RPDR S4,E5: The Snatch Game- Untucking the Snatch

Let’s check up on the ladies in the Interior Illusions Lounge and find out what the men in mascara are up to, in what RuPaul hails as: “The most emotional ‘Untucked‘…EVER

Bitch is so fierce, she can cry with product placement

So the safe girls once again got to leave the stage. Miss Ru MUST be reading my posts, since she let the girls have it before they left. I am really loving RuPaul this season. She really does have that FBQ quotient back in SPADES.

Three Girls and a Cocktail

Anyway, Jiggly attempted an apology. Maybe it’s a little of the 30 year old coming through at last. However Latrice was not really having it. Although I’ve got to agree with commentary that I’ve read on other sites: it really is a little hypocritical of Ms. Royale to be so up in arms about the girls being unprofessional.

Queen of Soul, or Queen of Sour?

From the Aretha impersonation to her behavior at the end of Snatch Game, she didn’t win any points for professionalism either. Speaking in the lounge Ms. Latrice said of Ru’s pronouncement about being safe: “For him it may not be cute, but it was music to my ears.” Well honey, with all due respect, if you want a shot at winning this thing then you better start paying attention to what is “cute” to the Supermodel of the World.
It really is wonderful to watch the younger queens like Jiggly pay such respect to the older divas like Latrice. That is one thing that I’ve noticed in the drag community–there really is a respect for the grande dames. It’s a faux matriarchal society that I wish were translated into the rest of the male gay culture. What a contradiction: older gay males are often made fun of; but old drag divas are often revered.
Entirely off-topic…and forgive me for being so slow, but the Queen has been wondering what was up with Latrice holding a pillow in front of her during the majority of Untucked episodes so far. I just figured out that Miss Thang strips out of her outfit the minute they get into the lounge. Now THAT is a Black Southern Woman for you: as soon as she gets home from church–off go the pumps and dress. Gotta love that. I just wonder how much time it takes for her to get back into it once she has to go back onstage?

Waxing on Willam

The conversation turned to Willam. Quoting Dida: “She (Willam) may be a bitch, but that bitch is sickening and smart.” Latrice: “…she may be the bitch and troublemaker, but that ho knows how to turn it out.” And of course the conversation had to turn to Willam’s shoe wardrobe.
It was nice to hear that some of the queens get Willam. Maybe Phi Phi does too, and she’s playing a brilliant game as well. I don’t think so though. I don’t think she gets the thought that goes behind such an elaborate strategy–the Hoffman and Day Lewis-like commitment to staying in character. It may not make you popular, but it sure will keep you in the game.

Classy Ladies

The entire segment in which the three safe girls sang the praises of the top three was fabulous. What a pleasure to hear colleagues mention positive things that their competition did during a challenge! Something in me dies when I see queens perpetuating stereotypes of the bitter bitch. Of course we can be bitter, of course our picture is in the dictionary under “bitchy.” But it’s very nice to see Drag Race working hard to show how supportive gay men can be as well.

The Girls Do Chekhov

And so, while the other lady boys are playing Charades in the Gold Lounge, the top and bottom (minds out of the gutter Miss Things) girls alternate between delusion and support.

I really want to be supportive of this child, but he makes it SO difficult. As someone who calls themselves an actor, he really doesn’t know how to “take the note.” His observational skills are abysmal. We’ll talk more about him in the rundown with the other girls. But watching him defend his actions in the lounge just made me sad. He’s getting all of this objective feedback, and he’s brushing it aside. As a director, I find it the hardest thing to work with actors who have blinders on regarding their abilities or where they are in their lives (See The Three Sisters).
Bianca and I were talking about one of Sharon’s Achilles heels in this competition: her inability to self-regulate. She’s mentioned it herself a time or two, but it really reared it’s Botoxed head on this episode. Unlike Phi Phi, we don’t think Ms. Needles says things with malice, but sometimes they come off pretty harsh. Watching Kenya react to Sharon’s words (assuming they were in sequence) was heartbreaking. As I said in my first post on this episode, it became abundantly clear that Kenya had been wrestling with this cultural divide all along. I’m sure that this was just the straw that broke the proverbial gay camel’s back.

But once again it gave us an opportunity to watch the girls support each other. I get that a large percentage of Reality Show viewers want to see contestants go for the throat. It’s just nice to see that RPDR has been listening to their fans and cutting down on the snark (are you listening Bunim/Murray?). It actually brings tears to my eyes to see and hear the divas speak well of their fellow lady boys. Just another thing that makes Sharon fierce.

Oh. And Phi Phi cried too.

Thoughts Miss Things?

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The Tears of a Fierce Black Queen

gratitude [ˈgrætɪˌtjuːd]
n
a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours
[from Medieval Latin grātitūdō, from Latin grātus grateful]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

If the Queen wore makeup–he’d be dabbing his mascara right now.

Growing up whole and sane in this world is a complicated thing. It takes a disparate, and seemingly infinite combination of factors. Some of these factors are individually based: a moment when you had to choose between right and wrong; an instant when you knew that you were truly special. And there are others that seem to be shared by all: love, friendship, understanding and acceptance.

As I’ve said previously, this blogging thing is fairly new to me. The idea of putting your thoughts, ideas and dreams on the end of a hook and casting that hook out into the Sea of Cyberspace can be daunting. Sometimes you can feel quite alone.

I’m here to tell you that you are not.

I’m here to testify in the Church of What’s Happening Now, that there are incredible, INCREDIBLE people who will support you. People who will take their precious time to follow your piddling little blog every day, and have something wonderful to contribute. Warriors who will climb the beanstalk to the Realm of the Giants, and risk being eaten by mentioning your name.

They are out there. You are really not alone. They offer the friendship, understanding and acceptance you need to continue to grow–and hopefully put out something of value…even if it’s mostly about a bunch of Drag Queens.

I don’t know where this blog is going. I often question the relevance of sharing the musings of a fierce black queen. What I don’t question is the fact that there are truly extraordinary people on this planet who will support a short, husky, middle-aged gay man in his quest to be creative.

Thank you all. From the bottom of my fierce, black, queenly heart.

RPDR S4,E5: The Snatch Game-Top & Bottom

When you were a kid, did you ever have a candy or other confection that you absolutely loved? Did you ever try the same sweet years later as an adult, and discover that it just didn’t taste the same now, as it did then?











Then you know how I’m beginning to feel about the Snatch Game Challenge.

Granted, there were still some stellar performances–but on the whole, most of the queens just don’t understand the challenge, or have the acting/comic chops to make their impersonations consistently interesting. In Season II, there were enough queens who were multi-faceted, old school stage performers. They had acts that consisted of more than just moving their mouths in time with the music, and it showed in their ability to be in the moment and quick-witted with their answers and characteristics (the Queen will go to his grave thinking Pandora was robbed). Like the show that this challenge pays homage to, there needs to be a self-aware cheesy kind of camp to make it work. Season three–and now this one–failed to deliver on the promise of the first fabulous parody.

So the drama continues between Sharon Needles and Phi Phi O’Hara. Yours Truly is so over Phi Phi the pageant queen–who is delusional enough to think that winning a few mini-challenges makes her the shit. Yes Miss O’Hara, I’m sure America’s Next Drag Superstar is going to be asked to hold an egg between her legs every day of her reign. I have always held the belief that if you’re going to be a pompous bitch–at least have the goods to back up your pomposity. She does not. Has she even been in the top three yet?

So it’s Condragulations to Chad Michaels.

Was there ever any question? I mean Ross the Intern had a great point about the risk of bombing at something that you’re known for, but all edited clips aside, she really is a professional. Her disciplined approach to the challenge is textbook flawless. But more important than the uncanny resemblance to her Goddess…she was ENTERTAINING. Funny and tongue-in-cheek satirical, she’s the kind of performer that you would actually pay to see. And other than having cosmetic surgeons (oh, and Miss Dida? THAT’S the way you spell “surgeon”) on speed dial, she seems charmingly genuine. Sharon Needles was brilliant, and Willam was wonderful (more of them and the rest of the divas in the next couple of posts), but Chad had me with “I’m Cher bitch!”

And it’s Sashay to Kenya Michaels.

Pushing the miniature Mean Girl stuff aside, she really is a little spitfire. And in her own country and culture I think she could have easily been a contender for the win. However I’m even more convinced than ever that the present version of RPDR is an American phenomenon. Like many of us Fierce Black Queens, RuPaul is heavily influenced by Pop Culture. Not having similar references makes shining in the present format almost impossible. Separated by youth and language/culture, I’d bet my next paycheck that Kenya didn’t have a clue to the shows Ru rattled off in the mini-challenge video this week. Her admitting that the language barrier had her dreading each day’s taping was poignant and revealing. The Queen just wishes that she had asked for more help, instead of letting her pride get in the way and creating that horrific version of Beyonce.

But this little Latin lovely isn’t done with America yet. I’m pretty sure we’ll see her taking Yara Sofia’s place in next year’s Absolut commercials.

Okay, are you ready to bash my face in for the shade I pay Phi Phi O’Hara, or love I give to Willam and Sharon Needles? Let the Queen have it!

RPDR S4,E4: Queens Behind Bars-The Rest of the Inmates

Snatch Game tonight!!! But before that, let’s snatch the rest of the Queens from last week’s episode.

Phi Phi O’Hara-See, here’s my issue with this bitch: if you’re going to pout about not being in the top, or kvetch about who is–then you better bring more than generic pretty. Standard dress and same damn paint. Talk about a one-look queen. Her performance in the sitcom was fine–nothing memorable, but–she has a good sense of how to read a line…which is more than I can say for the schooled actor in the competition.

Dida Ritz–It’s a shame when you’re gay and you need Gays.
As Max Mutchnick said, she was phenomenal in the sitcom challenge. Best thing up there in terms of line delivery. Now if she could only look like a woman doing it. It would be a shame for this doll to get put out of the competition because of her lack of experience, but she has GOT to step it up in terms of hair and makeup. And ashy knees are unforgivable. Girl better forget that “sickening leg” stuff and invest in a few pairs of pantyhose.

Willam–It’s no secret that I am fond of this Beeotch. Between the almost doe-like beauty he can pull off; his palpable ambition; his rapier wit (his reference to Liz’s White Diamonds during Untucked floored me}, and mastery of the camera and sound-bite–he is a force of nature. And in the challenge, he demonstrated why he is a successful working actor. But baby, that attitude on the set was just plain wrong. And I KNOW you know better. As turned off by Mutchnick as the Queen was, he is still the director and deserves your respect–ESPECIALLY if you’re looking to work with him in the future. If I were him, my response to your retort about your resume would have led me to say: “I don’t need to know where your resume is, as I won’t be needing it for casting any of my future projects.” It was beneath you doll. You’re better and smarter than that.

Kenya Michaels–Feh. Her runway look is boring and predictable. And if I hear her say in her runway voice-over one more time: “I feel amaaaaazing”, I will personally send her a copy of a Spanish to English dictionary so that she can find some other adjectives. As far as her performance in the challenge–I’ve already talked about her. Can’t even dredge up enough interest to say any more. If you really care, read my thoughts here.

Chad Michaels–This Diva is just fabulous. The Queen officially dubs her an honorary FBQ. In terms of consistently creating an overall look, no one other than Sharon even comes close. She was flawless on the runway–a perfect homage to Florence Welch. And her classic sitcom straight-woman drag was perfect (Dida honey, please get out your notepad and sit at Chad’s feet). I can’t WAIT to see her Cher tonight.

Jiggly Caliente–Quite a pretty young thing. Bianca liked the look, and agreed that it was just the kind of ensemble a teen starlet would wear on the RC. He also wishes she would learn from Latrice how to give her body a more feminine appearance. The Queen feels as if she is one of the lady boys who confuses Gender Illusion with “realness.” What a performer she would be if she concentrated more on creating a fully realized repertoire, and less on trying to actually BE a girl.

Milan–The Queen is through with this bitch. She should change her Drag Name to something less exotic and enchanting than the Italian city. What about Mediocre? Much more accurate.
As I said in a previous post, I try very hard to be objective and accepting of most things. Bad acting isn’t one of them. Especially when you boast about your prowess. Maybe the child really does get a lot of work in the industry, but I would be shocked to find that it’s anything but extra and chorus jobs. Her acting choices are amateurish and unsophisticated at best, embarrassing and demeaning to the craft of Acting at worst. There is a story about the great Theatre Artist Stella Adler, and her interaction with one of her studio’s first-year students. After watching this young person do a monologue, she asked him “When you write home to your parents…what do you tell them that you’re doing here?”
“Acting” the student said brightly.
“You’re lying to them.”, was Adler’s curt reply.

Milan swiffering the runway

Even her LSFYL was only interesting when compared to Madame LaQueer’s “Pointer Sister” schtick. Milan is another girl who needs to be reminded that the challenge is called LIP SYNC For Your Life–not Put On Lipstick and Dance For Your Life. That worked once. It WON’T work again.The real RuPaul is back now. And she won’t stand for that any more.

Sharon Needles–Not her most interesting look ever, but still a very specific point of view.
I remain a big fan of hers, and I want to believe that her explanation/apology was heartfelt and sincere. And of course the eventual performance in the sitcom was wonderful. But listen Sharon: you’re going to get a LOT of job offers from this gig. You will probably have the chance to work with many directors and production teams–some great…some not so great. And the industry is small. Directors, Casting Directors and even crew members talk to each other about actors they work with. Don’t get a reputation for being difficult this early in the game. No matter how talented you are, you will lose out on an awful lot of gigs that way. You are FAR too adroit for that. So with much love and respect, the Queen says: “Get a grip, bitch.”

Thoughts? Opinions? Who do you think the queens are going to embody in Snatch Game tonight?

RPDR S4,E4: Queens behind Bars-Untucking In Tuckahoe

So once again the Safe Girls find themselves in a place with an unlimited supply of liquor, hot lights, and nothing to do but gossip about each other. Sounds like my living room on a Friday night.

Let’s trash them discuss what happened.

Jailhouse Blues

So all the queens congratulate Ms. Latrice, and the first person to point out how much the judges and the other contestants appreciated her work was Willam. I wish all of the Willam haters would take a moment to see exchanges like that (“You was Bernie Mack in a dress–you was just fine”). He is often one of the first with an encouraging word for the other queens…at least the ones who deserve it.
And Latrice feels slightly vindicated after the 18 months she spent in prison. The Queen used to work with inmates at the now defunct Lorton Reformatory in Lorton, Virginia. Once a month I would spend 8 hours with the residents in the Medium Security section of the facility. The men were phenomenal. Being in jail was hell. It was hard enough for me to be locked up for one day. I can’t imagine what kind of strength it took to survive for a year and a half. The lady boys also talk about the difference between Latrice’s drag and Madame LaQueer’s–something Bianca has mentioned as well. Bianca pointed out to me that even though Latrice is a big girl, she still pads and cinches to give herself a more feminine shape.. That seems to go along with a mindset that Latrice has mentioned a few times. She is quite aware that they are all really men dressing up as women. Unlike, say, Carmen Carrera or Phi Phi who seem to conveniently forget that they have a penis. I don’t care how much you tuck or serve “realness”. the Wankie is still there. I love that Latrice sees Drag as an Art, and not as a way of working through (or NOT working through) whatever issues you have with being a male.

Sitcom Realness

So Jiggly is relieved that the team won. She was extremely worried that her performance put her at risk. Actually, she has a natural talent for comedy, and an ease with the camera that was quite engaging and appropriate. This brings up a point that bothered me about the taping of the sitcom in general, and Max Mutchnick in particular. I don’t know if RuPaul asked him to play the role of Bad Director, or if that particular job is not a strong suit of his. A good director, however, doesn’t tell you how to read a line–as he did with a few of the queens. A good director knows what to say to help an actor find the interpretation and the inflections that he would like them to have. While I was extremely disappointed with the way Willam and Sharon Needles responded to Mutchnick on the set (which I’ll get to in my next post), I was also put off by the way he managed the shoot. Kenya Michaels was an unintentional hoot–with Bianca pointing out that she wore more makeup to play a butch woman, than she does on the runway as a femme queen. Her inability to take the director’s notes further illuminates two things: she is in her own world, and the language barrier is the Big, Gay Spanish Pink Elephant in the room. There is only so much nodding and pretending you understand that you can do before it bites you in your pretty little girly ass.

Shameless Outlet Store Plug

So the Phi Phi/Sharon feud comes to a head, and a new catch-phrase is born. The Queen thinks there is enough blame to go around for this particular interaction. However, the thing about Phi Phi that eludes me is her inability to either see and/or accept that Sharon is much more than a one-dimensional performer (“Go back and do your only one look that you got!”) who is running circles around her. IMHO, that description fits Phi Phi MUCH more completely than Ms. Needles. Is it jealousy or stupidity? Sharon’s runway look: “Don’t come for me when you’re going to wear a glittered plastic Elvis wig onstage!” Did I miss something? DID THE BITCH NOT WIN THE CHALLENGE WITH THAT GLITTERED PLASTIC WIG??!! Granted, Phi Phi didn’t know that at the time, but I doubt seriously that it would have made a difference.
I swear that Latrice and I both said “You don’t play bitch–you just are one.” at the same time. The Queen loved Ms. Royale’s definition. And in most cases, when it comes to actual women, I think it is absolutely appropriate. This country still doesn’t know what to do with strong, independent women(see government panel on Contraception). However in terms of Ms. O’Hara, I think I have a better acronym:

What a jam-packed 21 minutes! From catch-phrases, to coming-out stories, to tucking. Honestly, this after-show is becoming as much fun as the race itself.

What about y’all? What did you think about the episode?

The FBQ of Project Runway All Stars: The Teflon Designer

Okay. Okay…WTF??!!!

The Queen is the first to admit that I am about as fashion forward as a powdered wig. So I must be missing something. Would someone please…PLEASE explain to me…

WHY HE IS STILL HERE??!!!

Is he fashion forward in a way I just can’t see? When I look at his work, it really does seem to me as if he takes everything he buys at Mood, creates a basic garment, closes his eyes and throws the rest of the fabrics and notions onto it. Wherever they stick-that’s where he tacks them. Is that it? Is looking like you are playing dress-up from the stuff in mommy’s closet the new trend? Is taking cliche’d and stereotypical ideas about a country’s culture and putting them ALL INTO ONE GARMENT the latest thing in couture? Please help me understand. Because right now I feel as if I’ve gone mad. I feel as if all of the things I’ve picked up over the years about fashion and design are wrong. I feel as if I worry too much about being meticulous and precise in my garment construction. That my work would be much more relevant and “on trend” if I tack embellishments onto sleeves so that they look as if they could fall off at any minute. I thought that Heidi, Michael and Nina had taken their crack pipe with them when they left the runway. Apparently however, they taped a couple of rocks under the seats and the current group of judges found, and smoked them. How else do you explain overlooking such shoddy construction? The shoulder seams were HORRIBLE and that trim looked like Miss J got it from the bargain bin remnants section of the store. No way…NO WAY did Mila’s impeccably sewn and bold design deserve to go home ahead of this. As jarring to Isaac as it may have been, it showed such a clear point of view. That alone should have kept the designer in the competition. I really would like to know what it is about Jerell’s aesthetic that keeps the judges wanting to see more? It was interesting to me that during After The Runway, (which by the way, I enjoyed more than I thought I would–even though Bunim/Murray still tried to wring out drama from a relatively drama free cast) Jerell was the only one who had no clique attached to him. Maybe his overblown conceit is just too much for the rest of the group to take.

As a Fierce Black Queen (and he IS a FBQ), I am glad he is doing well. As I’ve said in earlier posts on him, I admire his strong sense of aesthetics–even if I don’t understand it. I just wish to GOD I understood it. Any help you Miss Things can give around that subject would be gratefully appreciated.

Tea Time IV

We Shall Overcome

Oddly enough, when the Queen first heard about this story and saw the video, I was moved–not to anger by the almost jaw-dropping words of these two young girls, but to contemplation. Having worked with countless young people over the past 30+ years has given me a profound respect and objectivity towards newer generations. And, as an adult with some perspective, it is hard to take too seriously ravings that were poorly thought out, contradictory and punctuated by a lack of education.

THIS VIDEO IS NSFW!!!



What bothers the Queen the most about this story–and others like it–can be distilled into three points:

  • The girls are obviously parroting ideas and verbiage from someone else. Either consciously or unconsciously they are bombarded daily with intolerance as a cultural norm–more than likely in their homes. Are their guardians taking a long and painfully objective look at the environment that spawned such ideas, and doing their best to change it?
  • The inauguration of President Obama, to many people signaled the “end of racism.” To those of us who still have trouble hailing a cab, or are watched judiciously in a retail store by personnel, it was a giant leap forward–but by no means the endgame. Will we as a nation recognize that we are just at the beginning of a very long journey and move towards understanding together?
  • Until this video went viral, these obviously intelligent young ladies were blissfully unaware of the fact that words have power, and that thoughts are things. Are there any adults in their lives that will help them navigate through the maelstrom of negative attention and learn from their poor judgement and cultural ignorance?

It has been reported that the two girls in question have left Gainesville High School. If that’s true, it’s a shame. If their school is taking healthy steps to address teen’s understanding of the origins and effects of racism, such as Florida’s Eastside High, then I believe that the young ladies in question would truly be better served by an open, honest and respectful dialogue with their peers. I wish them the best. I really do.

What do y’all think Miss Things? Not so much about the actual video itself, but about how we as a society address racism in a post Obama nation?

Humble Majesty-Viola Davis

Viola Davis at the 15th Annual SAG Awards

And then there are people like this who make me so proud of who I am, and from whence I come. I feel very blessed to be in the same time and space as this incredible artist, and FIERCE black queen.