Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Drag Enthusiast: Taking Over Chicago

This blog isn't usually a place to post personal things, but I recently took a very well needed trip to the beautiful city of Chicago and it impacted me so much that I thought a blog post was appropriate. 

For those who don't know, I live in Wisconsin, and most of the shows I go to are located in a city called Milwaukee which for me, is approximately an hour drive from where I live. This limits me, but I try to go out and show support for my Milwaukee girls whenever I get the chance, because there are some incredibly talented girls there. But for anyone who knows me to any extent knows I've always wanted to travel to Chicago and experience the clubs there, because everything I had seen and heard about the Chicago nightlife scene was really enchanting. 

My first night, I went to this event named QUEEN. It happens every Sunday night at Smartbar. I have never been surrounded by so many talented and beautiful performers in my entire life. The club was absolutely packed with drag performers. All of whom had their own over the top look and their own personality that was one of a kind. All of these lovely ladies made me feel so accepted, and as someone who has felt like an outsider my entire life, it was something that really hit me on a personal level. Never have I been around so many genuine, sweet, and beautiful people and I mean that from the very bottom of my heart. I was pulled aside multiple times by multiple people that were so gracious and thankful for this blog that has in one way or another made them feel like there was a place for them because for the longest time they didn't feel like anyone would accept them for being different. This is why I enjoy what I do so very much. This is what this blog was built for. This page has been a place where these girls have a place to share their stories with people who can relate and also a place where they can find appreciation when they feel unappreciated. I don't think I can ever put into words how wonderful my night was that night...and that was just the first night of me being in Chicago.

Monday night I stopped in at Roscoe's Tavern for the RPDR viewing party hosted by the wonderful Trannika Rex and Kim Chi. To add to that, Bob, Naomi Smalls, and Nicole Paige Brooks. It was a packed house that night, but I got to say hello to Kim, Naomi, and Trannika, who I've seen multiple times before. As well as meet Bob, finally, who never fails to have me in hysterics. I didn't get to meet Nicole Paige Brooks because I couldn't find her and I also was going to another show that night and I left after I said hello to everyone. 

Next stop was Crash Landing at Berlin Nightclub, where I have always wanted to go. I've always heard so many great things about Berlin for the longest time and I was really excited to finally go and watch a show there. Crash Landing is hosted by Nico and Trannika Rex and it's basically an amateur drag competition and the winner is decided by audience vote. When people walk in they get handed a paper ballot and after everyone performs, the audience writes down on the ballot who they enjoyed watching and whoever gets the most votes ends up winning. I must say, I was quite impressed with the lovely ladies I got to see perform that night. Joan Waters ended up winning, and I wasn't mad about it because Joan is someone I knew online for a while and her performances she had that night had me literally dying of laughter and I think she deserved that win. Also, as a special treat for whoever wins, they usually get the opportunity to be booked at The Drag Matinee which Trannika hosts every Saturday night. For those who don't know, Trannika has been very focused on the younger girls and tries giving these ladies a place to start. She is one of the most popular Chicago girls there is and I always see her scoping out one of a kind girls to book in her shows and I don't think she gets enough appreciation for that. I have been told before "well Trannika doesn't perform so she has no right critiquing girls". But let me say something, a lot of the times I hear about her telling someone to step it up, after they performed in her show, it's usually constructive criticism. It's not to hurt anyone's feelings, it's not to bring anyone down, it's to try and get them to perform to their full potential. And if these girls can't take a little constructive criticism, and they have the dream about being on a show called Rupaul's Drag Race, I don't know how they feel that they are ready for something like that. Whenever someone receives criticism, and it's not meant to be catty, they should use that and apply it to themselves. Because if it's not said in a malicious or degrading way, then the person who is criticizing you just cares enough to know you can be better. That is what I take from Trannika. She may come off rude sometimes, but she's not always trying to be. It's all on how you perceive it. Don't burn bridges that shouldn't be burnt over a little criticism. That's a dumb move. 

Okay enough deep stuff. Tuesday night was my last night in Chicago and Adore Delano happened to be performing that night at Roscoe's Tavern and I wasn't sure if I was going to go or not but ended up going anyways, mainly because I have never seen Adore in person before. It was absolutely packed! I enjoyed the performances and if you have never seen Adore murder the stage in person, I highly recommend you get on it, because I found myself mesmerized instantly. The only criticism I have, is I got really annoyed with the people that were standing around me. I was in 4th row and I was constantly getting pushed and called profanities because I wouldn't give up my spot. If you are ever at a show as big as an Adore performance, please be respectful to the people around you, and if you don't grab your spot early enough, don't complain and yell at people who are decently close to the stage. 

Anyways, I know I don't post personal things here but the Chicago drag scene is phenomenal and even though I have now met so many of the queens from there, I know there's so many more people I have to meet. Everyone I have met so far has been incredibly genuine and considerate and one of a kind and I have never experienced so much love by anyone ever and I wanted to thank everyone I crossed paths with that weekend for being so hospitable and kind and considerate and just showing me a good time. The mini vacation was nice. 

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