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Drag Queens Ring in the Holidays With Wickedness and Cheer

Drag Queens Ring in the Holidays With Wickedness and Cheer


Enormous wigs, hideous sweaters, raunchy caroling, and a striptease: These are the holiday traditions of your friendly local drag queen.

For the naughtier among us, there's only one way to make it through the relentless cheer of the season: with baudy drag shows.

From coast to coast, audiences can look forward to watching drag and burlesque superstars like Heklina, Kitten LaRue, and Jinkx Monsoon celebrate the holiday season with performances that are just slightly outside the mainstream.

"It started as a little gay cabaret show in a small bar," laughs Seattle's Kitten LaRue about Homo for the Holidays, an extravaganza she produces along with Drag Race Should-Have-Been-the-Winner Ben DeLaCreme, and drag king Lou Henry Hoover. The show's grown over the years to a fully produced holiday song-and-dance spectacular with elaborate sets and costumes.

"It's got a real superstar cast," Kitten says, "so getting all of us in a room together to rehearse the show is challenging. We have to block out the two weeks before and bang it out."

The Boulet Brothers' Christmas Massacre Spectacular is similarly elaborate. "Everybody has to create all new costumes," says Jamie Boulet, one of the monsters responsible for the gory show that advertises filth and horrendousness.

Goldengirlsxmas01web_0On the more G-rated end of the spectrum, San Francisco's Heklina has made a yearly tradition of Golden Girls Live (pictured right). "It's the only show I do that's family-friendly," she says. You can safely bring the kids and visiting relatives to see drag queens reenacting classic Golden Girls episodes.

Or you can attend with your chosen family instead. "A lot of people who identify as LGBTQ, the holidays can be sad or stressful if they're estranged from their family or away from their family," says Kitten. "We've given people a new way to feel good about he holidays."

In fact, Ben DeLaCreme started Homo for the Holidays because he hated Christmas and wanted to create something so he could actually enjoy the holiday.

Christmascrawfordsx400_0_0"Christmas shows are a great way for people to escape," Heklina says. Her show was inspired by the great drag Christmas shows of yesteryear, like Christmas With the Crawfords (pictured left) and A Karen Carpenter Christmas.

With all this performing, it's hard for the cast and crew to find time to actually enjoy the season themselves. "We have 22 shows," says Kitten. Their only break is Christmas Day, when the whole cast gets together and has a big party at Ben DeLaCreme's house.

10849914_10152452753102274_5867414845429424084_n_0For their part, the Boulets are muted and quiet when they're offstage, and simply celebrate on their own at home -- which is a bit surprising, given their colossal stage personae: "When we're not doing a Christmas show, we just do a very classic Christmas."

Most major cities have a drag Christmas show -- or possibly several -- and so do mid-size ones. Youngstown, Ohio, has How the Drag Queen Stole Christmas (pictured right). Providence, R.I., has Kitty Litter and Friends, and Sarasota, Fla., has a Drag Queen Bingo Bonanza.

And as outrageous and nontraditional as these shows are, don't expect any protesters. All of the performers we spoke to report that while audiences have responded with raucous glee, there have been zero complaints about their irrevent take on the holidays.

"Nobody's said anything yet," says Jamie Boulet, "much to my dismay."

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Matt Baume