Derrick Barry on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (World of Wonder Productions/Passion Distribution)
Does anyone still own a TV? No! Or at least I don’t. 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 Macri Park, located at 462 Union Avenue off the Lorimer L/Metropolitan G.
There is a correlation between how horrible a person is, the platform that person has to spread their horribleness, and the palpable danger said person poses. When Iggy Azalea topped the Billboard Hot 100 with “Fancy” back in 2014, the sudden success of her intentionally decontextualized use of a musical genre rooted in American blackness felt threatening and in immediate need of extinguishing. But following her subsequent decline in relevance, Azalea’s “verbal blackface” — as Jean Grae described her vocal styling — feels far less a cause for concern. Her damage is done, to be sure, but, to paraphrase Glinda the Good Witch, she has no power here. And her “artistic” efforts, though they show no growth based on her past callings out, barely register as a result.
This is all to say that Derrick “Keeps Repeatedly Says Bob the Drag Queen Only Does ‘Ratchet Drag'” Barry is no more. She came, she saw, she wore two metallic horse cocks on his shoulders, and she failed to conquer, sashaying away from RuPaul’s Drag Race amidst plenty of booing from the crowd gathered at Macri Park on Monday night. While she remained on Logo’s flagship program, I was unable to have a nuanced view of her; she needed to go, and she needed to go immediately. But now that she’s gone, I feel a release. And it feels great. Almost as great as the feeling that will wash over me once Bob the Drag Queen takes this shit for real at the finale in about three weeks.
Bob the Drag Queen, just before this week’s lip sync (World of Wonder Productions/Passion Distribution)
This week’s episode of Drag Race saw the queens taking part in the reality show’s annual Paris is Burning (and ballroom scene in general)-inspired ball challenge, turning out looks in three different categories — Baby Drag Realness, That’s My Mama Realness, and Autobiographical Eleganza Extravaganza — in the hopes of making it to the top four. Siblings Amy and David Sedaris served as guest judges, and the younger of the two Sedarii also served as inspiration for the ball’s Jerri Blank tribute of an opening number. In a word, it was fandango. In two words, hobo? hobocamp?
In the end, Kim Chi garnered top marks at the Book Ball — her first maxi challenge win since week one’s “Keeping It 100!” runway. That means that she and Bob are tied with two challenge wins apiece going into next week’s music video challenge, while remaining competitors Naomi Smalls and Chi Chi DeVayne both have one. Speaking of Bob, the unflappable New York queen landed in the bottom two and was sentenced to lip-sync for her life against Derrick Barry to Sylvester’s inimitable disco classic “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” Bob’s shantay was assured from the start. It was all in the eye contact; Derrick stared off into space as if in an imagined trance of what feeling mighty real might possibly mean, while Bob kept the judging panel squarely in her crosshairs from start to finish. Really, RuPaul’s as yet unseen fan dance said it all.
RuPaul faaaans herself wildly during this week’s lip sync (World of Wonder Productions/Passion Distribution)
“The winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race season eight is probably gonna be Bob the Drag Queen,” Alotta McGriddles told me on Macri Park’s back patio during a commercial break.
Alotta, who co-hosts the Williamsburg bar’s weekly Drag Race viewing party alongside Crimson Kitty, Heidi Glüm, and Lady Simon, was out of drag due to an untimely eye infection the night of her event. But she and her co-hosts, like Beyoncé over this past weekend, turned lemons into lemonade, shifting their all-night drag affair into a comparatively mellow out of drag-themed night with an anonymous audience Q&A post-show.
“My favorite is my sister, Thorgy Thor,” Alotta told me of the show’s recently departed Brooklyn queen. “Thorgy’s gone, so nothing matters for me. But the top three — based on the manipulations I’ve seen this season — are going to be Bob, Kim, and Chi Chi.”
One of these alleged manipulations, according to the post-show Q&A, was that Thorgy and Chi Chi were supposed to lip-sync to Sylvester last week. But, Alotta told the crowd, the producers purportedly switched the track to Jennifer Holliday’s Dreamgirls showstopper “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” while the queens were filming Untucked backstage during judging that week. Citation needed? Sure. But juicy nonetheless.
Lady Simon, Alotta McGriddles, Heidi Glüm, and Crimson Kitty (Photo via Alotta McGriddles’ Instagram, @alottadom)
Alotta wasn’t sad to see Derrick Barry sashay away at the end of this week’s episode.
“She’s very defensive about everything and not willing to grow,” she said. “But I don’t think the hate she gets [like the countless rounds of ‘BOOOOO!!!!’ she received at Macri Park Monday night] was totally justified. I respect Derrick for what she does, I just think that, being a Brooklyn queen, my eyes are very open to all different aesthetics and types of drag, and I don’t think that she understands that concept. But I do respect her for being on the Las Vegas strip.”
So do I. And I couldn’t be happier about her return.