How did you like RuPaul's present to you? Sooo sneaky but you were glad to see Shangela again, weren't you? We loved seeing how the other queens reacted to the return of the first contestant eliminated from the second season. We admit--we have a soft spot for Shangela, especially after we saw what a great job she did on "Terriers." Girlfriend can act!
The surprise twist has made us want to create our own holiday tradition. From now on, under our Christmas tree, there will be at least one drag queen in a box. Promise.
The Times visited the set of Logo's big hit in July and chatted with Shangela about her second shot at becoming America's drag superstar, among other things. Listen for yourself:
Since RuPaul is full of secrets, we thought we'd try to learn a few things about the world's first drag superstar herself. Here's the dish from five of the 13 contestants. They appear in the following order:
Manila Luzon, 25, of New York City; Shangela, 28, of Los Angeles; Yara Sofia, 26, of Puerto Rico; Raja, 36, of West Hollywood; and Alexis Mateo, 30, of St. Petersburg, Fla. (Special treat: We allowed Yara Sofia to speak in her native Spanish. Sorry if you don't comprende her lingo.)
The third season of "RuPaul's Drag Race" kicks off Monday on Logo at 10 p.m. (Though if you're a big fan, you'll probably want to see the casting special that will air at 9 p.m.).
The Los Angeles Times visited the set of the reality competition in search of the next drag superstar in July and interviewed a few of the contestants.
In the two videos below, four draq queens share their best and worst career drag moments as well as their best and worst moments on the TV show. Can we get an amen?
The contestants appear in the following order:
Manila Luzon, 25, of New York City; Yara Sofia, 26, of Puerto Rico; Raja, 36, of West Hollywood; and Alexis Mateo, 30, of St. Petersburg, Fla. (Special treat: We allowed Yara Sofia to speak in her native Spanish. Sorry if you don't comprende her lingo.)
Hallaloo! The most creative reality competition show on television is back Monday for its third season. (How is that even possible? Season 3 of "RuPaul's Drag Race" already?)
And there are some changes afoot on Logo's quest to find America's next drag superstar. A new judge will be seated at the table with RuPaul and Santino Rice: RuPaul's longtime BFF, Michelle Visage, a morning radio host, among many other things.
Visage told the Los Angeles Times during a set visit in July that she had always wanted to be a part of her best friend's show, but her day job had kept her away. The guest-judges roster also includes an eclectic bunch: LaToya Jackson as well as Chloë Sevigny,Wayne Brady and Sharon Osbourne.
For the first time, host-judge-mentor extraordinaire RuPaul will let viewers behind the scenes of the casting process in a special that will air at 9 p.m. Monday, an hour before the third season kicks off with a 90-minute episode. And, yes, "Untucked," is back too and will follow "RuPaul's Drag Race" each week.
The contestants hail from all over the United States and Puerto Rico. The L.A. Times visited the Culver City set in July and observed some of the drag queens getting ready in the workroom for a three-tier hair challenge sure to leave viewers breathless. Seen preparing and rehearsing in the video below are: Raja, 36, of West Hollywood; Yara Sofia, 26, of Puerto Rico; Alexis Mateo, 30, of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Manila Luzon, 25, of New York City.
The Times also interviewed judges Santino Rice, Michelle Visage and Wayne Brady.
Coming Friday: video chats with some of the contestants.
Wednesday night, we spent a little time with the rich and gaymous, which is to say we watched the first episode of Logo's new reality series "The A-List: New York."
You may know this show by its nickname, "Gay Housewives." It was once titled "Kept," which we really liked.
Produced by True Entertainment ("The Real Housewives of Atlanta"), the series follows "boys who brunch" in New York City. But these are no ordinary brunching boys. They're members of Manhattan's gay elite, and the show follows their exploits from "boardroom to benefit to beach house to bedroom." (Those are quotes from a charming Logo news release.)
And did we say they're all gorgeous? Do not make the mistake of ordering Mexican takeout before you watch the first episode. Trust us. Along with beauty, there's plenty of bitchiness, of course.
The blogosphere has been reacting strongly to the trailer you can watch above, which Logo released this week. Perez Hilton was beside himself. Others woo-hooed.
We think "The A List" could become an addiction.
Because we don't want to ruin the fun, we won't spoil the first episode. But we'd like to introduce the men by way of things they told us about themselves in the pilot:
Bragging rights: "My claim to fame is that I won 'The Amazing Race" and I was in a very public relationship with Lance Bass. And then through being seen together, he was kind of forced out of the closet and it still follows me around. But I don't like that to represent me."
Hot button: "I am afraid that people are going to laugh at my dancing." (He starred in "My Big Italian Gay Wedding" off Broadway).
Bragging rights: "My claim to fame is that I transform celebrities. What I do is I take them out of context and style-wise just change them and present them in a way that's jarring to the general public. I would have to say that I'm probably one of the most in-demand celebrity photographers in the world."
Hot button: "Vanity is subjective. I have a healthier relationship with my appearance. I'm not 21 anymore, so I like to take care of myself. I need to stay on top of things. Otherwise things start falling apart really fast. I like to take care of myself and look attractive for my partner and attractive for, you know, everyone. Yes, yes, I'm vain. I'm guilty."
Bragging rights: "I own one of the top downtown salons. On any given day, you can come into my salon and run into Pamela Anderson, Isaac Mizrahi and Rachael Ray."
Hot button: "Desmond is my Mr. Big. Not that I'm really Carrie Bradshaw, but he's definitely my Mr. Big."
Bragging rights: "My biggest claim to fame would have to be the time I spent with famed designer Marc Jacobs. Our friendship led to a relationship. And then Marc swooped me away into his world that is all luxury and glamour. And I loved it. I just didn't know how to handle it."
Hot button: "Every time my name is mentioned, I want Marc's name to be nonexistent."
Derek Lloyd Saathoff
Bragging rights: "I never have to wait behind a velvet rope. My name is on every VIP list in the city. I'm friends with Lindsay Lohan. She stays at my apartment when she's in New York. Seann William Scott is a close friend of mine. I'm photographed and written about in blogs, in magazines. If you're reading about me on Monday morning, it was a fierce weekend."
Hot button: "I'm obsessed with spray tanning. If I look in the mirror and I see a pale face, I instantly shriek. I'm like 'AHH, I have to spray tan.' It's instant. No one sees me without it. It's almost like putting on your face. Girls wake up and put on makeup. I wake up and put on a spray tan."
Rodiney Santiago (Reichen's boyfriend)
Bragging rights as told by Reichen: "Rodiney is a model. He's done really well in Brazil, in Miami, and L.A. And now he wants to establish himself as a model in New York. And that's really hard to do."
Hot button: "Reichen is working all day, and I feel kind of alone, by myself here. And I have to figure out everything by myself. ... Do you think I'm going to find some agents here? Do you think it's going to be easy?"
No, it's not. But neither is all the working out we're going to have to do while this show is on the air. Incidentally, it premieres Oct. 4.
Special request for Logo: Can T.J. (Ryan's best friend) be added as a lead? We love it when he says "delicious."
The surgeons of the outrageous medical drama "Nip/Tuck" are checking into Logo.
The gay-oriented cable network announced Thursday that they had acquired syndication rights for "Nip/Tuck" and will start broadcasting episodes this October. The series stars Dylan Walsh and Julian McMahon and was created by Ryan Murphy, the creator of Fox's hit "Glee."
Installments for the drama, which originally aired on FX, will air in three-episode stacks on one night during prime time, with a new stack each week. All 100 episodes of the series, which ran for seven seasons before concluding this year, will be shown.
"The celebrity guests, moments of jaw-dropping outrageousness and honest depiction of its gay characters and their friends made the series a perfect fit for our audience," said Marc Leonard, Logo's senior vice president of multiplatform programming, "At the end of the day, we see it as a love story between two straight guys who are challenged by the family that they've created -- and that's pretty fierce."
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Oh. My. God. Do we have dragalicious news for you!
A "RuPaul's Drag Race" spinoff is in the works. "Drag U" is a special university that enrolls "biological women" in an attempt to get them in touch with their inner divas.
And who are the professors? "RuPaul's Drag Race" contestants, that's who!
Can you imagine taking makeup lessons from Raven? Or picking up self-love tips from Nina Flowers? Or overall fabulousness instruction from Queen Bebe?
Each episode will feature three women going to drag school, and they will be evaluated based on their Drag Point Average. Think "Drag Queen for a Day" meets "Extreme Drag Makeover," sources told Show Tracker.
There is a winner at the end, but everyone's a winner on Draguation Day.
The good news is that Logo's hit is back for its second season, and everything about it is shinier and brighter. The Times spent two unforgettable days on set of the show last summer during production.
To read a feature about our experience, sashay here, and to see L.A. Times photographer Mark Boster's dragtastic photo gallery, sashay there.
The competition is on to crown 'America's next drag superstar,' and who better to preside over the proceedings than onetime club icon RuPaul.
RuPaul, the 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-7 (by his own varying accounts) African American drag queen who sashayed his way into mass consciousness in the 1990s with the club hit "Supermodel" and a VH1 talk show, is back on TV with “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” A reality competition show now about three-quarters through its first cycle on Logo, the LGBT-themed cable net, it aims to discover "America's next drag superstar" -- that is, the next RuPaul. It's a little bit "America's Next Top Model" and a little bit " Project Runway," and like drag itself, parodical without being a joke.
If it's highly unlikely that a superstar, even a subcultural superstar, will emerge from a third-tier cable game show, or at least solely because of it, "Drag Race" has done very well by Logo standards and is scheduled to be rerun on VH1, its higher-profile, gender-neutral cousin under Viacom. (The series is also available on the network website) Like its host(ess), who appears in drag and out of it, functioning as both (sharply dressed) Tim Gunn and voice of decision Heidi Klum -- now a mentor, now a judge -- the show is good-hearted and basically family friendly, adjusting for your family's tolerance for sexual innuendo and risqué acronyms. Challenges have included "Drag on a Dime," in which the contestants had to build a look from thrift store clothes, create a girl group to lip sync to Destiny's Child,channel their inner Oprah, and dress female martial arts experts as versions of their drag selves.
It's clear from the range of styles, attitudes and ambitions on display that there's nothing monolithic -- homogeneous, if you will -- about drag culture. Shanelle, a Las Vegas veteran, is all high-polished glitz; Tammie Brown, with her Bette Davis eyebrows and slathered-on lipstick, was like an echo of '70s-style downtown camp (and was soon eliminated). Nina Flowers, tattooed and muscular and made-up and bewigged like something not quite of this Earth, doesn't "even consider myself a female impersonator," while Rebecca Glasscock comes across mainly as a normally pretty girl. When the contestants were asked to do one another's makeup, most were unhappy with the results. Read the full story.
JAUNTY: RuPaul is two-thirds through the run of “Drag Race” on Logo, but previous episodes are on the website. The show's contestant Ongina is pictured. Photo credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images
RuPaul came to the TCA press tour today. Where do we begin?
First of all, he looked debonair in a pin-stripe suit and a pair of leopard-print fly shoes, opting to leave the drag queen regalia to three of the contestants on his new Logo reality series, "RuPaul's Drag Race." He insisted on standing at the podium, like Logo President Brian Graden, instead of sitting in the chair provided for him, mostly so he could do Bill Clinton imitations. Clearly, RuPaul had never been to TCA before, because no one laughed, leading him to observe:
"This is a somber lot, isn't it? Are you American? Do you speak English? Is there booze in your cups? Ladies, give them booze!"
That landed him some laughs. Then it was off to the races. Pity the pour soul who asked him what he owes to Tyra Banks.
"Nothing! And don’t you ever bring up that name again! Where is this man's car? Shannel, key his car. Security, get this man out of here! She learned everything from me darling!"
The critic attempted a follow-up: "But what if I said that the show reminds me of 'Top Model'?"
"Then you're retarded. Don't give me no Tyra ... ! That's it! I let her borrow all my used wigs. That's it!"
That ended that. Next, the drag extraordinaire was asked to tell the story of how the show, which premieres Feb. 2, was developed. Whose idea was it, anyway?
"The universe called and we answered that call. This was a show that had to be made. Whether it was come up at a toilet stall at Illusions on Santa Monica Boulevard, I mean, really, it doesn’t matter. The fact is that we have this show that is going to turn TV upside down. The whole world loves drag, whether they admit it or not. We live in this culture that's hypocritical where we hate drag because it's misogynistic but we also love it because it's sparkly and shiny. This was a show that had to be made, darling! Egg? Chicken? It's here, eat it up! Egg? Chicken? Chicken, egg? What came first? I don't care! Give me my breakfast!"
We were still feeling sorry for the critic with the Tyra question when one of the more senior TCA members, Rodi Alexander, piped in with an unfortunate idea. She wanted the three contestants who were milling about the audience to stand on stage with RuPaul and answer questions. Oh boy! RuPaul immediately seized on an opportunity and urged Alexander to join all of them on stage. This made a lot of us wince because it was just a few press tours ago that the New Jersey critic fell at a party and broke her hip. But with the help of the host, she made it on stage.
"This is what press tour has been leading up to for 25 years," whispered South Florida Sun-Sentinel TV critic Tom Jicha, watching the tiny Alexander sandwiched between very tall and ornate people. When RuPaul mentioned it was funny that Alexander was up there, she replied: "What's funny is putting me up here with men, looking like beautiful girls, and then I have to go look at me when I go home."
"You're lovely!" RuPaul answered. "Isn't she lovely? Isn't she lovely?" RuPaul then started doing a bootie dance that he wanted Alexander to do, at which point a critic interrupted and asked a question, adding, "Sorry, Rodi, I don't want you to throw out your hip. I mean that sweetly."