I’m not sure I would have gotten through 2023, my Divorce year, without Drag Race. Since last year’s Dragcon, I’ve watched Drag Race Mexico (“I-co-ni-co!”), two seasons of Drag Race France (“Ne merde pas!”), two seasons of Drag Race DownUnder (“Oggy, oggy, oggy! Oi, oi, oi!”), the newest Drag Race UK and Canada’s Drag Race, plus season 15 of the original series and All Stars 8.
That’s a lot of gender presentation fuckery—and laughs, tears and tons of new cultural references I would never have been exposed to. Especially on Drag Race Mexico (with Lolita Banana and LA’s own Valentina) and Drag Race France (with Nicky Doll). They are the best of the international franchises I’ve seen. Superb!
So when I trekked to World of Wonder’s annual RuPaul’s DragCon LA on May 12-13 at the LA Convention Center, I made sure to see the celebrated kick off ceremony—the “Queens’ Walk”—on the massive pink carpet. Nearly every franchise was represented.
Here were some of the most notable:
Mrs. Kasha Davis is a sober sister born in Pennsylvania just like myself. She didn’t last long on All Stars 8 but that’s okay. Mrs. Kasha Davis (and Mr. Davis!) embodies the camp / kind / old school gay vibe that seemed in danger of going extinct in pop culture in recent years—but is now back thanks to Davis and others from Drag Race.
Darienne Lake—so great to have her back! Another Tri-State Area queen (I was born in Erie, PA, not far from Lake’s Rochester home base). Learned some fun facts, among them: Lake has been a TV queen since the 1990s.
We adore Heidi N. Closet, with her unwieldy nom de drag…
Tayce—another queen with rock ‘n roll cred (her dad was in Wham!). Tayce was so inspiring in Mugler ads these past couple years. Her profile isn’t so high outside the UK so I was overjoyed to see she made it to LA.
Tammy Brown used to hang at notorious LA gay bar the Silver Platter down at the corner of my street. Tammy introduced arty randomness into the Drag Race franchise way back in Season One, and deserves some sort of lifetime achievement award for doing so. So great to still see her delighting fans.
All these fucking queens… such icons.
Brooke Lynn Hytes looks like a beauty queen, but has a mischevous left-of-center sense of humor that has made Canada’s Drag Race extra fun.
Maddy Morphosis is another queen—the franchise’s very first heterosexual cisgender male identifying queen—that’s become a suprise favorite. Someone called him “Nardwuar in drag” and he kind of is. Maddy’s YouTube is must-see. Revealing, highly irreverent and often times very touching videos with deep (like, really deep) research on all the guest queens).
RuPaul was literally above the fray in her DJ booth—and pointedly not in drag. I dig that Ru likes DJ’ing so much. Her musical taste is legendarily a cut above. The tunes were great!
It was a real thrill spending time with the Davises…
I already can’t wait for next year!
Plus more queer links from the Carnage files: