RuPaul’s Christmas Ball

EPFC | December 7th, 2016

guest curator: Erica Magrey

December spews forth a tumultuous wave of colder, darker realism and discomforts of every persuasion, tempered only by the simultaneous rush of shine and sparkle and pep, a promise of something warm and golden. In the pursuit of Ye Olde Holiday Spirit we on occasion craft a product lush with hope and humor and song and sweet sweet somethings that are whispered into an elf’s ear. This rare delicacy, a very peculiar format, should be studied and appreciated for its often jumbled collection of elements that form a glorious feast when amassed. I invite you to join me at the table so we can break bread and share the elusive bird – cue spotlight – THE HOLIDAY SPECIAL! In our studies we will examine a sampling of those that evoke blushing cheeks on the face of the holiday genre.

We’re stepping on the gas today with RuPaul’s Christmas Ball, a Channel 4 production that aired on British TV in 1993. Ru is a delight – fierce and funny, bending, transcending, and upending the season in bawdy fashion. The Downtown Drag Time Players, a motley crew of more- and lesser-known performers, co-star in several roles: elves putting sweaters on teddy bears, cracked out Tic Tac addicts, aliens-turned-capitalist socialites, and solo bits and bumpers that tickle and giggle throughout. RuPaul and LaToya jackson battle as evil stepsisters, while Eartha Kitt gets schooled by Ru’s outrageous Hattie Ruth. Elton John and Ru duet, sharing a closetful of ass-kicking couple’s ensembles. Boy George performs an oh-so-mellow “Everything I Own” and Fred Schneider cameos as the future agent of Ebony Scrooge, Ru’s washed up future self if she doesn’t change her current tune. Indeed, goodwill is alive and well in this satirical but still very real holiday lovefest. Strong and smart performances abound, so do relish the ingredients of Ru’s stew.