As both a writer and a fan, All Stars 2 began with interest and—promise? But, week after week, the challenges have become more and more patently recycled, the strategizing (on many fronts) more obvious, the performances more and more constrained to feature ‘fish.’ Seven episodes in, nearly all of my interest has waned; but a stiver—a morbid stiver, curious to see if RuCo will complete the series’ denouement by crowning a contestant manufactured by RuCo, Alaska—remains.
Not even this week’s real-women-in-our-lives bit could revitalize RPDR’s utterly scripted and limiting ‘reality.’ I wanted so badly to empathize with Alyssa and her sister in their loss, for example; but it was painfully clear the two were receiving prime attention—not for presumed import or poignancy of story—because Rolodex would ensure Alyssa’s elimination that day. One could do little more than cling to RuCo’s early passing remark—that the women in the queens’ own personal lives acted as feminine paragons, ‘the reason [they] were all here’—to extrapolate repast. The rest was TV.
What else?: Alaska made me look quite measured in last week’s ‘#DragRace Diary’ dressing-down, so petulant and misguided were her displays; the lip sync was won by a show of ass; and Rolodex continued to prove we really are witnessing the first season of RuPaul’s Best Friend Race. Let’s say goodbye to all this rubbish, Queers.
But—Katya, Katya. There’s our crust of bread, Katya—! The story she and her mother told on the runway this week—Eastern Blok Peasant Ingenue & Wary Country Ma—was absolute Chagall. Marc Chagall could not have conceived better the delay and then the pouty assurance, the crescent moon scythe, the crumpled red scarf, the lingering and then the sensualism, the tin bucket, the knowing and the divining.
Katya Zamolodchikova produced the solitary art-moment this season has seen—flatly, one of the two or three art-moments in the show’s history. She at once proved herself to be the only queen worthy of the crown and the only queen too good to receive it.
The rest is dumbshow, I’m afraid. Thanks for reading.
DragRace Diary is a weekly column tuned to the current season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It is primarily concerned with the cultural and intellectual context of drag as evinced by RPDR; what counts as ‘aesthetics’; how gender signifies; camp; and the future of "the Queer."
Joseph Spece (www.joseph-spece.com) is editor and publisher at the SHARKPACK imprints and at Fathom Books. His books are Roads (Cherry Grove, 2013) and my centigrade is like a captive star (Pyramid, 2017); recent publications in poetry and experimental prose include DIAGRAM, 3:AM, Salamander, Noble / Gas Qtrly, AGNI, and Volt.