RPDR S4, E7: Dragazines-Top & Bottom

Not to toot the Queen’s own horn (okay, specifically to toot the Queen’s own horn), but I realized something after watching this week’s episodes: except for the Drag part, I would tear up Drag Race. Unlike most of the dolls, I understand EXACTLY what is required in each of the challenges. If Bianca was still doing Drag, he would kill it. He and I talked into the wee hours of the morning about whether the show has peaked, or if it just started out on such a high, that it would be almost impossible to keep up the same expectations from week to week. Your thoughts?

Nevertheless it was an enjoyable episode with enough laughs and tears for even the most jaded viewers.

It started out with many people’s favorite mini-challenge: throwing shade. This is an art form that I have a really big problem with. It’s very much like the phenomenon in the black community called “Playing the Dozens.” Putting down someone in a clever way is still putting someone down. Bianca, however, insists that there are positive aspects to the ritual. He believes that for the giver, it promotes quick thinking and observational skills; for the receiver, it fosters a thicker skin and ability to bounce back from negative comments.

The Queen has to admit that he laughed out loud at a few of the jibes. But still maintains that we are, in some ways, glorifying abuse. And if we are going to do that, AT LEAST have the decency to give the win to Sharon Needles. She was MUCH funnier than Latrice.

So Latrice wins, and we are introduced to the Main Challenge: create your own magazine. The queens had a tough time with this one. The reasons why are debated by myself and Bianca and we part company on our hypothesis. Bianca thinks that the contestants, knowing that certain challenges are basically inevitable, should have prepared in advance for Snatch Game, some kind of video production and a “literary” challenge. I tend to believe that most of the lady boys DO try to prepare. The problem is that most of them don’t have a clue as to how to do it. Such was the case with this episode. Not knowing layout or design–and most especially how to be witty or tongue-in-cheek, most of the magazines fell flat. The prime example being Jiggly.Here’s one of the places where this self appointed Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent Coach could help. A good coach or director is good at posing questions that lead a person to discover information for themselves. As much as Ru tried to help, all he really said was “be funny.” But Jiggly doesn’t SEE himself as funny, so the suggestion was pretty much meaningless to him. It wasn’t until he hit the Main Stage and had his moment with RuPaul that he was able equate his natural sense of humor to the challenge. I think a lot of the dolls were like that. They just don’t get the concepts of Parody and/or Satire when it comes to these types of contests. Of course Jiggly wasn’t helped by being sabotaged by someone she trusted. I swear, I think she’s the worst of any queen, any season. Agree? Disagree?
More of the individual issues (get it…issues…magazines…GET IT?!) when we trash discuss the dolls in the next post. But for now…

It’s Condragulations to Phi Phi O’Hara

But before we get to her (and to give me a moment to suppress my own bile), the Queen thought that Pam Tillis and Regina King were SUPERB judges! Both their insight and their humor was such a welcome addition to the panel. One of my favorite lines of the night (which I think all of these queens should have tattooed on their chests) was Pam’s astute comment, “I never equate fabulous Drag Queens and ‘cute.’ I wanna be devastated.”

What pains me most about Miss O’Hara’s win, is that I can’t disagree with it. She looked great last night. And overall–in the light of the rest of the mediocre fare–had one of the better magazines. She needs to buy Kenya Michaels a BIG bouquet of roses for the makeup tips. I think that the only other person the win possibly could have gone to was Sharon. However that would give an extreme advantage to Ms. Needles which I think the Producers want to avoid. Unfortunately it’s going to make Phi Phi ubearable–which, of course, makes for good trash TV.

And it’s Sashay Away to Miss Jiggly Caliente.

The Queen agrees with Bianca that it was time for her to go. However we also agree that there is a lot of talent there. With a few more years of maturation and coaching, she will really be a force with which to be reckoned. In the end, she actually went out as a dignified thirty year-old. I wish her the absolute best.

As always, what do you Miss Things think?

The Queen will be watching Fashion Star this evening. Let’s muse about it tomorrow.

RPDR S4,E6: Float Your Boat-Untucking At Sea Continued

Kee Kee With Kelly

Okay where were we? Oh yes! We were about to talk about the segment with one of the fiercest celebrity fag-hags we’ve seen for a while. The Queen is a little long in the tooth (although I did get carded the other day buying alcohol. If I could have figured out a way to break through the bullet-proof glass and kiss the clerk, I would have.) to truly get into 1 girl 5 gays, however I love the concept and think this seemingly innocuous parlor game of Twenty Questions is a fabulous way to get to know someone. Such was the case with Kelly’s visit. I learned more about these queens in that three-minute segment than through much of the Race itself. Let’s run it down:

  • Latrice really does think Phi Phi is a bitch. This isn’t the first time Ms. Royale has called her out as one. Once, it’s a joke. After that it’s the subconscious screaming out.
  • Milan had a secret crush. I was with Willam: where did THAT come from? And with the votes for her, I’m sure Phi Phi’s ego was the size of Mount Rushmore.
  • None of the queens are attracted to Chad. Poor thing had to save face and throw shade to the other dolls.

“Phi Phi is a mean, mean little person…”–Marzirocks

So then we come to the strange letter segment. “…the producers wrote it all and just attributed it to Kenya. It’s reality TV; there’s no rule saying that any of it has to be presented the way it happened.” Are mr_subjunctive and I being too cynical? It just seemed a little too convenient that this letter would pop up. Do all the departed queens leave a letter, and we just don’t get to hear them? It seems a little suspect that someone who doesn’t feel comfortable with the language would choose this medium to voice his issues. It smells of Producer Manipulation. And Phi Phi’s poorly veiled delight at the negative comments directed at her sisters was pretty crass. As Marzirocks also posted: “… she reads that cruel letter and is all up on her high horse since Kenya said nice things to ONLY her… then says how it’s a community and they shouldn’t tear each other down and should support each other? She seems to have selective memory about how awful she is.” And as Michael Parsons de Álvarez said “Watching Phi Phi bad mouth everyone with glee is making me wish RuPaul based her final judgement on who the person is in and out of drag as well as the challenges. God forbid you would want that representing your brand.”

“Jiggly…has no excuse for her ignorance.”–hellkell

As the Queen has said previously, the history lesson was a fabulous way to introduce young gay people to a part of their legacy. However, at 30, only an octogenarian would consider Jiggly a youngster. Jiggly has probably, consciously or unconsciously, used her youthful appearance to avoid dealing with the complexities of maturation. The late educator John Holt wrote an incredible essay called “On Seeing Children As Cute“, in which he talks about the concept of “cute” in our society–specifically regarding young people–and the consequences it can have on a child’s development. Hopefully she can use this experience to jump-start her maturation process.

Willam vs. Milan

In addition to bad acting, the other thing that triggers a violent reaction in the Queen is blatant ignorance. Phi Phi’s refusal, or inability to see what’s right before her, is maddening. The difference between Milan’s float and Willam’s was oceans apart. I just don’t get it: are Phi Phi and Milan just stupid? As occasionalblonde posted about Willam’s float: “…she took the opportunity to make the challenge about more than just her being in the spotlight. She also made a point of talking about why gay pride matters and how it affected him/her personally. Willam is smart as hell. S/he knows exactly what s/he’s doing at all times.

And we are left with a dramatic runway moment: Milan’s covert warning to Jiggly.”The girls are gunning for you…be careful.” And Jiggly’s Knott’s Landing-like reply: “Which one of these stupid hoes is talking $%#! behind my back? Runnin’ they mother#$%!&* mouth? And you know what? Imma send they ass home.”

Get ready for Dynasty in the ‘Hood.

Thoughts Miss Things?

RPDR S4,E6: Float Your Boat-Untucking At Sea

Thanks to the Miss Things in the Comments Section for practically writing this post for me. Their astute observations are right on the money. So, of course, I’ll be stealing liberally from them.

“Put It Out There On The Runway Every Single Time”–Willam

So this episode started with the dolls throwing Jiggly under the rudder. Although the Queen doesn’t know if you can call it that. Usually “throwing under the bus” is a conscious form of sabotage. I don’t know if you can consider it sabotage if the queens are really just giving their opinion. And especially when the opinion was glaringly obvious. The float was the worst one on the stage.And Jiggly, once more, was unable to look at herself objectively and maturely. Willam to the rescue. “You have to give the whole show every time. You don’t save any tricks for later.” For the Queen, the blatant immaturity of dolls like Jiggly and Phi Phi shows itself in their inability to hear sage advice. Willam is constantly giving tips for which he could charge money. But these girls just don’t get it.

“Milan just doesn’t have a sense of who she is as a drag queen.”–occasionalblonde

Another piece of constructive criticism Willam put out was for Miss Milan, who like the aforementioned immature lady boys was not able to see the writing on the wall. She just doesn’t get it. As occasionalblonde goes on to say in one of her posts: “To use an grossly overused quotation ‘there’s no there there’.” Milan just doesn’t get the fact that the people she admires are innovators. She is not. And doing poor imitations of them only highlights their talent and her lack thereof. DON’T compare yourself to Kevin, dear. The only thing you have in common with Kevin is your penis.

“Dida Is A Girly Girl”–Dida Ritz

As the queen has said previously, he thinks this doll has potential. She has grown tremendously and continues to transform her look. Now she needs to work on that attitude. Dida, girly girls don’t win RuPaul’s Drag Race. They might get more dollars at Tea Dances, but they don’t win this competition. There are lots of pretty drag queens out there. But there are NOT a lot who are the total package of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. AND who are Somebodies who are about Something and Prance. And they pay attention to the detail of their drag. God bless Willam for his snarky, and accurate comments.

One Girl, Eight Queens

There have been a number of good judges on Drag Race, some are good because they know drag queens, some are good because they know the world of entertainment. Rarely do you get celebrity judges who know both. This little bullet-crowned Diva had it all. What a treat it was to have her interface with the lady boys. I’d like to say that I wish they would do this segment every week, but it takes a moderator who gets those two things in order to make it work.

Let’s talk about her visit…

In the next post.

I’m such a dramatic bitch.

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,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?

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.