WATCH: Anti-smoking PSA with Drag Racers

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RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants Shangela, Manilla Luzon, Trixie Mattel and Tammie Brown have teamed up for a public service announcement explaining the dangers of smoking. And, because it’s targeted to the gay community, it appeals more to vanity than health. Hey, whatever gets you off tobacco. Enjoy.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

North Texas Drag Racer Shangela to host new show at the Paris Las Vegas


D.J. Pierce was born in Paris, and now that’s where he’s headed back to.

Yup, Pierce — known to most fans as former Drag Racer Shangela —was born in Paris, Texas, but will now be the host of a new sexy show in Las Vegas, set to open at — you guessed it — the Paris Las Vegas Hotel on The Strip.

Shangela will join the cast of 53X, a “fun dance showcase catering to the modern-day partier,” which was created by Chippendales producer Bryan Cheatham, who recently revamped the all-male revue for the neighboring Rio Casino.

Full disclosure: D.J. and I are friends, and he’s kept this news from me, but called to give me the skinny. “It’s been a big secret for a while. They’ve been working on it since the fall, but I joined the rehearsals in January. The boys and girls are sexy and fun and to come in and not just host but perform alongside them [is amazing],” he said.

This also means Shangela might not be coming to Dallas as often as she used to … and bitch owes me a sushi dinner at Steel!

“Yes, I’m in a condo on The Strip,” he said. “This is my first time being in one place for this long and doing five shows a night, so the adjustment has been an adventure in itself. I was just on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with J.Lo and I told her during one of the breaks, ‘You know we’re neighbors — we’re showgirls together.” Shangela will also be making guest appearances on the new season RuPaul’s Drag Race, which kicks off Monday.

53X will be performed in the Chateau Nightclub and Rooftop. Opening night is March 11, with performances Wednesday–Sunday. Tickets are just $29.95 ($49.95 for VIP). It’s scheduled for just 90 minutes, “but if they let me loose on that mike we might be there three hours!” Congrats, Shangela!

—  Tammye Nash

Shangela appears tonight on ‘X Files;’ Bruce Wood dancers Wednesday on ‘American Crime’

XFiles_Shangela_PhotoMy lead story this week in Dallas Voice is about a naked chef’s sexy (and informative!) webseries, but it’s hardly to only exciting, gay thing going on on television this week.

Tonight on Fox, the rebooted miniseries of The X Files features an episode called “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” in which the FBI agents question Annabelle, an eyewitness. Annabelle is placed by Paris, Texas’ D.J. Pierce, aka Drag Racer drag queen alum Shangela, pictured. “I think writers are talking more chances with characters on TV, and that means more opportunities for diverse actors,” Pierce says. “To that I say, ‘Halleloo!'”

Over on ABC, the second season of the drama series American Crime — which is shot in Texas — is currently underway, address one crime per season and how it affects many people in its orbit. This season focuses on male-on-male rape. According to Andy Noble, artistic director of Houston’s NobleMotion Dance, “There is a big emphasis this season on tough and intimacy [and] dance is used to add to this discussion. I have never really seen dance used like this on network television before.”

This Wednesday’s episode includes a four-minute dance that includes two dancers from the Bruce Wood Dance Project, including its artistic director, Kimi Nikaidoh. The dance is a single shot, no edits.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Carnival backtracks, allow drag on ‘Drag Stars at Sea’ cruise

Last week, it was Carnival Cruise Lines that seemed adrift.

They had booked a (non-exclusive) tour called Drag Stars at Sea on one of their ships, featuring queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Bookings began months ago. Everything seemed fine.

Then a week before they were set to weigh anchor, Carnival issued a letter to attendees (pictured), explaining that drag would only be allowed by performers onstage — no passengers would be allowed to dress in drag in any public areas.

The letter caused a furor. It almost made no sense anyway, since it begs the question: “What is drag?” Could a female passenger wear a tux? Could a man wear a floral bikini on the Lido deck? How flamboyant does a boa have to be before it crossed the line from “bachelor party” to “female impersonation”? Folks were outraged — even those who didn’t plan to wear drag.

In case you missed it, Carnival has since rescinded the ruling, allowing drag. More than that, they apologized and have even agreed to give no-hassle refunds to anyone who wants to back out now as a result of the prior policy.

Sounds like they, like their gay passengers, are finally on board.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

EXCLUSIVE: Shangela 2.0: For North Texan D.J. Pierce, life is a drag

Drag Race alum Shangela has had a crazy few years — but is still a Dallas girl at heart.

Pierce dishes about Glee, reflects on the Carnival Cruise controversy and his dear friend Sahara Davenport, and weighs in on the crowning of the new Drag Race All-Star.


ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  |  Life+Style Editor

It’s been a crazy busy week for Drag Racer Shangela — and she’s not even on the show right now.

A native of Paris — that’s Texas, grrl, the second biggest city named Paris in the world — the drag diva known professionally as Shangela Laquifa Wadley (but, like Cher and Charo, goes mostly by just “Shangela”) still spends a fair amount of time in Dallas. That’s where D.J. Pierce (his real name) attended SMU with fellow Drag Racing Mustang Antoine Ashley, aka the late Sahara Davenport. But it wasn’t until Pierce moved to Los Angeles that the dresses called out.

“In college at SMU, I was a back-up dancer for [many drag queens], especially my girl Alyssa Edwards,” who will be on the upcoming fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race … “just never in drag,” Pierce explains. When he moved to L.A., he was set to do a show at Here Lounge when one of the queens didn’t make it in. That’s when a producer suggested he go on for her.

It was just a last-minute thing — Pierce knew all the moves and some friends had, as all good queens do, some extra dresses and wigs — so with very little planning, they made up the name Shangela and Pierce went on.

“The M.C. announced me as Shang-Ella,” he laughs. “But hey — it was just a one-night thing. What did it matter?”

Oh, it mattered. Someone at the club recommended Pierce return later for amateur night, which he did. Eventually, a talent scout saw him perform and suggested Pierce audition for the second season of Drag Race. Five months later, he was on the show — still the newest queen ever to compete.

Shangela didn’t go far that season — she was voted off in Episode 1, after lip-synching for her life against long-time friend Sahara — but that was only the start of a remarkable transformation.

I wanted Sahara to go on,” he says over sushi in Uptown this week. “We knew it was coming, because we really were friends. You could tell. But she came up to me and said, ‘You bring it!’ I’m a performer, so I did, and she did.”

Shangela then made history (again), becoming the first contestant to return to compete in Season 3, when she went much further. But winning the crown has not seemed to make a lot of difference in Pierce’s career.

On Thursday, Pierce will appear in drag as Shangela on Glee, an experience that he enjoyed on many levels.

“When I was on the set this summer, Chris Colfer [who plays Kurt] and I sat next to each other. He’s also a small-town boy, though he never did drag. I told him a new way to come up with a name was your favorite color and favorite flower, so that makes Colfer The Lady Chartreuse Bougainvillea. He also got to meet Sarah Jessica Parker, whom he loves.

The small role also gave Pierce a chance to demonstrate his many talents. (“I was hired [in part] because the role required a drag queen who could dance — we do a number to ‘Let’s Have a Kiki,'” he says.) Glee, though, is hardly Pierce’s first TV appearance. He did two pilots — one for NBC and Michael Patrick King, one for HBO, neither of which was picked up — as well as shots on Two Broke Girls (also produced by King — “he’s been great to me”), The Mentalist (“Simon Baker is fine! … Halleloo!”) and Community — sometimes in drag, sometimes out. He did have a featured role in a short-lived FX series called Terriers playing “a transgender with a heart of gold.” And of course, you can see Shangela hosting “Drag Network News” spots on Logo during Drag Race.

But this week is especially crazy for even more reasons. Pierce found himself in town for the holidays visiting family (and to celebrate his birthday, Nov. 22), so he made appearances at BJ’s NXS Tuesday night, where he sneak-peeked his new video, “Werqin’ Girl,” which drops on Saturday. He also has two live performances — one in Massachusetts, one in Fort Lauderdale — before the weekend, when Shangela goes on a week-long Drag Race cruise on a Carnival ship. That alone has caused a stir.

Earlier this week, the Carnival Cruise line released a letter to attendees warning against “inappropriate conduct in public areas” … which they defined as anyone (other than the performers while onstage) appearing in public in drag. The message was clear: Drag is shameful and not proper conduct. It has sent shock waves.

“I cringed when I saw it,” Pierce says. “My background is in communications and P.R. — for two years, I did crisis communications for TGIFridays — and they’ve dug themselves a hole. First was the Carnival letter. The AlandChuck.Travel [sent out a followup] which I thought would [settle things]. Instead, it said, ‘We’ll show them that we can follow the rules.’ I’ve been on Atlantis cruises, and those are let-loose parties where anything goes. But [everyone understands this is] a family cruise. Yet life is a drag — people have paid their money, they want to have a good time and you gotta let them be. What are they gonna do? Make you walk the plank?”

Pierce did feel some pressure to withdraw from appearing, but has opted to go on. After all, his fans expect to see him there. And there is an upside. “Maybe this experience will cause [Carnival] to reevaluate their policies. The reaction seemed extreme.”

Also this week was the reveal that Chad Michaels was crowned the first Drag Race all-star. While Pierce knows Chad some, she was not his pick to win. “Jujubee is my grrl,” Pierce says. “In my mind, I had not picked [Chad] as the winner. His illusion is good, I just never get that excitement from [watching Chad live].”

And then there’s Sahara, who died suddenly this fall. Pierce is still a wreck about it.

“It was rough — it’s still rough — though [her death] was not as big of a shock [to me] as for people who hadn’t seen her for a while,” he says somberly. “For [18 months], she’d been losing weight, looking tired — she didn’t look well. It was a downward spiral. My sister worked herself to death. She was a Dallas girl through and through. So am I — I may have done my first drag in California, but I’ll be a Texas queen forever.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones