Let’s face it – 2021 has been about as exciting as watching a tree grow for the most of us so far. Fortunately for all us poor Earthlings (and all the other extraterrestrials out there), it’s going to get so much better in just a few weeks’ time! On March 7th, two very special queens join their intergalactical forces to bring one of the most outstanding competitions back to the screen (and this time, screen is quite literally since it‘s going to be a digital show): the DRAG QUEEN PAGEANT OF THE YEAR is back for a second time and oh my, is it going to be fabulous!
Before Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 has to fly off to save the drag universe once more from becoming too boring, we were able to sit down and chat with her about digital drag, lockdown life, upcoming projects and of course, DQOY!
DragAdventures: Hi Alaska! How has 2021 been treating you so far? We feel as if we’re still stuck in 2020, but at least, now we have the new edition of the Drag Queen of the Year Pageant to look forward to! Starting in 2019, this passion project of Lola LeCroix and yourself certainly brought some much-needed inclusivity to the ‘drag world’ – how did this ‘brainchild’ come to life?
Alaska Thunderfuck: Well, we started it as an experiment. There seemed to be so much restriction regarding what type of Drag performers were allowed to perform where, and with whom, and we said, “What if all that was thrown out the window?” So, we did just that. We had no idea what would happen, but the resulting show was so outstanding and one of the best Drag shows I’ve ever seen.
DragAdventures: Since last year, the world seems to have changed completely and our lives have been turned on their heads by an annoying little virus – what can fans expect from this ‘pandemic-edition’ of DQOY? And of course, where can they watch it?
AT: It’s so great to see how the community that loves and supports Drag has carried that support over to the digital world. Whether it’s on Instagram live, or over Zoom, Drag has found a way to survive the apocalypse. And luckily for DQOY we’ve teamed up with the amazing streaming platform “Sessions Live,” who are able to pipe in contestants from across the entire country so that Lola and I can interact with them live on a super high-quality live stream. I can’t wait. You can get tickets at https://sessionslive.com/DQOY2021/tickets
DragAdventures: Looking at the cast, we have to say that it seems to be a really talented and diverse bunch of performers! And, each one will certainly bring a lot to the competition. Is there a set process for the selection of the cast – do you keep an eye on social media or maybe even have an already compiled list of prospective performers? What qualities does one have to have to become the next ‘Drag Queen of the Year 2021’?
AT: Well the most important thing is… they have to apply. We put out a call for applicants long ago, and tons of the fiercest Drag artists from around the world applied. The mysterious panel of anonymous Drag Elders votes on their favorite applicants and then a cast is assembled. I think the applicants who stand out are people who know who they are as an artist and as a performer, and who have a sense of humor.
DragAdventures: Let’s talk drag in general in this covid-ridden world! We have seen all kinds of ways that performers have adapted to still be able to share their art with fans all over the world, while simultaneously being deprived of direct contact with their audiences. How have you been coping with the whole situation and is there maybe even anything that you discovered during 2020 that you will incorporate into your creative process?
AT: It’s very strange. I vacillate back and forth between being so anxious to get back onstage again, to then being completely terrified that once the time comes for me to actually get back onstage again, too much time will have passed and I’ll have completely forgetten how to do Drag. But ultimately there’s nothing that can replace the energy of a live show. But I will say that when the pandemic began, the first thing I learned while doing digital shows is to add a laugh track. It’s very strange to be telling jokes to a laptop and hearing nothing. So I just added a laughing audience sound effect and it doesn’t matter if the jokes are funny or not, there’s still a simulation of an audience laughing their asses off.
DragAdventures: Of course, fans not only get to see you on their screens, but they also can listen to your voice via what has undoubtedly become one of the most popular podcasts run by drag queens since it started in 2018. New ‘Race Chaser’ and ‘Hot Goss’ episodes are looked forward to by many each week – how did you and Willam come up with the concept? We feel that you and Willam are the perfect team to have started such a project and fans love your interactions on air: how would you describe each others’ role in the creative process?
AT: We came up with the idea by stealing it from a Golden Girls review podcast called “Out On the Lanai.” Basically the hosts would watch an episode of The Golden Girls, and then talk about it. So we said, “What if there was a podcast like this, but about Drag Race?” So we did it. We couldn’t have done it without our producer Big Dipper, and the amazing network Forever Dog, and of course our listeners. Our audience is so engaging and hilarious and tell us when we’re doing great and when we’re fucking up.
DragAdventures: Next to Race Chaser, we are certainly ‘all ears’ to every musical project you put out there – from your earliest ‘club-inspired’ albums via your more down-to-earth collaboration with Jeremy, but if we had to choose one album to listen to for forever, it probably would be the 2017 AAA girls record! Do you have a favorite song you’ve recorded and will we ever get another chance to see you and you, Courtney, and Willam rocking a stage as ‘triple As’?
AT: I think “When the Water Runs Clear” is an underrated and absolutely beautiful song. It’s also a timeless ballad about douching, and the many dramas and mishaps that may happen when doing so. We’re all very busy right now in our careers, but one day we’ll reunite– I’m sure of it. Maybe in 20 years.
DragAdventures: You also have ‘come’ to Brazil lately for Katya’s music video for Come in Brazil from her latest record Vampire Fitness. We definitely agree with Willam’s comment under the video that it was ‘a a trip’ and we love it, too! What was your favorite moment of this collaboration and will we get more projects like this in the future?
AT: My favorite part of doing the video was the clothes. Katya’s team did a really great job with the costumes, recreating looks from the movie “Brazil.” It was really scary and terrifying to wrap Katya’s head in plastic wrap. We had to have scissors nearby so that she didn’t die and it really freaked me out.
DragAdventures: We’re almost in February 2021 and even though the world seems to be stuck on a rollercoaster without safety belts right now, we always like to end on a positive note – what are you looking forward to this year and are there any projects that you maybe can give us a little hint about to get us through this ride?
AT: I’m really looking forward to the Drag Queen of the Year Pageant. Again, you can get tickets at https://sessionslive.com/DQOY2021/tickets But aside from that, we filmed a comedy special right before the world ended, and it kept getting put on hold because of the pandemic, but I think it’s finally going to see the light of day. So be on the lookout for that. Thanks again!
Be sure to get your tickets to the DQOFTY here
If you don’t already, (which is unlikely) then follow Alaska on all social media below:
Official website: alaskathunderfuck.com
Spotify/Podcast: Race Chaser