It was about 11 p.m. on a chilly Tuesday night in New York City, and RuPaul’s Drag Race season two queen Pandora Boxx was bouncing on my lap. It was the audience participation portion of her holiday show A Very Cougar Christmas, performed with drag superstar Sherry Vine. They’d already parodied “Winter Wonderland,” and Sherry damn near brought the house down with her rendition of “How I Blew Ya” (to the tune of Leonard Cohen’s solemnly revered “Hallelujah,” naturally).
A Hallmark holiday special, this was not.
The scene is not uncommon this time of year. Their show was just one of several drag odes to the holiays taking place in this very theater this month, and part of the many performances happening all across the country this season. Perhaps this is the war on Christmas conservatives are so worried about.
For Pandora, it’s just a natural fit. “Certainly with drag it's all about decadence, and what's more decadent and slightly gaudy than Christmas?” she said.
She’s got a point. Despite the religious origins, Christmas — the twinkliest, sparkliest (and some would say drunkest) of the holidays — has embraced the most over-the-top, theatrical queer sensibilities. And many in the gay community are embracing it right back
“There's Radio City Music Hall, if you want something traditional,” said Sherry. “I've noticed in the LGBTQ community, there's definitely a hunger for this kind of entertainment.”
Yes, for some in the LGBTQ community, making the yuletide gay may not be more complicated than a snuggle with your partner in tasteful sweaters, but for others there will never be enough tinsel, glitter and lights decking the halls. (There’s a reason “gayer than Christmas” is a high camp standard.)
Aesthetics are part of the appeal, but is there more behind the connection between the gay community and the holidays? Pandora, Sherry, Drag Race season five runner-up Alaska (pictured above), legendary drag queen Jackie Beat and The State’s Kevin Allison share their thoughts, AFTER THE JUMP ...