10 Grueling Weeks Filled With Spectacular Performances, Costumes, And Drag Queens Has Crowned A New Houston Diva!
(HOUSTON) – Season 9 is a wrap for Dessie’s Drag Race, a ten-week competition for drag performers at Michael’s Outpost created by Miss Gay Texas, Dessie Love Blake.Landing the Season 9 ‘Crown’ is Houston’s Regina Thorne-Dubois.
Winner Regina Thorne-Dubois admits shehas only three short years in the Houston drag scene, but has used inspiration from idols Dessie Love Blake, Chloe Knox , friends and family to take her to the top. Regina mixed her background in theatre and her true love for the stage. That combination was unstoppable, and she knew Season 9 was hers for the taking.
“Dropping out was never an option for me once I made the decision to do drag race,” Regina explained in an interview with About News. She recalls thinking it was a ‘horrible joke,’ after she was announced winner.
Over the history of D.D.R. the audience has seen many members of the Dubois family come up one step shy. Not this season, as two members of Dubois family dynasty landed in the finals.
“Regina was a front runner from the beginning,” show founder Dessie Love Blake expressed. “She proved week after week she had the goods to go to the end.” As the winner, Regina will become the host at Michael’s Outpost on Monday nights with her new show, A Broads Way: A Broadway Musical Revue.
(SPRING, TX) — When it comes to drag queens, there are no two quite like Blackberri and Estella Blow. The duo that works together at various shows across the city (including C U Next Tuesday at Michael’s Outpost and Mary’s Comedy House at Hamburger Mary’s) have an undeniable chemistry as rare in drag as it can be in day-to-day interpersonal relationships. But this dynamic duo doesn’t restrict their talent to Montrose. As a matter of fact, both queens take their talent on the road (by Houston standards, at least) up I-45 to Spring, Texas, where they host their lively “gayme” night every Wednesday at The Room Bar.
About The Room
While The Room isn’t the only gay bar in North Houston, it is only one of two. For queer people in Spring, Humble, The Woodlands, Klein, and Tomball, the options for a neighborhood LGBTQIA bar north of the loop are, well … limited. True, Humble was previously home to the gay bar Whispers, but the north side of 610 (and even the Beltway), leaves only two gay bars, without traveling so far as Huntsville. These are Ranch Hill (located at exit 73 in the Woodlands) and (host to Blackberri and Estella) the Room Bar and Lounge (affectionately referred to as ‘The Room’).
The Room, for those who live north of Houston, is a local staple of it’s LGBTQIA community. For the past ten years, the Room has served as a safe haven for LGBTQ locals from Spring and the surrounding area. At the risk of editorializing, it was the very first gay bar that I ever frequented after coming out, where the regular patrons and staff welcomed me with open arms. And for the last eight years, the bar has been managed by Natalie Brackin, who serves not only drinks, but as a favorite to regulars as she makes drinks with that extra ingredient: smiles.
The staff, which alternates daily, also consists of Michael Booth, Erich Barber-Horn, and co-manager Chris Vega. And with each person that keeps this bar running comes an individual personality that keeps customers coming back. From Michael (whose one-on-one interaction with customers resonates with regulars and newcomers alike), to Erich (whose jokes and charismatic perception leave no patron left behind), to Chris (whose style, flair, and sweetness resound throughout the bar even when he isn’t there), to Natalie (whom patrons new and old affectionately refer to as ‘Mama’, even after meeting her only once).
The bar is host to not just Gayme Night, but also to the monthly Roomers Show, hosted by About favorite Tatiana Mala-Nina. It’s ability to draw out Houston’s favorite drag queens has been long-standing. For years, the Roomers cast, has included the likes of Veronica Strutts, Cyn City, Akira Skye, Chloe T Crawford, and various others.
Without sacrificing its comfy, hospitable feel, the Room maintains the ability to provide a relaxed, low-pressure environment while still playing host to entertainment that packs out its house. This can only be credited to its staff, though especially so to bar manager, Natalie Brackin. The woman behind the magic of The Room is known for her ability to listen to her customers, provide them with sage advice, and quip them with jokes that often result in not only laughter, but long-lasting friendship. Even when confronted with drunk (not to mention slightly belligerent) patrons, Ms. Brackin is capable of not only maintaining composure, but also defusing the tension to a mild simmer. And why? Because, in her own words, “Everything’s perfect.” But it’s that sort of comfortability that keeps patrons coming back. The way that Brackin interacts with those at the bar—engaging in their stories, listening to their troubles, appeasing their needs for drinks and solace—is the sole driver in that force that has kept this bar running in the time that she’s been with them—increasing its population ever since. With that said, taking a trip up I-45 to the Room is a bit like following the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City—Ms. Brackin, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. You know, if the Wizard had really been a wizard and not a man behind the curtain from Kansas.
About Blackberri and Estella Blow
It’s been no secret that Blackberri had a nice rise to drag queen fame in 2017, bleeding into various hosting gigs in 2018. Still, Darius Vallier, the man behind the bearded-genius that is Blackberri, was the FACE Award–winner of Drag Illusionist of the Year and the Gayest and Greatest Award-winner for Best Host and Emcee in 2017. But that rise to fame didn’t come without work. Vallier spent time working in comedy clubs to hone his craft, as well as studying design in order to perfect his drag abilities. Now, in 2018, Blackberri’s busy schedule includes shows at Hamburger Mary’s, Michael’s Outpost, and a judging gig at Rich’s Dessie’s Drag Race.
As for Estella Blow, whom I first saw right here at The Room a couple years back, she’s no amateur to drag. AJ Speckhard’s (the man behind the lovely Ms. Blow) credits include C U Next Tuesday at Michael’s, the Roomers Show at the Room Bar, and Mary’s Comedy House at Hamburger Mary’s. In addition to her regular shows, she’s also been a competitor in Dessie’s Drag Race at Rich’s Houston (where she now serves as a competitor mentor) every Monday night. Estella, whose comedy chops are as well timed as her drag numbers, is a Room Bar staple that’s made a mark not only on the North Houston audience, but as well as on that of Montrose.
About Gayme Night
For quite a while, the Room hosted its Wednesday Drag Bingo show, where winners won not only drinks, bar tabs, but sometimes cash. The night included not only bingo, but also performances by then-host, Akira Skye, Cyn City, Estella Blow, and various guests from week-to-week. However, after a tiny hiccup with the Texas Lottery Commission in the summer of 2017, the Room transitioned bingo into Gayme Night, where Blackberri and Estella took over following Akira’s retirement from drag.
While bingo was always a night that drew in a crowd, Gayme Night has proven to be something not only different in vibe, but also in audience participation. Gone are the days of a quiet bar that listened intently while one queen or another called out ‘O-69’ or ‘B-9’ (“you ain’t got the cancer”). Replacing it is an intimate evening of two of Houston’s finest and most personable drag queens engaging an audience not distracted by their own conversations or troubles. And while the games are fun and participatory (from seeing whose inflated balloon can fly the furthest, to blowing up condoms until they pop with an air pump, to drag suicide), it’s neither the games nor the free drinks (which one is gifted if they win) that keep the audience coming back. In fact, it’s the personalities that both AJ and Darius bring to life with Estella and Blackberri. At no point do they allow the audience to drift from their consciousness. Whether that involves Blackberri asking to see the nudes in the phones of those their to see them, or Estella asking how many viewers attend Lone Star Community College like she does, only to insult her own intelligence. Their chemistry, their performances, their ‘sickening’ costumes, and their interaction with the crowd that comes and goes in waves throughout the night all contribute to the success of not only The Room, but the followings of both queens. Both Estella and Blackberri find hilarity in the audience members—”You look like my dog when she had heartworms,” Blackberri told one guest as they dragged themselves across the floor during a game—in each other—”Who’s ready for some bearded beauty?” Estella asked the bar patrons before quipping of Blackberri’s performance “Me neither.”—and in themselves—”I’m gonna head to the back and wipe the sweat from under my titties,” Blackberri teased between numbers.
But of course, neither would be able to pull off this sort of event every seven days past without the other. Each brings their own energy to the bar, each complementing the other in a way that might not quite work with other queens. Their chemistry and interaction is truly something to be admired, something that makes the audience desire more. And while each drag show throughout the Greater Houston Area is special in its own right, as is each and every drag performer, there’s no denying that this weekly show (due in part to the bar staff) is a supernova in and of itself—even if that supernova exists just a little bit outside of the Montrose galaxy.
You can catch Gayme Night every Wednesday at The Room Bar & Lounge (4915 FM 2920 Spring, TX 77388).
You can find both Estella and Blackberri in C U Next Tuesday at Michael’s Outpost every … well … Tuesday and in Mary’s Comedy House Fridays at Hamburger Mary’s. You can also find Estella in the Roomers Show on the second Saturday of each month at the Room Bar, and Blackberri hosting Eye Cons each Saturday, as well as judging Dessie’s Drag Race Monday’s at Rich’s, and as a rotating co-host for Drags to Rich’s at Rich’s beginning Sunday, March 25th.
Queer Artist ‘The Hound’ Releases New Video Starring Adult Film Star Adam Ramzi
(HOUSTON) – Queer Artist ‘The Hound‘ has released a new single, “Can’t Let You Go,” and stars adult film-fox Adam Ramzi as the no-good ex The Hound can’t break free from.
The Hound tells About Magazine he drew inspiration from Alanis Morissette’s “Your House”.
“I wanted the viewer to think that they were watching me moving around my apartment, burdened by memories. Suddenly, they realize that it’s not my place, that I’ve broken into the home of my ex who is now with someone else.”
Co-directed by The Hound and Adrian Anchondo, the music video features choreography by Andrew Pearson and some incredible dance moves by Ramzi. It also has the distinction of being banned from Instagram for being “too sexually explicit”.
“Adam brings the relationship to life in the video,” continues The Hound. “There were a few scenes that we kept doing over and over again and it got so very real. I could tell we were both channeling some true life experiences.”
The Hound knows about the dangers of a toxic love. He admits to being in a low place in life when writing, “Can’t Let You Go.” “I didn’t know what I wanted anymore. I was very depressed and found myself in an incredibly toxic relationship with someone who suffered extreme highs and lows, and I was coming to terms with the fact that just because it’s love, doesn’t make it right. People also love heroin and meth, and he was definitely like a drug to me. It took everything falling apart for me to finally walk away.”
One of the lyrics that resonates with him most is:
I could see the end,
but it was easier to pretend,
that we’d make it out alive and I wouldn’t lose a friend.
“There’s this awareness that the relationship would eventually fall apart, but until it did, things could be swept under the rug,” he explains.
The Hound grew up in Santa Clarita, a suburb outside of Los Angeles. Music was an escape from his parent’s divorce and his dad’s alcoholism.
He came out 14, when, as a freshman at Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, he caught the eye of a popular senior. “It was the second week of school and I heard this very cute and talented guy liked me,” he remembers. “I wasn’t out, but that changed very quickly.”
He’d go on to date other boys in high school, including Lawrence Alarcon, his eventual bandmate. After graduation, they formed Orchid and Hound in San Francisco and began performing and releasing records. When they broke up, The Hound kept his name.
“My songs are about my life and the lessons I’ve learned,” he explains. “Being human means making mistakes; hearing that voice of reason and consciously choosing to ignore it.
“One thing I have learned is that relationships define us and we struggle with who we are without them. The worst ones can be impossible to let go of.”
The Hounds’ “Can’t Let You Go” is available on iTunes, Spotify and all digital platforms. The music video is available on Youtube.
The List Of The Hottest Places LGBT Houston Will Be Ringing In The New Year
New Year’s Eve 2017 Houston: A List Of LGBTQ+ Parties
HOUSTON — How are you and your friends ringing in 2017? You could freeze your ass off in New York’s Times Square, or you could enjoy the more humid air of the eccentric Montrose neighborhood. You can either party bounce or pick one location and stay all night.
We all know this is a rough time of year with visiting relatives, expanding waistlines, but all is forgotten for New Years Eve. Montrose might not always get things right (town home building invasion, crime), but the historic LGBT neighborhood certainly knows how to party.
We’ve complied an exclusive list from social media of some of the best LGBTQ+ parties across Montrose and Midtown for the young and in your prime, for the laid-back and the adrenaline junkie, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy, and be safe.
Richs Houston: 2017 NYE BASH Complimentary champagne toast, and a cash balloon drop worth thousands at the stroke of midnight. Rich’s has a special surprise for our revelers in Houston. Scene:Trendy+ Large Danceclub $10 Door Cover | 21+ | Doors at 9PM
South Beach: NYE with RuPaul’s Pearl Pearl returns for the Pearl Necklace party. New Year’s Countdown.. Champagne toast at midnight. No cover before 10PM with text. No cover until midnight with Tuxedo. Scene:Mix Crowd + Youth + DJ + Drag Lovers + Large Danceclub $20 Door Cover | 18+ | 9PM – 4AM
Neon Boots Dancehall: HUGE 2017 NYE Party Champagne Toast, Balloon Drop Money Drop, and free breakfast Free Breakfast at 1:30am Free New Year’s Party Favors Scene:County Music + Jocks + Cowboys & Girls + Large Danceclub $10 Door Cover | 21+ | 9PM
F Bar Houston: Diamonds Are Forever NYE Entertainment by ALYSSA EDWARDS, LAGANJA ESTRANJA and hosted by PERSANA SHOULDERS, from the world famous OZ NIGHTCLUB, New Orleans. Scene:Trendy+ Drag Lovers + DJ + Danceclub $35 COVER | 21+| 9PM
Pearl Bar: DJ Von Kiss NYE Girl Party DJ Von Kiss from Los Angeles joins GRRRL PARTS DJs at Houston only girl bar. Complimentary Champagne Toast at midnight Scene:Trendy+ Girls + DJ + Bar $10 Door Cover | 21+ |8PM
Guava Lamp: NYE Drag Show Start your New Year’s Eve with Houston’s Best Drag Show at Guava Lamp. Bottle Service Available: $200 for both one bottle of Kettle One and one bottle Veuve Champagne. Scene:Trendy+ Intimate Crowd + Drag Lovers +DJ + Bar $ NO Cover | 21+ | 4PM
Ripcord: Bearracuda NYE 2017 Get your NYE fun with DJ Ryan Jones at the Ripcord. Scene:Leather + Mix + DJ + Bar $6 Door Cover | 21+| 9PM
Bayou City Bar: NYE Drag Show Midnight balloon drop with cash and prizes at this hot New Years Eve party in the middle of Montrose. Bottle Service available. Scene:Hip Hop + Trendy + DJ + Bar $ NO Cover | 21+ |9PM