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How Far Would You Go
BY IAN-MICHAEL BERGERON
met my friend MJ last week at Bathtub Gin on 9th Avenue (after trying to get in through Hot Sichuan next door, which did not have a bathtub OR gin). After ordering a Blonde Ambition (do blonde drinks have more fun?), I asked MJ how his boyfriend was doing.
MJ’s boyfriend booked a movie last year, set to premiere this month, with several notable stars backing up his first lead role. MJ smiled behind his Dutch Bramble. “I get to go to the premiere in LA with him.” I practically spit my drink all over the bar. “That’s so fucking exciting! Are you guys getting matching tuxes?” “No,” he answered casually, “I won’t be going IN to the movie with him. His agents say he can’t be out.” I had an immediate thought: Dump him. I am an out and loud gay male, and we are not in a time of equality—Bianca Del Rio’s new movie, “Hurricane Bianca,” reminded me of that just a few weeks ago. We have to stand up, be visible and fight for what we know is right. How could MJ stay with someone who was in the closet? “That’s fucking awful,” I finally said. I couldn’t
help it. What if my boyfriend and I couldn’t hold hands in public, or be Facebook official? Is anything real if it isn’t on Facebook? “This movie is a really big deal for him. His agents say he won’t book any jobs that aren’t ‘the gay kid’ if he’s out.” That’s exactly what Colton Haynes said—and he faced a lot of adversity from the gay community when he finally did come out. Fucked if you do, fucked if you don’t. All the same, I was appalled. MJ could tell I was conflicted, and didn’t have anything nice to say, so he said, “What wouldn’t you do for your writing?” It’s a fair question. I’ve been lucky enough to have been swooped up and babied by the gay community—from Get Out! magazine offering me this column to all of the gay men and connections who have helped me over the years. I was given the opportunity to use my gay pride as a springboard to become a writer. But what if things were different? What if, back when I had a gaythemed blog in 2013, someone said, “We love
what you write. Make it into a book. But make the love interests female, so it’s heterosexual. We’ll publish the book, and sign it with a movie deal. If you stay in the closet, you’ll be the next Nicholas Sparks.” (I cringe comparing him to myself, but you get the idea.) Would I do it? As MJ said, what wouldn’t I do for my writing? Furthermore, what if my boyfriend got the same deal as MJ’s? What would I do for love? We sat and stared at each other for a while, not speaking. I wasn’t upset at MJ, or even at his boyfriend—I was upset at myself, for not knowing the answer.
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ISSUE 286 - OCTOBER 19, 2016
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Brandon Voss & Shangela NIGHT OF THE LIVING DRAG & MADAME TUSSAUDS: A HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR BY EILEEN SHAPIRO
On October 29, Voss Events will once again present the ultimate in fabulous, frightful drag fantasy at Madame Tussauds Times Square, featuring "RuPaul's Drag Race" season 4's Willam Belli. Guests will have free reign to visit all eight scary levels, including the museum's latest exhibit, the Ghostbusters Experience. Belli will be hosting the costume contest, and DJs Hector Fonseca and Vito Fun will supply the music. Then on Halloween night, Voss Events returns with the sixthannual Night of the Living Drag, hosted by Shangela and featuring all the "RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race" season two personalities at Stage 48. Tickets for these events are available at VossEvents.com. For information, call 1-888-885-VOSS. Get Out! was fortunate to be able to speak with mastermind Brandon Voss as well as Queen Shangela about the events and what to look forward to.
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Brandon Voss What kind of preparation goes into something like the Madame Tussauds event? The museum is a lot. The “Drag Race” is easy, because I’ve been doing it for so long. With the wax museum, you have to build all the lights and sound, build the bars, get all the security. The place is humongous; you have eight floors. It’s a big undertaking, but it’s really fun. All the rides are open. You get drunk and go on the rides and wander through this giant museum. Which do you like to do better? From my perspective the “Drag Race” is easier, but from the customer’s perspective, the museum is really unique to see. You are the biggest promoter around. How did that happen? I call myself a creative agency, not a promoter. I like that. So what prompted you to become a creative agent? I kind of fell into it, to be honest with you. I used to be an investment banker. It was a totally different life. I worked at Lehman Brothers in the height of the financial crisis, and it collapsed obviously. I found myself without a job. At the time it was the height of the recession, and there weren’t many jobs in my field. A buddy of mine had just opened
this restaurant/bar/ lounge, and this was back in 2009 before Hell’s Kitchen was a gay place. When I was in graduate school, I worked in a lot of places like Splash and G Lounge, so I kind of knew people. So he suggested that I do a party, and I had nothing else to do, I was unemployed, so I did it, and it was called Rockit. It ran all the way up until they opened the new XL. We did that party for maybe five years. From there we opened Club 57, and eventually we opened up XL. So I started doing it as a hobby, and I made a lot of money doing it. About a year and a half ago we stopped doing clubs and stuff, and weekly parties. It’s just special events we produce [now].
house. There’s a lot going on.
Do you like Halloween? I do. It’s actually my favorite holiday. I love New York City for Halloween. I think New York City does Halloween the best. New York City is the last place I want to be on New Year’s Eve, but I’m there for Halloween.
No she did not! She was doing Night if the Living Drag, and she did a death drop, broke her leg and was in the hospital for two months. So one year it was really scary!
What can one expect walking into the museum? You can expect to see a pretty big spectacle. We’re going to have over 2,000 people there, and on the first floor there are three different dance floors. There are different stages, people performing there. We decorate the whole place. We turn off all the lights to the Ghostbusters haunted
Willam is hosting it? Yeah, Willam is hosting the costume contest. One thing we are doing different this year, we are giving them a map when they come in. Bianca hosted last year, and they couldn’t find her. So this year we’re giving people a map so they can find everything. How long is the party? It goes from 10 p.m. to 4 in the morning. Madame Tussauds is on Saturday, October 29, and Night of the Living Drag is on Halloween. This is the sixth year that we’ve done this, Night of the Living Drag, and Shangela is hosting. Did you hear that she broke her leg?
So for Night of the Living Drag, you are going to have all of the “All Stars,” even the ones who quit? Typically I do all the premier events and the finale events for Logo. They had a change over this year, so I didn’t do it for “All Stars,” and the season’s ending is a week before Halloween. So it worked out as a kind of finale for the show and a Halloween party. We have every single one, the whole cast.
Are you coming in costume? Maybe for the “Drag Race.” Maybe I’ll do drag for my first time. You’d make a pretty queen. What do you mean I’d make a pretty queen? Is that a compliment or an insult? A compliment, of course. Anything else coming up for you? Any new projects? There are two things coming up. Well, we have the drag brunch every Sunday at Hard Rock Cafe now. Starting in November we have a new project that’s kind of interesting. Did you ever see those buses call The Ride? Yes, I have. We’re going to create a gay ride virtually. It’s going to go from the bars in Hell’s Kitchen down to Stonewall, and there will be performances on the way. Actors on the street, and drag, and it will eventually come back to Hell’s Kitchen. It’s from 11 to 1 a.m. We’re calling it The Night Ride.
Shangela So what will you be doing for this fabulous Halloween extravaganza? I am hosting once again the Night of the Living Drag. Last year Willam and I co-hosted the show, and this year I’ll be taking the reigns and hosting the show myself. So I’m excited.
Well, you are a great host, and such a pretty boy. Thank you. What can the audience expect from you? When you come to see Shangela, there will always be surprises, whether inside a box or outside. One thing I’m excited about this year is we are doing the entire “All Stars” cast. Honey, even the ones that quit come out for Halloween. I’m supposed to ask you how you broke your leg. Oh, well, a couple of years ago I was doing this event—this event and I have a wonderful, long history together—and about four years ago I was performing for the Halloween show in New York City and went out for a super death drop. I came down and broke my leg on stage. I still continued with the performance for at least another 45 seconds. I’m a dedicated professional. I bounced back, and we had such an awesome time last year. How is “Cocktails and Classics” going? Awesome. We just finished filming our fourth season, and I was so excited, because I did all 10 episodes. Michael Urie is fantastic, and there is a whole new line up of films that I am so so excited for you guys to see. I can’t let them out of the bag, but I’ll just say that I had a Shangie’s choice, so I can’t wait to tell you! What are you performing for Halloween? I’m going to do a fantastic
opening number. You’ll see me all night, because I’ll be hosting the entire show. There’s no way you can get rid of Shangie. Is there anything else that you want to promote for yourself? I want to encourage everyone to check out the new film that I co-star in, “Hurricane Bianca.” I was very excited to see it for the first time at the premiere in New York. That was really awesome, and people are just giving me such great feedback online. It’s not only available in the U.S., but it’s also available all over the world. What part do you play? I play Bianca’s best friend in the film. It’s really well done, and the director is out of New York, but the producer, funny enough, is actually from my hometown, a small town in the northeast of Texas. So that was a funny connection that we had. Anything else? One awesome thing is that The House of Edwards, me, Alyssa and Laganja, are putting out a holiday album this season, right before Thanksgiving. The last thing is, I’m excited to get back on the road, traveling and performing. I just finished a six-month residency in Las Vegas. I did 120 shows this summer. I have wrapped that show up, and now I’m back visiting the U.S. and traveling all around the world.
Shangela @itsSHANGELA ShangelaOnline
Madame Tussauds Halloween Saturday, October 29, 2016 11:00 PM 234 West 42nd Street New York, NY 10036 6th Annual Night of the Living Drag Monday, October 31, 2016 9:00 PM Stage 48 605 W. 48th Street New York, New York 10036 For tickets and more information, visit: VossEvents.com
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Mitch and Bob Bob How long have you and Mitch been working together?
Technically when I started working at The Monster a little over two years ago. He hired me as a promoter, but we didn’t work together creatively until the song “Purse First” (available in iTunes).
“Purse First” was a phenomenon that took over the gay scene. How was the writing process?
First I came up with the concept for the song, then I mentioned to Mitch that I really wanted to write it with him, and I tried my best to describe what the song sounds like in my head. Then
he added his own flair, and the rest is HERstory. Are you working on any music right now?
We have a project that we are looking to finish before Halloween, and I don’t wanna ruin it, but she gonna be cute. What is The Only Bloodbath...a party, a show?
Girl, this is an EXPERIENCE! You’re going to have me, Kim Chi and about 15 of NYC’s best drag queens and promoters. I also think you are witnessing the dawn of a new team of promoters. I am so excited to get to work with Mitch on this and future projects.
Mitch When did you first meet Bob?
I randomly met with a friend at Barracuda one night a few years back. I thought I was in for just another drag show, and, like the rest of NYC (and eventually the world), I was blown away by the genius level of comedy and performance that was being brought to the stage by Bob the Drag Queen. I introduced myself after the show, and eventually we started working together when the opportunities presented themselves. How long have you been working in nightlife?
I started working at
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WILSONMODELS PHOTO EDIT BY
The Monster as a barback in November of 2007, so it’s been a while! I’ve had the privilege of working there in the heart of the West Village where gay pride began. The Monster is one of the most iconic gay venues in the world. It has something for everyone and demands that you leave any pretentiousness at the door. It’s from an era that was before the Internet and understands that at their core, people want to go out and actually meet and speak with other gay people. The owner, Charlie Rice, and GM Italo Lopez understand that, and that’s why after 35 years it’s still successful and busy seven nights a week to this day. You’ve been promoting parties there for a few years, yes?
Yes, I started about four or five years ago with MANSTER Saturdays, a party that pays homage to the Monster’s core values: acceptance of everyone, good music, great drinks and two floors of fun. Now I also coproduce a Friday night party called Kwir (Queer) with Yamil X. You’re quickly gaining fame as a DJ and producer thanks to the success of projects like “Purse
First.” When did DJing and production become a big part of your career?
I’ve always had a musical background. I played the alto saxophone and some piano as a kid. Then flash forward to bartending in the disco at The Monster. After about four or five years of watching and listening to what really got people to go bananas on the dance floor, I found myself collecting dance music and imagining myself taking control of the DJ booth. From there I taught myself how to DJ and then eventually produce music. Now you’re also producing parties outside of The Monster?
Yes, it started when Bob had the idea to do The Only Viewing Party at The Highline Ballroom. I organized the event, and it was such a nice time, and people really seemed to love it. From there Bob and I have created The Only Production Company, where we will be producing a wide array of things from music and events to videos, etc. So Bloodbath is coming to us from “The Only”?
Yes, it’s another party from The Only. It’s going to be really amazing.
We’re giving away $3,000 for best costume. Bob the Drag Queen and Kim Chi will be headlining. There will be performances from Bob, Pixie Aventura and Dusty Ray Bottoms. There will also be about 15 other legendary NYC queens hosting the event. To top it all off, we have one of NYC’s own biggest DJ’s, DJ Dawson, who will keep the floor hot all night. It’s a dance party, it’s a show, it’s a costume contest, and it’s going to be an immersive experience. It’s really The Only thing to do on Halloween weekend! Bob the Drag Queen & The Only Productions Present:
The Only Bloodbath
Sunday, October 30 at Copacabana 268 W 47th St. (8th Ave)
Tickets at theonlybloodbath.com Purse First is available for download on iTunes and all major multimedia outlets.
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Corona NYC LGBT Industry Event @ Lucky Strikes by JJ MACK