Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Drag365: Show #1- Drag Wars at Pieces

Shequida and the Cast of Drag Wars // photo by Michael Block

Day: Monday, January 1st

Show: Drag Wars

Location: Pieces Bar (8 Christopher St.)

Queens Seen: Shequida (@shequidahall), Betty UBttm (@betty_ubttm), Black Widow (@dancing_mimmzy), Egypt (@therealegypt), Emerald Rose (@the_emeraldrose), Esmierda (@esmierdalareina), Labyrinth (@the_only_labyrinth), Nicole Onoscopi (@nicoleonoscopi) Vitani (@vitanithegoddess)

Black Widow // photo by Michael Block
It’s a new year and a new adventure! I’m embarking on a new journey by attempting to see at least 365 drag shows by the time the year is out. Perhaps I’ll even surpass 365 different queens! Each event will get its own little write up, recapping the show. Perhaps this is a way to connect fans to new queens and events in NYC. Maybe these mini reviews will be a sort of Yelp for Drag. We shall see as the journey evolves!
To kick off 2018, I visited Pieces for the first Drag Wars of the year. Hosted by the incomparable Shequida, this weekly competition pits the next generation of drag artists against one another to take home a weekly cash prize and the title of winner of the week. At Drag Wars, weekly winners are granted an opportunity to defend their title through a performance of their own. The winner of the field takes on the reigning queen in a battle of applause, as Shequida deems the winner.
Nicole Onoscopi // photo by Michael Block
Being the first of the year, the field was light. This night’s competition also marked the reigning queen, DD, being absent to defend her thrown, leaving it wide open for anyone to win. Seven emerging queens warred on the dance floor, entertaining the crowd. This battle featured some stellar queens including Labrynth, Vitani, Black Widow, Emerald Rose, Nicole Onoscopi, Esmierda, and Egypt. The night was a mostly mix-free night with a whole lot of dancing. But it was the night’s eventual winner Black Widow who stole the show with her “Black Swan” inspired opening segueing into a perfect Beyonce. Black Widow landed in the top three alongside GLAM award nominee Egpyt and newcomer Nicole Onoscopi.
Egypt // photo by Michael Block
Sure, the competition itself is the source of entertainment, but when you have a legend hosting the evening, you never know what else is going to happen. Let’s just say this night was fabulously unhinged. Audience participation is a staple of a drag show. With the help of Shequida, we met a lot of fascinating creatures including the “half black, half Eueropean” girl at the front table, Ben from Amsterdam and his stripper friend Bella, and the homeless man who stumbled in from the cold. The man was so sweet, he even offered Shequida his blanket as he watched the remainder of the show from the bar. We also learned that when Shequida wants something, she gets it. Like 2 Euros. She also considered the idea of changing her name to the classy Ava Gina, but TSA would probably have a field day with that. With a smaller crop of queens competing, Shequida gave a special treat by performing an aria from “Queen of the Night.” If you haven’t seen her perform opera live, you must. We were also granted a special performance from a Drag Wars staple, Betty Ubttm performing “I Don’t Like To Show Off.”
2018 has kicked off right! Drag Wars is an incredible opportunity for rising queens to get their feet wet in a safe environment. It’s also a place where these queens can test out new looks and numbers for future use. Journey over to Pieces one Monday night and you are bound to see the Next Generation of NYC drag.