O.M.G. … my road trip to Seattle last Saturday is by far my BEST trip to Seattle … ever! Where do I even begin! Hmmm, let’s start from the very beginning. A very good place to start. lol (this ain’t no musical). There’s no way I can keep this article short … there’s… just… no… effin… way!
Up until 2007 (lol, oh boy… grab some coffee .. this will take a while … HA!) I avoided drag queens, them gurls scareszzed me. So whenever I ran into one, I’d engage my Evasive Maneuver Pattern Beta Six routine (a.k.a. head for the hills). In 2007, I was in my “Self-Discovery Journey” where I had to face a lot of my “fears” in order to move forward (this is another article lol). And one of em “fears” was drag queens. So I started to follow drag queens from Las Vegas on MySpace, and befriended some. That was a huge eye-opener, and I gained a lot of education and respect for the craft and people behind it. One of the LV queens I was particularly impressed with was Derrick Barry. MySpace went kaput, I moved to Vancouver, discovered RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2010, and life kept on going. But I kept LV queens and Derrick Barry in my mind’s eye. So when he got booked for a gig in Vancouver, I was so excited that I will finally meet him. Unfortunately, things happened and I missed the event. *sad face vertigo shot* (fade to commercial).
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Five … the season that gave us high caliber queens like Alaska Thunderfuck, Jinkx Monsoon, Detox, Alyssa Edwards … and show nemesis … Coco Montrese! I’ve had the greatest pleasure in meeting all the other queens mentioned except Miss Coco. Up until last Saturday I’ve been itching to meet Coco Montrese after Season Five concluded! I think she’s a very intriguing person. The story behind Coco and Alyssa is very tabloid worthy … or easy water cooler chat subject. I must admit, I’ve been using her coronation as a punchline for some of my jokes … *nervous laugh*. And yass, Miss Coco has reprimanded me on Twitter. LOL… but that hasn’t deterred me from following her. In fact, it even made it more compelling for me to root for her. Shortcut! I think Miss Coco is more approachable and grounded than Alyssa … not sorry about it! That’s just my observation … first impression. There are those people who act diva, and there are those who act normal. *flips imaginary blonde locks* *turns around* (fade to black) (cue Advil commercial).
Jujubee! There are only a handful of RuPaul’s Drag Race alumnae who has shown a lot of staying power more than Miss Juju. Her popularity since Season Two and All Stars is still growing. This womanzz kept on going long before her season ended. Finishing at top three … ain’t so bad either. Her appearance in All Stars Season One further cemented her rank as top Drag Race royalty. So whenever she’s in Vancouver or Seattle, I made it my “mission” to go support her gig. I also have to give credit to her fiancé, Christopher Liporto. His very engaging personality helps keep fans talking about Juju, among other things. It’s like the warm-up before the show.
I learned about Jujubee’s and Coco’s gig in Seattle months before, during my last trip to Seattle. I already decided then that I have to come down and see the show. When it became official, I was so thrilled! But wait! There’s more. R Place announced that Derrick Barry was also going to perform! I was blown away! Two queens I’ve been “dying” to meet, Coco and Derrick, plus … Jujubee? Get the F outta here!
I knew I had to get a better camera, point-and-shoot just won’t cut it. So I nuked my year’s remaining food budget and bought a mirrorless! Who needs to eat anyway? Eating … pfft! What is up with that?! Right? I practiced and practiced using my new mirrorless for weeks … and I effin luv the results. I was expecting that R Place’s mainstay draq performers will take part in the show, namely, choreography gurls Amora Dior Black and La Saviona Hunt, funny gal Robbie Turner, and hostess Lady Chablis. La Saviona and Amora are intense dancers, it’s almost impossible to get a descent shot of them with an ordinary camera. Miss T, for Turner, is a bit tricky to photograph while performing because she pauses then pounce … like a cat. Lady Chablis is easier to photograph since she merely glides on the stage lol :D. So, with my new gear, a pack of RedBull, and accommodation ready … I was set.
At six o’clock in the morning last Saturday … I headed out to Seattle. I drove about four and a half hours … one hour of that was trying to find my way to the border because I got lost while trying to avoid the Port Mann Bridge … I hate that bridge, ugh (more of the this in another article). The border crossing was easy breezy … it took less than five minutes on the NEXUS lane *winks* … while the other lanes was at least forty five minutes. The drive was uneventful. And I finally found the time to listen to “RuPaul’s What’s The Tee? With Michelle Visage” (more on this in another article). I got invited to two gatherings of gay men that afternoon … so I’m like, three hours of sleep, four and a half hours of driving, (ponders) why not?! Was I worried that I’ll be totally spent for the R Place show at nine thirty? A little, but that’s why I was packing extra RedBull. It turned out to be a great social … I felt like fish out of water. Seattle gay social scene is … very … accommodating. I’ve meet a few really cool people. So that was nice. With just an hour to spare, I left the second social to get ready for R Place’s show.
The show kicked off at 9:45pm with hostess Lady Chablis as the opening act wearing a very Pride-appropriate outfit. Jujubee, sporting a sizzling afro, wowed the audience with her fierce lip sync. Coco Montrese performed next … omg, at this point, I was literally crying (inside). Miss Coco did her Janet Jackson number … in full Janet outfit realness. She did classic Janet dance moves, the lip sync was tight … and oh, she was serving wardrobe malfunction realness bitches! It was such a treat! As if it wasn’t enough … Derrick Barry went on stage. I’m like … OMG, it’s Britney Spears! I’ve seen Britney live in concert, and Derrick Barry look so freakin’ close … mug and body, it’s mind blowing. They strategically placed a blower in front of the stage … for wind effect. Movement, hair blowing in the wind … I’m like … yass! Event photography rocks! After so much realism … the audience needed to be calmed the F down … so for some much needed comic relief … HEEEEERE COMES ROBBIE! Robbie Turner is such a hoot on stage. Very campy and funny. She didn’t do an impromptu standup this time. They arranged the performance quite nicely to give enough time for the gurls to change. She didn’t have to “stall the show” unlike when Shangela was performing (cough) #shade. LOL Show’s adrenaline got pumped up again with La Saviona Hunt’s trio performance and followed by high octane performance of Amora Diore Black! I will never get tired of jump splits and death drops. I would rather watch that than a freakin’ twerking move. Death drop is not an easy thing to do. In fact, Shangela broke her leg doing a death drop while performing in New York. Choreography ain’t easy, and to lip sync too? … not everyone can dance as fierce as some of the queens. I have a huge respect for high octane drag dancers like: Laganja Estraja, Shangela, Alyssa Edwards, Amora Dior Black, La Saviona Hunt, and Bianca Del Rio (LOL). Hahahaha … okay, not Bianca but the rest, yass! Bring me my dancers! I got tips!
The line-up went on for three cycles … and concluded with a Coco and Derrick tandem, dancing to the tune of “Work B**ch” by Britney Spears. I know I should’ve been flat on the floor, considering I only had RedBull around noon, and it was a very long exhausting day … but noooo, I was up on my feet, LOLing, GAGing, ecstatic, goosebumps after goosebumps … I believe I was running on Fangirling. It can be potent than caffeine. lol The show was went on for two hours! It it seemed short! That’s how good it was.
Icing To The Cake
It was very humbling to be referred to as the “Official Event Photographer” (pause) … (assume podium posture, paper in hand) I would like to thank my parents, god, friends, google … (cough) (cue scratch effect). Christopher Liporto is the coolest drag-attached-guy ever! He personally handed over the Jujubee tank top I ordered, with matching S&H refund, and … but wait! There’s more! Free “Jujubee Loves Me” bracelet and Pin! Thanks!
Having to take photos backstage was super cool. And I’ve seen things, things that I will never write about … things, things that I can say I’ve only seen with Alaska — twice. LOL ha! R Place staff are so friendly. Shout out to Chris! The security guy! I had him model for me … and was kind enough to do “the bluebay700 look” — meaning, try to look mad or constipated, ala Posh Spice ^_^. #trademark ha! I live for the shenanigans by the acts and staff. These guys are serious with their job but knows how to have fun!
I’m so stoked to have finally meet Coco and Derrick! I can’t WAIT to come back for Courtney Act and Bianca Del Rio! And yes, contrary to Coco Montrese’s advice not to sit up front when Bianca is on … I will, I will sit upfront and be read to filth! Amen.
THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT!
ps: It was also cool to ran into Anita Wigl’It, and catch a glimpse of Atasha Manila — next time gurl! I need to take your photograph!