Last night at xl, BeBe Zahara Benet–the very first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race–proved she truly earned her crown.
The Cameroon-born drag star put on her elaborately entertaining Beto Sutter-produced show called Creature, which mixes bits of Grace Jones, Kevin Aviance, Julie Taymor, Leigh Bowery, and Josephine Baker for a shimmering ode to uniqueness.
Against pulsing visuals of African tribespeople and pouncing wildlife, BeBe emerged in a shaman (or maybe sha-woman) costume as six hot male Alvin Ailey types danced around in grass skirts and two singing divas in tight black sequins belted the backups.
It was quite a spectacle–a far cry from the usual drag shtick of aping Britney and Whitney–and she carried it through with hypnotic dance music, droll banter, and astounding costume changes (from a rainbow skirt with a glittery top and a head protrusion to a shiny gold S&M outfit complete with eye goggles and spiked helmet).
“I look like your mother,” she told one tourist in the crowd, “but I’m built like your father.”
Well, my father was built like my mother, but even he wasn’t as uniquely arresting as BeBe Zahara Benet.
She’s doing the show there again next Thursday. Do you dare?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 25, 2012