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Milwaukee Drag Race

Jul. 18, 2017
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Dear Ruthie,

What do I need to do to start a drag career in Milwaukee? I thought I’d ask for some advice. If I think about it a lot, I start to feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do first.

What Do You Recommend?
Holly Trinity


Dear Trinity,

Appearing in a drag show has become a right of passage for the kids today, so more are trying it out than ever before. No lie. I get this question roughly four times per year from some youngin’ looking to slide into a pair of heels and hit the boards.


In fact, I’ve answered this question so many times, I thought I’d reach out to one of the city’s most iconic performers, my friend BJ Daniels, for her input. I usually begin by telling new queens to hit the clubs, watch today’s performers and learn from them, and I’m happy to see that BJ agrees with me.


“It’s important to make friends with more seasoned queens,” she explains. “Pay attention to what makes them unique.” Once you get a better feel for what you like, what works on stage and what doesn’t, you can start creating a drag character that makes you unique.


“You must possess some talent,” BJ adds. “Live performance is not like an edited YouTube video. In addition, make sure what you do and how you look is polished and professional. You don’t want to start off with negative reviews.”


I would also add that if you can’t get a booking right away, tell show directors that you’re happy to work for tips alone. This will help get you the experience you need to get paid bookings. More important, these gigs will help you decide if drag is right for you. Performing on stage doesn’t always live up to the fantasy people have behind it. By trying it out slowly, you can best decide if this is an art form you’d like to pursue.


“Keep these ideas in mind,” notes BJ, “and you just might find your ticket to stardom!”




July 20: Volunteer Networking Event at Milwaukee LGBT Community Center (1110 N. Market St.): I’ve always said that the best way to meet new people is to volunteer, and the experience starts here! Attend this 7-9 p.m. event and meet folks with similar interests while learning what volunteer options are open at the LGBT Community Center.


July 20: Flix at DIX Night at D.I.X. (739 S. First St.): Don’t miss this kooky twist on the AV Club as the hottest spot in Milwaukee offers up a free 8 p.m. movie! This week’s feature is Earth Girls are Easy, shown on two screens with free popcorn, drink special, drag performances and more laughs than a box of Milk Duds.


July 21: The Big Top at This Is It (418 E. Wells St.): Everyone loves being under a big top, and the boys at This Is It are no exception! Check out the bar’s carnival games, prizes and drink specials during the 8 p.m. three-ring circus.


July 22: African Cultural Festival at Brown Deer Park (7835 N. Green Bay Road): Enjoy music, dancing, food, soccer, cultural lectures, a fashion show and more at this exciting fest! Free with a nonperishable donation to Hunger Task Force, the noon to 10 p.m. celebration takes place at picnic areas 2, 3, 4 and 5.


July 22: Mr. Gay USofA 2017 at FIVE Nightclub (5 Applegate Court, Madison): The guys take to the stage in this competition to crown a new leader among the state’s male entertainers. The $10 door charge includes access to the pageant, which includes performances by numerous entertainers and a 50/50 raffle. The fun starts at 8 p.m.


July 23: Show Tune Sunday at Club Charlies (320 E. Menomonee St.): Sing a song, sip a spirit or just sit a spell and watch the craziness unfold as the gang at Club Charlies shows you why this is the spot to be at 2 p.m. on a Sunday funday!


July 23: Bubbles & Beauties at Karma Bar & Grill (600 E. Ogden Ave.): Emcee Nova D’Vine serves the bubbles and the beauties at this free 6 p.m. drag show held in the Sutra Lounge. Come for the glamor, stay for the Champaign specials, savory bites and fun.


July 26: Cream City Foundation’s 35th Summer Social at The Pritzlaff (333 N. Plankinton Ave.): Formerly known as the “My Best Friend is Straight” gala, this cocktail party has proved the place to be seen year after year (35 years to be exact)! Your $75 ticket includes access to the silent auctions, raffles and 6:30 p.m. program. Proceeds help support numerous LGBT initiatives. Registration opens at 5:30 p.m. with the night concluding at 8:30 p.m.


Catch BJ Daniels when she hosts Dining with the Divas at Hamburger Mary’s (730 S. 50th St.) on Friday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Call 414-488-2555 for reservations. Want to share an event with Ruthie? Need her advice on a situation? Email DearRuthie@Shepex.com.


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