Last night was the big party at Providence on W. 57th in NYC celebrating the season finale of season three of RuPaul's Drag Race, which—as you undoubtedly know by now—was unsurprisingly won by longtime front-runner Raja.
Women on the verge
I didn't do the bash, but did the preceding press event, which was probably five times or more larger than a similar event I covered last year. Nine (!) of the queens showed up (but no RuPaul and no judges) for our interviewing pleasure, and I got to meet an adorable Boy Culture reader from Passport, a candidate for Mr. Friendly Hunk-of-the-Year who works for Networq, an A-List: New York producer (I did not smack him, and he told me he loves all the boys, especially Ryan) and saw my pals Ian and Mike and Mark and more.
When I arrived, Raja, Carmen Carrera (barefoot!) and Mimi Imfurst were milling about outside, greeting fans. Mimi looked a bit put out that so much attention was being showered on Raja, but I think everyone knew Raja was going to win, and Mimi's look was not only fierce, it was fearsome—in a good way!—so maybe the fanboys and fangirls were a bit more shy.
Inside, we lined up to take pictures and video as the girls paraded before a step-and-repeat. A regal-looking (read: the bitch was carrying a scepter!) Manila Luzon definitely seemed to generate the most excitement, followed by a Goth Yara Sofia, looking like a gorgeous courtesan who'd just dug herself out of her grave for a second chance at life.
A queen and her subjects
It was kind of a Q&A S&M, which is what I call it ("round-robin" is too Tiger Beat) when you just have to grab whichever subject is closest for your questioning and/or stand in painfully long lines if others have beaten you to the punch.
Here are my thoughts, along with video—I asked each to tell me about their "last drag, first drag, best drag, worst drag" stories—to back them up:
This year was really fun, with one major exception—I was red-carpet robbed by this jerk who was with Ricky Martin. More on that later.
GLAAD was happy with my past coverage, so they granted me an extra body on the carpet—my partner José attended as my cameraman. We were placed just after a large column and between an adorable guy working for AfterElton (Tim O'Leary) with his pretty friend and someone's tripod. I liked our positioning in that we were at the very front of the online media and the column meant no pushing.
But the first star we encountered had been before we even got to our spots—we'd run into Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God. checking in. Joe was a nominee for his blog (the first time GLAAD has nominated blogs...about time!) and was convinced Pam of Pam's House Blend would win. "I'd bet the Powerball on it," he'd confided. (Later, he totally won, as I expected, but he had no idea until some attendees informed him since the category wasn't deemed worthy of inclusion in the actual program.)
Joe rocks (every time someone said "rock" or "Rokk," Rokk Vodka donated $100 to GLAAD)
Considering some of the stars scheduled, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the carpet—Tina Fey was a nominee but didn't walk (come the fuck on, Tina), Patrick Wilson was a presenter but also was a no-show (perhaps wisely fearing being devoured and eaten a la Sebastien Venable) and the Rev. Al Sharpton was on hand to give an award to Russell Simmons but did not do press. Vinny Guadagnino from Jersey Shore? Fuhgeddaboudit.
We made the evening our belated anniversary celebration
But on the other hand, the stars who actually did the carpet were nice and fun, and even Ricky Martin himself did lots and lots of press. Just not me. We're getting to it.
My first carpet catch was 17-year-old Bianca "Nikki" Peet, a dynamic girl who was initially denied the opportunity to form a gay-straight alliance at her Corpus Christi high school but whose perseverance against Principal James Crenshaw paid off—she now has her GSA club! She was the picture of intestinal fortitude in her wheelchair, her eyeshadow as sparkling as her personality.
Next up was Jarrett Barrios, who explained to me how GLAAD decides what's offensive and what isn't; a hard task, I can agree, considering the varied opinions my own occasionally outraged posts sometimes elicit. You think something is duh-obviously offensive—like that Vanity Fair piece casually calling the Glee boys "fags," GLAAD (among many others) points it out, then you read AfterElton sniping that it was no big deal. (In context, the writer was gay and felt it was an ironic or "cheeky" usage...which to me was not as readily apparent as, say, during a viewing Wet Hot American Summer.) I asked him about this more in reference to Ron Howard's "so gay" joke, which I think is a lot more in those troubled waters of nuance where a large part—if not the majority—of the public would not go along with calling it offensive.
Dapper Mike Ruiz, from The Gray List
Mike Ruiz was warm and quite dashing up close—no poodle hair! He was happy to talk about why The A-List: New York seems to have at least as many haters as lovers and to introduce his boyf to anyone who asked.
I'm not a regular The Fabulous Beekman Boys watcher, but José is, and he warned me not to ask about "the pig." I knew it referred to them killing a pig they'd raised, but I imagine, "Don't ask them about the pig!" could be good advice before interviewing just about any reality TV stars.
Boys of the red carpet Zac Young (Top Chef: Just Desserts) & Wilson Cruz
Of course I dirty-love and clean-admire Wilson Cruz—who doesn't, and why don't they? I asked him about the Glee kiss, his recent excursion into shirtlessness in bars and his pet cause (and it's much deeper than that phrase), LGBT teen homelessness.
Gail Simmons of Top Chef: Just Desserts—I don't think it was a boob query
Jane Velez-Mitchell—with her bombshell girlfriend, who she meet at last year's GLAAD Media Awards—was the picture of poise and confidence, picking the Westboro clan as the gay story of the year when I asked her to choose something. The carpet had gotten a bit clogged up, so I almost missed her while jockeying to get some time with the event's host, Andy Cohen.
I'd never met Andy, so wasn't sure what to expect. I think I thought he'd be bubblier or more flirtatious but he definitely wasn't a stick in the mud. I stumped him with a question, but he recovered and was game to talk Housewives a bit. As he departed, he muttered, "My breath is atrocious!" and got some kind of oral relief from his PR walker, but it really wasn't...maybe it was mine!
Laverne Cox of TRANSform Me is as stunning as you'd expect, about eight feel tall and not shy with her "girls" or her opinions—her desire to transform Charlie Sheen was genuine and fierce.