Tag Archives: Competitive Female Impersonation

Moving On Up – E.O.Y. Class Of 2014

Steven Michael - Trinity TaylorAs the last pieces of pageant gig are put away until next time, I’m able to truly reflect on my recent adventure to compete at E.O.Y. and what it meant to me to be onstage once more. I’m also able to realize what I can accomplish, how others support or do not, and if it’s all worth it at the end of the day. This is my journey to the Entertainer of the Year 2014 contest pageant event. Also known as E.O.Y. Enjoy the read. X
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What is Trending in Gay Culture Today

Muscular Male Torso Isolated on WhiteGay Culture means different things to different people. Where you may have someone worshiping the Housewives another may live and breathe LGBT rights through heated politics. Spread across Facebook we witness drag pageantry at its finest while self-adulation spawns through fitness models thanking their fans for 10,000 “likes.” Don’t get me wrong. If you’re building a brand then social your network until your fingers bleed. I’m with you. But also face the music that sings a song asking how if you’re not your own biggest fan then how do you expect anyone else to follow suit?

Confidence vs. Arrogance. Discuss…

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Lashauwn Beyond Speaks To Her Fans

lashauwn-beyond-rupauls-drag-raceLashauwn Beyond is one busy queen. Seamstress, reality star, drag superstar performer. I was able to catch her for a hot minute or two for an interview to discuss what’s life like now for her after her stint on RuPaul’s Drag Race and what she’s doing today. Although, her time on the show was brief her passion and talents run deep. I’m thrilled she’s here to share all the Tea and nothing but the Tea.

Welcome to the stage, Lashauwn Beyond.

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Razzle Dazzle of Shontelle T. Sparkles

Shontelle SparklesI first saw this entertainer in print adverts for her tour with dance floor fantastix Erasure while thinking to myself, who is this grand glamazon? Shontelle T. Sparkles has brought her own signature of fierceness into the ever-changing world of drag while infusing glamour with can’t-be-touched hairstyles, illusion and transformation. Having the opportunity that many queens would kill for, Sparkles sheds light into the world of “making it work,” touring with Erasure, her sister Trinity Taylor of La’ Whore, realistic expectations and how dreams comes to fruition.

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Introducing Drag Entertainer Trinity Taylor

Trinity TaylorWelcome to my wicked world of gay culture! I love bringing the best and most fierce fabulousness I can and this installment is no exception. When it comes to celebrity interviews, I know my Tea. I met drag entertainer Trinity Taylor a few years ago when I judged Miss Gay Florida USofA in Tampa for my best friend pageant promoter Bob Taylor. Trinity was a contender and wonderfully impressive. The contest was very close among contestants and became one incredible night. I sat on the judges panel with Tabatha Coffey, Ericka Dunlap and Alexis Gabrielle Sherrington where we all had a great time.

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Experiencing Mr. E.O.Y. ’13 – Competing Nationally

Steven Michael

I’m just getting back to the grind of a casual life in Palm Springs, blogging again and wanting to share my amazing adventures of competing at the Entertainer of the Year pageant in Louisville last week. The road getting there to E.O.Y. was quite swift considering I was just competing in March nationally elsewhere after a huge hiatus from the competitive stage. However, the road to me becoming an entertainer started when I was seven-year-young and moved on down many roads from there. I’ve found the spotlight not only on the stages many would think immediately but I also consider my job and here with my blog the places I find myself entertaining these days.

Steven Michael

I miss the stage. No surprise. If you’re a performer then you know where I’m coming from. Am I too old? I hate that word. I can be older or oldest. Old dictates done. I guess some think I’m too old but not everyone, especially the ones who love and support me the most. Age will never stop me from doing something I feel  passionate about. And on the subject, you will never find out exactly who supports you and really cares either monetarily or just simply attention-wise until you run for something at this scale or possibly need their help. Trust that. No Tea… If someone you know is getting ready for something as important as, hmm, running a national pageant, body building contest, job promotion, whatever, just a simple message of support or text means almost as much as a few dollars do. Almost. We’re excited about what we’re doing. Ask us and we are usually too happy to share. Plus, it helps hearing it all said aloud.

Steven Michael

Sponsorship naturally is very important and without it I wouldn’t have been able to run. Many of us wouldn’t. I will not go broke doing these contests and encourage others to realize it is what it is, too. It doesn’t work out for everyone. The winning. I’ve lost more than I’ve won if you’re counting trophies. Have fun with what you do and enjoy the life moment. You take the risk and step on stage when many others wish they could or would. Among many faithful generous confidants, my dearest friend Dimitri James at SKINN has been such an amazing support system for #teamstevenmichael that he is the reason I am able to do what I do. If you’re a contestant who runs for a contest, thank your sponsors as much as you can. They make you.

Steven Michael

And phone calls are so rare these days that it’s the ones who make that effort to pick up the phone and verbally check-in who really make a caring impact. People get wrapped up in their own agenda and I get that. Those calls mean so much especially from people who know the real you and can be honest telling you like it is. We often have people around us who tell us what we want to hear, especially when you have power and pride of the pen like me. If you reached out to me during my run for E.O.Y. with support, I worship you and you know that. I will always listen to what you have to say. Know that, too.

Steven Michael

As soon as I made the decision to enter Mr. E.O.Y. I was off and running. I am very, very blessed that I was able to bring exactly what I wanted to the stage without compromising or cutting corners because of financial desperation. I was even in a position to sponsor my amazing dancers myself with the tips and donations by members of the gym I had collected from the breath of decision until departure. It worked out perfectly as did they, my dancers Madolyn, Kelley, Kelsey and Arielle. Thanks to YouTube (and lots of texting, trusting and Facebook messages) I was able to video choreography and they got together at Legacy Dance to space it and work it out. I knew that they would be everything. We all come from the same dance background and studio (just 20 years later) and their technique was on point.

Steven Michael

I flew into Nashville after a flight delay and upgrade to first class (Thanks, Delta Air!) and arrived late missing one night of rehearsals and time with mom who generously sponsored my travel. I ran around town after I checked-in to wind down, grabbed some food and then back to bed at my home away from home at Radisson Airport. Love that place, always! Fed Ex had delivered my packages there before I arrived so it was all safe and snug behind the front desk. I was set!

Trinity Taylor - Steven Michael

Wednesday I had a great breakfast in Nashville with mom and my best friend Kristin at Cracker Barrel before heading to Legacy Dance for rehearsal. I walked in and after a major Kiki session with my dancers we got started. They twirled and twerked for Daddy Bear, for reals. Even Thomas and Charles at Hedge on Perez Road donated to #teamstevenmichael by sending ahead 4 beautiful candles for my girls to enjoy as appreciation. It couldn’t have gone any better considering we had very little rehearsal together. Hire professionals and thank yourself later, I say. We blocked the performances and after a few solid run-throughs, I was on the road to Louisville. No rest for the wicked and weary competitor. Me.

Steven Michael

Traffic was ehhh leaving Nashville so it took me a hot minute to get past downtown but once I got into Louisville, I was there! I stayed with a former roommate Tyler who lived close to The Connection and it was great to reconnect with him. Exactly what I needed. It had been way too long. I had reserved hotel rooms at Candlewood Suites for the dancers to arrive the next day but staying at a close friend’s place was perfect for me. Plus, Tyler had agreed to be my drag slave for the contest. He was very in-tune with what I needed as a competitor. I had been down the same road with him years ago. Tyler rocked my stay and kept me grounded.

Angel T. Stratton - Steven Michael

Unfortunately, soon after I pulled into town a group of boys walking down the street decided to throw a handful of those orange crackers with the peanut butter inside through my open window and pelt my dashboard with them causing orange cracker to go everywhere. Whoosh! Amazing aim. Crackers for the crackers, I guess. It was shocking to say the least. Luckily it wasn’t a rock. Many reasons went through my head as to why but the bottom line is that we continued driving and got where we needed to go safely. It could have gone awry quickly if I had said and done what was on my mind. It made me wake-up, that’s for sure and see my surroundings. I get very comfortable in Palm Springs. And I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, Toto. That was the only heavy instance along these lines while I was there in Louisville, thankfully. The rest of the stay was everything!

Steven Michael

The next morning I arrived at registration early as instructed. Not everyone got there to The Connection when they were suppose to but I wasn’t keeping score. I was worried only about myself and getting my dancers safely to town. Xavier Cole, Mr. E.O.Y. 2012, spoke a few minutes while we picked contestant numbers, turned in music, entry fees, applications, et al. He reached out and checked in with me while I was getting ready here in California which meant a lot to me as a contestant. Once the girls arrived, I let them know I had picked #12 out of 13 so it would be a minute or two before we started. I was happy with that draw but I was even more happy I that everything I needed the girls for was the first night. I knew they’d have a complete blast and get job offers which they did on both accounts.

Steven Michael

Rehearsals went well considering we needed to quickly figure out spacing on that grand stage at The Connection. It gave us a chance to meet (and scope out) the competition and see what game everyone else was bringing. It was on! I could see it was going to be a great show. If I compete and win I want to compete and win against the best. If I’m to have my face cracked I also want it to be by the best. We got the girls checked-in and paid their monies so that was done. I promised that once they arrived I’d pay them in full and I did. Business first, Hunty. Treat people like professionals and they in turn return professionalism.

Tiffany McCray

After a great meal at Tyler’s, shower and packing, I got back to the club and the evening began. The Kings of E.O.Y. were competing along side of us and then the Miss contestants joined in the next evening and finished off Sunday night at the Horseshoe Casino. The energy backstage was fierce and exciting. CeZanne was emceeing the contests which I lived for. She ran that audience and show how things needed to be done. It was so good to see her and reconnect over the course of the next 3 nights. Terry Vanessa Coleman also ran backstage like military camp – a really fun rigid, do-it-like-this-and-don’t-pull-shade military camp. It worked very well. The gorgeous Vanessa DeMornay also emceed and she is one hell of a performer! I loved the feeling and space I was in.

Steven Michael

Presentation category was first. It went very well. I felt the stage, dug the balls of my feet into that floor and shwerqed it all over. I threw my D a bit and the girls did amazing  giving me exactly what I needed. Me dressed in a fierce yellow shirt with blinged-out cuffs and my ladies with snatched-back buns, white dress shirts and black heels serving Vegas Realness. I felt incredibly comfortable every time I was onstage. I was handed the microphone and spoke well saying everything I planned on mentioning all sponsors, city, contestant number and name. Short and sweet. The moment was incredibly real and really wonderful.

Steven Michael

Next, the contestants were split down the middle and rotated between Talent and Onstage Q/A. I was able to speak about my dear sister Ashley Kruiz during my Q/A and how writing about her passing was one of my all-time favorite blogs because it came from the heart. Plus she had made such an impact on that very stage it felt like the only thing I wanted to discuss. When I said the words Ashley Kruiz, the house went up. It was fabulous. I spoke well, took my settling breath and again said everything I wanted to. I love the microphone and have no problem speaking into something so big and black. Stop… You’re being silly.

Steven Michael

Talent time. Our production began and it was about 2 a.m. Whew. This race is not for the weak and weary. It’s abusive to your body but performance is often that way. Plan ahead getting food in your system and rehydrate constantly, I encourage. We nailed this dance production. There were a couple of heres and theres that could have used some polishing off but I’m very happy with the way we performed. I was on my words and we had a really fun time with it all. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, too. Delorian Chase turned my mix out and she too gave me exactly what I wanted for my crowd and judges. After a sleepy pass through White Castle on the way home I fell into bed around 3.

Steven Michael

The next day and actually most of my time I spent perched on Tyler’s back porch enjoying the unseasonably cooler weather. Friday evening I had Creative Evening Wear and a dear friend Jana who I danced with when we were 18 brought up her daughter Rue who escorted me for the category. I had a beautiful faux mink coat atop my bling encrusted tuxedo that needed tending to by a stunning size 0 bombshell. Check, please. It meant so much that Jana made the effort to come and support in such a way. Rue and I look so incredible. Flawless. I believe the mink was a risk but I stand by it. I knew I’d stand out.

Steven Michael

Saturday my dear Carmella Marcella Garcia (George T. to his friends) made the trip up to visit with old friends (Tyler and I) and enjoy a cookout including Laird from The Connection who took me down memory lane and beyond, Tyler’s fabulous daughter Salina with super boyfriend Jason and her son. It was a wonderful relaxing moment and I loved it. It was perfect. I enjoyed my pre-Swimwear category meal of a Tic-Tac and single ice cube. Nah… close. Ask anyone that knows me and they shall tell you that I eat no matter when.

Steven Michael

Being it was the final night of competition for me with only the Creative Swimwear category and crowning, I felt a sense of bittersweet come across me as I did when I was finishing up the preparation. I thoroughly enjoy the hard work, the prep, the decision making, blinking I find very therapeutic and of course the stage time and spotlight warmth I worship. I really don’t have any opportunity to perform these days to this scale so if I have to go and find it, so be it. If I’m able and have the desire to, I will. I made a great piece of jewelry to wear with the Aussiebum suit my love Jeremy Barnes donated to my cause. The goddess Trinity Taylor, who was dressing my sister Tiffany McCray competing for Miss, escorted me out and we served the children in our virgin white. She looked hot! I gave them some gratuitous cake shots and swaggered on off.

Steven Michael

I forgot to mention that for the opening number of this same night, we male contestants were given headless costumes to put on so we would all be standing there headless holding our own heads. Cute gimmick. Cheap costumes. David Freklz Hunter was helping me with mine just as it broke. I called out, “STUNTS!” and we laughed it off trying to piece it back together. Sure enough, we are all out there in our individual headless moments and and I start to scoot across the stage all eerie, my frame comes loose again and starts to fall off. I quickly dash behind stage right shuffling to get it back on somehow. Here I finally come back out holding it in place with my left hand and my head in my right. It was a mess. I committed to what I was doing and kept going.

Xavier Cole - Steven Michael

It was crowning time and I popped on my tuxedo from Creative Formal Wear changing the shirt and tie. When it was all said and done, and this is how I saw it, David Freklz Hunter brought his strongest game and swept 4 of 5 categories taking the title of Mr. E.O.Y. 2013. He was by far the winner, I admit that honestly. When it comes to me, I didn’t place but my scores were incredibly consistent and strong except for the judge who scored me half of what they did everyone else. If they had thrown out highs and lows it could have been different but when I saw that only one judge gave me such low scores across the board I actually just laughed. Maybe a Daddy Bear done him wrong once or maybe she does’t like California. Who knows?! I’ll never know because they also don’t give out comment sheets afterwards.

Steven Michael

It’s ALL so subjective you must enjoy the adventure or you’ll find yourself empty-handed too often. Next time, I’ll simply have to give them something they can’t refuse. And will there be a next time for me? I always say if that, meaning my last performance, was the last time I ever get on a stage and do what I love, I want it to be under my terms and completely my way. With every decision a consequence. We know that but it never rings more true during the height of competition. I would love to do it again but for now everything is packed away and closed up for the season. Although, I could use a hit of e6000 and glue a rhinestone on something. Stay tuned…

Interviewing DETOX – Drag Sensation Comes Clean!

Detox Drag Queen

When it comes to drag queen entertainers I honestly consider myself a privileged connoisseur since I’ve known some of the greats very well, seen the very best and witnessed greatness onstage. I always say that I was raised by drag queens because when I first came out at 18 they took me under their wings and to some degree, gave me mine. I found my sharp tongue, fierce competitive edge and love for everything glitz and glamour from them!

We’ve watched Logo TVs RuPaul’s Drag Race every season, every episode and I could name every drag queen that was on it. I’m cute like that. Sorryboutit. When I started my blog I knew I’d love to have privileged access to gay culture’s hottest celebrities and be able to ask them the questions no one else was asking. I’m not afraid of getting in there and asking the Tea. Well, through trust and a well-written word, gay celebrities and edgy reality stars do trust me and realize that just a few minutes of their time can create tons of traffic and attention to their brand and name. Detox is my next victim for Tea pouring and I worship her!

Detox Drag Queen

She was the first one to walk into the workroom on RDR and was one of the last standing. Detox turned challenges out, stood tall and proud of who she was, and impressed me and many greatly. Here she shares what RuPaul is really like, who left the show before their time and what she’d do differently. She’s outspoken, opinionated and brutally honest. She is Detox.

Steven Michael - Where and How was Detox created?

Detox – “She came about primarily to sneak in to clubs at an early age. Originally she was also called Dita but I liked to drink and fall too much so it turned into Detox!”

I LIVE! I was also in the clubs at an early age. Shady us. Biggest misconception about filming Reality TV? About RuPaul? About doing drag as a living?

“That nothing is real and what genuinely occurs will be stretched, pulled, and worked over more than my face. Ru is amazing but when the cameras are on she gets right in to that character and is in work mode. I really appreciate that. As far as drag as a living it’s different for everyone. I feel so blessed that I’m an artist who is able to fully support myself by doing art in which I love so much. It’s truly a blessing… People would kill to have that.”

Detox Drag Queen

Honey, they have killed before. We’ve all heard of those old school Miami queens who would put ground glass in other’s setting powder back in the day. Ouch! I love what you said about RuPaul. I’ve heard that he is all business. I can appreciate that, too. Ru is a very busy man. What did you miss most about being away cut off from the world while filming?

“Booze.”

You poor dear. Well, we were having a drink for you here at home. No Tea. Now, about your creativity being off the charts! Your grayscale imagery at the reunion was everything and more. How long did it take to create the look and what made you decide to do that look for the evening?

“It was about 3 hours or so and I had a ton of help from my airbrush artist Nelly Recchia. As soon as I got the (untimely) boot I knew I wanted to do that look. It was a pain in the ass to make it come to life but so worth it. I may not have won the crown but goddamnit I won the reunion!”

Detox Drag Queen

(snaps) Bitch you sure the hell did. Did you go into Drag Race with the intent on forming a strong alliance like you and RoLaskaTox did?

“Not at all… We also never looked at it that way. I’ve been friends with Roxxxy and Alaska separately for years and we all bonded. It was just something silly. It never even dawned on us that the other girls felt that way.” (laughing)

What did you find as the hardest challenge all season of RDR?

“The hardest one to me was the Telenovela challenge. The mini-challenge opened up a ton of unhealed wounds that I couldn’t shake off for the rest of the competition.”

And speaking of the word “All,” if anyone should be in RDR: All Stars it’s thou, my sweet. Would you do anything different if you had another time around?

“I’d ask them what role they want me to play this time instead of editing the shit outta me!”

Girl, tell your tale. SHWERQ, Hunty. You auditioned for RDR before. How many times and what do you think was the deciding factor in this audition tape?

“3 times total. 1st, 3rd, and 5th seasons. I think that they have a plan and strategy for their mix of contestants. They just had to wait to find the right dynamic to fit us all in to. Plus my career has just gone up and up since auditioning first and I think it was the right time.”

Detox

I do believe everything has its time. Hard to see that sometimes, though. Ever dive into the pageant world? Why or why not?

“When I first started, yes. I also competed in California EOY. I love the pageant world… I’m just not able to really see myself conforming to fit in certain boxes.”

Yes, I was there that night at House of Blues. Damn that was a long night. I can appreciate all the work you’ve had done creating the image of Detox. You look amaze. Ever contemplate becoming transsexual?

“I used to tinker with the tought of ‘maybe I’m transsexual.’ But I really feel more comfortable with being this outspoken genderfuck. I have so many friends in all aspects of the Trans community and I figured it’d be a slap in their faces just for me to transition in order to throw my tits around.” (laughs)

RuPaul's Reunion Detox Grayscale

BE YOU! For reals. I tried for years to figure out where my place was and became wise enough to know it’s exactly where I am at any given moment. I’m me and the mold that made me was quite unique. Even though you and I haven’t met officially I feel we have a kindred spirt like that. Tell us your special gem of living in l.A. Where’s the one place you couldn’t live without or hotspot that is a must-do for anyone? I loved living there!

“I love everything about L.A. For visitors, make sure you peep the Getty Museums and the Griffith Park Observatory. For cross dressing needs, go see Miss Ellen at Hollywood Wigs, Wasteland, and Namie’s Cosmetics!”

Julie the Cruise Director, back. I worship! Girls, grab your lipliners and take that down! Inspirations… Which Person and What Place inspires you?

“Madonna, Amanda Lepore, and Thierry Mugler. My sister is prolly my biggest inspiration! I always get inspired in NYC.”

I have fierce stories about two of them I could tell you over an ‘ole cocktail sometime. Raincheck, sister. Trust. You lived on Florida, no? What brought you to the West Coast?

“After ending a relationship I decided to venture west to help my sister take care of her daughter while she finished law school. I had planned on not doing drag but I did 2 shows and blew up. After years of trying to make it in drag in Florida it was amazing to literally land in L.A .and take off in such a huge way.”

You better live your Hollywood dream. Can you share some of the doors that have opened for you since the show has aired? It really was the best season so far. Strongest competitors, overall.

“It’s hard to say really. The doors that have been open to me for a while as far as mainstream outlets have been incredible but it’s the back doors throughout the rest of the country that have opened I love. Meaning that even though I was ‘something’ before Drag Race, I’m now ‘something’ to those who weren’t followers or aware of the drag community. I love being able to meet all of my supporters.”

Detox Drag Queen

Nice! I love saying “Officially.” Of course, courtesy of you. Does it amaze you the way fans and viewers pick up on things and run w it? We loved Alaska’s “Hiiigheee.” Latrice’s “Eat it.”

“Well Alaska’s is originally from Coco and Isis in England who make the best recap vids! It cracks me up. Loosky always teases me and says “I’ve had it. EFFICIENTLY!” (laughs)

I’ll have to check them out. The queens that do the Barbie Doll ones are a riot. I squeal. How was it watching yourself on television? Anything you wished you hadn’t done or said?

“Not at all. There are things I wish would have been shown in a truer light… But I don’t get to sit in on the editing process nor call them out on their shit.” (*Side Eye*)

Hmmm. I get you, gal. Were you officially over it w the whole Alyssa/Coco battle? They played that to the very hilt. Made for great TV.

“Completely. I thought it was quite contrived and was even more irritated that producers played in to the gimmick.”

They sure did. Down. Who surprised you from meeting in the beginning toward the end? Anyone change your perception of them?

“Nope.”

Anyone you think left the competition before their time was actually up?

“I’d say Lineysha (even though I sent her home) or Ivy. But most definitely Penny. She got the shit-end of the stick.”

Willam, Detox, Vicki

How and when did the Willam/Vicky Vox/Detox trio form and begin?

“With Vicky, we were in a band together prior to doing our own thing. Willam and I met practically when I first moved to Cali and then I kidnapped Vicky after she auditioned for a spot in my show.”

And finally, (very Barbra Walters of me) Who is Detox?

“A fan of foreskin and a fashionista. A foreskinista!”

Best way for people to reach you and come give you money?

“Good Lord… I barely know where I am these days. Check www.facebook.com/theonlydetox for tour dates.”

Drag Race’s Penny Tration – The Interview

Penny Tration

I first chatted with drag diva Penny Tration about doing an interview on Twitter when she was heavy into her campaign to be voted onto RuPaul’s Drag Race last season. Of all the girls she definitely fired her publicity guns at anyone in range more than most from what I could tell. It paid off! Penny made it to L.A. being cast in the highly competitive season 5. I wanted to chat with her then but being a good Doll, she declined. Contracts and confidentiality clauses, you know! Yes, I understood.

When I got back together with Madame Tration about doing the interview she was right on it. I still wanted to know what it was like from her angle, from her eyes. She tells it like it is from the true reality of filming reality TV to who she’d play in the Snatch Game. Enjoy the fierce read and thanks to Penny Tration for her candor, wit and candidness.

Steven Michael –  Tell us a bit about Penny Tration and where you’re from, where you started drag and who is/was your inspiration?

Penny Tration – “It all started a long time ago in a land far far away… (laughs) I was a little gay at the local dance club about 20 years ago and saw Hurricane Summers perform. I barged into the dressing room after the show (not knowing any better) and the rest is kinda history. I was HOOKED for sure. I would say my biggest inspirations are Divine and Mr. Charlie Brown.”

Ah, I just saw Charlie Brown in Atlanta at Ashley Kruiz’s life celebration. It was great seeing Charlie. She looked great. And of course Hurricane is crazy. I’ll see her next month at Mr. EOY (I’m competing.) Where are you today in your current state of drag?

“Hmmm… Some days it seems like I’ve peaked and other days like I’ve just started. I feel that I’m at the top of my game in the emcee area and the drag itself is just a constant evolution.”

Penny Tration

What’s happening with your career since RuPaul’s Drag Race?

“RuPaul’s Drag Race has certainly introduced us all to a wider audience and it’s been great for our shop.”

Can you share in your own words how it felt to be brought into the cast by the popular vote only to be eliminated first?

“Gosh. The real challenge is getting on the show. Once you’re there the place that you get eliminated is irrelevant. Only one person wins – everyone else gets to go home.”

Penny Tration

The experience is so amazing for you entertainers. It a priceless experience wherever you place. What challenge would you have rocked in?

“The Reading Challenge and The Snatch Game, though I’m not sure I could have topped what Jinkx did on The Snatch Game (because it was GENIUS!) I’m sure I would have done well. And the Reading Challenge is just my biggest strength – not so much reading, but as an emcee, you have to be great on the fly with funny/witty commentary on just about any topic.”

Jinkx WAS completely brilliant, that is the truth. On the subject, who would have you been for Snatch Game?

“Paula Dean.” (smiles)

Penny Tration

We’re you in agreement with the winner? If no, who did you see winning?

“I think they should have had a top 4. Detox should have been in that list of gurls eligible to win. But they are all stars in my eyes… even Serena.” (wink)

Detox turned it repeatedly. Especially at the reunion with the grayscale. Would you do RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars if they asked, or have they already?

(laughs) “I can neither confirm nor deny my appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars – Season 2.”

Penny Tration

I know you are in some sort of confidentiality agreement with World of Wonder but what can you share about the whole process of getting on set, meeting the other girls, working with RuPaul?

“Drag is, overall, a small community. All of the ‘seasoned’ gurls and I have previously had some sort of contact or ‘talked’ on Facebook and Twitter – so it was pretty surreal to meet everyone. It was all very exciting and probably the best part of the show for me.”

Did you know any of the other Dolls before the show? And have you made friends with anyone you still keep in touch with?

“Detox and I were fast friends and I feel like I made a dear friend for life. Feels like a sister that I’ve always known and hope to never be parted from. Roxxxy and I are perfect team-members/co-workers. We both know how to get our job done and seem to work well together. I guess I could say that about a lot of the gurls, to be honest. Most of them were obvious professionals and know how to do their job. Honey Mahogany is a doll!”

Biggest Misconceptions about Penny Tration? About filming Reality TV? About Drag?

“Gosh -Biggest misconception about Penny Tration… That I’m quiet. Everyone asked me why I didnt talk on the show. I was like, bitch I barely shut up (except when I was trying to put that ugly purple dress together!) (laughs) Again, editing is AMAZING! About Filming… I dont think anyone has a concept of how long it takes to make an hour of television. On Drag… The age old ‘most drag queens want to be women’ and though there are plenty of folks who do transition, most dudes who identify as drag queens are just that – dudes. And good for us for doing our jobs so well that the audience leaves having totally bought into the d-illusion.” (wink)

If you could be paired up with anyone from precious seasons or even your season, who would you do well with as a team?

“Detox or Nina Flowers – Those would be my top picks!”

What’s your downtime like and what/where are you?

“Working on my house with my husband. Even as show-people (he’s an opera singer) we still keep a pretty normal life in the garden and renovating our little home. Two Beagles, Fred and Ginger, keep us company.”

That sounds very similar to our sanctuary of home life. And finally… (completely joking of course, no Tea!) Who would you rather? Sleep With… Marry… Kill…? Alaska, Jinkx, Roxxxy? (laughing)

“Not sleeping or killing anyone – too much love. I would marry them all if I weren’t already otherwise obligated!” (wink)

Big hugs and great thanks to Penny Tration. Find her terrorizing unsuspecting crowds at The Cabaret in Cincinnati, Ohio and follow her antics on the website Miss Penny Tration. For bookings, please contact Outloud Talent Management Agency. SHWERQ! ♥

WHO WILL WIN RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE 5?

Final Three RuPaul's Drag Race

Good Morning! Quick apologizes for not knocking out something new here at IAM as of late but things have been quite busy. Our gay popular culture is just buzzing today. It’s almost too much for one gay man to handle! I’ve actually sat back and enjoyed this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race and haven’t blogged too much about the show other than publishing three fierce interviews with Top 5 Doll Coco Montrese, talented through her dancing toes Alyssa Edwards and darling Ladykin Jade Jolie. Again, thanks to her their generous team at All Starr Management for making all of that happen.

But we are at the grand finale so I had to comment more than just my “RuPaul ReCaps” on FaceSpace. Everyone has had their opinions and of course, if you didn’t care about mine you wouldn’t be reading this. Let’s spill all the Tea that’s worth the time to print (or type – in this instance.) I gotta get to work!

This fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race has actually fallen week by week the way I saw it… for the most part, give or take a mini-challenge or two. It’s been very, very close a few times! Let’s face it. RuPaul, Logo TV and World of Wonder plus us viewers and fans have changed the course of how drag is perceived forever more and how the industry evolves (or not) with it. Some don’t feel it and stick to the old school belief system of paying dues almost scoffing at the thought of the sensationalism of it all. I sit atop a high fence because I see it from ALL angles.

Times change. It makes for great TV. No one can be mad at these queens because their lives have changed forever. They made it happen by their choice to send in an audition video and open their lives to a national audience. Do you want that for yourself? There are ways to make it real. Don’t be mad because they did. Be happy our people are getting their face time with America. There, I said it.

As far as the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race goes. Only RuPaul knows. Even the girls still have to go into New York City and film the finale with three endings (from what I understand) in front of a live audience very soon. No Tea will be spilled by a shady mouth who can’t hold in the results no more. RuPaul took care of that! Hunty… Telephone – Telegraph – Tell a Queen. We now wait two weeks to see who becomes America’s Next Drag Superstar!

Will it be… [Most Improved] Alaska or [Most Original] Jinkx Monsoon or [Most Experienced] Roxxxy Andrews? Stay tuned… I know we will be. GOOD LUCK, DOLLS! And hey… there’s always RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars! Biyeeeeeeeeee.

IN MEMORIAM – ATLANTA LEGEND ASHLEY KRUIZ

Ashley Kruiz Life Celebration

Thanks to Ron Sanford Productions, Jungle Atlanta and everyone involved with putting this together to celebrate Ashley’s wonderful life. I’m hoping to see you there! I’ll be in Nashville at the same time and am planning on making the drive down south to see dear friends, visit my old stomping grounds and remember great times shared with Ashley Kruiz. Take care of yourselves. X

Ashley Kruiz

It’s amazing how life is one way one minute and very different the next. It’s so very unpredictable and incredibly precious. But when it’s taken away from us unexpectedly is the time we treasure it most. The following post is a heartfelt tribute to my dear sister Ashley Kruiz who sadly passed away very recently after battling incredible illness. There’s so much I’ve wanted to say but have waited until now. I wanted to give myself a few days to process it all. With the recent passing of another amazing legend Erica Andrews, it’s given me and many others time to pause to appreciate life and celebrate for those who may no longer.

It’s hard to remember when I first met Ashley Kruiz but I know it was in Atlanta circa early-90s. I made a cute living during these years choreographing everything and everyone from Mr. and Miss Hotlanta pageants to local male strippers to Atlanta’s finest female impersonators including Shawnna Brooks, Heather Daniels, Lauren LaMasters, Raven, Tweeka Weed and  Atlanta’s Darling, Ashley Kruiz, among others fabulous drag entertainers around the south.

Ashley Kruiz Miss Hotlanta International

One of the first memories I have of Ashley is when she and I shared a backseat to Bob Taylor who was driving Arianna Dupree to enter a pageant in Valdosta at Club Paradise. Coincidentally, Ashley was stepping down from the title. I’m not sure if there was air-condition in the car because I remember it being very uncomfortable and humid outside. The saving grace was a stop by Dairy Queen and everyone shared memories of Monica Munro who also loves a good Dairy Queen drive-by. Arianna won the title while Bob and I danced back-up to a Grease medley. Well, I think I was in it but am seeing Bob doing the bigger part in my mind. Pun intended.

Another trip to Orlando found us all piled up in the famous room #101 at the Parliament House sitting on the beds having a marvelous KiKi with Ashley, myself, Kimbol Purkerson, Bob and Tiffany McCray and not sure who else. We sure were laughing a lot. Anytime with the Kruizmaster was a BIG TIME! God, I miss her. When Bob called to tell me that they were allowing final visits at the hospital all I could say between the painful tears was, “This one hurts.” He sadly agreed. All of my memories of Ashley are wonderful ones. She was family to those who knew her best and inspired legions of entertainers by her confident walk, pageant prep, incredible accomplishments and approachable demeanor.

I must share one more fun story of Ashley Kruiz and I. It actually ranks right up there with one of the most humiliating times I’ve personally ever spent on a stage. I’ll get to the point… Picture it. Mr. Hotlanta ’99. My dear friend/former roomie Christy Lee was producing the contest and I was up from Ft. Lauderdale in support and to party. Well, Chris needed another contestant and I agreed to compete knowing good and well there would be muscle gods in the pageant so not to expect much. I looked good but had a completely different image from the other guys. I’m optimistic but realistic about what’s what. No Tea.

Ashley Kruiz

Ashley and my dear Tony Curtis were on the judge’s panel so I thought that it wouldn’t be so bad. After applying the white paint to my teeth that Ashley always swore by and shimmied into my costumes I was ready to go, bright smile and all! When it came to the Fantasy Costume category I decided to do Zorro with the cape, mask and whole gig. I also made the clothes rip-away to give it all some drama. For some apparent reason I believed in a haste that a piece of electrical tape between my legs would hold down my shirt in place before the big reveal. I came out and saw their friendly faces I felt like nothing could go wrong.

The music started and I begin to gyrate giving the kids the business. Well, I rip the costume off and I believe it’s all come off without a hitch. Underneath I had on chaps with my bare ass and a leather harness, master cap, et al. I bent over showing my ass (literally!) and acting quite foolish for the conservative Atlanta crowd. I had been to L.A. and was feeling my moment I admit. The look of horror on Tony and Ashley’s faces was priceless as I strutted off. The guys backstage congratulated me which was nice but when I reached down to remove my chaps I noticed the piece of black electrical tape was hanging on sadly between my ass cheeks. Humiliation, down. Laughter, now. Memories, priceless.

Ashley Kruiz

When Ashley hired me to choreograph her “Beauty and the Beast” production we were outside on the balcony at Backstreet having a cocktail late one Saturday night overlooking the parking lot and long line forming to get inside downstairs. After we talked over logistics and what she wanted, it was a deal that continued on through a good number of pageants. She always knew what she wanted and had the support team and followers to make it happen. I loved working with her every time. I would worship to hear Ashley say once more in her organic southern tone, “Hey, What’s going on?” or “Horrible” which always came out as Harrrrrrrable.

I loved seeing Ashley Kruiz compete in future contests after we finished our work together and notice a bit of my choreography she took with her from routine to routine. It made me feel like she truly loved what I did for her. Ashley was a fierce competitor. Kruiz placed first runner-up at many of the top systems’ nationals including Miss Gay USofA Classic, Miss Continental, National Entertainer of the Year (twice, I believe) and Miss Continental Elite. She was deservedly crowned Miss Hotlanta International, Miss Gay National ’99, Miss Renaissance ’09, Miss Gay Orlando and I believe was the only queen to be crowned Miss Gay Georgia USA, Miss Georgia Continental, Miss Gay Georgia National AND Miss Gay Georgia America. Quite the legacy of a life lived in the loving spotlight.

Kristine W - Gary a.k.a. Ashley Kruiz

I do remember one time in Dayton, Ohio at Miss Gay USA (in these days there was no “of” between US and A) when I choreographed Ginger Manchester, Maya Douglas tore the house down and won the punchbowl while Ashley didn’t make the final cut and stood backstage crying in a friends arms. I was so sad for her. She seemed devastated. Kruiz went on to greater things and made her mark everywhere else. Ashley and I were actually in the same group at Miss Gay USA ’92 when Tandi Andrews won and I most certainly did not. We shared tons of memories which will stay forever.

Oh, my dear sister Ashley Kruiz. We knew each other so well. Even though time and distance grew between us, each and every moment we reunited was as if time had stopped since the last one and we picked right up as true family does. I’ll miss our chance encounters and will see you again one day. In my heart and soul you stay forever while the memories of laughter, lashes and late night madness keep us near my dear love. Rest Beautiful. X