Those who have been following our blog for a while will know that just under a year ago we went on our first-ever international pride tour which involved celebrations in Hungary (which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2022/07/26/hungary-2022-part-one/), London (which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2022/06/27/mama-g-family-pride-event-number-two/) and Cardiff (which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2022/08/28/pride-cymru-2022-experience-review/) and this year we are excited to attend the phenomena that is Brighton Pride for the first time ever! As a Cardiff resident, I have attended numerous pride events throughout my lifetime but this was the first year that I was able to see how differently pride is celebrated in traditional Budapest. As opposed to the massive vibrant, week-long festival headlined by the music industry’s biggest names, pride in Hungary is a much more political affair. The country seems to be hesitant to even acknowledge the lives of queer people within their own country and so the parades are almost advertisements that queer people in Hungary exist and this was also the first time I have ever experienced counter-protesters! While the acceptance of LGBT people in Hungary seems to be slowly but surely improving, it seems like the United States of America seem to be taking steps backwards in time. On top of the constrictive rules on trans and gay rights that already exist across the country, certain states have begun imposing a drag ban which prevents public performance of the art form known as drag. I cannot imagine being in a place where the people in power are trying to actively hide queer people from the public and I can only begin to understand how devastating this is not only for drag performers but also for young queer people!
In an attempt to fight back against these ridiculous legislations, a group of people have come together to showcase what drag really is and try and conscience the general public that drag is not dangerous. This event was essentially a gigantic and fabulous event that showcased queer people as well as a plethora of drag performers who oftentimes would not be connected due to rival tv shows. We saw the likes of Ru Paul’s drag race all-star two winner Alaska, Broadway Icon peppermint, Miss Congeniality from drag race season 11 Nina West (but more on her later), Ginger Minj (more on her later too), Kelly Mantel, drag race all-stars five co-winners Monet X-change and trinity the tuck, drag race season ten winner Bob the Drag queen and All stars eight winner Jynkx as well as a series of local performers join a plethora of celebrities and most shocking the Boulet brothers from the alternative drag show Dragula which is something to this point we have not really seen on out TVs! As fans, we quickly fall into the idea that the best drag comes from a certain show (or in fact has to have appeared on TV to be valid at all) and so seeing this spectrum of queer people and performers come together really helped to show how important this cause truly is.
I have to admit when I initially found out about this show and saw that tickets to watch it only were £20 I was a little out off. However, it was only after purchasing the tickets that I realised that not only was it a jam-packed lineup that supported a worthwhile cause but it was also an immense four-hour-long show! Going into this show I was also not fully aware of what a telethon was and so this was a very unique experience for me. For those who have not taken part in one of these events before, essentially it is a fundraising event where people donate and have the opportunity to call in to chat to a panel of celebrity guests. It would be impossible for me to run down every single celebrity guest who appeared on the panel or delivered an empowering message throughout the show but some of the highlights for me were Lesley Jones (who delivered a hilarious speech about how dragbisnt dangerous but she is so you shouldn’t mess with drag) , Jessie Tyler Ferguson from modern family , Adam Lambert , Melissa McCarthy (who is soon to be playing ursuala inspired by drag queen Devine) , drag race judge Michelle visage, musical theatre legend/Icon Idina Menzel and drag race uk runner up Divina De Campo (who we were lucky enough to see in concert during their performance of the red wig and a silver dress tour, which you can read about https://rhysreviews.com/2022/07/22/red-wig-and-a-silver-dress-experience-review/) However the most impactful and emotional message came from none other than drag icon Nina West who documented her experience of protestors during her storylines for kids, being stalked and homophobic attacks she went through during collage. Despite having never taken part in this sort of telethon fundraiser before It is clear that this sort of format works extremely well as within the first 24 hours of this online special being streamed the charity had raised over $500,000!
It is important to note that apart from the plethora of pre-recorded messages, the actual event itself was streamed lived across two studios. I do have to say that due to the event being live we did get the occasional awkward pauses, strange transitions and audio being played over other people talking. We were also treated to a series live performances from some of the most talented drag queens to ever compete on Ru Paul’s drag race. One of my favourite performances of the night was by the winner of all-stars season three when they performed their original song called Malibu. As this event was all about some very intense and real-world issues, it was also important that there was an appropriate amount of campiness which Trixie delivered with her high-energy, country-inspired song. The two performances I was not expecting in the slightest was Tammie Brown and Kelly Mantel who both performed original song which is something we did not get to see by either queen during their time on the show! The most spectacular performance of the light however would have to be a pre-recorded segment by Bob the drag queen (ahead of her tour with Madonna) who delivered a spectacular dance heavy-routine of their original song “you ain’t never met a b*tch like me” which is a parade of the wonderfully theatrical “friend like me” from Aladdin! For me, however, there was no better way to end the entire event than an incredible performance of my own personal karaoke go-to song “I am What I Am” by Ginger Minj! This wonderfully uplifting song really captured the whole message of the event while being flawlessly performed by the glamour toad of drag race season seven!
Overall, this was a wonderfull camp event that celebrated the art form of drag while highlighting how important it is to not just queer people but the world! I was initially concerned about the price for an online event but for the low price of just £20, we were able to support a worthwhile cause while also gaining access to a four-hour spectacle of fabulous that I challenged any to watch and leave not thinking drag and queer people need to be protected! I would rate this experience 5 out of 5 stars and encourage people to check the wonderful range of merch available at https://shop.obsessedwith.co/pages/dragisntdangerous