Category Archives: Reviews

She-Ra Season II: Etheria Introduces Gay Parents

By Kenyth Mogan, ProudTimes’ LA Correspondent

She-Ra has always been one of my favorites. She’s been a source of inspiration for countless stories, and songs. I even had a horse named Spirit that I called Swiftwind whenever we’d race from one side of the Montana ranch I was raised on to the other.  There was just something about a woman, who kicked-ass–the asses of bad man–that I could look up to. She reminded me of my mother, my aunts, and the amazing women who raised me. Her villains were dark and dangerous and she beat them. Not just with her strength, but her cunning and kindness. She was as well-rounded a hero as any man, but also gentle and kind. I would take the lessons I learned from She-Ra into my own life, when, as a gay kid in a conservative town, I was facing my own villains. Like many gay men, mine were mainly the kids at school.

Admittedly, I was nervous when I heard she was being rebooted. But when I sat down to watch Dreamworks She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, I was not only pleasantly surprised, but also instantly obsessed. Anxiously, I awaited the second series to come out.

Now that the wait over, I can finally journey back to Eternia and catch up with the cast of characters I have come to love and adore as much–or even more than–their 1980s counterparts.

While the first season had wonderful Easter-eggs for fans of the original She-Rea, the second season took it a step further. They included flashes of the original costumes, samples of original music, and even alludes to Eternia. Continuing on its course of diversity and inclusion, the second season has some beautiful moments between characters, deepening connections, and exploring the family life of characters we haven’t seen before. The only word I can think of to describe the series is simply: beautiful.

The second season pics up right where the first leaves off with Adora, Bo, and Glimmer and the rest of the Princesses of Power struggling to rebuild after the battle of Bright Moon. To reconnect with their true power, they must strengthen their connection, not just as warriors, but as friends. Adora must also learn to find her own inner-strength outside of her power as the She-Ra.

In the Fright Zone, Catra, still riding high after her promotion to Force Captain, is learning the struggles of being a leader. With Scorpia and Entrapta constantly by her side, she still has a lot in her past to deal with, which, includes learning to let people in. Shadow Weaver’s backstory is also further explored, adding depth to her darkness. While we only get a taste of just what and who Hordak is, it’s enough to make you realize that the series has big plans for its future.

One of the best things about this series is its commitment to diversity. We are living in a time where the LGBT community is finally being included in our superhero landscapes. There are more than one same-gender coupling in this series and those characters are handled with the same respect and dignity as any other character. This season however shows us the first male / male couple in Bow’s fathers. They’re wonderfully amazing and exactly what you would expect from the parents of the only boy in the Princess Rebellion. Clearly homosexuality and queer identity is not an issue in Etheria–even with the bad guys. It just simply exists as a part of everyday life. It’s never questioned or judged, it’s wonderful.  

Further exploring the mythos Etheria, the second season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power does not disappoint. In fact, my only issue with the series is that it isn’t long enough. It ends, just at the exact moment I wanted more. Which, in truth, is how you know it’s well written. The art and story are wonderfully married to one another. Only add the beautiful score, composed by Sunna Wehrmeijer, and the series becomes something truly spectacular.  

All seven half-hour episodes of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’s second season will become available to Netflix members worldwide on April 26, 2019.

Typically Araki “Now Apocalypse” is Your Next Obsession

By Kenyth Mogan

Showtimes newest series is everything you’d expect from a Gregg Araki piece. It’s sexy, it’s surreal, and it’s strange. It’s bizarre – but in the best way.

Avan Jogia stars as Ulysses, an unabashedly unapologetic millennial gay man in Los Angeles who, like all of us, is just trying to find love (and himself) in a world filled with catfish and frogs. Joining him on his adventures are his best friend Carly (Kelli Berglund), his (heterosexual) roommate Ford (Beau Mirchoff), and Ford’s beautiful French girlfriend Severine (Roxane Mesquida). Each one of them is connected as they navigate down a weird and often bewildering path pursuing love, sex, and fame.

On his road to finding himself, Ulysses meets Gabriel (Tyler Posey) a handsome but mysterious stranger he can’t help but feel connected with – like fate is bringing them together. However, he becomes increasingly troubled after a premonitory nightmare leads him into the dark world of alien conspiracies. But is it real or is it just a side effect of smoking too much weed? He’s fun, funny, and relatable. As a gay man of the same generation, living in Los Angeles who has the same doubts, fears, and ambitions, it’s a story I couldn’t help but immediately fall in love with.

“Now Apocalypse” is so typically Gregg Araki. Which is why it’s so wonderful. The man’s a creative genius, and one of my most favorite writers ever. He’s one of the few writers who can tell a story about a character, who happens to be gay, but not tell a gay story. He treats them as human beings. Yes, sex and sexuality are a part of their story – but those facts are a part of everyone’s story, and in the world’s Araki paints, it’s just a small part of a much bigger picture.

Do yourself a favor and watch it. It’s bound to become your next obsession.

Written by Araki and Karley Sciortino, the series debuted on STARZ on March 10th, and in addition to the network will also be available on the STARZ app. Araki is also serving as a director on the series as well as being an executive producer alongside Steven Soderbergh and Gregory Jacobs.

Reviewed: Lady Bunnies “Hung With Care”- Will Keep you Laughing

By Adam Fehn

Let me start this review by saying that I am ashamed to admit knowing next to nothing about Lady Bunny and her rich history in drag culture until I started researching her prior to the show.  I am overjoyed I gave myself the opportunity to catch up with her amazing career. When I realized who she is and that I would be seeing her in person, I was beyond excited! I was about to see a living legend perform on stage! Having completed an interview with Bunny, she gave me a sense of what her show consisted of, but nothing could have prepared me for this. Her holiday show “Hung With Care” was a messy, hilarious, raucous celebration of that ubiquitous holiday we call Christmas and I loved it from start to finish.  

The Triple Door was responsible for playing host to Lady Bunny for this night only and I’m so glad they did. It is hands down one of my favorite venues in Seattle. The atmosphere is intimate and cozy and the servers deftly dodge patrons and furniture alike to make sure that everyone’s whistle never goes dry. I’d drop at least one tray of glasses a night if I were ever to be a server there so I’ll just leave that up to the professionals.  I also have to say the quality and type of shows that they host are always right up my alley. I’ve never had a single negative experience in the Triple Door and I don’t expect I ever will.

The hilarious Strawberry Shartcake was the opener for this evening.  If you are a local, you might know her from the drag Variety show, Bacon Strip, or any one of her shows at Pony.  After laying down some ground rules, it was time for the main event. Out came Lady Bunny with a none too modest black frock, jewels aplenty, hair bigger than the stage and a personality to match.

Now Lady Bunny warned me in her prior interview that the show would be… different, and it certainly was. We happened to be the first stop in this tour, and as such, most of the material was experimental and unpolished. She joked about reading lyrics from stage notes typed in a font big enough for grandma to see, mostly because she couldn’t wear glasses over three-inch lashes.  At one point she dropped one of her huge earrings on the stage and tripped on her gown when she ran into the audience. It was definitely messy, but she played off of each hiccup and made it hilarious. She has probably been doing this longer than I’ve been alive, so of course, she would know how to play to her strengths. Instead of the work in progress that she warned me about, we got sidesplitting chaos that stayed true to her form of comedy.

Throughout the course of the night, we got a little bit of everything in no particular order.  She told some jokes, she did some dancing, she read some of our favorite drag queens for filth, during which, she took no prisoners. She also sang her take on some old holiday favorites including, but certainly not limited to, I Saw Mommy Fisting Santa Clause, Rudolph the Uncut Reindeer, and Have a Holly Molly Christmas. My favorite, though, was her own version of Santa Baby, in which, she got a little angry and shared just what she’s willing to do to see that she gets what she wants.  Apparently, she is not above grilling a reindeer.

Another one my favorite parts of her show is when she took suggestions from the audience, which she of course insisted were written by actual audience members before the show.  One “audience member” asked her to sing and dance to the breakout hit Let it Go from Frozen and boy did she ever! Only her world was full of constipation instead of isolation and it wasn’t her shame that she was letting go of. Other suggestions had her doing impersonations of Kate Bush and singing about all of the diseases she contracted during the twelve days of Christmas.  The highlight of the night, however, was the video she played while freshening up. Now I don’t know exactly how to describe this video. I can only say that it involved a very naked man and Lady Bunny in full drag getting doused by gallons upon gallons of milk. It was truly a spectacle.

Even though the performance itself was a bit rough, I still got a sense of what Lady Bunny is like at her best. This queen is funny to the core and her comedy doesn’t make compromises.  This might be the only time that I enjoyed being the guinea pig for a performer. The pleasure truly was all mine. I look forward to her return to the West coast with a tried and true show to boot, although I’m sure I’ll enjoy whatever it is she dishes out.

Follow Lady Bunny:  Facebook or visit her website.

Reviewed: Scott Shoemaker’s War on Christmas – Must See!!!!!

By Adam Fehn

Scott Shoemaker’s War on Christmas might have been the most fun I’ve ever had at a show to date. Scott is a master comedian and performer that knows how to make you laugh so much it hurts. Aside from the comedy, his hosting abilities captured quite a bit of my appreciation as well. As a queer atheist himself, he knows that many people in similar shoes either have or don’t have the opportunity to celebrate the holiday, or don’t know where their beliefs fit into the celebration. A lot of people in our community have to make their own traditions and this is one of the things that prompted him to make the War on Christmas. It certainly made my spirits a little brighter and I’m sure it did for many other audience members as well.

Their venue of choice tonight was Re-Bar, an unassuming little place on the outskirts of Capitol Hill with a bar in the front and a stage in the back. It is a gay-friendly place where you can witness all sorts of events from poetry slams to burlesque shows to stand-up comedy to DJ’s. If it’s alternative and artistic in Seattle, chances are, you’ll find it here. Lucky for me, I happened to find Scott and his wonderful team of collaborators, Adé, Mandy Price, Waxie Moon, and Fageddy Randy.

You know you’re in for a good time when the show starts with a Guns’N’Roses Christmas song Parody. To Scott’s credit, he can sing really well also! After the song it was time to meet everyone. Innocently enough, they each recounted their favorite part about Christmas, which included things like presents, Christmas stories, carols, and of course the old traditions of years past. Fageddy Randy reminisced fondly over the days when he and his family would pray over an altar of bones and sacrifice a virgin. Luckily Mandy Price ran just a little bit faster than him this time.
If you think this sounds off color for a holiday show, you need to see the rest of it. The whole thing reminded me of a cross between the tv show Robot Chicken and a bad acid trip, but in the absolute best way possible. At one point Scott came across an old fruitcake, which reminded him of a show he used to watch when he was younger called “Generously Sauced by Gladys Swillwell”. They cut to a prerecorded video of Scott in drag drunkenly making a fruitcake. The whole thing was obviously a dig on Julia Childe’s old tv show, but it had me laughing till I cried real tears. If Scott ever wanted to make a spin-off show based on this character, I would buy every single ticket.

After all of the reminiscing, it was time for everyone to decorate the tree, but Waxie Moon was so excited that he had already decorated himself. Unfortunately for Waxie, the spirit of their actual tree came alive just in time. Apparently, trees are gay and they demand to be decorated impeccably. I certainly can’t refute that. Because Waxie’s sense of style wasn’t up to snuff, there was only one thing left to do; take his costume off piece by piece. I do love a good burlesque and Waxie is one of the best in the business.

Decorating the Christmas tree is an important part of Christmas, but that isn’t what matters to Scott. To him, the most important part of the holiday is his presents and he is still yearning for the one present that he never got in 1984. He wanted a cabbage patch doll, but instead received a He-Man action figure. Well, if you’re still dealing with the loss of a treasured toy and you end up eating a little bit too much-spiked fruit cake, it stands to reason that you would have a super weird dream about it. In this dream, the cabbage patch kid became real and started dance fighting He-Man. See what I mean about an acid trip? It was so over the top that I could, once again, not stop laughing and this was only act one.

Act 2 saw Scott making his way to the North Pole by way of a cracked out reindeer in search of his beloved toy. Here he met Mrs. Claus and Santa’s new lover, Jolly the elf. She knew that she couldn’t hold a candle to Santa’s new boy toy so she dealt with it the only way she could, by signing a hilarious parody of Jolene. After listening to her problems and being offered her version of a cabbage patch kid (pantyhose stuffed and tied together to somewhat resemble a doll that she called a lettuce leaf kid), Scott was visited by the spirit of Christmas presents, the North Pole’s version of customer service.

You’d think in today’s day and age people would have learned by now, you never fuck with customer service. It didn’t take long for the spirit of Christmas presents to officially put him on the naughty list. As punishment, he got a little visit from our favorite child-snatching demon, Krampus. A few traumatic minutes later, Scott woke up and realized that it was all just a bad dream brought on by the old fruitcake he had eaten earlier. In a twist of fate, and after throwing a rather large tantrum, the doorbell rang. The War on Christmas Dancers had bought him his long-lost Cabbage Patch Kid from so many years ago, thus reinforcing all of the crappy behavior he had exhibited for the entire show.

Right after I left Re-Bar, I realized that I could watch that show again and again (I’m still strongly considering buying another ticket). It was not only fun and hilarious but in a season when everything down to the tv commercials you watch on tv has a message to convey, the one presented by Scott is by far my favorite. Despite there being so many people in this world that have holidays around this time of year, some people think that it can only be separated one way and any deviation whatsoever is seen as a war against Christmas. Those people are morons and you can celebrate any damn way you please. Whether you choose to decorate a Christmas tree, or you choose to watch a raunchy Christmas show every year (my new tradition), it’s your choice and it will always be the right decision.

For more shows at Re-bar click here!

Review of She-Ra

By Kenyth Mogan

She-Ra. In the 80s she was the answer to a call to show little girls that they can be just as brave and strong and adventurous as little boys. Today, in a world where words like “Feminist Agenda” and “Forced Diversity” are thrown around by rich white men who think they should be able to grab women by the pussycat, with absolutely zero consequences – she’s the reckoning.

Words cannot express how beautiful this show is. From the writing, to the art, the passion of the voice actors and the nods to the classic series, it’s incredible. It’s perfect. It’s needed.

It would’ve been so easy for the writers to take this series into the world of the cheese-ball. The original did. But they didn’t.  And before the anti-feminist trolls crawl out from under their stones to throw them at this series, hear this. It is not anti-male, it’s just pro woman. All women. All people.  Even for an animated character, Adora is a complex person with needs, desires, and struggles. Her world is not just black and white. She has to fight. The same can be said for her compatriots, Glimmer, who for a princess, is a fierce and fabulous champion of the underdog, and Bo, a man who’s masculinity is not the slightest bit threatened by living in a female-centric world. He’s not weaker, or less than – he’s an equal and beloved part of the group.

The villains are also incredibly well developed. There are backstories, motives, and just enough to hint at the original series that fans of the original Masters of the Universe world will be able to rejoice. For those of you who are curious, yes, there is a Looki reference. It’s amazing.

It’s fantastic. It’s beautiful. I cannot wait to re-watch this amazing series.

Review: The Second City Comedy Tour – Martin Woldson Theater At The Fox

By James Smartt

Last night The Second City Comedy Tour rocked a packed house at Martin Woldson Theater At The Fox in Spokane, WA. Strong performances from all of the cast kept the audience laughing although the wonderfully androgynous Chuck Norment stole most of the scenes, he performed in. The scripted bits were better than the impromptu performances, some of that can be attributed to the tough Spokane crowd and its selection of scenes though. In today’s politically charged environment; it seems almost mandatory to have that one joke that goes a bit too far and Second City obliged with an incestuous Trump skit, which had me shaking my head and most of the rest of the audience roaring. The first act was much stronger than the second act and the now infamous 3rd Act of test material was hit and miss. All-in-all the Second City found a sister city in Spokane.

For more Great shows to attend:

Spokane INB Performing Arts Finding Neverland- Reviewed”100% Must SEE!!!!

Simply Amazing!!

Yes I said it. Amazing is how this picky, unforgiving critic found Finding Neverland. I will admit I do not go to the theater much because I always find them lacking in entertainment for me personally. I like special effects, action and fast pace to keep me engaged and most shows in the past lost me with in 5 to 10 minutes.  NOT Finding Neverland!

From the opening scene they set the bar high and just when  you thought ok they cannot do better…BAM… They did!

The story is about the writer of Peter Pan and how the story came to life from his mind to the rest of the world.  The opening monologue told what it was about and the way the quest for the characters of the book were formed was fun to watch. The songs, dance and visual effects are wonderful as the dual story unfolds.  The process of creating the story we all love to making it a reality to the world, all from one man’s mind.

The use of projection technology to create mood and drama without making the show look cheap or using it to wow the audience was spot on.  I have seen this in other performances where it distracted from the story and in some cases did not fit with the mood. Finding Neverland’s cast performances would have carried the show without the project background, but with it to back up the performers made it so powerful I found myself drawn in more so than ever.

I, for one, would recommend all take the time to see this, you will not be disappointed!

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Ben Dela Crème’s Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor

By Aaron Field

Ben Dela Crème’s Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor is a spooky tale of a ditzy blond that stumbles in a strange house of horror and mystery where nothing is as it seems.  The house is filled with all manner of fabulous monsters, because why be an ordinary monster when you can be a Can Can dancing skeleton (Am I right)? The story is filled with twists, turns, a few surprises, and more campy humor than you can shake a hot dog at (seriously, towards the end of the first act it felt like I had forgotten my sleeping bag).  It was a show that I would see again and again, not just because I enjoyed it so much, but because there was just so much to take in. There were sexy performers, incredible set designs, witty dialogue, strong horror references, and one heck of a good time. Ben absolutely gave it his all when he wrote the show.

My first shout out of the night goes to all of the theater staff who were impossibly kind the entire time.  They honestly made the night just as enjoyable as the performers did. The ACT Theater is also one of my favorite venues in Seattle.  I had never been in this particular room of the Theater before and upon entering I thought to myself “where are they going to perform?”  The answer was all around us. They had two stages on either side of the room and the tables were situated between them. The performers had to cross the through the audience to get to each stage and the whole thing felt so immersive.  They used the space to their advantage as it really added to the story.

The set design was also quite amazing.  You could just tell how much they toiled over every detail.   The music itself was also fantastic and it shaped the performance spectacularly.  Actually, the sound in general in this theater was really good, from sound effects to music. Speaking of attention to detail, props to the costume designer on this production because they did such a wonderful job.  The actor’s garb (or lack thereof in some cases) was an absolute treat to see.

Now onto the performers, who were all amazing by the way.  The first thespian that we see in this production was Major Scales, who instantly struck me as a mixture of Dracula and Sweet Transvestite.  He was or gracious host for the evening and so so funny. Not soon after, Ben Dela Crème made her first appearance. In a tan overcoat, she was much more moderately dressed than I am used to seeing her, but somehow no less striking.  I admittedly had my first case of being star struck. I saw Ben Before in a different production, but the intimate nature of the theater meant that you were up close and personal to the performance the entire night and I couldn’t help but be in awe.  Even with her modest outerwear and her first few timid lines, Ben was electrifying and it only got so much better from there.

We are next introduced to Mandy Price’s character, a professor and paranormal researcher that would spend the rest of the night enriching the laughter with a wonderful amount of dry humor.  When so much of the comedy would come from raucous over the top hilarity, Mandy added a much-needed sense of wit that combined perfectly. Joining the professor was his fabulous wife, an in-tune, over the top queen played by Scott Shoemaker.  I absolutely loved everyone in this ensemble, but more than once I found Scott stealing show. His interactions with all of the characters made everyone else much funnier, not to mention just how funny his was by himself. I will always love an overly dramatic and non-apologetic performance from a dynamic performer in drag and Scott delivered this in spades.

The main actors were absolutely amazing, but the night wouldn’t have been nearly as special without the supporting characters and dancers that were on point the entire time.  The Cratchit sisters, played by the incredible Chloe Albin, Randy Ford, and Moscato Extatique, who turned out to be way more than just the caretakers of the house, spelled the audience through their dance.  The Baron’s rather wild roommate who would later give us a glimpse of his “full moon”. Also, Inge Beresford, who was positively entrancing. We didn’t get to see much of her… well I should rephrase that. We saw a lot of her, just not for a long time.  Not to mention the rest of the spooky monsters that danced through the walls and chilled our bones. They were all spellbinding and made sure the night was a feast for the eyes.

Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor is one of those shows that you need to see to really get and I couldn’t help but sense that there was always something more floating above the dialogue that I needed to pay attention to in order to catch.  I could see the show a thousand times and still find a reference, a joke, or an act that I didn’t notice the time before. The good thing is that you don’t need to experience every layer at every second to have a good time. Even at face value you are sure to be delighted, laugh your ass off, and leave wanting to come back for more.

REVIEWED – Rupaul’s Drag Race Werq the World Tour, Seattle

By Adam Fehn

I had the immense pleasure of attending RuPaul’s Werq the World Tour in Seattle last night and let me tell you… if you haven’t yet had the chance to catch this show, you’re missing out.  Every year the most popular and talented queens from recent and past seasons get together to throw the world one hell of a performance one city at a time, and on September 23rd it was Seattle’s turn.  Unbeknownst to me while I was in attendance, it’s was a rotating cast of performers that show up each night.  So while they advertised 16 queens, only 7 performed. Which now that I think about it, makes sense. These queens held nothing back, so of course, they’d need to sit out a show or two to collect themselves (we certainly don’t want any stiletto related injuries).  Not to mention, 16 acts of this caliber on the same night would most likely mean a 6 or 7 hour long show and I’m not sure my heart could take that much adrenaline. I did feel bad that I didn’t get to see some of the queens like Alyssa Edwards, Latrice Royal, Shangela, and Peppermint, but word on the street said that some of the queens went to R-Place to make some of those boys scream as well so it was totally for a good cause.

Let’s dive right in and start with the venue.  We had the good fortune of being able to not only enjoy some of the most talented queens ever to come out of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but we did it in the historic and exquisite Paramount Theatre.  This was my first time at the Paramount (a statement that would make a lot of Seattlites shake their head in shame), but I say better late than never. It was quite a spectacle to see these new world queens perform in juxtaposition to the old world charm of the Paramount, but the golden accents and brilliant chandeliers complimented most of their outfits perfectly and only added to the queens’ regal characters.

Packed inside this exquisite theatre were audience members that seemingly spanned every aspect of the LGBTQ spectrum in addition to many of our straight allies.  I have attended quite a few shows now that attract such an audience that celebrates and brings out the best in our community, and I will never take for granted every opportunity to be out in the general public and feel completely safe.  I am not naïve enough to know that horrible things can happen even in safe places, but there was definitely something about this particular audience that just made you feel good. All states of drag were represented from simple eyeshadow and fake lashes to full on beat faces with gowns.  It certainly was beautiful to see. So exuberant was this audience that many of them could hardly contain themselves and their excitement. There was dancing in the isles and cheering from the balconies, this was before the show even started! You could just tell we were all in for the time of our lives.

Ok now it’s finally time to get to the show, the very thing that you, dear readers, are here for and I will do my utmost to give you a sense of what it was like to be there, though such an experience really should be seen in person.  The stage was flooded with pink and blue lights right before they went dim. When the lights came back on we were introduced to our endearing host for the night, Bob the Drag Queen, wearing the most delicious ladies sparkling blue pantsuit I have ever seen.  I have never done drag, but if I did, I would want this outfit so bad. She looked spectacular! She did a little number to a remake of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” just to get our whistles wet, but at this point, I was already shook. Soon each of our queens started descending from the flashing staircases one by one to deafening cheers.  What an introduction! Performing tonight was Asia O’Hara, Eureka O’Hara, Kameron Michaels Kim Chi, Valentina, and last but proven not least season 10 winner Aquaria.

Our Queens quickly left the stage, but Bob came back to pick up our dropped jaws.  She addressed the audience with all the elegance and grace that only she… I’m sorry this is Bob the freaking Drag Queen we’re talking about!  “Seattle, you hummus eating Mutha Fuckers!” she exclaimed. It has been a while since I watched Bob on Season 8, but she obviously still has it and will never lose it.  She made us all roar with laughter the way only she could. I think my favorite part was when she described Sascha Velour as Voldemort and Aquaria as Jimmy Neutron. Her humor always proves to be spot on and she never slowed down as the night progressed.  Bob was as funny as she was gorgeous, which is saying something because her looks are leagues ahead of what I remember from season 8, but more on that in a bit. After talking us through what we had in store that evening, it was time to travel to our first destination.  Our televised plane departed and landed in Seoul North Korea, where Kim Chi was waiting for us in her best Sailor Moon drag.

Kim Chi’s dancing certainly has improved since season 8, but even though it isn’t quite on par with the other queen’s performing that night, Kim Chi’s drag to me was never really about busting a move.  Kim Chi’s drag is campy, creative, fun, artistic, and sharp. No one could turn a look quite like Kim Chi that season, and she’s certainly still got it. Halfway through her performance, she tore part of her costume away to reveal a beautiful sparkling gown.  Sailor Moon had transformed into Princess Serenity and left us all gagging. It was a strong start to the night and we had so much more in store.

Our next destination was London, where Eureka O’Hara was giving us Queen Victoria realness. I mentioned the queens being regal earlier, but Eureka had this quality in spades.  She emerged in a dress fitting of her royalty and had she had not one, but two reveals. Eventually leaving her to perform in one of her customary bodysuits, but no one can wear a bodysuit as well as Eureka O’Hara.  The thing that I liked most about Eureka’s performance was that it was not just a show, it was a statement. Part way through her show videos and recordings of some of the derogatory remarks made against Eureka were played after her regal gown was stripped away.  Eureka’s inner queen was revealed and she was completely exposed. Suddenly Keala’s Settle’s “This is Me” started playing and Eureka gave all of her haters an unabashed look at what she’s capable of. Her performance was an unforgettable one and served as a reminder to all that we should never let anyone extinguish our light.  Eureka sure hasn’t!

The third place we visited was the fictional town of town of Storybrooke, the setting of the popular tv show, Once Upon a Time.  Here we met the fiercest and most wicked witch queen of them all, Kameron Michaels. In a stunning entrance, she emerged from an elaborate vessel (of her own creation no doubt).  In no time at all, her dancing had put us all under her wretched spell. If dance could kill, we’d all be six feet under, but luckily this spell was more of an enchantment than a curse.  Kameron, season 9’s lip sync assassin, never disappoints and this night was no exception. She was sharp, deliciously evil, and she donned one of my favorite costumes of the night! After Kameron’s stunning performance the audience got a much-needed break.  I for one was still dazed by Kameron’s haunting routine and needed a second to compose myself.

On the other side of the break, we got even more of the effervescent and hilarious Bob the Drag Queen, except this time around her comedy included audience participation.  She had three members of our lively audience get up for none other than a lip sync for your live performance. But true to form, Bob didn’t choose just any old audience member.  No, she had criteria. Her first pick was someone that had to be over 40 years old and of course, she chose a lady that midnighted as a customer (leave it to a queen to find the dressmaker in a crowd of 3000 people).  Her second pick was the gayest boy in the room, but not just any gay. This boy had to be a drag superfan: drag race, local drag, back alley drag, absolutely all of it. Lastly, she looked for the most annoying white girl in the crowd: The Becky of all Beckys.  When she had her picks, she gave them wigs and it was off to the races. It ended up being a tie after the drag superfan and the annoying white girl put on two performances that were too close to call. It was pretty fun and watching Bob play stand-in drag mom to three audience members was absolutely hilarious.

Now that our three contestants had collected their prizes, it was time to get back to it.  We were about to watch three drags queens duke it out in an all-out lip sync battle, but first, as with any fight, the national anthem had to be sung.  There to do us that honor was none other than the season 10 winner herself, Aquaria. I have to be completely honest with this one. I find Aquaria to be an immensely talented queen whose looks can rival former champion Sasha Velour (a bold statement if I’ve ever had one), but tonight Aquaria left me wanting more, and not in a good way.  While her performance was pretty funny, I wanted so much more from her, especially after seeing the first three queens. It’s possible that her performances in other cities had been and will be different, but I wasn’t exactly satiated after her visit to Seattle. I wanted sickening looks and fierce lip-syncing, but what I got was something that I’ve seen other queens do multiple times before.  I definitely missed that spark that she brought to season 10.

What I missed in Aquaria’s performance was more than made up for with her season 10 costars and runner-ups to the crown Asia O’Hara, Kameron Michaels, and Eureka O’Hara.  They each wore slightly different gray and black sequined body suits, a uniform that foreshadowed what was to come. After all, fighters don’t wear flamboyant gowns and make no mistake, this was a no holds barred beatdown.  These ladies held nothing back as they lip-synced, danced, and death dropped their way to victory. So devastating were their punches that I was legitimately worried for their safety. These three fought till there was nothing left, and I loved every crazy second of it.  It was about this time in the show that my voice started getting hoarse, but I rallied because it definitely wasn’t over yet!

Not to be outdone, Bob the Drag Queen took the stage again in my absolute favorite outfit of the night, a fiery number full of reds, yellows, and oranges which would later get wings.  Bob proved that, like a phoenix, she is eternal. Next up was Asia O’hara in a stunning dress that would later reveal a neon green jumpsuit. She is milking her butterfly scandal for all it’s worth and, honey, it’s not tired yet.  Her performance was hilarious, artistic, and just the kind of special that I expected from her. Last was Valentina, who took us to our last destination in Mexico City. She and her backup dancers got all close and personal with this one as they performed all manner of fiery Latin dance moves.  Valentina looked stunning and she moved effortlessly across the stage. It was certainly one of my favorite performances of the night and I’m surprised she didn’t burn the whole place down with her smoldering dance moves.

As the Queens took to the stage one last time to dance their faces off, the crowd cheered with absolute gusto, a testament to what we witnessed this night.  I find myself lucky to not only see some of the most talented people ever to perform on one stage, but to experience it with a crowd of people that were so ecstatic to be there.  The venue, the people, the queens, were nothing short of amazing and it made for an absolutely unforgettable night. I would love to thank everyone responsible for making this night happen as it couldn’t have been easy.  The production value of the performance was phenomenal from the choreography to the lighting and the sound. It all just came together amazingly. My last and final shout out goes out to the backup dancers. Four amazing dancers that were as talented as they were good looking.  At times I found myself watching them more than the performing queen! This truly was an electrifying night and a show that I plan to keep seeing for as long as they keep touring. I look forward to next year and the next round of wonderful queens!

Julie Goldman Review – Sole Repair Shop 6/16/18

By Adam Fehn

Julie Goldman is an accomplished comedian from Boston Massachusetts who has performed on The Big Gay Comedy Show and Offensive Women, a women-only comedy show that she also founded.  Julie draws her material from many aspects of her background including her Jewish heritage, the LGBTQ communities, and of course her self-identified community of butch dykes.

This performance took place at The Sole Repair Shop, a confusing name for an event venue to be sure, but nonetheless very cute and borderline rustic.  My only criticism of the venue is the wooden accents make the space echo like crazy, something that Julie grasped to pretty quickly. “Where am I?” she exclaimed! “It feels like we’re in a barn.”  Barring a few technical difficulties with the mic, I’d say the night went off without a hitch. They even provided trays of cupcakes!

You have to love a show that starts off with a disclaimer.   Being a lesbian pride event, Julie stated plainly that there is no way she could cater to everyone’s experiences and points of view, an admission I appreciated.  The thing I liked most about her show was that she obviously catered to a room filled mostly with people in the lesbian community, but I never felt like an outsider being a gay man.  Indeed, no one was safe from Julie’s brand of comedy, even the gays aboard the cruises that she has performed for. In some of the funniest jokes of the night, she described in length some of the raunchy situations she found herself a witness to upon the ships.  

Moreover, I enjoyed immensely hearing comedy from someone representing a different letter on the LGTBQ spectrum other than my own. In a lot of ways, Julie’s stories mirrored stories that we’ve all been through, but then, of course, she had to include details of her life that I’m lucky I don’t have to deal with.  She routinely gets mistaken for a man, and things get rather dicey when she uses public restrooms. These are pressing issues that many in our community have to deal with, but Julie addressed these problems with such candid honesty that she had everyone in the room roaring with laughter. Julie is a class act who put on a show that everyone, except the most uptight right-wing nut job would enjoy.

Overall the night was so pleasant that I enjoyed every second of it.  Everyone from the patrons to the event staff were super friendly. It was a night of pride, hilarity, and great times.