Recapping Drag Race: And Chi Chi DeVayne’s Telling You She’s Not Going

chi-chi-thorgy-lip-syncChi Chi DeVayne lip-syncs for her life on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (World of Wonder Productions/Passion Distribution)

Does anyone still own a TV? No! That’s why I’m recapping the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race by hopping from bar to Brooklyn bar where you can watch the show live every Monday night. This week, I hit up Pizza Party, located at 254 Irving Avenue off the Myrtle-Wyckoff M/L.

The queens got political on Monday night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, crafting mock attack ads against one another in the pursuit of becoming America’s next drag president.

But before I dive into this week’s episode, I want to take a quick second to remind you all that New York state’s presidential primaries are today. So, whether you’re voting for Bernie or Hillary or even end of list, go look up your local polling site and vote, vote, vote! Unless you’re not registered as a Democrat or a Republican, in which case you’re not allowed to vote in either party’s respective primary. Or you can’t vote because you’re not yet registered to vote period, as New York does not allow same-day registration. Or you can’t vote because your employer doesn’t respect your legally mandated right to go do so in our state. Voter suppression is real! And these are far from the worst examples of it! But back to the recap…

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Bob the Drag Queen recruits on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (World of Wonder Productions/Passion Distribution)

After nearly auto-piloting my way onto a Manhattan-bound L, I hopped on the correct Rockaway Parkway-bound train headed for Pizza Party, located a short walk northwest of the Myrtle-Wyckoff subway station. The semi-new bar slash pizza joint is owned by the same people who run Boobie Trap across the street, and the décor definitely reflects that place’s retro-tweenage sleepover aesthetic. But in case you stopped paying attention past the word pizza, yes—this place serves pizza along with its booze.

As for the crowd assembled behind the bar’s nearly 20-foot counter, I think that Pizza Party’s Drag Race night—hosted by Severely Mame—might have been the most dragged-out viewing party I’ve been to thus far. So if you’re looking to swim in a sea of looks as you take shots, scarf down pizza, and “BOO!” Derrick Barry’s every move, I can’t recommend a better place.

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Flyer for Pizza Party’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing party (Photo via Instagram/@ironingmaiden)

Episode seven kicked off with a mini-challenge that saw the queens sorting Pit Crew members onto either the top or the bottom bunk of a bunk bed, based on whether the contestants thought said member was a top or a bottom. Derrick won the mini-challenge, so who cares! The mini-challenge is now dumb, and I hate it.

This week’s “Shady Politics” maxi-challenge found the top six splitting off into three teams of two: Derrick with Bob the Drag Queen, Chi Chi DeVayne with Thorgy Thor, and Kim Chi with Naomi Smalls. Each pair was tasked with creating dueling sets of political attack ads, as if the both members of the duos were running for president against one another. Out on the runway, the queens channeled Detox’s season five finale black-and-white paint job for a monochrome fantasy. More importantly, guest judge Vivica A. Fox repeatedly name-dropped Grace Jones’ Boomerang character, Strangé, which is as good a reason as any to rewatch this and this and sure why not also this.

While most of the spots proved entertaining—Bob’s, Kim’s, and Naomi’s in particular—the most interesting political elements were found in the ways race and marginalization figured into the episode. Kim’s ad flipped the script on the “no fats, no femmes, no Asians” refrain found all too frequently on gay hookup app profiles, encouraging voters to pick her precisely because she represents all of the above. Chi Chi, when asked by the judges to own her country accent, got real about code-switching and how, up until the competition, she had always been taught that her countryness was a hindrance to her success. Bob slipped in some off the cuff references to Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager whose shooting death at the hands of Florida racist George Zimmerman—and his subsequent acquittal!—catalyzed contemporary #BlackLivesMatter activism. Even RuPaul called something racist—and meant it sincerely! Is this even the same show that produced “RuCo’s Empire” four weeks ago? Mr. Krabs meme! But I’m into it.

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Thorgy Thor during elimination on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (World of Wonder Productions/Passion Distribution)

Bob and Derrick took home the challenge win in the end, and Thorgy and Chi Chi lip-synced for their lives to “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from 1981 Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Chi Chi embodied all kinds of Jennifer Holliday and was asked to stay. Thorgy—who inexplicably whipped out a cartwheel during the song’s final dramatic “meeeeee!”—sashayed away, leaving Brooklyn without a hometown queen in the race. At least Bob the [one true New York] Drag Queen [to rule them all] is still standing, plus three other contestants who are also not Derrick.

Until next time!

P.S. Vote.

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