Drag

Katya Is Taking a Break From Drag!

Katya Zamolodchikova, better known as Katya, Miss Congeniality from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7, finalist from RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars Season 2 and co-star of the hit Viceland Show The Trixe and Katya Show has gone on Instagram to make a very important announcement that has left fans gasping.

Brian McCook, the artist behind Katya, went live on Instagram to share that after a lot of working, he is taking a break from drag to focus on himself and his mental health.

 

SOOOOOOOOOOON!!!

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On RPDR, we learned that Katya had struggled with substance abuse and mental health in the past so this possibly comes at a time when he needs it the most.

I was witness to Katya’s incredible work ethic when I met the queen at a meet & greet late last year. Katya hosted an amateur drag competition where at one point she jumped on stage and did multiple drops to splits to Read U Wrote U. After all of that, Katya met and took photos with hundreds of fans until the wee hours of the night—interacting with every single one like only she knows how to do! No wonder he drinks all that Coke (the soda, not the drug).

Katya took to social media speaking only in French—as only a unique artist would.

Here is a translation of what her message had to say:

Hi, it's Katya. This is a message transmitted in French, if you're not French this is not going to make any sense to you.

In French, I'm going to talk about David Lynch, and also about my health.

There is no emergency, there is no emergency. But I needed to take a little break. It was time to take a vacation, because my health, the drugs, my brain, that wasn't good.

If you're French, this will make perfectly sense.

I speak French, but I never have the opportunity to practice speaking French because I'm always busy, I'm always working. I work a lot.

But I am not crazy, you understand of course. I'm a language student first, an artist second, a drag queen third. Health is the most important thing for me.

You have to understand me. In the future, I need to take more vacations, I'm a person, I'm a human. You need to hear me.

Right now, this is not a crisis. I'm taking a vacation for me. I need to take a vacation. The sun is there, I'm happy. My health is here, I'm happy.

I'm telling you this with a sense of urgency. I'm not dying. Let me tell you the truth. I'm not dying, I want to live. I'm a drug addict, but I'm sober. Today, and yesterday. And before. But I need to take a vacation, because I want to survive, like Gloria Gaynor.

I'm not arrogant, I'm intelligent.

I'm ok. I'm not dying because I want to live.

But I need to take vacations, like a normal person. The people who are listening will understand, can understand. And that's all I wanted to say, that's all. In French, because it's the language of knowledge. All languages are languages of knowledge, but I speak in French because I need to speak slowly to speak correctly.

I don't have a drug crisis right now, because I'm sober. I'm taking care of myself today. And that is the reason why I'm happy. But I need to choose carefully the projects that will not ... you understand.

The most important is that I keep coming back.

I speak French because it's a language I understand fluently, better than Russian, Spanish, and Japanese. That's all.

In French, I need to say, I'm human. That's all. It's a joke for Americans, for French people, it's not.

I love French, I've always loved French. I learned French because I love French. Today, right now, I tell you "bonjour."

But I need to take a vacation because I'm tired, I'm exhausted, my brain doesn't work anymore, because of the drugs, because of all the gigs, I believe you understand. We'll see, and I wish you a good day. Bye bye.

Wishing Brian a lot of rest during this time off—we can’t wait to see a re-energized, re-born Katya when you’re ready!

 

I am fit. I am also a vulnerable being. #provocativewoman @thedragseries

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Documentary 'The Queens' is a Look at the LGBTQ Subculture of Pageants

After seven years in the making, the documentary The Queens will finally have its premiere in Chicago at the Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club on January 25, 2018 and in Minneapolis at Honey at Ginger Hop on February 8, 2018. The documentary, which follows the life behind-the-scenes of the Miss Continental Pageant, has been working toward getting production funding for the last several years.

The Queens chronicles the fascinating transgender subculture of competitive female impersonation. A cinematic fusion between Paris is Burning and RuPaul's Drag Race, the documentary takes viewers on an emotional, entertaining and enlightening journey as it follows pageant contestants (past and present) vying for the coveted title of Miss Continental. The film also discusses the importance of this pageant as a foundation for the trans community, drag, and female impersonation. Various RuPaul's Drag Race contestants have participated in Miss Continental including Naysha LopezRoxxxy AndrewsKandy HoJasmine Masters, and Pork Chop among others.

The Queens is a feature-length documentary produced by The Reporters Inc., a nonprofit [501(c)(3)] journalistic production house. They are dedicated to promoting social awareness, encouraging social change and championing social justice through powerful multimedia storytelling.

Here is the film's synopsis:

Using the framework of the 36-year-old Miss Continental Pageant as its backdrop, "The Queens" explores the complex and fascinating transgender subculture of competitive female impersonation entertainers and their driven and dedicated quest for the crown.

We follow the journeys of several contestants as they diligently plan, prepare and plot their paths to victory. Along the way, we meet several former titleholders, as well as some who have repeatedly competed in the pageant but never left victorious (and are perhaps a bit bitter).

But the documentary focuses on more than just the competition. We delve into the whys and hows of the physical alterations they’ve made to their outer bodies (silicone injections, breast implants, facial reconstruction, etc.), their inner bodies (hormone therapies) and their decisions to refrain from following through with sex reassignment surgery, in order to remain true female impersonators and be eligible to compete and perform as such.

We also talk with female impersonators who live their lives as men outside the pageant and performance world, and the occasional tensions between them and those who’ve been surgically enhanced.

We examine the difficulty many have finding true and lasting romantic relationships. We address the rejection many have experienced from family, as well as the changing opinions and acceptance of transgender individuals by society in general today.

Because Miss Continental is so closely linked to the legendary female impersonation nightclub, The Baton, in Chicago (Jim Flint created and owns them both), we take a side trip deep inside this iconic, 48-year-old show lounge. We dig into its storied history, and meet the permanent cast, many of whom are former Miss Continental title-holders themselves. We learn why this is the holy grail of female impersonation, and why many new Continental pageant winners hope their victories will lead to permanent employment there for them, as well.

We reveal the shadier and sadder parts of The Baton’s past—mob and police pay-offs to stay open, drugs, prostitution, AIDS, crime, tragic accidents, and even murder. Several former Baton performers (and Miss Continentals) have met horrible, haunting deaths.

Returning to Continental, we get to the bottom of why winning this crown means so much to those in pursuit of the title, why they see it as a stepping stone to greater fame, fortune and success, and–yes–how it’s also a cut-throat competition where occasional acts of sabotage have been known to take place.

You’ll be awestruck by the amount of time and money spent (on makeup, costumes, wigs, backup dancers and more) to win this crown. The contestants shimmer and seduce, titillate and twirl. The glitz, the glamour, the talent and the beauty on display here rival—no–put the Miss America and Miss USA pageants to shame!

With thousands in the audience cheering, there are tears of joy for those who perform well under the Miss Continental stage lights; when the show ends, there are tears of heartbreak in the shadows for those who fared poorly.

To some outsiders, and the uninformed, the dolled-up, lip-synched routines at both Miss Continental and The Baton might seem frivolous, perhaps even pointless, after a few viewings. But "The Queens" will show you why creating this illusion and this mystique are a way of life for–not only these performers–but for thousands of others just like them (and their devoted fans) across the United States.

Year after year, decade after decade, the show simply must go on.

Take a look at the trailer here:

 

 

 

The Boulet Brothers' Dragula Returns For More Screams

Just in time for All Hallow’s Eve, the Boulet Brothers are back with Season 2 of their dreadful drag show Dragula. Last season we met a group of drag monster queens who competed to snatch the creepy crown and be dubbed the World’s First Drag Supermonster. Like every other reality competition show throats were slashed and Vander Von Odd took home the crown.

Now that the Boulet Brothers are back to look for the next Drag Supermonster, Dragula is sure to raise hell and send you screaming as these sexy bitch goblins battle it out to be the most haunting beauty in the crypt—oh, and there WILL be blood!

You can catch Dragula Season 2 when it premieres on October 31st on OutTV and on World of Wonder via YouTube.com/WOWpresents

Here’s a sneak peek Season 2 of Dragula:

 

Violet Chachki: The Most Glamorous Showgirl On The Vegas Strip

With all the RuPaul’s Drag Race buzz we’ve had lately, including Emmy’s and the upcoming All-Stars/Untucked seasons, it’s nice to be able to check in with some of the most memorable queens and what they have been up to post-Drag Race.

One queen who has been busy is Season 7 winner, Violet Chachki, who snatched the crown from Ginger Minj and Pearl. With her glamorous pin up sensibilities and the smallest waist to grace the Drag Race sisterhood, Violet’s Sin City style transports us immediately to the Las Vegas strip.

Taking this for inspiration, Paper Magazine recently featured Violet Chachki as “the most glamorous girl on the strip” for their Las Vegas issue.

In this photo spread, Violet shines brighter than any other showgirl in a shoot photographed by Michael Avedon and styled by Timothy Reukauf and Violet herself. Styled in brands such as Alexis Bittar, The Blond’s, Christian Louboutin, Moschino, and more.

Violet is living her very best self for #VivaLasPaper!

Take a look at the complete spread of photos at Paper Magazine

Take A Seat, Drag Queen Storytime Is About To Begin!

With the rise of popularity that the drag movement is receiving in mainstream media and society, we are seeing more and more drag-inspired elements in our daily lives. We’ve seen conventions, stand-up comedy specials, t-shirts and other merch, television and internet shows—it seems like everywhere we look drag has infiltrated to expose others to the great art of being a drag queen and to empower, more than anything, the LGBTQIA community and educate the world.

Recently, you may have seen the unique form of integrating drag that has popped up at libraries around the country. Drag queens have embraced their roles as storytellers and begun holding storytimes at libraries and school for families to learn about the art of drag as well as to hear interesting stories. As a librarian you better believe that this is already in the works for my own community library in Orange County—more on that as the programs begin to transpire. A library's sole purpose is to provide access to information and open up avenues for communication among the library's users, even if the topic of discussion is taboo or controversial. You better believe THE LIBRARY IS OPEN!

Drag queens started to take over libraries in San Francisco and Brooklyn thanks to the planning of Radar Productions, a San Francisco based company specializing in unique programming. This idea has taken flight and now we are seeing drag storytimes that have taken place in Los Angeles and other cities around the nation. How fabulous!

According to the Drag Story Hour website:

Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.

While DQSH is a coined production specifically put on by Radar Productions, many local libraries and local drag queens are taking to storytelling in their own ways and catering to their community needs. However, with the creation of this new form of storytelling, there is always resistance.

Many have voiced their concern as to whether we should be placing emphasis on this alternative form of entertainment and lifestyle. This has been the biggest hurdle for some communities which is why we have not seen as many drag queen storytimes as libraries would like.

In Charlotte, NC Drag Queen Princess Onya has encountered some resistance to bringing drag queen storytime to the community.

In a story from NBC, Brandon James (Princess Onya) shared how he had great support from his family when he came out as young man and would like to impart that same support to other young people.

James has said:

I came out to my grandmother when I was seven years old and I came out officially when I was 11 years old. This is so much bigger than a parent. This is helping your kids and it's helping other kids. It's saving kids lives.

Like the many drag queens who are joining in the movement, James sees the value in books and making these connections at a young age.

Forms of drag have been around for centuries, so we know the art form will continue to reinvent itself over time. But how long will it be until drag storytimes are happening in every state? I think it's time to remind everyone not to judge a book by its cover.

'Why Not!' Photo Exhibit Showcases The Spirit Of Drag

Continuing the work he did for his 244-page book Why Drag? last year, celebrity/drag photographer Magnus Hastings has a gallery exhibit entitled Why Not! showing at Mr. Musichead Gallery in Los Angeles.

The show includes some iconic shots from his book in addition to some exciting new images of drag queens like Sasha Velour, Ginger Minj and Glen Alen—and drag adjacent The Kiss Boyz and House of Avalon.

Hastings is a British born photographer whose had work featured in Paper Magazine, GQ, Sunday Times Magazine, Glamour Magazine (UK). He has exhibited his work in New York City and has photographed subjects in London, Sydney, and Los Angeles among many others.

According to an interview Hastings did with Paper Magazine, he grew up with the enjoyment of dressing up in girls’ clothes and playing with dolls—from this place of curiosity, Hastings has always come from a place of respect when working with the drag community. From this admiration and love, Hastings has turned his hobby into one of the most sought-after photographers on the scene.

Hastings tells said:

It's more just about boys being gay and queer. They represent me as a six years old going to school in a dress and refusing to take it off. It's about saying 'we will do what the f*** we want' and the spirit of drag.

Why Not! The drag exhibit by Magnus Hastings is available at Mr. Musichead Gallery until August 12, 2017

Here’s a little taste of Why Not! by Magnus Hastings