Tracks Nightclub always hosts weekly viewing parties for the popular TV show RuPaul's Drag Race, but last Thursday's celebration was a particularly special occasion. On the final episode that aired May 30, Denver drag queen Yvie Oddly, who got her start as a performer on the stage at Tracks, was crowned the season's winner.
Morgan Taylor, Oddly's good friend and frequent collaborator, was on hand to host the finale viewing party and give the audience the behind-the-scenes scoop, as he'd attended the filming a few weeks ago. Hundreds of drag fans turned up at Tracks to support Denver's favorite oddball and watched as she competed against the other Final Four contestants in an epic lip-synch battle for the crown on that last episode.
After delivering two mind-blowing performances, the first to Rihanna's "S.O.S," then to Lady Gaga's queer anthem "The Edge of Glory," RuPaul announced Oddly as the season eleven champion. Her fans at Tracks –some of whom had witnessed Oddly's drag career since its inception – erupted into cheers and applause. The festivities continued late into the night with liquor-fueled toasts, confetti showers and the final round of the Tracks Ultimate Queen Competition, where local drag queen Lulu Alnite earned the title of Denver's Ultimate Queen 2019.
In addition to a bejeweled crown and scepter, Oddly took home a $100,000 prize, a year's worth of cosmetics from Anastasia Beverly Hills, and the coveted title of America's Next Drag Superstar.
This win is huge for Denver's drag community, which is too often overshadowed by those of larger cities like New York and Los Angeles. Oddly was the first drag queen from Denver to compete on RuPaul's Drag Race in ten years, with the show's only other Denver-based alumnae being Nina Flowers, in the first season (often referred to as "the lost season" because of its low viewership).
To further showcase what Denver has to offer the drag world, Oddly wore an anatomy-inspired dress created by Denver-based designer Mondo Guerra for the finale. (The design was based on a dress Oddly herself had sketched in high school.)
Members of the Denver drag community are already urging Drag Race producers to pay more attention to Denver queens when casting future seasons, citing Oddly as proof that provocative, innovative and artistic drag is blossoming outside of the usual coastal hot spots.
But it's not just drag performers and designers who are trying to capitalize on Oddly's popularity. Mayor Michael Hancock sent campaign representatives to the Tracks viewing party in an attempt to garner support from Denver's LGBTQ community in today's (June 4) mayoral runoff election.
Although Hancock has publicly voiced support for Denver's LGBTQ community in the past and is unofficially endorsed by Tracks, his team was met with mixed responses. As a small group of people appeared holding rainbow-themed "Hancock for Denver" signs, his representatives climbed onto the stage during a commercial break in the Drag Race finale and implored the audience to help them record two videos.
The first video they wanted, which was to be sent to Oddly herself, was of the crowd cheering and chanting her name. The audience at Tracks was happy to oblige this request. The second video they wanted was of the crowd cheering for Hancock — and things got awkward. Despite the Hancock representatives bubbling enthusiasm, the crew simply could not get the crowd to reproduce the vocal support they showed for Oddly a second time.
While the majority of the audience stayed silent or clapped politely, several people booed, shouted obscenities, or vocalized complaints about Hancock's mayorship.
Hancock's team quickly exited the stage, ending with a message about how important it is to vote, no matter who you vote for. Although Hancock posted a photo of himself with Oddly to his Facebook page and Twitter, congratulating her on her win and thanking her for her support, the video his team attempted to film at Tracks has not been uploaded to any of his social-media pages or his website.
Yvie Oddly will come home to Denver for PrideFest and will host the Drag Nation show at Tracks, 3500 Walnut Street, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday, June 14. Tickets and more info are available on the Tracks website.
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