Beginning March 2, Mondays will truly be a drag as Tracks Denver hosts not only a free viewing party of every new episode of RuPaul's Drag Race Season 7, but holds its own intensive drag competition to find Denver’s Ultimate Queen. Come for RuPaul’s patented annual drama — but stay for the homegrown battle that will unfold on the Tracks stage, shaking off sweat and sequins right in front of you.
The competition brings out Denver’s amateur best and brightest to go head to head in a fourteen-week battle in which each contestant must perform in a series of drag challenges that test their ability to pull together an outfit, learn some fancy footwork in sky-high heels, tuck their jewels, lay a wig and, most important, put on a full face of makeup and make it all as indestructible as their spirit.
The tasks are all judged by a court of drag royalty including Janessa Befierce, Mariah Spanic, Electra Dupri and Scarlett Red; the last two have all earned their own Ultimate Queen titles over the last few years, Here's some of what Judge Befierce will be looking for: ”The Ultimate Queen should be professional, on time, with well thought-out looks, personality and determination,” she says. “As long as they understand that they, including myself, will always have room to grow, then they win in my eyes!” Adds returning hostess Felony Misdemeanor, “There are other factors, such as stage presence and lip sync accuracy, but the drive someone has to take their craft to the next level is what makes them stand out to me.”
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Challengers will have to create their performances and pull music that fits each week’s “special challenge.” And when the dust settles, just like on RuPaul's show, the two queens at the bottom of the ratings will have to spill a little blood on the dancefloor in a “Lip Synch for Their Lives,” in which they pull out all of the stops with a surprise song in an attempt to win over not just the judges but the Tracks audience as well. If it all seems like a bit much, the final prize for taking the UQ crown is a slot in the cast of Tracks’ intensive Drag Nation show every month — and the thick skin the winner earned under the hot spotlight every week.
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One young queen on the warpath is Krystina Fatale, who competed last year after having spent only seven months mastering heels, wigs and a makeup kit. Now she's primed to return to the stage. “To know that I could come back a second time and take the crown would mean for me, that I really have what it takes not just for this competition, but for my career as a drag queen.” Says Fatale. “It would also mean that I get to shine more of a light on African American queens since I feel that we are often just cast aside.”
It’s that sense of building onto a growing community and creating diversity that ultimately takes center stage amid all of the blood, sweat and glitter-stained tears in the air. Black, White, Asian, Latino and every shade inbetween is blended like a rouge on the fresh, young faces hitting the boards, some of them still not old enough to drink, accessorizing over the large X’s drawn on their hands during a performance. Win or lose, it’s a fight to stand up and be counted in a talented community growing by leaps and bounds every day. By having these girls put it all on the stage Befierce insists “we are bringing the community of new queens together and creating a sisterhood that you don't see too often these days.” Get ready for some extreme family bonding, Denver.
RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Tracks Ultimate Queen Contest begin tonight at Tracks, 3500 Walnut Street. Drag Race starts at 9 p.m., followed by Ultimate Queen. Admission is $5 for those eighteen to 21, free for people 21+. Get more info at tracksdenver.com.