I am not a particularly big fan of drag shows, specifically in this era of RuPaul’s Drag Race, as I grew up in the eighties with irreverent, funny drag that was part of a very deep and hidden subculture. Watching RuPaul’s Drag Race has been sort of fun for me, but I must admit to becoming very irritated with the formulaic whininess of the show, its predictability and its bitchiness. How I miss my Drama school buddy Flippie Nel in the red bowels of Scruples in Pretoria, dressed all in black, and looking impossibly tall, lip-synching to Nana Mouskouri.
I must admit to being a fan of the incredible Manila von Teez, who has blown me away many times with her super professional performances and her amazing personality. And seeing as I was in Cape Town for Pride week, I decided to attend the show at Zero21 Social Club where RuPaul Drag Race Season 2 winner Morgan McMichaels was the star attraction.
As I was telling a friend about the show, he recommended we start the evening at the nearby The Raptor Room where up and coming drag artist Eevee Kiddo was performing her new show Radio Vision.
Sorry to say the evening did not start well. I had booked a table, yet upon arrival saw there was no table reserved and a makeshift table was given to me. Then my friend was late, so late in fact that I had to dine alone. Even though The Raptor Room is small and only had about twenty people in it, the service was atrocious. Now I am a picky diner at best, so ignoring me, not giving me a menu and only being served half a glass of wine, which took forever to arrive, should have been a warning signal, but I let it go. I managed to get a menu out of the waiter/host and quickly ordered an overpriced burger, which thankfully came quickly and was not too bad. Unfortunately, it did not come with cutlery or any condiments, and any attempt to get the waiter’s attention again was in vain, as the show had already started. I was forced to go forage for myself and luckily a friendly woman in the kitchen helped me out.
As for the show, it was was not great. Eevee teetered on stage in impossibly high heels, which she seemed to barely balance on and barely moved because of it. No choreography, obviously. Behind her was a screen on which were projected interesting visuals, with her in a dark spot in the middle. As there were no lights on her face, it was very hard to see in the pink glow of the ambient light, and I thought it was for effect to get the show going. Alas, none of the stage lights came on and she was simply overpowered by the visuals. Her musical choice was bizarre, to say the least, and she seemed uncomfortable with her long wig.
This went on for a while while I got ever more agitated, and thankfully after half an hour, it was over. Or was it? No indeed, after a few minutes she came back on stage, in exactly the same outfit, and as the same boring music droned on again, I decided I had had enough and left.
Paying the bill I was asked if I wanted to add a tip, which I graciously declined. Speaking to the lady who sold the tickets at the door, I voiced my frustration. According to her, the venue does not vet performers, so it seems anybody can jump onto stage and charge patrons for it, which I think is a bad policy. Apparently, Miss Eevee did not want any stage lighting, which she was advised to have.
Now let me be clear: If you are a new performer with no previous experience, which I believe to be the case here, it is terribly audacious of you to charge R 60 per person at the door and then deliver such a poor performance. My friend said I should be kind and not be too critical of her, as it was only her second show. Well, sorry darling, as another friend famously said: “As jy jouself uitgee vir tameletjie, dan moet jy aan jou laat kou!” (when you give yourself out as toffee, you should be expected to be chewed on.)
When I went on to Zero21 (which I will talk about in detail in part two of this article), Manila had no idea that The Raptor Room hosted drag shows, and her manager Barry told us it was not specifically a queer venue, but they did from time to time host such acts. Manila had never heard of Eevee Kiddo, and I recommend Eevee goes to see some of Manila’s shows to see what is expected of a drag queen in the age of RuPaul.
You can follow Eevee Kiddo on her Facebook page . I wish her all the best (after much rehearsal and some direction and choreography, hopefully!)