For the first time in my life, I was on time for an event.
Mostly, I think I was just worried that I wouldn’t be able to get into the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 9 Premiere Party. There was some confusion earlier in the day about whose name was on the list, and sure enough mine wasn’t. A quick email later, the coordinators put a hot pink wristband on my boyfriend and me and ushered us inside.
We followed throngs of people into the Playstation Theater, but a man in a SECURITY t-shirt stopped us. “Pink wristbands go this way,” he said, indicating toward an empty hallway to our left. We obeyed, and another security man let us into the theater.
We realized, immediately, that we were in the VIP section. (I was glad I bought a new pair of silk pants from Theory for the occasion.) We went over to the drinks table for something to start with, but when we went to pay, the bartender smiled: “Oh, nope, pink wristbands are open bar.” We tipped extra and searched for a table with the best view of the screen; I asked a blonde man if the seats next to him were taken.
“No, darling!” he exclaimed, turning around. “Please, sit with us!” I recognized him immediately: infamous club kid Richie Rich, all done up with beautiful eyeshadow and sequins galore.
We left our coats as seat savers and wandered the room. I made a beeline for James Michael Nichols, deputy editor for Queer Voices at The Huffington Post, and Noah Michelson, the editorial director for HuffPost Voices.
“Ian-Michael,” my boyfriend whispered as I started my second drink, “that’s Mrs. Kasha Davis!” I ran over to her, pretending we were familiar. “Hi!” I sang, “it’s so good to see you! Love your earrings. Have you met my boyfriend, Adam?” He was enamored, even more so when she responded to his tweet about how delightful she was.
After Richie Rich introduced me to Drew Elliott, the creative director of Paper magazine and judge on “America’s Next Top Model,” and “Top Model” finalist India (who, I found out when watching the finale the following evening, won), they introduced the queens. Alexis Michelle, a favorite of mine I first saw singing live at Boots and Saddle, stunned in a white dress that I can only describe as upside-down, creating a table top around her waist, with vibrant lavender hair. Completing the pastel fantasy were queens Farrah Moan, her cotton-candy-colored hair matching a gorgeous feather ensemble, and Brooklyn’s own Aja, with powder blue hair to match her shoes. (Her dress was made completely from clear PVC.)
Before showing the first episode, RuPaul HERSELF showed up to introduce the new season. Wearing those signature glasses and a plaid suit jacket, he announced that Lady Gaga would be in the first episode, joking, “We tried to get Lady Bunny, but she turned us down.” Lady Bunny, who was DJing the event, just laughed—and laughed harder when RuPaul called out, “You are a whore!” RuPaul talked about his original talk show, which aired on VH1, “RuPaul’s Drag Race’s” new home. “I’m coming home,” he smiled.
Of course, the episode was gag-worthy (I’m only a little embarrassed that I use this term, but I really only use it when watching “Drag Race”), but I was most excited to see the girls’ performances afterward.
Eureka O’Hara blew me away lip-syncing to the “Milk Milk Lemonade” skit by Amy Schumer in a pink sequin leotard, and I lost it when Peppermint came out IN a giant plastic ball. Nina Bo’Nina Brown had the most impressive (if the strangest) face, done up in monkey prosthetics, and bringing the strangest performance was Sasha Velour with an avant-garde piece. But it was Alexis Michelle who really stole the show, singing “All That Jazz” live, complete with backup dancers.
As the night ended, I realized the girls this season are killing it, and I have no idea who my favorites are. Or maybe I just drank too much at the open bar to sort it out in my head. Whatever the case, you’ll be able to find me every Friday, dressed up in some gay bar, watching the new season with glee.