By Simon Isham—
Did PINK at U of L whet your appetite for drag queens? Have you been hanging out at Play Dance Bar on Wednesdays? Then you’re going to want to keep reading, because the girls of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are coming to Louisville. I talked with Mimi Imfurst, who will be DJing the show; Michelle Visage, a “Drag Race” judge who will be host; and Pandora Boxx, a queen who will be performing.
Have you ever been to Louisville? What did you think?
MI: I have. I had a great time. I was there for Pride two years ago. Everybody was treating me like gold. I’m really looking forward to coming back. I remember that the food is great. I remember they took me to a really awesome kind of Southern hospitality barbecue place that was amazing. I’m going to try to find that. The last time I was there, I literally did a drag show in the middle of the street. I was doing a performance, and I ran outside. I literally had the DJ play “Car Wash.” I grabbed a balled-up rag and some Windex and ran out in the street and started washing cars. People were like, “What the hell is she doing?”
MV: I have been to Louisville, Kentucky. It was the very first stop on the Milli Vanilli Tour in 1990. I was very young, and so overwhelmed with the fact that I was doing a national tour and opening for the biggest act in the world at that time. I didn’t see much of Louisville; I was just like, “Someone pinch me!” I haven’t gotten to see any of your beautiful city!
PB: I have, actually. I was there a few years back. I loved it. I had a great time. One of the things I noticed is that people love to drink there! I do like to drink, but there were an obscene amount of shots.
You’re coming in just a few days before Derby. Do you plan to stick around?
MI: That’s what I heard. Of course, the Derby is all about the hats, but we drag queens are all about the wigs. That would be the real competition — who has the better dresses: the Derby ladies or the drag queens?
MV: Yay! So I should bring a hat, huh? And I got hats!
PB: As soon as you started talking about it, I remembered, because I was there around the time of the Kentucky Derby (last time I was in Louisville). I didn’t get to see it because it was such a quick visit. I wish I had been there longer. But it’s all about the hats, isn’t it?
What are the best and worst parts about touring with a group of drag queens?
MI: The best part is that you get to see so many great places. The worst part is that you don’t get to see so many great places. But you get to share it with a whole bunch of Drag Race girls who understand a really unique experience.
MV: What I like best about it is that we get to see the fans’ connections to these queens, up close and personal. And the other thing is, when you come to see them live, not only are you going to be floored at more impressed than you were before, even if you go, “Oh, I knew she could do all that.” I guarantee there’s going to be a moment with another queen that maybe you didn’t like or didn’t know anything about. Your mind is going to be completely blown and opened … I just make sure everybody’s happy, especially the queens, so they don’t become irritable and awful. It doesn’t happen often, though. But a lot of them think, “Now I’m on TV, so now I’m a superstar.” We’re here to give (them) a wakeup call, because it ain’t like that! It’s pretty fun to watch … Some of these kids will complain about accommodations or mode of transportation. Like, have any of you ever toured? And they’re like, “No,” and I’m like, “Then you need to shut up, because what we’ve got here is an amazing situation. You have no idea what it’s like to share a room with five people. To ride around in a Ford Fiesta, like a clown car. You honestly have no idea what it’s like.” I’m there to be the mother, the reality check … We’re not just clowns — well, we are, but we’re talented clowns!
PB: It’s amazing, because I’ve been to all these cities that I’ve never been to before, and really big venues that we would probably never get to play by ourselves. So it’s really great. And the crowd responses have been incredible. It feels like being at a rock concert. I feel really blessed to be a part of it. The best part of it is getting to see all these amazing cities. The worst part is no sleep, and travel.
What am I going to see at the Louisville show?
MI: What’s great about the Drag Race girls in real life is that you get to see what we really do. You know, the show is fun, and there are crazy challenges, but you never get to see what we really do. You’re going to see drag queens doing knife juggling and eating fire and walking on stilts. You’re going to see drag queens singing their original songs and doing group numbers. You’re going to see all kinds of crazy things … the art form itself exists on breaking rules.
MV: Ivy Winters! She’s a full-on circus performer. That’s what she did before she got into drag. She eats fire, she juggles knives, she walks on stilts, she’s really quite breathtaking. She does something different at every tour stop. She doesn’t like to get bored with her stuff, and she changes it about. She’s also a really great singer and she doesn’t really do that because people get so enamoured by the circus performing.
PB: I’m still putting together some of my performance, so I don’t know exactly. I have a few more weeks before — I’m changing things up a little. You’ve got to keep things fresh because otherwise you get bored doing it. And I’ve been working on some new music, so I might incorporate that on this tour. You can expect to see something entirely new — but maybe the same penis jokes, but everything else will be new.
MI: Michelle Visage is so funny as a host. I think if we get her drunk enough, she’ll do a few songs.
MV: Mimi’s being funny because Michelle don’t drink. I’ve never drunk a day in my life. And yes, I sing on the tour. I only do one number because I feel like I’m there to host the event. I do perform.
PB: We all have this expression whenever she says something. We just go, “Oh Mimi.”
Other performers I didn’t talk to who will also be in the show are Jinkx Monsoon, Sharon Needles, Ivy Winters, Carmen Carrera, and Phi Phi O’Hara. This all goes down at Headliners Music Hall at 10 p.m. on April 27, with a VIP meet and greet before the show at 8 p.m. General admission is $30 and the show is 18+.