blocked it, and she was still taller than basically everyone. She talked to us for a second and we totally got starstruck and fumbled with our words. Then we got our autographs and photo and that was that. She was so kind and present and I loved her just as much after meeting her.

drag con 5When we got out of line with Detox, there was a short line for Blair St. Clair, so we jumped right in. Unfortunately, she was taking a break and took a long while to come back. The line really wasn’t long so we thought it would go quick once she was back, but she took A LOT of breaks. I could kind of see her while she was in her “backstage” section, and she was spending a lot of time looking in the mirror and fixing her hair while her fans waited. We were in line for about an hour with not even a lot of people in front of us. Her people definitely have her on a pedestal, because the treatment was totally different than when we met Detox. Blair just didn’t seem as down to earth, and her guy only took ONE picture. With Detox, I had like 15 to choose from, and with Blair we had ONE. I still like Blair, but I definitely like her a little less after meeting her.

drag con 12There are many panels that take place throughout the weekend, but it can be hard to get into some of them since seats are limited and there are some favorites in the house. We had several panels that we wanted to go to that got filled up, including Katya (insert heart shattering imagery here). We did, however, make it into a fashion discussion panel with Ongina, Bebe Zahara Benet, and Miss Fame. I absolutely adore Ongina and loved everything she said – she is a real treat. Bebe honestly didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation, but I find her beautiful and entertaining as hell. Miss Fame definitely felt the most qualified for this panel, flaunting her relationship with designers such as Marc Jacobs. Some of what she said was interesting but she totally talked for way too long and made it largely about her.

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YOU KNOW I HAD TO SEE MY MANS ROSS MATHEWS!! I wasn’t able to make it into the Judge Judges panel, but you best believe I was front row for Bossy Rossy’s Runway Games. In between his silly games, Ross did some crowd work and I was able to get his attention and tell him that he has talked to me on the podcast before! Heremembered when I called in and it mademe wildly happy.

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The second day, we were moving a little slow as a result of being out late the night before, but we had more queens to see! We didn’t do wigs the second day, as they had gotten a little itchy by the end of the day. Instead, we wore colorful outfits and took advantage of the shorter lines to do some shopping in the merch booths.

drag con 9Meeting Ongina literally might have been the highlight of my weekend. She was absolutely incredible, charismatic, and stunning. We really caught her at the end of the weekend, so the line was short and the merch was cheap – like, generously cheap! I told her that people in high school called me “gyna” and she called me her long lost cousin! She also spilled some T when I told her I saw her at the panel, throwing shade on Miss Fame for taking over. It was amazing. I felt like I was chit chatting with my friend for a minute, which is exactly the experience you want out of DragCon. Ongina is truly special, kind, adorable, one of the best queens ever ever ever, and I loved her so so so much more after meeting her.

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To have a great end to an awesome weekend, we made it into the final live taping of Rupaul’s  podcast, What’s the T? with Michelle Visage. There was 3 different tapings throughout the weekend, but the one we attended was with guest Kathy Najimy, who is known for her appearances in Veep, Hocus Pocus, Sister Act, and more. It ended with a song, which felt like the right way to conclude the festivities.

For more pictures and videos from DragCon NYC 2018, you can go to my Instagram @ginafinio and watch the highlights story on my profile.

Thanks for reading!