RuPaul's Drag Race queens launch digital concert festival amid coronavirus pandemic
UPDATE: Due to overwhelming popularity, Digital Drag Fest! has added a robust slate of new performers to its lineup, including Shea Couleé, Raja, Latrice Royale, Valentina, BenDeLaCreme, Jaida Essence Hall, Jackie Cox, Heidi N Closet, Jan, Rock M. Sakura, Blair St. Clair, Tammie Brown, Nicky Doll, Baga Chipz, Cheryl Hole, A'Keria Chanel Davenport, Silky Nutmeg Ganache, actor-director John Cameron Mitchell, nightlife legend Amanda Lepore, Dragula season 3 winner Landon Cider, and an opening set from Drag Race judge Michelle Visage. Tickets for all performances are available on the Stageit website.
EARLIER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the
stage glowing screen in the comfort of your own home: All of the RuPaul's Drag Race icons you can't see at the club this weekend because you're in coronavirus quarantine!
As the world's population locks down amid the spread of COVID-19, EW can exclusively reveal powerhouse drag management company Producer Entertainment Group has partnered with webcast site Stageit to bring performances from some of the biggest names in contemporary drag directly to you, as bars, restaurants, and live entertainment venues continue to close around the world.
With tickets starting at $10 per show, the PEG Presents: Digital Drag Fest! online festival will unite drag superstars Alaska, Divina De Campo, Ginger Minj, Jackie Beat, Jiggly Caliente, Jinkx Monsoon, Jujubee, Manila Luzon, Miz Cracker, Monét X Change, Nina West, Peppermint, Sharon Needles, Sherry Vine, Trinity The Tuck, and country singer Brandon Stansell for a week-long slate of web-based concerts.
Each 30-minute, all-ages installment will be a unique experience, as Stageit does not record or re-release its content. Tickets are limited (beginning at 100 per show) to keep audience sizes intimate, though attendees will have opportunities to interact with the artists, tip them, and potentially win prizes during the broadcast.
As drag artists around the world continue to lose money with the coronavirus pandemic forcing performance venues into closure, Trinity tells EW the show is meant to serve as "a distraction from what's going on in the world," recalling the "escape from reality" provided by a typical night out at a drag show (outings that aren't currently possible amid government-mandated closings of public gathering spaces).
"[Drag artists] give an experience to give people. It's relief mentally, emotionally, or comically, and when you’re not able to do that while sequestered in your house, you can watch this online streaming show from home and, for 30 minutes, have fun with whoever they’re watching," the All-Stars 4 winner says, adding that it also stands to forge new ground for drag queens and kings as they lose work around the country, offering an alternative to live performances that could provide supplemental income for gig-to-gig workers even after the pandemic ends.
"This might be something we want to put on [regularly] because certain areas of the country or the world can’t get to a show or it might be too expensive to get there," Trinity explains. "People of drag and the LGBTQ community are extremely resilient. We have to be. We’ve always been that way, and this is going to show one of the ways we can take a bad situation and turn it around and make something positive out of it."
For Trinity, that means decking out her home for a jaw-dropping performance full of vignettes "poking fun at being quarantined in your house." And, yes, she will serve hazmat suit eleganza. Literally.
"I'm going to do songs that [feel right] on a coronavirus playlist, like MC Hammer's 'U Can’t Touch This,'" the queen says. "I ordered drop cloths from Amazon. I’m going to make a section of my house to look like a quarantine zone. I have a hazmat suit. Trust, I’m pulling out all the stops for this little show I’m putting on in my house!"
Drag Race ladies aren't the only celebrities continuing to entertain fans in quarantine, with Miley Cyrus, who recently launched her Bright Minded: Live daily web series featuring celebrity guest interviews, and actor Ben Platt, who mounted a digital dance party with his followers, launching their own online-only events as well.
Amid the increasingly competitive digital performance space, Trinity assures fans her show will be one of the safest around: "Come see my show! Log in for $10.00!" she pleads with a laugh. "Stay six feet away from your screens!"
See the full Digital Drag Fest! performance schedule below. Individual show descriptions and tickets are available now on the Stageit website.
RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.