Mother Has Arrived: A Review of Hurricane Bianca

For most Drag Race divas, their winnings are quickly spent on a dance single, a garish video, and a clusterfuck with a gaggle of rent boys. Thankfully Bianca Del Rio is not your typical queen.  Vying for legendary status, Bianca has ditched the usual disco orgies and taken a completely different tack to post-Drag Race success.  Enter Hurricane Bianca, her cinematic debut.

Most gays know Bianca Del Rio from her dominating win on Drag Race season 6, but Bianca was a star long before she set foot in the Interior Illusions Lounge.  Bianca had begun crowdfunding for Hurricane Bianca years ago, even before she ever auditioned for the great race.  After a plethora of fundraising campaigns, and a hefty paycheck from Mother Ru, Hurricane Bianca has finally arrived and it’s every bit the campy spectacle we hoped it to be.  Equal parts To Wong Foo,Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire, Hurricane Bianca is an ultra-campy, feather light satire of employment discrimination and small town homophobia.

Del Rio plays the deliciously nerdy Richard Martinez, a NYC school teacher who moves to Texas for a teaching gig, only to be promptly fired when he’s outed as a homo. Enraged, Martinez teams up with a local trans woman to exact revenge on the town who wronged him.  Martinez returns to school disguised as Bianca and naturally hilarity ensues and hijinks commence.  There are gags, satire, drama, intrigue, and even a bit of skin via co-star Denton Blane Everett’s smooth twunk body.

In short, it’s good.

While there’s no doubt that Bianca is hilarious, I wondered, is she glamorous enough to be a movie star? Visually Bianca is best known for serving Mrs. Potato Head realness in a 90’s ball gown, so when I heard that she was going to star in a gay version of Mrs. Doubtfire, I had doubts that she could ever be that passable.  I’m glad to say I was wrong.  Though I didn’t think it possible, through the magic of dedicated hair, make up and wardrobe, Bianca looks the best she ever has.  She almost looks good!

Speaking of fashion disasters, Rachel Dratch is a sight to behold as the Kim Davis-esque tyrant Deborah Ward.  Dratch’s constipated, authoritarian pearl-clutching is one of the best parts of the movie. She is the perfect overdrawn villain and she has a wardrobe to match.   It’s astonishing that the filmmakers ever managed to find such a thorough collection of tacky, dated selections of Sears’s formalwear.  They must have raided Lady Bunny’s closet.  The costumers deserve an Oscar, or at least a Grabby, for Dratch’s incredible ensembles.

Del Rio is joined by Drag Race alums Willam, Shangela, Joslyn Fox, and Alyssa Edwards in the film.  I have to say, Bianca put these queens to work: Willam plays a slutty himbo, Shangela plays a sassy drag queen, Joslyn plays a bar queen named Joslyn, and Alyssa Edwards plays a drawling southern chanteuse.  Astonishing.  I’ve never seen such range.  Fuck Meryl Streep; these queens are redefining versatility.  Someone better get a Golden Globe out of this or I’m rioting.

Look, this isn’t Annie Hall or The Royal Tenebaums, but it is better than White Chicks, and that’s the standard by which I judge drag queen comedies.  The film doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know about homophobia or employment discrimination, but it’s funny and hopefully it will reignite a conversation about ENDA in the complacent, post-marriage equality gay community.

It’s good to see a queen broaden the scope of what Drag Race girls can do.  Hopefully her example will encourage other Drag Race winners to create their own productions.  While I won’t hold my breath for Tyra Sanchez’ film debut (sorry, a webcam show doesn’t count as a movie), it’ll be interesting to see how other Drag Race winners up their game following Bianca’s success.  Hurricane Bianca was almost entirely crowdfunded and it shows what can be accomplished when the drag community comes together to support a project.  This is only the beginning.  Picture it: Bob the Drag Queen in B.A.P.S. 2, Sharon Needles in Bathhouse of Horror, Kim Chi in The Joy Fuck Club.  Get those Kickstarter drives going ladies and make it happen!

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#GiveCaptainAmericaAButtPlug

Twitter continues to live up to its reputation as the internet’s premier source of nonsensical claptrap.  Case in point, this week’s hot trending hashtag #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend. An outgrowth of the equally droll #GiveElsaAGirlfriend hashtag, twitter eggs across the nation have banded together to demand that Captain America and longtime platonic soulmate Bucky Barnes be given the Bert and Ernie treatment.  Though this seemed to be just another passing fancy in the Twittersphere, the hashtag campaign has grown so large that it even warranted a response from GLAAD.  I have to say, queering things used to be great fun, but this is just tedious.

Let me be blunt. Making Captain America a butt pirate will do nothing for gay rights, nor will it make for compelling entertainment. This isn’t even aesthetic. Captain America is perhaps the most staid, stoic, buttoned-down piece of white bread in the entire comic kingdom. Absolutely nothing about his character suggests at any sort of gay subtext.  I mean, really, Captain America?  Why not Captain Imperialism or Captain Drone Strike?  Furthermore, suggesting that Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are homos simply because they are two men with an intimately close relationship is horribly regressive.  That is the kind of essentialist, reactionary thinking that gay people have fought against for years.  Are gays truly this thirsty for media representation?  I can thankfully say no.

See, if you ask actual gay people, most will tell you that this is a stupid idea.  Gay people don’t want to see a gay Captain America.  They don’t want to see Captain America at all, even if he did just discover poppers and warming lube.  Gay people have taste and they like art, good art, and they know shit when they see it.

For another thing, this has already been done, albeit in a subtle way, in the second X-Men movie. Alan Cumming and Ian McKellen brought a queer sensibility to their characters in X2 and it made for a great film. It was never stated that these characters were gay, nor should it have been.  This is the sort of subtle overture that gay people instinctively pick up upon.  Ian McKellen’s Magneto had a world-weary, embittered edge reminiscent of radical queerness.  It was a subtle nod to a knowing audience that made for compelling entertainment.  Besides, Marvel already has a slew of gay characters. It would be far more interesting to write one of them into future movies than to clumsily reboot established straights characters as homos.

A recurring argument in the #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend nonsense stream is that gay youth need role models and heroes to look up to.  I agree that gay kids need role models and heroes, but they should not be instructed to look for their reflection in bland, mass market blockbuster entertainment. Teaching gay kids to find validation in their reflection in straight society is idiotic.  The fabulously queer characters of John Waters or Armistead Maupin would serve as far better role models for young gay kids than the pale imitations of gayness shoehorned into popular entertainment by straight people.  There was a gay superhero in Queer As Folk called Rage. He rescued twinks in distress. Take that, add some frontal nudity, and you’ve got a hell of a film.

If Marvel really wants to show their commitment to their gay fans, they’ll green light an officially licensed porn adaptation for Captain America.  That’s something that gay people would actually want to see. Red Skull could be played by Colby Keller.  He would wage epic sword battles with Captain America and teach him the joys of submission. Of course, Captain America would have to be played by Scott Evans.  It’s the role he was born to play!  I really think that Marvel should consider this.  This has the potential to be truly epic.  It could be the next Deep Throat!

Octopussy: Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race

After a somewhat rocky seventh season, RuPaul’s Drag Race has returned to its former stellar form.  What can account for this change?  Ultimately I feel that this season saw a return to the classic tropes of drag.  After much deliberation I have determined the four main ways that RuPaul got back to her roots in season 8:

1. Bad Teeth

There is perhaps no greater indicator of potential drag greatness than a busted set of chompers.  I’ve found that pretty teeth make for pretty boring drag.  I want some funk in my drag queens, perhaps even a bit of stank, and there is no better representation of this than an overgrowth of plaque.  This season didn’t settle for just a Jiggly Caliente or a Trinity Bonet.  From Bob to Kim Chi to Chi Chi to Robbie and various shades of yellow in between, this season was a nonstop dental train wreck and, not coincidentally, an unmitigated success.  At this point I have to assume that having stage 1 of gingivitis at minimum is a requirement for any future drag racers.

2. Bottoms By The Barrelful

Seriously, what the fuck is the point of an all bottom Pit Crew?

3. Bitchery

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of season 7 was the lack of a clear villain.  Sure, Violet and Ginger were kind of cunts, but there wasn’t a readily identifiable villain to move the narrative forward.  Enter Derrick Barry.  Granted, she was clueless, often basic, severely limited and sometimes utterly aggravating, but she fulfilled the villain role splendidly.  Whiny, entitled, and stuffed precariously full of shit, it was impossible not to hate her.  Being a basic white bitch will henceforth be known as Popping a Barry.

4. A Satisfying Narrative

Bob’s win brought the season full circle.  She had entered strong, clashed with Derrick, vanquished Derrick, stumbled briefly and then regained form to end up on top.  With her win, Bob’s story came to a neatly polished arc, thus providing the complete, satisfying narrative that was missing from season 7.  As I said before with Bianca, Bob didn’t win just by being the most talented, she won by being the smartest.  She knew this gig inside out and with every wisecrack, every side eye and every perfectly executed gesture (exclamations of “Purse first!” will echo on in gay bars for years to come) Bob cemented her victory with each passing week.  What’s more, unlike her predecessor, Bob’s victory felt like it really meant something.  I so rarely say this about a fellow transvestite, but that bitch has a hell of a lot of integrity.

Thanks for the memories, ladies.  Before I go, let’s open the library one more time…

Laila McQueen: Sorry, but anyone who bases her makeup on Marlon Wayans in White Chicks deserves to be in the bottom.

Dax ExclamationPoint: Live long and prosper, busted one.

Cynthia Lee Fontaine: Why the hell do bottoms get silicone ass implants?  That’s just an ER trip waiting to happen.

Naysha Lopez: Serving banality.

Acid Betty: That lip ring is taking me on a journey to the darker side of 2003.  That’s a flashback I could do without.

Robbie Turner: Can we start a Kickstarter for her braces?

Thorgy Thor: Poor Thorgy tried too damn hard.  She didn’t have to waste all that effort playing Michael Jackson on Snatch Game.  With that hair she could have just gone as Rachel Dolezal.

Derrick Barry: She’s awfully uptight for someone who spends so much time taking two dicks up her ass.

Chi Chi DeVayne: Anyone who eats possum is good people.  Know this.

Naomi Smalls: I’m not buying the Naomi Campbell illusion until she starts beating people with her phone.  She can start with Derrick.

Kim Chi: That runway walk is every bit as sweet and charming as the acrid, pickled vegetable that bears her name.

Bob: Congratulations on your victory, Bob.  Here’s a beauty blender.  USE IT.

The Fakeness

A red carpet gala, properly executed, is a high drama sweepstakes of art and fashion.  Sadly, ever since the late, great Joan Rivers departed this world, red carpet events have returned to their former grim tedium.  If you are anything like me, you yearn for those four magical words, “Who are you wearing?” to be rasped at a terrified dilettante in borrowed Galliano.  Fat chance.  You can’t even say that half the time for fear of offending the fair maidens attending these dreary premiers.  What a world.

For a brief glamorous moment, the queens at the season 8 finale of Rupaul’s Drag Race resuscitated this dying art through the glorious bitchcraft of drag.  In honor of Joan River’s sterling example, I will call these looks in my typical cruel manner, all while grading them on a ten point scale.  Enjoy.

Kennedy Davenport

We’ve all tried to salvage a Dollar Beauty mishap, but such a monstrosity has no place on the red carpet.  The abdominal cut away strains good taste and basic decency all while giving new meaning to the term “raggedy.”  I appreciate the vintage Divine hairline but the gesture’s wasted on a mangled glitter tracksuit.  2/10

Honey Mahogany

A Dorothy Zbornak inspired mastodon motif shows both ambition and taste, but the execution fails dismally.  The hair recalls a failed perm while the seemingly endless layers are just mystifying.  What was she trying to hide?  Unless a hobbit comes out of that robe, I’m calling this a fail. 3/10

Madame LaQueer

What’s the point of wearing soggy selections from Hot Topic at an event attended by Laila McQueen?  That’s just redundant.  3/10

Laila McQueen

Dear God, those shoes.  Will someone please get her a Payless gift card? 4/10

Detox Icunt

I’m getting 90′s TV starlet channeling 50′s movie star.  It’s all a bit too 90210 for me.  Pass. 5/10

Stacey Layne Matthews

How do you salvage a failed dress?  Slap a couple of swollen nuts on the shoulder.  Typical brilliance from the true winner of Season 3.  7/10

Tatianna

Mob wife realness!  I will gladly swim with her fishes. 8/10

Alaska Thunderfuck

The delicate, fawn-like beauty of this ensemble is particularly impressive given that its model consistently looks like a horse.  The exquisite cinching channels shades of Twiggy while the hanky (code) motif recalls all those blissful nights of years gone by. 9/10

Derrick Barry

Redemption at last!  The high arched brows take this look past a mere Britney illusion into a far more glamorous porn-star-parody Britney illusion.  A square jaw set against arched brows is the surest path to glamour. 9/10

India Ferrah

This is what Jocelyn Wildenstein will be buried in. 9/10

Dax ExclamationPoint

In a spectacular act of contrition, this heavenly look atones for the lip sync disaster that banished her to drag hell.  Astonishing.  9.9/10

Katya Zamolodchikova

What do you get when you cross cocaine-era Stevie Nicks with Ghost-era Whoopi Goldberg?  Sheer perfection.  Brava, well done! 10/10

Gold Diggers Holla!

Fellow faggot gold diggers, our time has come; gay marriage is legally valid in all the land.  At first I couldn’t believe it.  It wasn’t until Nick Jonas congratulated us for it that I knew that it was really true.

I subscribe to the Blanche Devereaux school of equality, so I couldn’t care less about the social benefits of this newly minted civil right.  However collecting some form of alimony, along with 50 percent of a sugar daddy’s other remaining financial assets, is basically my retirement plan, so it was with much relief that I learned about the Supreme Court’s decision.  I’m not terribly supportive, faithful, or giving, however I can polish a knob with masterful precision.  If you’re an elderly rich gay man with a heart condition, be advised that I’m accepting applications for a future husband.

There are many other unresolved issues facing the LGBT community that are far more pressing than gay weddings, but I will continue celebrating if only to watch the far right completely eat it.   I have watched with near-orgasmic glee as the Michelle Bachmanns and Antonin Scalias of the world have spectacularly lost their shit over this decision.  What’s more, Supreme Asshat Overlord Scott Walker has also come gloriously undone over the gay marriage win.  With delusional zeal, Walker has voiced support of a constitutional amendment to allow state governments to outlaw homo nuptials.  Silly little man.  The general public is far too busy congratulating themselves on their progressive tolerance of gay weddings to ever back such an idea.  It is my hope that this gesture will make Scott Walker’s harebrained idiocy unpalatable to the voting public, so we will never have to worry about Darth Walker as Commander-in-chief.  What a glorious fringe benefit to my future alimony checks.

Are gays really cut out for marriage and are we bringing about the death knell for society as we know it?  I hope so. As someone who has expressed an appreciation for gay divorce, this will be nothing but good for me.  If anything, I hope that gay divorce will come in wave after fabulous wave.  Gays do nearly everything better than straights, so why not divorce, too?  I realize that there are gay marriage naysayers who have said that gay weddings will lead to polygamy, legally sanctified bestiality and the general destruction of civilized society.  If so, I’m still all for it.  Any culture that would uphold a piece of shit like Eat Pray Love as fine art is clearly not a culture worth saving, so I’m all for the looming apocalypse.  When the day comes that the gay wedding apocalypse brings everything crashing down, I will have a warm little spot in my heart that knows that I’ve made a difference.

Save Us, Nick Jonas!

Pride, to me, is about living your truth.  That and toilet sex.  For some time that seemed to be the majority opinion amongst festival goers at American pride festivals (the male ones, at least) but with each passing year this sentiment is held in lower and lower regard.  With the majority of pride festival goers now consisting of heterosexuals, I suppose it’s only natural that pride festival headliners become heterosexuals, too.  After all, I can understand the festival goers’ desire to see their own reflection.  But what happens when your celebrated hetero headliner pulls out suddenly and unceremoniously?

This is the conundrum that the organizers of Pittsburgh Pride recently found themselves in when Iggy Azalea pulled out of her headlining slot at the last minute.  Though it was surely a coup for the festival organizers to book such a high name act, enthusiasm for Azalea’s booking waned considerably upon the discovery of several allegedly homophobic tweets of hers from years back.  Controversy ensued and Azalea promptly cancelled the gig.  This placed the festival organizers in quite a conundrum.  Though pride festivals are ostensibly designed to gather local queer communities in solidarity and celebration of their respective histories and political triumphs, such ideals tend to be coolly received by the increasingly heterosexual audiences of most pride festivals.  A star was needed and fast, but who would step in and save the day?

Enter, Nick Jonas, gay America’s heterosexual savior.   Nick Jonas has enjoyed an enthusiastic gay fan base ever since a series of buff shirtless selfies went viral last year.  This was followed by a scantily clad crotch-grabbing session for Flaunt magazine last October and his ally status was forever cemented.  Nick Jonas has been running at the mouth ever since about his passionate devotion to the cause of marriage equality and his deep admiration of his gay fan base.  Homos across America have been lapping it up by the spoonful.  Considering this, it’s only natural that he would be vaunted for filling in for Iggy at Pittsburgh Pride.  Nick Jonas has enjoyed a curiously exalted status as gay America’s foremost straight ally.  (All this fuss just for a little hairy crack?  But I digress.)  It’s mystifying how pandering to the paying public constitutes activism or why anyone should care.  Coming out in favor of marriage equality these days is hardly courageous and his aggressive marketing to the gay community is a familiar page out of the Lady Gaga playbook.  Then again, you can’t fuck with those abs, so I guess that’s what’s really important.

What is especially interesting about Jonas’ positive press for stepping in at Pittsburgh Pride is that he is replacing Iggy Azalea.  Iggy has been lambasted from the left for her alleged racial appropriation, so it is quite amusing that she would be replaced (largely uncritically) by Nick Jonas, someone who has arguably done something rather similar amongst gay men.  Though I understand Jonas’ visual appeal, I must say that it is a sad state of affairs that gay men, once the world’s foremost curators of high taste, are excited by the prospect of listening to Nick Jonas’ shitty music.  My sympathies go out to the gays of discriminating taste attending Pittsburgh Pride.  I suggest running a train in a nearby restroom to wait out his set.

Jonas provided fascinating commentary on his recent booking.  He remarked, “When I heard about the difficult position Pittsburgh Pride was in just days before their event, I knew I had to find a way to help.”  Bless you, Nick Jonas.  What would Pittsburgh gays have done without Nick Jonas to entertain them?  When I think of critical issues facing the LGBT community, perhaps the most pressing is the need for famous heterosexuals to perform for them at their pride festivals.  Thank you, Nick Jonas, for filling this void.

I have been accused of being old fashioned, but it seems to me that LGBT pride needs to be about LGBT people or else it’s pointless.  The Iggy/Nick Jonas booking was typical of present day pride festivals, but people can catch them at any of their many tours, or just turn on TV.  Wouldn’t it be more exciting to see Jackie Beat, or Kevin Aviance, or Ian Harvie, or Tig Notaro at your local pride?  I always assumed that seeing outrageous queer performers was the appeal of pride festivals.  Frankly, aside from indulging in an impulsive bi experience in a festival ground Port-a-John, I can’t see the appeal for the many straight attendees of contemporary pride festivals.  Luckily they’re mostly drunk and hemorrhaging money, so pride will grind on for years to come.

We have forgotten that for many years pride festivals grew and prospered with predominantly LGBT performers.  It is a testament to the enterprising spirit of America’s gays that all we need for a successful pride festival is a fair ground, some queens and some meth.  But shouldn’t we also insist on more relevant headliners?  Look, I’m not made of wood.  When the day comes that Nick Jonas finds himself with his legs in the air on a Corbin Fisher set, I will become a fan.  In the meantime I’ll be on the look-out for fabulously talented gay performers at gay festivals or else I’ll just go to Steamworks instead.

7 Times a Charm

After 14 glamorous weeks, the seventh season of Drag Race has come to a close.  Though this was perhaps not the most astonishing season, it was not without its highlights.  Granted there were elimination shenanigans, a bizarre new Untucked format, several baffling “acting” challenges and more than a few runway disasters, but it is to the show’s credit that their core audience is still clamoring for more.  In the words of the immortal sage Laganja Estranja, “C’mon Season 8!”

This year’s top three was especially eclectic.  Glamorous hobgoblin Ginger Minj rose from the depths of the Florida swamps to stake her claim in the Drag Queefdom.  Meanwhile sassy somnambulist Pearl crab walked down the runway and into our hearts but in the end it was the beautiful, if somewhat empty, Violet Chachki who ran away with the crown.  Ginger fought valiantly for the title and for a while it seemed like she was most equipped to carry the crown.  It’s a pity that she caved into pageant drama backbiting towards the end, as it wound up turning the audience against her.  Having decidedly lost in online opinion polls, and with Pearl’s complete and total dearth of personality (or as others call it, charisma) rendering her incapable of carrying the title, the final prize ultimately had to go to Violet Chachki.  I realize that Violet isn’t the most exciting winner but I think she might be good for the audience.  Throughout the entire competition Violet’s saving grace was her unwavering confidence. Here is someone completely in control of herself, her emotions, her fate, and her destiny.  She didn’t ride to the crown off of a tragic backstory nor did she ever dwell on trauma.  It was refreshing to see someone eschew the tried and true Reality TV staples of victimhood and sympathy in favor of their own natural power.  The gay community far too often dwells on suffering and trauma. Violet had no time for that; she was too busy kicking ass.  This is the sort of attitude that is the future of the gay community, even if her art isn’t.  Besides, it was time for a porn star to finally win RuPaul’s Drag Race.

There’s been a lot of hemming and hawing in the blogosphere about this being the weakest season, but I think that there were still plenty of artistic high notes.  Katya was a particular delight and her Zdravstvuyte Kitty doll is destined to generate millions for Sanrio.  John Waters finally made an appearance on Drag Race (that blazer alone made it all worthwhile) with the Dreamlander musical challenge inspiring 14-year-olds everywhere to google Pink Flamingos.  Despite all the shit talking about season 7 not being funny, this year’s Snatch Game was first time anal tight.  I needed an entire tube of KY just to get through it.  And above all, let us never forget that it was season 7 that gave us the gift of Trixie Mattel.  Bless you, RuPaul.

Last year I was perhaps a bit harsh in my contestant rundown.  Rather than dwelling on negativity (I would be loath to be in anyway pessimistic or cynical on The Embittered Queen) I’m going to take a different tack this year.  Following the example set in the DESPY Awards challenge, instead of reading the queens I shall instead award them for their outstanding contributions to the art of cross dressing.  I present to you The Dildy Awards: Honoring Excellence in the Field of Transvestism.

And the award goes to…

Tempest DuJour: Most Outstanding DILF

Sasha Belle: Best Kim Zolciak Illusion

Jasmine Masters: Most Impractical Earrings

Mrs. Kasha Davis: Most Inventive Use of a Depends Undergarment

Kandy Ho: Filler Queen Par Excellence

Max: Most Inventive Color Scheme

Jaidynn Diore Fierce: Best Pec-Titties (This award brought to you by Burger King, in collaboration with White Castle and Long John Silvers.)

Miss Fame: Best Nude Spread

Trixie Mattel: Tastiest Nuggets in All the Land (Seriously, who knew Ronald McDonald looked so good as a blonde?)

Katya: Best Cultural Hijacking

Kennedy: Best Pube Beard

Pearl: Most Likely to Star in a Breeding Porn

Ginger: Most Prodigious Use of Black Spray Paint

Violet: Best Erotic Massage

Congratulations, Ladies!