Drag may not be new in mainstream entertainment -- witness everything from Bugs Bunny in women's clothes to "Some Like It Hot" and "Bosom Buddies" -- but generally it's been played for laughs. Now performer RuPaul and brethren, with the Logo reality-competition "RuPaul's Drag Race," are mainstreaming its musical-variety artistry.
And while cosmopolitan places have long had showcases for drag acts, there's probably never been a tour like "RuPaul's Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons," which stops at the Paramount in Huntington Sept. 7 with the likes of Sharon Needles, Jinkx Monsoon and Phi Phi O'Hara. "Drag Race" judge and veteran radio personality Michelle Visage, who hosts, talked about the show.
So one of your jobs on the tour is "drag mother." What does that entail?
It's making sure all the "girls" are in the right place at the right time, but there's so much more than that. Ninety percent of these drag queens that I'm responsible for on tour are kids -- they're all, like, in their 20s! So this is new to a lot of them. And I'm there to say, "Look, this is what we have to do, we have to be professional." I'm here to represent my best friend [RuPaul], and I'll be damned if I let anybody ruin the name.
It's also good for them to see a strong work ethic. A lot of these kids grew up going to nightclubs, as did I, and they're used to performing at 2 in the morning and not used to being present during the day.
Is this a full-time gig for the performers, or do they have day jobs?
Most of the girls are able, thanks to the success of show, to have quit their day jobs. Ongina from season 1 doesn't perform that much anymore because she's got a big job with Intermix and chose to move forward with that career. Others, performing is all they do.
You've called RuPaul your soul mate, yet you've been married 16 years to your writer husband, with whom you have two daughters. Can one have two soul mates?
Yeah, but it's different. My husband's like my friend who I can't imagine life without. But my husband's brain doesn't work the same way RuPaul's does. I'm not sure my husband gets me the way RuPaul does.
"RuPaul's Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons"
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Sept. 7, The Paramount, Huntington