RPDR S4,E3: Glamzons vs. Champions-Top & Bottom

Before we get started trashing thoughtfully critiquing the bitches, the Queen wanted to bring up an observation that Bianca and I have made over the past three episodes of this season, during our weekly RuPaul Skyping sessions.

This damn show has actually gotten better.

I haven’t bothered had the time to check and see whether it employs the same producers and directors as in past seasons; but the show has become the very thing I hoped it would be when I first started tuning in. It has become a true window into a world that most never see–and many incorrectly characterize. It has found a balance between campy and compassion, bitchy and benevolent. Bianca swears Ru was sick during most of last season, and I definitely noticed a difference in his demeanor. He seemed disconnected somehow from the proceedings. However this season the Cover Girl of the World is back. He is engaged, funny and a true mentor.

This bitch had the best seat in the house

The mini-challenge was phenomenal. Not only was meeting Piyah Martell a poignant and powerful moment, but the accompanying competition made so much sense. I did find myself screaming at the television because none of those wenches asked Piyah–the CLIENT–what her favorite colors were, or what kind of designs she might like. But it’s segments like these which highlight the diversity and strength of the LBGTQ community, and make me proud to call myself a raging queen.

However, for the Queen, the main challenge fell flat.

In addition to the camp crassness of whoring RuPaul products (but if Barbara Walters can do it with her book Audition on The View, why shouldn’t he?), the performances on the whole felt forced and not at all fun or funny.

We’ll get the individual performances in the next post, but for the Queen, the challenge was pretty much a let-down.

So once again, it is Condragulations to Sharon Needles

Raja: I know you’re reading my blog–all the fierce divas do. Pay attention to Ms. Needles, will you dear? THIS is how you do Alternative Drag. Not to take away from you–you have an artistry that is truly unique. But I never felt like you put your SOUL into your schtick like Sharon does. She’s fierce not just because she is impeccable in her costuming and makeup (although I see Santino’s point about the bottom half of her runway look), but she infuses passion and energy into everything she does. She is Somebody. She is About something. And she Prances. Bra-fucking-vo.

And it’s The Princess who Sashays away.

Seems like a very sweet person. And I admire his ability to stay calm in a storm. But honey, this was not the competition for him. His inability to step back and look at himself objectively in the context of the needs of the game cost him dearly. I see elegance, glamour and talent in his drag and his LSFYL. But Dida Ritz mopped him across the floor, wrung him out, and mopped up the floor again (more on that in the next DR post). If he hasn’t found one yet, I hope he finds a boyfriend who has that “Meth-look” and whom appreciates his quiet dignity. But it was time for The Princess to abdicate.

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RPDR S4,E2: ”WTF! Wrestling’s Trashiest Fighters”-Battling Beeotches

There is an ongoing debate between Bianca and myself regarding the culture of Drag–specifically Balls and Pageants.

The Queen tends to see them as mysogynistic at their core. In my opinion, the objectification of females is rampant–breaking down the definition of a woman into transitory, superficial and cosmetic ideas and characteristics. During my very limited time observing the Ball scene, it was a shock to recognize that being a gay man did not necessarily make you a progressive feminist.

Bianca, however, understandably sees the culture differently. Being a part of the circuit, he got to see things that I wasn’t privy to. He talks of a world which, while having aspects of what we have seen in the past on Drag Race, bears much more of a resemblance to what we are seeing this season. Like the best moments of last week’s Untucked, it is a world where another Queen may read you for filth one second, and help you with your make-up the next.

One of the pleasures of watching this episode was seeing many of the elements that Bianca cherishes play out. As Sharon Needles so eloquently put it: “We’re selfish vain creatures of beauty and isn’t bizarre how we make the best friends in the world!”

I am in love with the older Queens. They make me proud to be a Middle-Aged Queer. The way they mentor and support their younger counterparts is something the world needs to see more of. THIS is also family Mr. Santorum. This is what happens in the gay community when parents with “family values” throw their sons and daughters out into the cold world. Hopefully they are befriended by Mature Mamas like Chad and Latrice.

So much to say on this subject! But for now, why don’t we just run down a few of the contestants in rapid fire succession:

Kenya Michaels-This little beeotch has the fabulous Billy B eating right out of her hand. I don’t see her as the one to beat, but I DEFINITELY see her as one of the most professional and beautiful queens this season. And girlfriend flies under the radar–VERY important in this competition.

Sharon Needles-THIS diva is TURNING IT OUT. Bianca wanted to see her more conventional drag, and Lady B. was impressed. It is clear this is a true entertainer, who also seems to be a truly nice guy. What fun it is for the Queen to root for someone whose drag may not be his style; but whose caliber as an Artist is undeniable.

Jiggly Caliente-Okay. Is it just me, or does Jiggly look like JuJuBee after one too many two-piece and a biscuit meals? As has been the case thus far, Ru was spot on with her final comment to little Miss Thing. It is now time to see if she has something more to offer than just an imitation of a black girl from the ‘hood.

Dida Ritz-Have I mentioned that I love Billy B? Santino can stay on the road with Austin, as far as i’m concerned. His critique of Ms. Ritz was spot on. The Queen just sees a boy in a dress. And the fact that Ms. R DOESN’T, just makes his drag that much more painful to watch.

The Princess-I did have to disagree with Mr. B about The Princess’ look. It’s not my style, but I think he looked put-together and edgy. I just think he’s just a little too laid-back for this competition. When the best thing you can say about a Drag Queen is that “he seems nice”–you’re in trouble. He did however do a pretty good LSFYL, so we’ll see.

Latrice Royale-This big, beautiful beeotch has captured my heart. She reminds me of the Fierce Black Queens in DC that escorted Yours Truly from an insecure Princess, to the Diva you see before you today. She is regal and poised and and full of wit and wisdom that can only come from approaching a hard life with humor and resolve. Her presence in the Interior Illusions Lounge was some of the best television I’ve seen in a while–the kind of thing it is hard to fake. Bianca wishes she would tone down her makeup slightly, but still think she is one of the few queens who knows how to beat her face, and accentuate her dark complexion. Brava Diva. I think she could bring the big girls close to a win.

The rest of the girls? Meh. Their drag and their performances in the ring were okay, but as John Salley said about Dida, I really don’t remember any of them. That is NOT something you want to hear when you are in a competition that is all about being over-the-top and larger-than-life.

This week, unfortunately they weren’t somebodys, weren’t really about anything special. And. They. Didn’t. Prance.

What about y’all? Agree? Disagree with my assessments?

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4: FBQ Countdown

When the Queen was a young monarch-in-training, navigating through post-college life, he got his first real taste of Drag through the eyes of one of his most beloved friends. Suddenly swept up into the world of Paris Is Burning; “Houses” “Balls” and “Realness” became common words in our new lexicon. The two of us worked by day on Wall Street(unbeknownst to us at the time, actually embodying a personae that most of our contemporaries only dreamed of), and I watched my very good friend transform at night into “Bianca.” It was an out-of-body experience watching him “walk” a ball his First Time in Drag. Viewing from the sidelines, the New York Balls and the people they attracted were reminiscent of everything from High School with it’s cliques and cultures to the manufactured glitz and glam of Hollywood. I experienced everything from the High Art of celebrating the Feminine Mystique, to the low and often misogynistic objectification of women.

Why the hell am I telling you all of this?

Because I often experience a similar feeling/reaction while watching Rupaul’s Drag Race. I am both fascinated and appalled, charmed and horrified–kind of like looking at my face first thing in the morning. I want to give the show and contestants the dignity and respect I would want, and at the same time rip into each one of those bitches with the ferociousness of a hungry panther.

So, in blogging about RPDRS4, I will work hard to walk that line between a Black Man respecting the work of his brothers, and a Fierce Black Queen accepting no less than Diva Realness from men in dresses.

That said, let’s look at a couple of them bitches.

Jiggly Caliente

Maybe I’m just an Old Queen. But when I saw young Miss Thing’s video bio, the first thing I thought was “Stop playing with your hair. It’s not sexy, it’s tacky.” He (My pronouns will be person specific: if the contestant elicits an auto-response from me, I’ll go with it. This one seems like a boy in a dress.) seems sweet and smart enough, but there’s nothing that stands out about him. Except that he’s already contradicted himself. On on hand he says that being a big girl is one of the things that makes him special. On the other, he’s worried about the camera adding ten pounds to his frame. Pick a side of the street girlfriend, and stay on it. Otherwise the only thing jiggly about you may be your tenure on the show.

Phi Phi O’Hara

“…I’m a force NOT to be reckoned with.

Well, darling. That lovely silk Freudian Slip you stepped into in your video intro, just about says it all.

Pretty enough (reminds me a little of a young Phyllis Hyman), and personable in that Pageant Queen sort of way. I just don’t think that these lady-boys get that being an entertainment personality is more than just desire. While I abhor Ru’s acronym for what he’s looking for in a Drag Race winner, it nevertheless is absolutely spot on. Charisma Uniqueness Nerve and Talent really DO need to be evident from the jump. As lovely a person as she seems to be, there is just nothing that I see that is very unique. I think what the show needs is an on set Charisma Uniqueness Nerve and Talent Coach to help these girls find that one thing that sets them apart from the others. Give these bitches a dose of Media Reality, and whip them into shape.

And RuPaul? If you’re reading, I’d be more than happy to take the job.

Latrice Royale

That is a WHOLE LOT of Drag Queen.

Ooooh Girl. Would not be my choice of styling. But Drag is over the top. And there is something about her patter and bravado that makes me sit up and take notice. It really will be interesting to see if these big queens can be versatile enough to encompass a range of looks. I think zaftig divas get pigeonholed much quicker than smaller contestants, and need to showcase their diversity right out of the gate. I have a feeling Miss Royale will be better able to do that OUT of drag, than in. Good luck diamond lips.

Well, three down. I’ll get to all of the divas before the January 30th premiere. I’m just starting with the FBQ. And honestly, there are a couple queens of other ethnicities that I’m much more excited about. I’ve also asked my fabulous aforementioned friend to weigh in from time to time. Even though he’s put his Bianca togs aside, he is still one of the fiercest black queens I know and MUCH better able to objectively assess these Mascara Men than I.

Until then, I leave you with a true FBQ…