Happy, Drag-A-Thon, Portland! Starting at 4 pm on Monday, a force of drag artists onstage at Darcelle XV Showplace—aided by the planning and logistics power of gender-nonconforming clothing line Wildfang—began a marathon of continuous musical, dance, and comedy performances, nonstop for 48-hours, until they eventually broke the world record for longest drag artist stage show.
The Mercury's Arts and Culture crew (Suzette Smith, Andrew Jankowski, Janey Wong, Wm. Steven Humphrey, Courtney Vaughn, and Taylor Griggs) sat in the back of the intimate Old Town Chinatown venue, typing furiously and trying to ignore the non-stop glamour to bring you this account of what it felt like to be there for the sold out show.
Wed July 12, 5 pm
At 4:25 pm Wednesday, Guinness World Records adjudicator Michael Empric announced Darcelle XV Showplace and Wildfang had set the new world record for longest drag artist stage show.
"Okay, okay, just before we all lose our minds,"Wildfang CEO Emma Mcilroy, said, following the announcement. She directed the crowd to a screen on the wall that played a congratulation message from RuPaul's Drag Race host RuPaul. "Big kiss from Mama Ru," RuPaul said, congratulating the club on setting the record and spreading the joy of drag throughout the world. Toasts ensued. People in bold pattern business suits wept.
Moments before the announcement, Poison Waters, assembled a line of her hostesses staff onstage, who she reintroduced to the crowd, one by one: BinkYee Bellflower, Bebe Jay, Alexis Campbell Starr, Cassie Nova "from the exotic locale of West Linn," Summer Lynne Seasons "all the way from Bend over Oregon," and "celebrating 42 years at Darcelle's," Mr. Mitchell.
We recognized the importance of the move—to keep focus on the people who work at Darcelle's and who have maintained its thriving presence for so long. Afterward, Mcilroy built up the anticipation, "I told you the rules. It's an official Guinness World Record attempt."
"Oh! So I get to say it's done!" Poison ad-libbed. "I'm the tallest!"
Even as the team welcomed Empric to the stage, Poison kept the moment free of formality. "What is cease and desist, and why did you text me that?" she asked Empric, who engaged in cheerful threats to contact HR.
"Save your applause until you know it's successful, cause it's very awkward otherwise," Empric told the crowd. "This was an official Guinness World Records attempt for the longest drag artist stage show. The mark to beat was set in Australia several years ago. That was 36 hours, 36 minutes, and 40 seconds.... Today, Portland, Oregon, USA, you had a time of 48 hours, 11 minutes, 30 seconds." After that it was all champagne and tears.
Wed July 12, 3:15 pm
We're closing in on the last hour of Drag-A-Thon, and I'm on announcement-watch, thinking that Guinness World Records adjudicator Michael Empric will perhaps get onstage and deliver the hard facts of life (that Darcelle's and Wildfang are unstoppable!).
Every performer who is part of this last slot appears to be part of the Darcelle XV Showplace home hostess team—Poison Waters, Alexis Campbell Starr, Bebe Jay, BinkYee Bellflower, Cassie Nova, and Summer Lynn Seasons. The energy they're bringing is unreasonable:
Darcelle XV Showplace hostess Cassie Nova 47 hours into the 48-hour marathon, wearing a form-fitting bodysuit patterned with dollar bills: pic.twitter.com/z2e5P4bMje— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 12, 2023
Wed July 12, 2:12 pm
Hour 46! An emcee announces Bolivia Carmichaels as Peachy Springs, and throws the Guinness witnesses into a quandary. But the Wildfang organizers sort it out.
Following Lala Ri's last Drag-A-Thon performance, Poison Waters steps onstage to thank her and yell, "Go downstairs! Alexis is in your luggage! Go! Go!"
Poison Waters says she's tired, "I have no nails on, no boobs, no earrings—I have freckles and a beard," but she also seems indomitable.
She announces the next two emcees (a reversal!) as: "One of them is Sara, the other is Shalonda. Chelsea? Fine." She's actually introducing two podcast hosts, Sarah Marshall (You're Wrong About) and Chelsea Weber-Smith (American Hysteria), who can easily weather the hilarious descriptions of them: "two lovely white people who I've never met, but I'm sure their wikipedia pages are fire."
We've seen some amazing performances this afternoon. Peachy Springs delivered an incredible lip sync of a monologue from '90s TV show Designing Women.
Holyyyyyeee shit Peachy Springs delivering this epic Julia Sugarbaker monologue from Designing Women. pic.twitter.com/nSnPgLC814— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 12, 2023
Fay Ludes performed to a track that mashed the song "All Star" into several other, recognizable songs. Every time you thought there would be a new song—it was just Smashmouth's "All Star" again.
This medley mash-up from Fay Ludes really kept us guessing: pic.twitter.com/zeJEXXU5gZ— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 12, 2023
Wed July 12, 11:50 am
Drag-A-Thon has about four hours left to go (as do I). Time is an illusion, at this point. I super duper dooper need another coffee, but Darcelle XV Showplace is so packed that the servers are working it just to keep up with new orders.
I look to spinning dresses for strength, and Jenna Saisquoix delivers:
Jenna Saisquoix with an incredible Aurora color changing dress (ala Disney’s Sleeping Beauty), twirling to “Teenage Dream.” pic.twitter.com/IITgsNVZD4— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 12, 2023
Emcee Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi relates a story of getting kicked off the stage at a drag show in San Francisco for doing the splits and stealing the spotlight. Fellow emcee musician Kathy Foster (the Thermals, All Girl Summer Fun Band) admits this is her first time at Darcelle's—and as one would expect someone in the audience immediately yells that there are a lot of first timers. Hey, this ain't no judgy spot. The culture at Darcelle XV Showplace remains staunchly unpretentious and welcoming. The fame didn't change her.
Wed July 12, 11:50 am
Fiona McCann and Cheryl Strayed are the emcees at Drag-A-Thon right now. Strayed takes the opportunity to share something she learned this morning—Tiny Beautiful Things the TV show based on her book of the same name was nominated for two Emmys!
Strayed is also retelling the same six terrible jokes she told yesterday. Leave it to a flippin' author to come out on stage and aggressively perform the inverse of entertainment. Strayed is trolling.
McCann announces that RuPaul's Drag Race star Lala Ri will appear at the downtown Wildfang store today at 1:30 pm, useful info for the fans who couldn't get tickets to the sold out Drag-A-Thon. Worth noting that a few scattered folks in the room got in via the standby line.
Wed July 12, 11:30 am
Guinness World Records adjudicator Michael Empric is here! He has reviewed the recorded evidence of the Drag-A-Thon until now, and he says I am allowed to say he looks "very serious." Empric will be here for the rest of the attempt's duration, looking very serious.— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 12, 2023
Wed July 12, 8:15 am
Poets Mindy Nettifee and Brian S. Ellis take over as emcees, encouraging the audience to vogue in their chairs and shout their favorite curse words ("fuck" is the clear, but not unanimous favorite).
Jocelyn Knobs twirls and poses in a silver, mirrored jumpsuit to "Le Disko" by Shiny Toy Guns, which I haven't heard since college.
My worst roommate blasted this song on a loop for 12+ hours a day for over a month in 2011. I'm definitely fine. pic.twitter.com/sbB3qQPJgJ— 🏳️🌈 Andrew D. Jankowski 🏳️🌈 (@AndrewJank) July 12, 2023
Buster struts to Bruno Mars and Shawn Mendes songs, but different ones than this time yesterday. Ilani gets the crowd moving to "Physical" by Dua Lipa, while Silhouette send chills in a blue bodysuit to "Copycat" by Billie Eilish. Henny wears a Mugler-esque cat suit for Katy Perry's "E.T."—delivered sans Kanye West's verse, and it is honestly better for it.
Wed July 12, 7 am
Singer-songwriter Laura Gibson and queer luminary Howie Bierbaum—who jokes he's old enough to be Poison Waters' wet nurse—take over as emcees and lead drag queen stretches: Aerobic exercise moves like "reach for the wig" and "where's my contact lens?" Howie clocks Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson in the front row, and thanks her for attending.
The audience is kind a little sleepy during Ilani Estrella's performance to Aqua's "Barbie Girl." Oppenheimer fans? Ilani Estrella works further crowd pleasers like Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," then closes with a steamy floor dance to Tina Turner's "Private Dancer."
Silhouette's somersault in a Britney Spears red jumpsuit to Qveen Herbie was a morning highlight, but Buster Open's revealing striptease to "Show Yourself" from Frozen, was the hour's best number. The bedazzled surgical scars on his chest, common for transgender men, were an innovative artistic touch, and a powerful embrace of his identity.
Wed July 12, 6 am
Business For Better Portland's Stephen Green joins Jess Duley as an emcee. He got this gig despite never having seen a drag show—just like the some of guest judges on RuPaul's Drag Race!
Speaking of Drag Race, Pluto opens the hour to "Glamazon,"the theme of the show's third season. Lucky Xox stuns in rhinestones, performing to Carrie Underwood's tragic gold digger torch song "Church Bells." Sue from Corporate pays homage to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep's homage to Anna Wintour in Devil Wears Prada" via a medley of Lady Gaga's "Fashion!" (2013, not 2009) and Duncan Sheik's namedrop song "You Are What You Wear." Poison gets the audience standing and clapping to Natalie Cole's "Party Lights." Buster Open closes the hour in a bedazzled black blazer shimmying to "Pants" by Here Come the Mummies.
Poison gets the audience out of their seats for Natalie Cole's "Party Lights." pic.twitter.com/bzKmQXKkIP— 🏳️🌈 Andrew D. Jankowski 🏳️🌈 (@AndrewJank) July 12, 2023
Wed July 12, 5:23 am
As we hold off from shouting about Darcelle XV Showplace breaking the world record—until it Guinness makes it official—the show must go on and the fence post moved even further forward! Jess Duley is back onstage this morning emceeing, and leads a mid-show chair dance to Lady Gaga's "Rain On Me."
Sue From Corporate, Pluto, Lucky and Poison Waters party through an eclectic playlist ranging from Eartha Kitt and Robyn S to Shania Twain and Pink. Sue's goth mashup Sarah McLachlan's tearjerker "In The Arms of an Angel" with My Chemical Romance's "Welcome to the Black Parade" got some of the best laughs, while Pluto's ceiling pullups to Miley's "Can't Be Tamed" got some of the biggest cheers. ANDREW JANKOWSKI
Wed July 12, 5:00 am
AAAAAAND we’ve (unofficially) passed the standing record! SUCK IT, AUSSIES! We’ve gotta wait ‘til the Guinness World Record folks certify the record (gotta make sure the math is mathin’), but the achievement was met with applause that would make Gaga proud. More good news: the organizers let us know that Trevor Project donations have hit $270,000!
Right before we crossed the current record time, our upper management overlord Sue From Corporate lip synced to Doja Cat’s “Boss Bitch” intercut with Michael Scott clips from The Office. That’s what she said.
Okay kids, it’s time for me to turn this ish back over to Andrew Jankowski! Follow his Twitter for the latest before Suzette Smith returns later this morning to update this fine blog. As I emerge from the club into the early morning light, I know Darcelle is smiling down on all of us—Eden Dawn confirms that Darcelle knew about the Drag-A-Thon and gave her blessing before her passing in March. And now, ya girl is gonna hightail it over to Delicious Donuts before face-planting into my bed. JANEY WONG
I’m a little behind on my tweeting—we allegedly broke the record at 4:47 am! (The Guinness folks have to verify the logs and video footage later today before we have a Certified Record™) pic.twitter.com/Wjug1hRfNs— janey (@janey_san) July 12, 2023
Wed July 12, 4:20 am
At this ungodly hour, these queens are still Turning. It. Out. Big picture, it’s even more amazing when you consider that Portland’s newly incepted Pride Weekend starts on Friday, and many of these same will be werkin’ and twerkin’ at several more events this week. Stamina? I don’t know her. I literally pulled my back last week and had to be put on muscle relaxers.
Poison Waters returns to performing this hour. Only God (and the Guinness Record keepers) know how long she’s been awake, but the veteran queen owns the stage and captivates the audience every time she comes back on. Her fellow Darcelle XV Showplace cast member Lucky Xox further energizes the crowd with the timeless Paris Hilton banger “Stars Are Blind.”
Wed July 12, 3:05 am
This is the moment we (okay, maybe just me) have all been waiting for — Pluto lip syncs to SONG OF THE SUMMER, “Padam Padam.” After she does her outfit reveal (her lewk includes a dazzling butterfly-studded beard), she can’t collect her tips from the crowd fast enough. Of course, I have the great misfortune of stopping my video about 15 seconds before Pluto grabs hold of a beam above the stage and flips herself ass-forward to the crowd like she’s on the monkey bars. It would’ve been especially delicious if the Kylie song was playing when we officially kick the Australians’ world record to the curb, but after that performance, I couldn't find myself caring too much.
The hosts get into some drag trivia...fun fact: RuPaul first said her famous quote “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag” on Geraldo Rivera’s talk show.
when our hearts beat PADAM PADAM 💓 pic.twitter.com/bLxcbpn5KH— janey (@janey_san) July 12, 2023
Wed July 12, 2:35 am
Bar service has closed, so the crowd is now solely fueled by complimentary slices of Sizzle Pie and energy drinks that taste like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. If it turns into that one jungle scene from Mean Girls in here as a result of the audience getting cut off, it was nice knowing y’all.
Former Mercury columnist Courtenay Hameister and local actor Jason Rouse have taken over hosting duties. Candy Whoreholla is a woman of many talents, switching gears from doing a cartwheel during her first number (“Work Bitch”) to later interpretive dancing to Fever Ray’s “When I Grow Up,” a song I thoroughly enjoy but never in a million years thought I’d see in a drag performance.
Drag raptress Slutashia performs a touching original number that she wrote for the victims of Pulse Nightclub.
Drag raptress Slutashia performs a touching original number that she wrote for the victims of Pulse Nightclub. pic.twitter.com/cswvQHUVTi— janey (@janey_san) July 12, 2023
Wed July 12, 1:30 am
Hello darlings, Fresh hands on the blog here, but this is my second slot at Drag-A-Thon; I was in the audience for the kick-off shift and it’s surreal to be back at an event that has been running continuously since I left it 32 hours ago. But I’m back—in my cutest PJs—at the Super Bowl, nay, the Olympics of drag!
Adding to the surreality: my editor at my morning job, Brooke Jackson-Glidden, is emceeing (still) alongside writer and coiner of the phrase “adulting,” Kelly Williams Brown. Brooke asks the crowd if there’s any first-timers at Darcelle’s to scattered whoops.
Highlights early into my shift: Mona Chrome vogueing to Azealia Banks’s “1991.” Bleu Dinah does the choreo (and is in the outfit) from Britney’s “Oops…” video before the track morphs to a Pepsi commercial, and finally, a triumphant rendition of “Stronger.” JANEY WONG
Wed July 12, 1 am
This particular Suzette shift is a pretty brief one, just filling in between Steve and Janey (and sneaking in to see Eureka). Starting now, Janey Wong will keep you in the updates to which you have become accustomed, all the way through the grand, record-breaking milestone. There are now two witnesses in the press booth and we're all being very serious—sort of.
Speaking of Virgos, Arlo Weirhauser is an emcee for this performance block, and they are laying out the Virgo humor. I also saw PDX Eater editor Brooke Jackson-Glidden and author Kelly Williams Brown working some emcee duties. Williams Brown notes that the schedule is a little behind, so we may see more drag performances and less emceeing for a while.
Cherry Mae hits the stage with force, followed by a statuesque Mona Chrome. Bleu Dinah storms the spotlight, positively poured into a cheetah print bodysuit, lip syncing to a medley that begins with Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like A Woman." Like I said, it's wonderful.
AND Cherry Mae is here—representing Corvallis! pic.twitter.com/06wKz9iGHG— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 12, 2023
Wed July 12, 12:15 am
STEVE'S KIDNAPPERS WERE WEAKSAUCE. NICE TRY, BOSS. Darcelle XV Showplace is in full on circus mode—and there's no Britney here to keep us in line. Walking into a room where Eureka O'Hara has been performing—trading off the stage spotlight with Poison Waters, Nicole Onoscopi, Izhonny, Alexis Campbell Starr, and Summer Lynne Seasons—is like signing up to never have a clear thought again. Now I'll try to keep track of what's happening.
Frankie Grande is one of the funniest emcees we've enjoyed thus far, whether fearlessly gazing into the light shining out of Johnny Nuriel's behind (there's some sort of pen light in there) or regaling us with Jennifer Coolidge stories. The night still, above all, belongs to the drag performers, Nicole Onoscopi and Eureka O'Hara are immediately magnificent.
What’s under Eureka O’Hara’s coat? You’re about to find out. pic.twitter.com/B4a76aHySL— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 12, 2023
Especially as we approach the milestone of 4 am, crossed conversations, drunken reconnections, and people who are just trying to hang out transform the room into a ocean-like roar. My senses are all over the place. It's glorious. SUZETTE SMITH
Tues July 11, 11 pm
I'm scooting out to give the Mercury seat to our Suzette Smith, but some quick notes from the last 30 minutes: The glorious Nicole Onoscopi—former Miss Gay Oregon and "unlicensed gastroenterologist drag queen"—performed a foot-stompin’ version of “Cotton Eye Joe” that was followed by Isaiah Esquire (AKA Izohnny, AKA one of the "Goliaths of Glam," AKA a co-creators and costar of Boyeurism) who brought the twerk and artistic gymnastics to the stage, along with their amazing ability to work the crowd. And following a rousing speech by Frankie Grande on the importance of the entire LGBTQ+ family to stand together, Eureka O’Hara returned to grace us with her gorgeous presence (and technicolor dress) with a stunning version of "Easy On Me" by Adele. WHAT AN AMAZING NIGHT! (Should I have Suzette kidnapped so I can stay on until Wednesday? 😈)
Tues July 11, 10:25 pm
I knew something big was up when I overheard an organizer tell the Drag-A-Thon photographer, “Something BIG is coming up—do not miss it!” And they were right, because two BIG stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race— Eureka O’Hara and Frankie “Hi, I’m Ariana’s brother” Grande—took the stage to perform a side-splitting synch to The Little Mermaid… with Frankie as Ariel and Eureka as Ursula! That hit multiple nostalgia spots for so many in the crowd, and believe me when I say the dollar bills were flying. And it should be noted that Frankie actually sang Ariel’s “Part of Your World” and did so with a stunning voice… even when tripping down the stairs in her fins. A+++, would watch a thousand times!
Well this sent the Drag-a-Thon audience over the edge: Eureka O’Hara and Frankie Grande from Drag Race doing… Little Mermaid?? YES! 😍 pic.twitter.com/COUUBVtAkZ— Wm. Steven Humphrey (@WmSteveHumphrey) July 12, 2023
Tues July 11, 9:58 pm
The absolutely divine Alexis Campbell Starr kicked off the latter part of the 9 o’clock hour decked out in enough sequins to cause a world shortage. In fact one lucky audience member was allowed to place their hard-earned dollar right inside their ample cleavage, and... swear to god... almost got lost in alllll thoooose SEQUINS! Her version of “Me, Myself, and I” by Beyoncé was simultaneously touching and gorgeous. OH! And another delightful hosting addition was provided by Marcos Nájera —OPB's Executive Editor for Arts & Culture and anchor for thiswayout.org—who joined Paula and Janine with more tales of queer life… and I’m sorry to objectify, but DAMN THOSE LEGS! If I was him, I’d wear a cape too.
Tues July 11, 9:11 pm
And what a night it’s been! Joining Carrie Brownstein in hosting duties is comedian/writer Paula Pell (Saturday Night Live, circa 1995-2020) and her absolutely delightful spouse, Janine Brito (Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell) who regaled the audience with an unstoppable litany of dirty jokes, clever drag names, and a story about buying lube for their chihuahua (it’s for a medical condition, okay??). On the drag side, the evening is taking a turn for the HOT, with a blistering performance of “Untouched” by The Veronicas from Amy Ta’Kill (AKA the Bubblegum Pop Princess of Portland). She was festooned in pink sparkles and feathers, and when she dropped into the splits? I didn’t think the crowd would recover.
She's followed by the first drag king of the evening, Buster Open who is visiting us from Montana, who performed a shit-hot version of “Astronaut in the Ocean” by Masked Wolf.
But nothing prepared the crowd for Slutashia— a drag queen / rap artist from Eugene Oregon, and hostess of Queer Hiphop Dance Party—who put hands in the air with her rap of self-acceptance… and absolute FILTH! “Portland, let’s fuck tonight” indeed!
Tues July 11, 8:12 pm
And what a show it's been so far! Viper Fengz ended the 7 o’clock hour with a searing rendition of Bebe Huxley’s “Scorpio” and later murdered it again with “Hush” by Miss A. (She was sporting a leather studded tube top—just like mom used to wear!) Kenzie B. Valentine was a vision in pink and took a more serious tone with her powerful sync of Emmy Meli’s “I Am Woman.” Portland drag legend Maria Peters Lake followed with an absolute banger of a remake of The Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around.” So freakin' GORGE. (By the way, the crowd has been very generous with their tips—AS THEY SHOULD).
Tues July 11, 7:30 pm
Howdy and welcome to the 7 pm hour (!) of the world record-breaking Drag-A-Thon! Yer old pal, Wm. Steven Humphrey here! I barely stepped into the room when I was bombarded by amazing Viper Fengz (from Seattle), Maria Peters Lake (former Ms. Gay Oregon, and a 30 year vet of Darcelle’s), and wait… why, who’s this host? Only my best friend in the world (according to me), Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney / Portlandia fame! Adorably shy, Carrie regaled the audience with memories of crushing out over the long lost Portland lesbian venue, the E-Room (AKA the Egyptian Club), as well as also drooling over drag artist Kenzie B. Valentine’s WHAM!-inspired outfit and her crushing rendition of “Diva’s Lament” from Monty Python’s Spamalot. Right on brand and WE LOVED IT. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
Tues July 11, 6:55 pm
My shift is ending soon, but the show is still going strong. Stacy London has arrived, with an intro from Wildfang CEO Emma McIlroy. New performers hit the stage about 20 minutes ago, reinvigorating the crowd.
We've seen Kenzie B. Valentine open with Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," Maria Peters Lake, and the return of Viper Fengz with a sweet take on Olivia Newton John's "Hopelessly Devoted." Worth noting: Valentine's Titanic ballad included a monologue trash talking Rose for letting Jack freeze to death so she could nap safely upon a wooden door, floating through the ocean. COURTNEY VAUGHN
Still here. Still live blogging the longest-running drag show. Stacy London has arrived, with an intro from Wildfang CEO Emma McIlroy. pic.twitter.com/fOEZhkHqQk— Courtney Vaughn (@C__Vaughn) July 12, 2023
Check out W.M. Steve Humphrey's coverage for updates!
Tues July 11, 6:15 pm
The wait staff at Darcelle's keep sliding the press booth around, to clear aisles as needed. Two queens are now sharing this booth with me while they fan themselves off and sip water through neon straws. AJ Nox is strutting around in a long gray, rose print trench coat, doing the splits to Ariana Grande's "Touch It."
Tues July 11, 5:30 pm
Emcees now include members of Portugal. The Man. A few minutes ago, they contemplated potential drag names. "Portugal. The Woman" was suggested by an audience member. It's likely there's more creativity in this room and they'll find a better name before their emcee shift is through.
The smell of weed is wafting in.
We've heard a rendition of ABBA's “On And On And On” from AJ Nox, Lady Gaga's "You and I" and now Mars is back, getting weird, with "Hello Earth" by Kate Bush.
New emcees include members of Portugal. The Man. pic.twitter.com/bA99bBr1DE— Courtney Vaughn (@C__Vaughn) July 12, 2023
Tues July 11, 5:05 pm
We've seen AJ Nox perform to Grimes "Kill v. Maim" in thigh-high pleather boots and matching gloves with a yellow strapless mini dress. I want this outfit, bad. Kylie Mooncakes, a Seattle-based performer, is making everyone want to twerk, even if they can't.
Tues July 11, 4:40 pm
We have a new round of performers. Kylie Mooncakes is a true pop princess, commanding the stage in a white, frilly mini dress with matching gloves and white cowgirl boots. I'm sorry, I'm too old and lame to know the songs she's performing. They don't announce them. Mars is an absolute sexpot, rocking auburn '70s hair to Heart's "Magic Man." No one will ever be as sexy as Mars, so get over it now.
We have a new round of performers! This is Mars, absolutely mesmerizing with a rendition of Heart's "Magic Man." None of us will ever be this sexy. Get over it now. pic.twitter.com/rfncxiGGW5— Courtney Vaughn (@C__Vaughn) July 11, 2023
Tues July 11, 4:30 pm
Corin Tucker is a still emceeing, but now with her husband, filmmaker Lance Bangs. Tucker loves a good dirty joke. "Why don't gays shop at Sports Authority?" she asks the crowd. "Because they like Dicks!"
Tues July 11, 3:58 pm
Author Chelsea Cain is joined on stage by Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney. They've been running a bit of trivia, handing out candy Tucker purchased at a Plaid Pantry. One of the questions: Which famous drag queen inspired the face of "Ursula" from Disney's The Little Mermaid? There's no cheating here.
Tues July 11, 3:35 pm
Cassie Nova just siphoned all the tips with “Let’s Hear it For the Boy” by Deniece Williams. Viper Fengz has made a few appearances, bringing sultry, slowed down vibes. Viper is teasing out just a taste of her dance skills, letting fans know there's plenty more where that came from.
Tues July 11, 3:05 pm
Nicole Onoscopi just took the stage in a red dress and matching red wig for a jubilant infusion of energy, performing "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift. She was introduced by Paula Pell, who joked about the difficulty of maintaining a sex life after more than a decade with the same partner and a house full of dogs. COURTNEY VAUGHN
ICYMI: Portland is trying to set a new world record for longest drag performance. I'm here at Darcelle XV Showplace, where the day drinkers are interspersed with wholesome, middle-aged fans. Nicole Onoscopi added a bit of jubilance to the room with a rendition of "Shake it Off." pic.twitter.com/XwpnOCPrRA— Courtney Vaughn (@C__Vaughn) July 11, 2023
Tues July 11, 2:50 pm
I'm not sure exactly what happened, but something went awry on stage, and it required a ladder to fix. However, the show must go on! Monique La Faye kept her act going as some light carpentry took place behind her. I think these artists would probably be able to hold their own during the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, though. Come to think of it, what would it be like if The Big One happened right now? Getting hit by a flying disco ball at Darcelle's during an earthquake might be an iconic way to go out.
Sometimes during a 48-hour drag show, some light construction work takes place during a performance. pic.twitter.com/11gpBv5EHL— Taylor Griggs (@taylorjgriggs) July 11, 2023
Later, we got a killer live performance of Miley Cyrus's "Flowers." I don't love the song, but Nicole Onoscopi sang it beautifully. Plus, her drag name may be my favorite of the festival so far.
We’re getting some gorg live vocals with this cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers.” pic.twitter.com/hkuuFD5fOy— Taylor Griggs (@taylorjgriggs) July 11, 2023
My lunch today has been two corn dogs and a Red Bull, which the server very kindly brought to me with a pink straw. Who needs vegetables when your nutritional needs are being met by a drag queen in a Budweiser leotard flawlessly lip-synching to "Redneck Woman"? On that note, it's pretty funny to see a group of Portlanders who are spending their Tuesday afternoon at a drag show sing along so enthusiastically to the lyrics "Let me get a big 'hell yeah' from the redneck girls like me." I include myself in this assessment, FYI. TAYLOR GRIGGS
Absolutely iconic Budweiser leotard and fringed glitter jacket combo. pic.twitter.com/9TSvzjDhn8— Taylor Griggs (@taylorjgriggs) July 11, 2023
Tues July 11, 2:10 pm
No offense to the people waiting in a very long line outside Darcelle's to try and snag a Drag-A-Thon ticket, but it feels awesome to be escorted into the club like a VIP, even if it's just because I'm tasked with the very important job of blogging about the show.
Back at Darcelle XV Showplace to cover Drag-A-Thon for a couple hours. Here’s the line of people waiting at 1 pm on a Tuesday to get into the club (they may or may not make it—there’s a lot of demand!). Be sure to tune in to the @portlandmercury liveblog: https://t.co/uzhakmsb54 pic.twitter.com/zc3lfHQNvR— Taylor Griggs (@taylorjgriggs) July 11, 2023
The high of feeling like a member of Portland's upper echelon momentarily dissipated when I lost vision for a second upon entering the venue, which is very dark compared to the bright sunshine outside. But inside, things are much like they were when I left them last night. The performers, emcees, and audience members are all different—except Poison Waters, who is this event's inexhaustible North Star—but the vibe is the same: high energy glam and a little manic.
Oh, thank god: Poison Waters is performing The Supremes. pic.twitter.com/eJ0X4rjg9U— Taylor Griggs (@taylorjgriggs) July 11, 2023
Drag queens Anonymous, Meesha Peru, and Candy Whoreholla have been the stars of the show over the last hour, slaying the crowd with a Dolly Parton medley, another performance of "I Am What I Am" (but this time, it's a remix), and a Caroline Polachek lip sync respectively.
Before we continue, I need to issue a correction for one of my posts last night. At 9:05 pm yesterday, I claimed that Claudia Meza lost the arm wrestling competition with an audience member. In fact, sources now tell me that's not true. Meza is the winner of South El Monte's 1992 Little Miss Buff Arm competition, and she would never lose a competition. I'm so sorry, Claudia. Please don't blacklist me from your podcast. TAYLOR GRIGGS
Tues July 11, 1:00 pm
Portland author Cheryl Strayed enters the stage, sweeping dollars unassumingly. We all know something is up because there have been no tip gatherers (the fun, pun term for this momentarily escapes me) for performers at Drag-A-Thon.
Strayed tells an extremely bad joke that she got from googling "jokes" earlier. She says she has prepared six of them.
The performers we're watching in this time slot are Innana Miss (who you may remember from the midnight-2 am block, where she performed a Celine Dion-style "W.A.P."), Meesha Peru, and Candy Whoreholla. The audience is losing their minds for Meesha's high-energy dances. Inanna has them in the palm of her hand. This trio is breathing life back into the marathon's energy levels.
Inanna Miss has the crowd pumped again: pic.twitter.com/O5iQ2O9mTf— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 11, 2023
Abruptly, Taylor Griggs arrives to give me a break. I had forgotten this, but it's a gift because I'm pretty tired. Follow her for updates.
Tues July 11, 11:48 am
Stacy London has arrived to perform her emcee duties. "I went backstage and I was immediately freaked out because I think I maybe don't have enough contour on," she says. Then she asks what we're looking for from the drag performance and someone in the crowd replies: "Color, pattern, texture, shine," repeating a known motto from What Not to Wear.
London brainstorms with the mid-day crowd, trying to bring the energy up, to better support performers Crystyl Jewyl Box, Flynn Boyant, and Petra Etc!. I will admit a level of skepticism about the importance of so many emcees, going into this world record setting attempt, but the performers don't have time to remind the ever-shifting audience of the rules. Nor should they have to pump up the crowd—the crowd should be ready for them. London tries to lead the crowd in a wave.
Pro tip from a culture editor who has attended many basement shows: Tell people to clap faster. It sounds like there are more people. SUZETTE SMITH
Tues July 11, 11:03 am
A description of backstage from Eden Dawn: It's nine thousand degrees. There are two performer schedule spreadsheets that everyone is trying to look at. Fiona McCann has fallen down the steep steps that lead to the stage three times. Fred Armisen is sitting in a corner handing out cock-shaped cookies. "It's a really chill scene," she says.
Our new emcees are Back Fence PDX creator B. Frayn Masters and the aforementioned McCann. They lead the crowd in a short stretching exercise, which involves extending your dominant hand to practice "lean and give a dollar to a queen."
Were we ready for this rendition of “Barbie Girl” by Petra Etc!? (You know, I felt ready.) pic.twitter.com/SZFrkUmBvA— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 11, 2023
Tues July 11, 9:33 am
When I re-enter Darcelle XV Showplace for my third shift, I'm greeted by Jason Rouse, who I don't know very well, but somehow his presence is soothing. (He was very good as the narrator in the recent staging of Road House: The Play). Rouse is wearing tuxedo-style onesie pajamas and really pulling it off.
He's soon joined by local entrepreneur Ciara Pressler who is absolutely the best emcee so far. She is clear. She is funny. She is concise. Within a short period of time, she's also holding her own with Fred Armisen who takes over for Rouse.
The drag artists during this set perform at least two non-English language numbers, which we are SO HERE FOR, but which really throw us initially. How come words not know?
Good morning, Portland! This song rules, but it took FAR TOO LONG for me to realize it wasn’t in English (it’s in Japanese). “Stay With Me” by Miki Matsubara. Bless. I’m back at Drag-A-Thon for my third shift. pic.twitter.com/DmydkupjCz— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 11, 2023
Drag-A-Thon organizer / host Eden Dawn has no business looking so rosy and fresh at this hour. SUZETTE SMITH
Tues July 11, 8:06 am
Local actors Jason Rouse and Brad Cerenzia are our emcees now. Just as the sun returns to the sky, Poison Waters returns to the stage.
Poison Waters, dancing to Taylor Dane, returns to the stage like the sun to the sky. pic.twitter.com/BbcjiQiLD8— 🏳️🌈 Andrew D. Jankowski 🏳️🌈 (@AndrewJank) July 11, 2023
Even stacked against classics like Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" and Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA," Poison's three ballads from Anita Baker, Toni Braxton, and Taylor Dayne are some of the hour's most engaging numbers. Her poise and audience engagement never lets on that she's been here for nearly 24 consecutive hours. We have unfortunately lost count of how MANY numbers she's performed, but it's a lot. A live rendition of Frank Sinatra's "L.O.V.E." by Cordelia Specifically closes out the hour, though an unseen injury was said to have delayed the number's start. With that, I'm handing the blog keys back to Suzette, who will start her third shift now. ANDREW JANKOWSKI
Tues July 11, 6:12 am
Portland Thorns defender Meghan "Kling" Klingenberg and former Portland Monthly editor Fiona McCann change guard as emcees, ushering in artists Lucky, Pluto, and Jenna Saisquoix (a play on je ne sais quoi). Six in the morning begins with a tribute to Carrie Fisher, leading into a set of gay pop standards.
The kids were fed by Dua Lipa and Kim Petras hits, while gays of a certain age feasted on Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera—all supported by the formative nutrition of Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli. I have learned that our emcees are owner of Living Room Realty Jenelle Etzel and Jessi Duley, owner of Burncycle. "Who says there can't be joy and justice?" Duley asks as they close their two-hour hosting block. ANDREW JANKOWSKI
Tues July 11, 5:06 am
Kitty KariAll starts the hour with the Frozen song [ahem, I think you mean "Let It Go"- eds.], giving the audience their own personal four year old's birthday party fantasy come true. Ibiza pop songs, ballads by Bruno Mars and Shawn Mendes, and yodeling by Gwen Stefani soon follow. The emcees tell us 200 people organized this event, and try to rouse the audience to Lady Gaga's "Applause" like a spin class. Whoever curated this hour is a demented genius.
My third act, Kitty KariAll, twirls on the intersection of art and technology to Katy Perry's "Rise." This crowd is as excited as I expect anyone at 4 am to be. pic.twitter.com/1RyT2HKICH— 🏳️🌈 Andrew D. Jankowski 🏳️🌈 (@AndrewJank) July 11, 2023
Kitty's tender tribute to Andra Day's "Rise Up" gets polite cheers, but raising signs for Black Trans Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate receives only scattered applause. She closes the hour with an opera cover of Queen's "The Show Must Go On." ANDREW JANKOWSKI
Tues July 11, 4:00 am
As I arrive, the two emcees on stage have found a couple on a date, "They're at a drag show at 4 am, and you don't think they're into adventure?" one asks, incredulous.
Coffee service doesn't start for an hour, but the cast at Darcelle rallies Old Town's energies for applause at 4 am like pros. A pleather dominatrix, crooning and rapping drag kings, and a twirling laser fairy are among my first hour's highlights. A glitching loop during Katy Perry's "When I'm Gone" reminds me of the magic of Darcelle's: What if David Lynch's Black Lodge was in a drag bar? ANDREW JANKOWSKI
Tues July 11, 3:50 am
A Drag-A-Thon miracle occurs soon after I complain on the blog: Performer names start making their way off the stage. Kourtni Capree straight-up introduces herself to her waves of adoring, dollar-offering fans. And one of the emcees notes the powerhouse of energy and surprise splits Lavender Haze has been bringing for hours.
Lavender has consistently brought so much energy into our 3 am disco dream: pic.twitter.com/yGXltGdRlF— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 11, 2023
This current group of performers has presented us with a terrific variety of styles—Cassie Nova and Kourtni Capree keeping it classy in sequin gowns, Sugar Pill changing personas with every single number, and Lavender Haze bringing straight-up athletics.
Not only is Kourtni Capree's singing devastatingly pretty to listen to, but she also speaks briefly about a fear of being unable to read books to her son, if anti-drag bans continue to overrun people's rights.
Get pumped for an infusion of energy, folks! I'm about to turn this blog over to Andrew Jankowski. Actually, I'm probably going to take a nap and hold off on updates for a couple hours, but you can watch through Andrew's eyes by following him on Twitter here. Then you'll get a nice amount of his written coverage first thing in the morning. SUZETTE SMITH
Tues July 11, 2:30 am
Kimber K Shade joined Punkie in hosting duties for a minute, and it was nice to have her (and her outfit) around. But then they both left and were replaced by "the wives" AKA Eden Dawn's husband Ashod Simonian (with whom she co-authored The Portland Book of Dates) and Emma Mcilroy's wife Amy Taylor.
It's pretty frustrating that the emcees do a good job introducing themselves and yet the queens, around whom this event is structured, are wearing a ton of different costumes and it's sort of impossible to keep everyone straight. Could a cranky reporter get some damn, hyped-up performer introductions?
It's almost three in the morning, and I am not bringing the same energy as the person screaming “Yes sis!” directly behind me—and I am aware that I am in the wrong. SUZETTE SMITH
Tues July 11, 1:45 am
Saint Syndrome continues to astound, with a rendition of "Jolene" where she has changed the lyrics to something along the lines of: "Drag queen, drag queen / sometimes the best wife is the groom's best man."
Between numbers and during the corralled chaos of the audience change, Punkie Johnson keeps doing this bit that I like, walking around and asking audience members if they're queer. It's simultaneously putting people on the spot and welcoming them in. Now that it's past one in the morning, there's free pizza and energy drinks. People in the back are being tattooed with Darcelle's glorious visage.
Oops, I wasn't paying attention to a queen singing Celine Dion, and the song morphed into "W.A.P." SUZETTE SMITH
I wasn’t paying attention to a queen singing Celine Dion, and then the song morphed into “W.A.P.” Let this be a lesson to me. pic.twitter.com/qzeXuoGNwn— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 11, 2023
Tues July 11, 12:45 am
When you put together a TEAM WITH A SPECIFIC SET OF SKILLS (blogging) it is inevitable that one of them will get sick. Therefore, while I did not intend to be back for another shift of Drag-A-Thon so soon, I do not mind. Some might even say I enjoy it.
As I reenter Darcelle XV Showplace, a performer is nearly stripped, wearing only hose, holding herself tenderly to the Kesha's "This Is Me." Crowds never know what to do with awe-inspiring moments of vulnerability, so they simply hoot like this were some lascivious near-nudity. Clearly, I have returned a shade more judgmental.
That said, she is followed by Saint Syndrome, who eats a cup of yogurt whilst performing—stealing my heart with the surrealism of it.
Saint Syndrome is the kind of drag Portland needs: pic.twitter.com/D4tsZTac6d— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 11, 2023
The Oregonian's Destiny Johnson is sharing the press booth, wearing a sign around her neck that reads “I’m a journalist here for 24 hours.” She's wiping up sunscreen, and I pretend to be surprised by this news, like I didn’t just hand Taylor a plastic bag to keep her stuff in. SUZETTE SMITH
Tues July 11, 12:00 am
The things occurring in my field of vision have been a blur during the past hour. The crowd at Darcelle's has seen artists impersonate the gay icons Elsa (Frozen), Scar (The Lion King), and Cruella De Vil; we've watched John Cameron Mitchell tell us his drag name (Hell of a Bottom Carter); and I've spilled a bottle of Trader Joe's spray sunscreen all over my backpack and myself, which took me away from the happenings onstage for a bit.
We’ve got an Elsa, and the crowd is going wild. pic.twitter.com/HH4TTCHN2S— Taylor Griggs (@taylorjgriggs) July 11, 2023
I must say, it's very interesting to witness so many different performers, emcees, and audiences cycle out of the venue. I've never experienced an event like this! Shoutout to the bartenders who have been here all night—I hope they are being tipped very well.
I will be heading out shortly and passing the baton back to the tireless Suzette Smith. This has been very fun, so stay tuned as the Mercury enters day two of Drag-A-Thon coverage and Wildfang and Darcelle XV Showplace take another step toward beating the world record for longest drag performance. They're gonna do it! TTYL! TAYLOR GRIGGS
Mon July 10, 11:05 pm
You know when you go into a movie theater when it's still light out and leave the theater to a dark world beyond your comprehension? That's kind of how it feels to be inside Darcelle XV Showplace right now. Time has no meaning here, and it's literally not even midnight yet. I straight up cannot imagine what it's going to be like for the people covering this event at 4 am.
I guess there's just something so fever dream-like about seeing Rukaiyah Adams and John Cameron Mitchell (whose role in the TV show Shrill makes it hard for me to conceive of him as anyone other than the editor of a Portland alt-weekly much like the one I'm gainfully employed at) shooting the shit onstage after a performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" that brought the crowd to its knees. I will never be able to publish a run-on sentence that unwieldy on this website ever again, so soak it in.
Anyway, Darcelle's is the center of the universe right now. There is nothing going on beyond these hallowed halls. TAYLOR GRIGGS
The house may have been brought down, folks. pic.twitter.com/VXtgyxKUFm— Taylor Griggs (@taylorjgriggs) July 11, 2023
Mon July 10, 10:15 pm
The last hour (and ten minutes, sorry) has gone by much quicker than the first hour of my shift at Drag-A-Thon—I guess I'm just settling into the very luxurious press booth they've given us. I swear, a person could fall asleep in one of these things! And if I was going to be here for very much longer, that person would most definitely be me.
It's hard to keep up with these performances, which are all flowing very easily into each other. The queens are all amazing: I need to shout out Johnny Nuriel in particular for some incredible hula hoop work, but everyone has been on their a-games.
Johnny of Izhonny is doing some VERY impressive stuff with a hula hoop. pic.twitter.com/v6oUZabf8r— Taylor Griggs (@taylorjgriggs) July 11, 2023
The emcees are rotating through, too, giving us some great quotes from people like Portland visionary Rukaiyah Adams (who currently leads the 1803 Fund), who says "all the haters of drag can suck it." And that's that on that! TAYLOR GRIGGS
Mon July 10, 9:05 pm
My first hour at Drag-A-Thon has been a whirlwind. When I walked in, Izhonny (Isaiah Esquire and Johnny Nuriel) were performing their first high-energy medley. They've been on stage multiple different times since then, together and separately. Isaiah got the whole crowd dancing with Party Up ("White people love this song," they said) and Johnny gave Tim Curry a run for his money with a fabulous Rocky Horror Picture Show performance.
Marvelous Frank-n-Furter performance with live vocals. Was trying to get this audience member to play Brad at the beginning of this clip (he has the glasses for it) but he didn’t know the words. 😭 get this man to the Clinton St Theater’s RHPS immediately pic.twitter.com/xU5UyO8YeK— Taylor Griggs (@taylorjgriggs) July 11, 2023
Another queen STUNNED with her rendition of "I Am What I Am" from the La Cage Aux Folles, which was the first Broadway musical to focus on a gay relationship when it opened in the 80s.
Ok truly stunning rendition of “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles. Crowd went wild when she took out a pride flag at the end. Not a dry eye in the house! pic.twitter.com/Tfg2etuGsm— Taylor Griggs (@taylorjgriggs) July 11, 2023
Some other highlights so far: someone told emcee Fred Armisen to ride a bike when he complained about parking on Alberta; City Cast Portland's Claudia Meza had an arm wrestling competition with an audience member (I think she lost, but wasn't sore about it); I ate a really delicious cheeseburger that only cost $12, which is a steal in my opinion, especially because it came with onion rings. TAYLOR GRIGGS
Mon July 10, 8:20 pm
It's a wild proposal, to tear yourself away from the combined glamour of Izhonny: Isaiah Esquire and Johnny Nuriel. The only reason I am able to do so is because my replacement Taylor Griggs is here and I have a sandwich at home. Follow Taylor for updates here. And of course HERE—WITHIN THE LIVE BLOG. SUZETTE SMITH
Then Izhonny’s Isaiah Esquire performed this before breaking out into “Hot in Herre.” pic.twitter.com/8BzAb0G2ya— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 11, 2023
Mon July 10, 7:25 pm
Moments of brilliance are flying fast across the stage. While trying to upload a photo of Cameron Esposito and Punkie Johnson in enormous, wigs, I miss recording Peppermint as she makes the entire crowd chant "put a dolla in my titty" during her performance of "Dolla' In My Titty."
There are some show tune numbers rolling out, which one could argue are even more drag standard tunes than pop songs about heartbreak.
I'm grateful for the innovation of a queen who begins her number with a monologue from Erin Brockovich, and then filled with horror as the track skips and repeats three times—forcing her to repeat the speech. Since there's a time limit she isn't able to finish the lip sync singing portion of her performance.
When drag is an Erin Brockovich monologue: pic.twitter.com/xfkXmaLOpc— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 11, 2023
Due to the rules laid down by the Gunniess World Records people, the room needs to always have a certain number of audience members, so the ushers tap people on the shoulder to let them leave, then bring in a replacement. It's a coralled chaos. At one point Cameron Esposito comes out and tells the audience to leave, then recants, and asks if they are—in fact—the new audience. SUZETTE SMITH
Mon July 10, 6:30 pm
Cameron Esposito delivers some funny material about looking at Jason Momoa's use of a scrunchie in a his personal fashion paving the way for their own little topknot hairdo. Then Beach Pace announces that the clock organizers bought to track the attempt's minutes and hours doesn't go high enough to properly track the Drag-A-Thon. So they change it over to tell the time. It also, somewhat hilariously, occasionally tells the temperature in celsius.
The evening's first real ballad unfolds, a lip sync to Miley Cyru's "When I Look at You."
This feels like the first true BALLAD of the night: pic.twitter.com/h48y6oedme— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 11, 2023
Peppermint takes the stage to perform a lip sync to "Age of Aquarius" and the room stands to clap and cheer. After the lip sync she takes a microphone from backstage and performs her own song "Shady Phone." We have entered the age of Miss Peppermint. SUZETTE SMITH
Mon July 10, 5:30 pm
The great difficulty of Drag-A-Thon has revealed itself, and it is the difficulty of tearing your eyes away from the stage long enough to legibly type.
It's not really possible to keep track of the performers hitting the stage—because of Guinness World Record-imposed time limit, each performance is about as long as the actual song the being performed. Four minutes of high-energy Robyn and then they're gone, and you're Cinderella's prince, thinking: I'll find her by her fabulous shoes.
I'm fairly sure Poison Waters has already performed three times, but I tell people apart by their hairstyles, so I never really stood a chance.
CEO Emma Mcilroy retakes the stage and says the 48-hour Drag-A-Thon will have over 60 performers and over 60 emcees in total. Following Punkie Johnson, Hillsboro City Councilor Member Beach Pace and Comedian Cameron Esposito are now currently dual emcee hosts. SUZETTE SMITH
“The great difficulty of Drag-A-Thon has revealed itself, and it is the problem of tearing your eyes away from the stage long enough to legibly type,” I type, and then they start playing Robyn “Dancing on My Own.” pic.twitter.com/rK6cxvS2xr— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 11, 2023
Mon July 10, 4:30 pm
It's a packed house at Drag-A-Thon. Unsurprisingly a number of audience members are wearing Wildfang brand pattern suits.
After Wildfang CEO Emma Mcilroy and Portland podcast host Eden Dawn open the festivities, a large digital clock starts whirring forward with encouraging speed. The Drag-A-Thon opens with Poison Waters lip syncing to "A Lil' Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place" by Dolly Parton. Darcelle XV Showplace house staff join her on stage.
As foreshadowing for the evening to come, the staff performers stop their respective promenades through the crowd at Poison's pantomime of pointing at her wristwatch. The Guinness World Records folks are holding performers to strict time constraints.
Further mother behavior shows up as Poison leaves the stage. She pauses and offers a PSA: "Please don't throw money on the stage. It's dangerous for the performers. The bowl is right there! Thank you!" SUZETTE SMITH
The Drag-A-Thon opens with Poison Waters lip syncing to "A Lil' Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place" by Dolly Parton. Darcelle XV Showplace house staff join her on stage: pic.twitter.com/s0IS93EO16— Suzette Smith (@suzettesmith) July 10, 2023
The current drag artist performance record currently stands at 36 hours, 36 minutes, and 40 seconds, set at a 2017 event in Australia. If all goes according to plan, the artists performing at Darcelle's will crash through the previous record at around 4:36 am on the morning of Wednesday July 12. However, as a feat of strength, they plan to keep the mascara flowing for another 11 hours, staking Portland claim as the Guinness World Record holder for 48 consecutive hours of drag.
It's important to note that Drag-A-Thon is not all gender bending and falling glitter. The marathon is a statement—standing up to the Tennessee drag ban and other anti-drag bills in US states. With ticket sales and other donations, Drag-A-Thon hopes to raise $250,000 for the Trevor Project, so the organization can continue to fight harmful, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
Drag-A-Thon is also welcoming drag artists from other states and paying them to perform, such as Eureka O'Hara: a RuPaul's Drag Race alum and a drag queen from Johnson City, Tennessee. While Wildfang representatives stressed they won't be taking one cent of the door, the performers will be paid. And tipped! (Bring your dollars, Portland!).
There's no schedule yet released for Drag-A-Thon, so every ticket was a bit of a gamble, but here's the current list of performers and emcees who have signed up to appear onstage for the event: