Wigs flew. Dollar bills flew. Drag queens flew, mid-cartwheels and death drops.
Seven drag queens from Season 10 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” performed at College Street Music Hall in New Haven on Sept. 16 as part of their 15-stop tour, “War on the Catwalk.” Miz Cracker and Monét X Change hosted the show in addition to performing. They are truly a dynamic duo — during their season, Monét X Change won Miss Congeniality and Miz Cracker was arguably the fan favorite.
Drag queens Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, The Vixen, Blair St. Clair, Dusty Ray Bottoms and Monique Heart turned looks and performed original songs, lip syncs and mashups throughout the night. Miss Vanjie, aptly dubbed the Cardi B of drag, stole the show with energy levels through the roof during her dance number. Miz Cracker opted for a fitting comedic routine, littering the stage with white bread. It was very on-brand for a queen who named herself Miz Cracker because she is “thin, white and salty.” That was just a taste of Miz Cracker’s signature one-liners — disappointed by New Haven’s apparent lack of hype, Miz Cracker called the audience out: “C’mon, New Haven! We want cheers from queers, not sighs from bi’s!”
For the floor audience at least, the show was an especially interactive experience — the queens cracked jokes, made conversations with individual guests and strutted off the stage mid-performance to accept cash tips offered by fans. There was also no shortage of shameless plugs, from new iTunes singles to the decked-out merch table. Each queen showered their fans with gratitude, and Miz Cracker and Monét X Change took a break from the jokes to share an inspiring story of quitting their day jobs together to pursue their wild dreams of becoming famous drag queens.
RuPaul’s Drag Race, a reality competition show, is essentially a drag empire. RuPaul himself is nothing short of a tycoon, an icon for drag queens from around the world. Through the rapidly growing popularity of drag clubs and TV shows such as “Drag Race,” drag performance has entered the mainstream eye and has evolved drastically from its roots in the underground drag ball scene of the 20th century. While the drag ball scene remains a subculture to this day, the most prominent representation of drag in popular media is rather commercialized and tailored for a mass market. Perhaps this is one reason why infamous “Drag Race” Season 7 contestant Jasmine Masters felt the need to share her impression that “‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ has fucked up drag.” Regardless, “Drag Race’s” pop culture prowess is undeniable, and drag continues to evolve in unpredictable and wondrous ways.
Whether you’ve watched every season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” or you’ve never even heard of it, anyone can enjoy the sheer self-expression and contagious energy of a drag show. If you missed “War on the Catwalk, “worry not! Miz Cracker will return as host for “A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour” at The Town Hall in New York City on Nov. 19. Monét X Change will return as well, along with iconic “Drag Race” alumnae Adore Delano, Naomi Smalls, Latrice Royale, Farrah Moan, Aja and Raja. As Miz Cracker persuasively put it while promoting this upcoming tour, what could possibly be a better way to celebrate Christmas than with a Jewish drag queen?
Ashley Fan | firstname.lastname@example.org