The House of Blues Chicago was recently filled with all the glitter and glam of RuPaul’s Drag Race’s top contenders. That’s right, RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons Tour recently stopped in our cold windy city and we were there to see it!
It started with a Meet and Greet with all of the queens about an hour prior to the show starting. Tickets for the Meet and Greet are limited, so it was a smallish crowd of about 100 people. There were even a few cosplayers! That’s right, Drag Race cosplayers. How awesome is that?
The queens filtered onto the floor slowly. The first queen we met was the terminally delightful BenDeLa Creme, Season 6 Miss Congeniality. She was stunning and as sweet and kind as you would imagine. The beautiful thing about BenDeLa is that she treats everyone like a long-lost friend. She was incredibly warm and welcoming.
Next up was Season 5 winner, Jinkx Monsoon. I’m a big fan of Jinkx. Her positive attitude and refusal to talk shade about the other queens during the show made her one of my favorites. Plus, she just oozes talent! I’ll talk more about that in Part 2. In real life, Jinkx doesn’t disappoint on any level. Her dress and makeup were flawless and she radiated positive energy.
After scooting in to meet Ivy Winters, Season 5 Miss Congeniality, whose outfit was to die for, we worked our way over to meet Raja Gemini. Raja was the winner of Season 3, or, in her words, the “first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Raja was stunning on Drag Race and let me tell you, the screen does not do her justice. She’s even more breathtaking in person. Raja carries herself like a supermodel, a label that certainly applies, but then she opens her mouth…and you quickly learn how sweet, funny, and genuine she really is. I was a fan of Raja from the show. Her style can only be described as art. After meeting her, I became an even bigger fan.
Michelle Visage, who was hosting the BOTS show, also took time to mingle with the fans. On the show Michelle comes off tough as nails…as in, she eats them for breakfast, but she really does have all of the queens’ best interests at heart. In person, I noticed a few things: 1) she’s much shorter than I expected; 2) her breasts really are a force of their own; and 3) she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. In the few moments we spoke with her, it was obvious how much she loves being part of Drag Race and how much she adores all of the queens.
There were only three queens left that we hadn’t met: Alaska 5000, Manila Luzon, and Sharon Needles. Since Alaska was holding court close to Michelle, we made our way over to her.
Unlike Michelle, Alaska was much taller than I expected. It might have been her shoes or the really big hair…ok, it was probably the hair. She is gorgeous. Her makeup was fierce and her waist was as big as my thigh. What’s great about Alaska is that she stays true to herself and her style. She owns it. She’s very personable and funny, and genuinely glad to meet the fans. You get the feeling she’d be the friend who’d always tell it like it is. Her song “Your Makeup is Terrible” kind of proves that. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing either, especially if she’s willing to give you tips.
Manila Luzon won my heart in Season 3 with her Big Bird couture. See, back when I was 3 years old, my mom made me the most awesome Big Bird costume ever. It’s still my favorite out of all of my Halloween costumes. Because of this, I was excited to meet Manila.
I knew she was a sweetheart from the show, but seeing her interact with her fans was awesome. Manila made sure to take time with each of her fans, talking to them and posing for pictures. She was as grateful to be there as we were.
Oh, and the best part? She said my skirt was pretty! (And not in that “I’m just saying this to be nice” sort of way). I had to hold back a squeal, especially since I made that skirt! That sort of casual compliment coming from someone I admire as an artist and costumer, meant a lot.
Time was running out and we still hadn’t met Sharon Needles. It was now or never. There had been a huge crowd around her the entire Meet and Greet, and it didn’t seem to be moving.
We worked our way over towards her and waited patiently with a few other fans. One fan, who had been waiting there for some time, asked if we would take a picture of him with her. Sure! We’d be happy to. What we didn’t realize, and neither did Sharon, was that he didn’t want her to just sign one item. He wanted her to sign FIVE, which I somehow ended up awkwardly holding.
Sharon was very accommodating, but clearly not very amused about signing all the things for this one fan, especially since the handlers were also trying to move her along so she could get ready for the show. By the time that fan was done, other fans had rushed over in a last ditch attempt to snap a picture with her. Sharon made several attempts to get our camera from us, but was repeatedly thwarted by pushy fans.
Not cool guys. Not cool.
As Sharon was swept away by the crowd, we gave up. At least we got to see her in person. Even though we didn’t get a picture with her, it wasn’t for lack of trying…on our part or hers.
Tiara and I made our way up to the balcony where we were pleasantly surprised to discover there were tables available to sit at! We picked a spot and ordered some food while we waited for the show to start.
Click HERE for Part 2!