Sasha Velour crusades online with digital NightGowns Forever show
Shea Couleé, Peppermint, Bob the Drag Queen, more star in archival performances from Velour's Brooklyn revue to raise money for Black trans lives.
Through the trials of quarantine, drag superstar Sasha Velour still wants you to experience the magic of her iconic NightGowns revue clad in a nightgown of your own, from the comfort of your own abode.
EW can exclusively announce the visual artist and RuPaul's Drag Race season 9 champion is taking her inclusive, Brooklyn-based LGBTQ stage show (which Quibi has since adapted into a docuseries) digital to celebrate its five-year anniversary and raise money for organizations that supporting Black and trans people across the country.
Velour will front her first-ever digital drag production, NightGowns Forever, on Aug. 9 at 7:00 p.m. as a three-hour virtual show featuring unreleased archival footage of 30 show-stopping sets from NightGowns' history. Past performances set to stream as part of the broadcast (teased in the trailer above) include those from Velour's Drag Race sisters Shea Couleé, Peppermint, Bob the Drag Queen, Alexis Michelle, and Aja, in addition to numbers from The Boulet Brothers' Dragula winner Biqtch Puddin', club legend Amanda Lepore, Lypsinka, West Dakota, Zenobia, Vigor Mortis, Lucy Balls, Patti Spliff, Horrorchata, Pierretta Viktori, Francesca, Pearl Harbor, Elle McQueen, and Lady Quesa'Dilla.
"It took a bit of time just finding all the video files on various orange drives hidden in dark corners of my drag closet! But it was a pleasure to watch it all back through," Velour exclusively tells EW of sifting through her archives to narrow down the lineup as if she were a queer historian digging for ancient, preserved relics of her own past. "We’ve had so many amazing guests at NightGowns, and I hope to have more! Some of the archives were really high quality, with four-plus camera angles, great sound, etcetera! Other nights we have no footage of at all! We don’t have perfect documentation, but are so thankful for what we do have. There's something so special and moving about a live drag performance in front of an audience, and the performances we selected for NightGowns Forever really capture that."
Velour's core NightGowns cast — namely Neon Calypso, Vander Von Odd, Sasha Colby, K.James, Untitled Queen, and Miss Malice) are slated to host the event in addition to sharing footage of their own performances.
Velour promises "memorable," "political" art will resurface from the annals of NightGowns, including Bob's "I Have a Dream" set from 2017, a segment that sees Peppermint "literally performing her wig off," Couleé's Janelle Monáe's act, and Lypskinka's "Telephone" number that resulted in multiple standing ovations upon its original debut.
"We had multiple camera angles for all the performances, including hand-held audience shots from NightGowns regular attendees like Drag Coven, Absolutely Podcast, and Monae Leonard, so the editors (myself, Miwa Sakulrat — a filmmaker who runs the spotlight at NightGowns — and Nic Alciati) took time carefully editing the performances to capture their full amazing energy," Velour continues. "We also color-corrected the footage thanks to Jessica Rovinelli, open-captioned the show, as Untitled Queen has been vocal about encouraging show-producers to do for better accessibility, and filmed introductions with the NightGowns core cast. One of the ways I want to show love to my community is by treating this creative work like the beautiful and respected treasure it is: a treasure worth documenting for posterity!"
The event will premiere online for free, though a $15 suggested donation will benefit grassroots groups that redistribute money and food to Black trans people, including the Trans Justice Fundraising Project, For the Gworls, G.L.I.T.S. Inc., Brave Space Alliance, and The Okra Project.
A digital venue for the show will be announced on Velour's website and social media channels soon. Check out EW's exclusive trailer for NightGowns forever above, and scroll on for more exclusive images from the program's archival presentations.
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