If you love "RuPaul’s Drag Race" and miss the glory days when Michelle Visage co-hosted RuPaul’s much missed chat show on VH1, then the Regency Ballroom is where you want to be come Sunday, February 9. At 9pm, Visage will co-host and judge Battle of the Seasons, a thrilling night of madness and mayhem, as contestants from all five Drag Race seasons perform and compete, presenting the wild, crazy acts that have endeared them to thousands of fans.
"I keep the queens in line," Visage said to BARtab. "If they get out of line, I cane them."
It’s all in good fun. "I’m the hostess with the mostess," said Visage. "I make sure things are running smoothly. Queens need their stage mother, I’m Mama June."
Visage has been in show business for thirty years. In addition to her work with close pal Ru, she’s had hit records, and has performed as a solo act. She retains fond memories of the talk show she and Ru co-hosted. "The show was before its time," she said, noting that it was hugely popular. Its cancellation after two seasons took many by surprise. "The talk show will be coming back at some point," Visage promised, but said she couldn’t provide details at this time.
She cites Madonna as a major influence on her own life and career, and on the sea change now occurring in society. "She’s one of my heroes, one of the pioneers," said Visage. "She didn’t care. She went for it. She’s done so much work that you can’t take away. Kids today should do their homework. Madonna paved the way and opened doors."
Some of Madonna and RuPaul’s "descendants" talked about their upcoming "battle."
Ivy Winters offers one of the more unusual acts. She loves her drag sisters and assured everyone that, in spite of being a competition, there’s a lot of affection between them.
"The tour is not part of the TV show," Winters said. "We’re traveling around to all these wonderful venues. We don’t often get a chance to perform together, so this is a good way to reconnect, and for people to see our personalities on stage."
Winters says that her act is "my wonderful break from heels. I do stilt-walking, juggling and fire-eating. It’s classy, old school, circusy." She explained that, while she’s not a good dancer, she has an extensive resume as a clown performer.
"I was Dusty the Clown," Winters said, revealing that Winters is in fact her real family name. "I started around age eight or nine. I saw my first drag show at 18. I can’t dance, so I combined drag with a circus clown act. I’m lucky to have a supportive family. You hear these traumatic stories, but I didn’t experience that. My brother and sister are both gay."
Drag Race contestant Manila Luzon also spoke to us. Luzon presents a more traditional pop star persona, and has indeed scored a few hit records. "I’ll be doing a confab of stuff," she said. "I’ll do some lip synching, and I’ll do some actual singing. It’s the same fabulousness as Beyonce and Lady Gaga, but on a smaller scale."
Luzon says that the Regency is a new kind of venue for the queens. "We’re used to nightclubs and bars, wherever the gays will have us. The regency is a big rock and roll venue. It’ll be drag queen after drag queen."
Luzon said that she and her drag sisters adore their judge and stage mama. "We love and respect Michelle," she said. "She’s our favorite judge. It’s really fun to go all over the country with her." She noted that Visage’s "long, clackity-clack nails and stripper pumps" were a definite attention getter at airports.
Luzon’s new song might be an attention-getter in its own right. It’s called "Helen Keller," a song she recorded with gay hip hop hunk Cazwell.
"I hope people will check it out," she said. "It’s my rap debut. I’m giving my Mariah Carey notes a rest."
While Ru Paul, sadly, will not be in attendance, Winters and Luzon will be joined by other popular Drag Race competitors like Sharon Needles, Alaska Thunderfuck, Pandora Boxx and Carmen Carrera. VIP Ticket holders get to meet Visage and the cast.
Battle of the Seasons, Feb. 9, 8pm. $30-$60. The Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave. 673-5716. Tickets: www.axs.com/events/247026/rupaul-s-drag-race-battle-of-the-seasons-tickets