Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 7, Episode 9: Divine Inspiration

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 4:00 AM

As a huge John Waters fan, I'd been looking forward to last night's episode all week and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Last week's emotional rollercoaster of an episode saw Ginger Minj in the bottom two and defeating JaidynnDoire Fierce in a lip-sync battle for the books. Last night's episode saw the return of Trixie Mattel -- and as Kennedy Davenport said, "Today's a new day with an extra bitch."

Monday night's mini-challenge can be summed up in one word: SHADE. The library was open and each contestant got a chance to vent and hurl insults at the queens of her choosing. Ginger Minj was asked if she ever ended up saving that little girl from the poltergeist. (This house is clean! RIP Zelda Rubinstein.) Miss Fame threw insults and all she got was silence. Did anyone else see that tumbleweed roll by? But the winner of the mini-challenge was Trixie...she's baaaaaack.

For the maxi-challenge, the queens would be paying tribute to the legendary John Waters -- the King of Bad Taste; the Pope of Trash. The queens would be screen testing for a new "Rusical" based on John Waters' most iconic scenes. #JohnWatersForever

Is this a team challenge? Of course it is.

Team "Poo" -- Pearl, Miss Fame, and Violet Chachki

Team "Egg" -- Trixie Mattel and Ginger Minj

Team "Cha Cha Heels" -- Katya and Kennedy Davenport

This was gonna be good...

Team Poo's screen test was inspired by "Pink Flamingos," with each queen playing different versions of Divine, John Waters' muse. Team Cha Cha's screen test was inspired by "Female Trouble," with Kennedy playing Dawn Davenport. And Team Egg's screen test was also inspired by Pink Flamingos, with Ginger Minj playing the legendary "egg lady" originally played by Edith Massey. Each team would be screen testing with Lucian Piane and Michelle Visage.

During the screen tests, everyone was told to STEP IT UP. This is John Waters, ladies and gentlemen. You go big or you go the f**k home. Team Poo was a mess (shocker). Pearl stumbled through her lines, there was no cohesion, and Lucian told them they didn't feel like a group. Tell it, Lucian.

I would be perfectly happy if all three of these queens went home. Violet has been the most improved out of all three, but besides the visual, I'm just not seeing much to keep her here. Someone needs to spike Pearl's Ambien drip with some amphetamines: I can't take the monotone voice and the barely there performances anymore. Miss Fame just seems to miss the mark -- I can see the intention is there, and I think the passion is there as well, but the execution is just not doing it for me.

I was ready to see some ugly dresses, bring on the runway! The judges were Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley (He's alive!), Demi Lovato (Sure?) and *John Waters*. May the filthiest woman win!

Kennedy Davenport channeled Sophia from the Golden Girls for her look. Katya was a vision in hideous crochet, although as John Waters pointed out, the hippest girl in Brooklyn would probably kill for that dress. Ginger Minj was all neon green and polka dots. Trixie Mattel brought 1980's prom realness. Pearl's look was childish but not ugly. Violet Chachki served clown chic and Miss Fame came out in a glamourous tent.

It was time to watch the screen tests. Katya and Kennedy in "Cha Cha Heels" were fantastic with Katya going for it as the mom. Kennedy was whipping her around the room and when Kennedy threw the Christmas tree at her at the end, the judges were eating it up. Ginger Minj in "Eggs" was flawless. She channeled egg lady with all she had and it was clear who the winner was going to be. Poor Trixie was lost in her shadow, but still gave a good performance. Team "Poo" really lived up to their name: Pearl sucked, there was way too much random tongue work, and it just paled in comparison to the other two. Someone's going home...

Judges critiques were aligned with my thoughts. Everyone thought Trixie did a good job but Ginger was the star. John thought that Miss Fame needed ugly lessons because he found her dress rather chic, and he said Katya added a new layer of filth to her performance. (The highest compliment!) And Pearl just phoned it in.

What did the queens think of each other? Who should go home? Pretty much everyone said Miss Fame, except for Violet who thought Trixie should leave. Miss Fame told the rest of the queens to f**k off, and said that Pearl should go home because she's too cool for Season 7.

Who was the winner? Ginger Minj of course! From the bottom last week to the top this week -- she's already won three challenges. Kennedy, Katya, Trixie and Violet were all safe. Miss Fame and Pearl faced off in the lip-sync to Demi Lovato's "Really Don't Care." Guys, I really didn't care about this song. The lip-sync was boring ... BORING. This was their last chance to show the judges why they should keep one of them and it was a total snorefest. Pearl performed better than Miss Fame but that didn't say much.

Pearl got to stay and Miss Fame sashayed away.

Next week: Only 6 left!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 7, Episode 8: Conjoined Queens

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 4:00 AM

We knew it was happening. We knew someone was coming back. I was taking bets all week that it was Trixie -- I think many Drag Race viewers were thinking that. It would be her chance for redemption. She was the obvious choice. It clearly wasn't going to be Kandy Ho; as Katya said, "She can't lip-sync four times." We were all wrong, guys. We were all wrong.

RuPaul came out to announce the mini-challenge and announced she had a special guest. Is this it? Do we find out now? Out walked Latrice Royale, Season 4 alum, dressed in a prison guard's uniform, for the mini-challenge, Orange is the New Drag. Each queen was given a prison uniform to "drag up" and could only use items from the commissary for the Tuckahoe Prison Fashion Show. Drag queen walkin'!  

Chola makeup and tampon earrings were all the rage for this fashion show. Katya definitely will visit me in my nightmares at some point this season with her tiger-printed face mask and colored teeth. Kennedy Davenport was announced the winner with a fierce side ponytail.

It was time, you guys: Someone was back. A door opened. And it was Trixie! Another door opened: it was Tempest DuJour! Another door opened: it was Kandy Ho! Kandy Ho? What was happening? How many doors were in this room? The eliminated queens kept coming out until EVERYONE WAS BACK.

RuPaul announced the maxi-challenge: Each contestant would be paired with an eliminated queen and had to make her over as her twin ... her conjoined twin. #ConjoinedQueens. Because Kennedy won the mini-challenge, she got to pick her eliminated queen first and she got to pair up everyone else. The eliminated queen in the pair that won the maxi-challenge got to stay. Kennedy picked Jasmine Masters (duh) and then paired up everyone else. The teams were:

Ginger Minj and Sasha Belle (Oh God. Do you remember her?)

Pearl and Trixie Mattel

Miss Fame and Kandy Ho

Katya and Mrs. Kasha Davis

Violet Chachki and Max

Jaidynn Diore Fierce and Tempest DuJour

Ginger was not happy with her partner and it stressed her out for most of the episode. First off, neither of them had strong sewing skills so making their outfits was a challenge, and second, Sasha just wandered around the workroom talking to people the entire time, leaving Ginger to do most of the work. Ginger was frustrated; I was frustrated; we were all frustrated.

Pearl and Trixie were happy with their partnership and Trixie was ready to go for the gold with the funny. Katya and Mrs. Kasha Davis decided they were going to be aging hookers from Atlantic City that were joined at the vagina and I nearly wept from happiness.

We learned more about the contestant's backgrounds while they were doing each other's make-up for the challenge. Tempest DuJour revealed to the group that he went through conversion therapy to please his devout Mormon mother -- but it didn't take. Trixie talked about her abusive step-father that would call her a "trixie" anytime she acted effeminate, so she decided to embrace the name, use it as her drag name, and turn it into something positive. *Tears*

Runway time! The judges for the night were Michelle Visage, Ross Matthews, Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette from "True Blood," I love him!) and LeAnn Rimes (was everyone else busy?)

Miss Fame and Kandy Ho came out as surgical sisters, sewn together via plastic surgery. Jaidynn and Tempest were disco divas joined at Jaidynn's back and Tempest's front. Kennedy and Jasmine were pageant queens joined at the ... thigh? (I couldn't tell.) Pearl and Trixie were contestants in a beauty pageant, with Pearl being the pretty one and Trixie being the "special one." Violet and Max served carnival realness, joined at the corset. Sasha and Ginger came out joined at the breast in hot pink spandex. Last, but certainly not least, Katya and Kasha came out leather skinned, spiky haired, and joined at the vag.

The judges weren't impressed with Miss Fame and Kandy Ho. Michelle thought it was uncreative and RuPaul thought it was safe. Jaidynn and Tempest were not a favorite either: Ross thought they just didn't stack up compared to the others. Michelle thought Kennedy and Jasmine's concept was predictable because they both were fashion queens; she wanted them to go over the top.

Nelsan thought Pearl and Trixie were stunning, and Ross added that he thought they were the best storytellers. Everyone was cracking up. Everyone agreed that Violet and Max were gorgeous. Michelle loved the idea behind Ginger and Sasha's joined-at-the-breast costume, but she was not crazy about the execution. There was glue showing on the outfit and LeAnn wanted the breasts to look more realistic. Everyone loved Katya and Kasha -- including me.

Would it be Pearl and Trixie or Katya and Kasha?

Pearl was the winner, which meant that Trixie stayed!

Katya, Kennedy, Violet and Miss Fame were safe, but Jaidynn and Ginger were up for elimination. And they would have to lip-sync with the other person attached to them to "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany. (It's too bad that I wasn't a consultant on this show or I could have taught them the coordinated dance moves to this song that I used to do on my porch as a child ... and as an adult.)

The lip-sync was absolutely entertaining. Ginger went for it: She ripped off her clothes and fake breasts and rolled around on the floor. And everyone on the panel was laughing hysterically.

Ginger Minj stayed, Jaidynn sashayed away.

Next week: Trixie is back as a contestant!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 7, Episode 7: Snatch Game

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 4:00 AM

It's the episode we'd been waiting for all season, Snatch Game! Eight queens remained for what was sure to be, to say the least, an entertaining episode. We started last night after Kandy Ho's elimination (Bye, Girl!), and Max still refuses to give up the gray but told the queens that she's going to make one non-gray wig to appease Michelle Visage. All of the young queens think Kennedy Davenport needs to go, and Katya's plan is to kill a few of the girls to make it to the top.

Season six winner Bianca Del Rio appeared via video and had one tip for the queens this week: "Be funny." Okay, everyone, less talking and more planning, it's time for Snatch Game.

Snatch Game is a parody of the popular, 1970's game show, "Match Game." Each contestant was tasked with taking on a celebrity persona to serve on a panel, and this week's guest judges would act as contestants on the show. The panel tries to match their answer to a series of questions to the contestant's answer.

Uh oh! Miss Fame and Violet Chachki both wanted to impersonate Donatella Versace and Violet had no other character to do. Kennedy thought of doing Little Richard -- BUT HE'S A MAN! Katya and Ginger encouraged her not to do it. Max took on Sharon Needles as her celebrity persona and JaidynnDiore Fierce chose Raven Symone. What? Really? You couldn't think of anyone other than Raven Symone? Ru told her that people have to be able to recognize her. For a moment, Miss Fame chose the Long Island Mediaum Theresa Caputo instead of Donatella, but Ru advised her to do what's in her best interest, not another girl's best interest, so Miss Fame decided to stick to her original celebrity persona, Donatella Versace.

Katya chose financial guru Suze Orman as her celebrity persona and Ru asked her why she's didn't choose a Russian persona. Katya was afraid to show her Russian character because it's what she does best outside of Drag Race and she was anxious, but Ru assured her not to be afraid, adding that she's addicted to anxiety. #REALTALK

Ru was not impressed with Violet's Italian accent and asked her how she was going to do a better Versace than what's already been done, so Violet said she was considering a switch to former contestant, Alyssa Edwards. Ru replied that all she has to do is make her laugh.

Snatch Game time! This week's guest judges (contestants) were Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) and Tamar Braxton (Braxton Family Values -- I had to look that up). Here is the Snatch Game celebrity panel:

Max as Sharon Needles

JaidynnDiore Fierce as Raven Symone

Katya as Suze Orman

Violet Chachki as Alyssa Edwards

Pearl as Big Ang

Miss Fame as Donatella Versace

Kennedy Davenport as Little Richard

Ginger Minj as Adele

It was clear who the standouts were from the panel: Kennedy was making everyone laugh with her Little Richard impression and the way that Ginger played Adele (dim-witted, always snacking) was hilarious as well. Pearl has stepped up her game over the past couple episodes and her Big Ang was busty and over-the-top.

Max had the look of Sharon Needles down but her jokes fell flat. Miss Fame's Donatella Versace by way of Moscow was yawn-inducing.  After all was said and done, the winners were to be announced at the judge's panel.

On Elimination Day, Katya was second guessing herself about her choice to be Suze Orman, and her anxiety was the getting the best of her. Katya has been sober for a year and a half and was feeling vulnerable -- she didn't want to fall off the wagon. She confided in Miss Fame, who is also sober, that she was terrified of failure and didn't think she belonged.  But after she talked to Fame she said she felt like a weight had been lifted.

The runway challenge for this week was themed around Leather and Lace and our judge's panel was Ross Matthews, Michelle Visage, Michael Urie, and Tamar Braxton. Katya was serving "sexy and confidant whore, 20 percent sexy, 80 percent disgusting." God, I love her. Jaidynn came out with hair like Chaka Khan and Max wore a BLACK wig -- you must appease the judges, darling.

Violet Chachki and Pearl were safe -- time for the more in-depth critiques. Michael Urie thought Ginger Minj was brilliant; Ross Matthews wanted more from Miss Fame; Michelle Visage is not a fan of boy-drag but thought that Kennedy's Little Richard KILLED IT. Visage thanked Max for ditching the gray but said her Sharon Needles was lacking a very important element: humor. At this point, things get super dramatic. Max couldn't breathe in her corset so a team came out to assist her with removing it, then Max leaned back on the stage and started singing. I had no idea what was happening, and neither did anyone else. The panel thought that Jaidynn's Raven Symone was NOT So Raven, but everyone thoroughly enjoyed Katya's "Britney Spears at 45" runway look.

Katya was safe, and Kennedy was named the winner of this week's challenge -- but hold the phone, so was Ginger. For the first time in Drag Race history, two queens won for the same challenge. Miss Fame was safe, but Jaidynn and Max were up for elimination.

The lip-sync was to "No More Lies" by Michel'le. Jaidynn worked that Chaka Khan hair, while Max played it kind of dainty and cute. But in the end, Jaidynn stayed, and Max sashayed away.

I'm kind of indifferent about this elimination. I wasn't a huge fan of Max -- in fact she was starting to get on my nerves over the past few weeks. I don't think Jaidynn has a chance of winning; that will come down to Katya and Ginger Minj. But, wait a minute? What are you saying, Ru? You let someone go home too soon and a former contestant is coming back next week? SCANDAL.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 7, Episode 6: Ru Hollywood Stories

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 4:00 AM

And then there were nine. "RuPaul's Drag Race" started last night after Mrs. Kasha Davis's departure. Kandy Ho made a comment about the judges putting her in the bottom two so she can take out the older queens. Kandy? Let's have some real talk: The reason you've been in the bottom two twice now is because you haven't demonstrated that you're a viable contender in this race, and you've been skating by on group challenges where you can fade into the background. I'm over you, Kandy.

Ru came in to announce this week's Mini Challenge, Monster in Your Pants. The Pit Crew for this week has quadrupled in size, but the size of their underwear seems to have shrunk. Each member of the pit crew had a number tucked into their tiny, tiny shorts, and the goal was for each queen to choose members of the crew to try to rack up as many points as possible all while trying to avoid the pit crew member that has the monster in his pants, an automatic loss. Apparently there was only one member of the pit crew that had the monster in his pants, but hilariously, EVERYONE chose that person -- with the exception of Ginger Minj, the winner of the challenge with 24 points.

As the winner, Ginger got to choose her teammates and assign the other teams for the Maxi Challenge, #Ru'sHollywoodStories: "Whatever happened to Merle Ginsberg?" For those unfamiliar with Merle, she sat alongside Ru as a judge in the first two seasons of "Drag Race" but was replaced by Michelle Visage. Each team was tasked with reenacting versions of what actually happened, with each team assigned the perspective of either Ru, Merle, or Michelle.

Team 1: Ginger, Kennedy Davenport, and Katya (Merle's perspective)

Team 2: Max, Violet Chachki, and Kandy Ho (Michelle's perspective)

Team 3: Miss Fame, Jaidynn Diore Fierce, and Pearl (Ru's perspective)

Jaidynn took this week's challenge *seriously*, while Violet was over these acting challenges. You're on "Drag Race," Violet, suck it up. This week's episode confirmed my feelings of being over everyone except for Ginger and Katya. I like Max but I don't think she's got what it takes to win this -- the grey-hair, old Hollywood thing is getting tired.

Katya explained Ginger Minj's portrayal of Michelle Visage as "Danny DeVito as Tony Soprano as The Fonze as Michelle Visage," and I COULDN'T WAIT.

Ross Matthews was sitting in the director's chair for #Ru'sHollywoodStories this week.  Ginger's team was on point, except Kennedy's version of Ru Paul was just...strange. Kandy Ho contoured herself a beard again to play Ru, and Miss Fame decided to be the dramatic one this week. You see, Miss Fame is having a bad day! *Pout* She knows she can do better than this and is it SO WRONG for her to explore her feelings?! Next!

Elimination Day came and all the ladies were prepping for the runway. Jaidynn revealed to the group that she has not officially come out to her family -- they know that she does drag, but chooses to ignore it. She has a real fear of being disowned and doesn't want to live without her family ... and by that point I was crying. You've warmed my cold, cold heart, Jaidynn.

The runway challenge for this week was "Death Becomes Her: How would your drag character die?" The guest judges for this week were Merle Ginsberg and Ariana Grande (singer, human ponytail).

The runway this week was pretty great. Katya had a shark leg (WINNING); Ginger was eaten by a bear; Kennedy -- I don't know what the hell Kennedy was. She described it as "after her night of hooking she got in the fire and crystallized."

Max cut out her heart, Kandy Ho was a sexy vampire (yawn), Miss Fame had a knife through her head, and Jaidynn got caught in some barbed wire after a prison break. But the *gasp* moment for the night was Violet's ridiculously tiny, corseted waist.

The judges then watched each #Ru'sHollywoodStories, and Ginger's team nailed it. All I can remember from Max's team was Kandy Ho's beard and Jaidynn's team featured drag queen (erotic?) Jell-O wrestling. Team Ginger won it, with Katya pronounced the winner and Ginger and Kennedy declared safe. Michelle Visage is over Max's grey hair and had an issue with Violet's portrayal of her accent, "I'm not from Staten Island." Ru told Miss Fame to learn how to listen and gave kudos to Pearl for finally waking up. The judges were not impressed with Jaidynn's prison break outfit or her acting. But Max, Pearl, Violet and Miss Fame were safe.

Kandy Ho and Jaidynn were up for elimination, lip-syncing to Ariana Grande's "Break Free." Both queens were giving it their all, but in the end it was time to say goodbye to Kandy Ho and her beard. Bye Kandy! Sorry, not sorry to see you go.

Next week: Snatch Game!

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Peter and the Starcatcher @ Blackfriars Theatre

Peter and the Starcatcher @ Blackfriars Theatre

"When The Smoke Clears" @ Irondequoit Country Club

"When The Smoke Clears" @ Irondequoit Country Club

Post-film Discussion: Dr Motti Benita & Dr Agnes Jonas....

Cordell & Rachel Cordaro: Frederick Douglass Portraits @ Rundel Memorial Building, 2nd Floor


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