Last night, Sharon Needles, the spooky drag queen who won season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, wished the roughly 300 people crowding S4’s Rose Room a happy Halloween. Though she performed at S4 and JR.’s as part of the requisite Absolut summer Tour that all Drag Race winners must do, Needles did so with her trademark mix of shock, defiance and darkness.
By 8 p.m., a line of people wrapped around the block from S4 to Throckmorton and by 8:30 p.m., all the unreserved seats in the Rose Room had butts in them. The audience, including many who stood along the walls and beside the bar, waited about two-and-a-half hours for the show to even begin; the room growing hotter, the pre-show music thumping ever louder and the lines to the bar getting longer with each passing minute.
For photos of Needles at JR.’s, click here.
When MC Cassie Nova introduced Needles’ act, a small mob quickly formed at the front of the stage with about 100 individuals around the room aiming the lit screens of their cellphone cameras at the darkened stage as radio reports announced the assassination of Sharon Needles, America’s first drag queen president.
Two men in jeans and tight purple Absolut shirts carried a black crate onstage as a funeral dirge played, a dirge which quickly changed to Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People.” Needles emerged from the crate in a shock wig, pale makeup, a see-through skirt and blouse, and an upside-down cross necklace and a ratty Bible in hand.
As the haunting choir moaned intermittently throughout the song, Needles struck ghoulish poses — a paralyzed sneer on her white face, her hand raised in a claw beside her cheek, her body eerily still despite the grinding music.
At one point, as the music screamed, “The horrible people, the horrible people / It’s as anatomic as the size of your steeple / Capitalism has made it this way / Old-fashioned fascism will take it away,” Needles began to shower the audience with pages freshly ripped from her Bible.
The crowd roared with cheers and flumes of dollar bills raining down on Needles who made no attempt to catch the money as it fell down around her.
During the height of her act, Needles stuffed dollars into a blender, poured in a liberal amount of mandarin-flavored Absolut Vokda, blended them, took a sip and then spit out the shredded contents onto her fans below.
“I’m not here for your fucking money,” she later told the cheering audience, after eating a dollar bill on the proscenium. “I’m here for your love and your understanding.”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race season four was no fucking beauty pageant,” she said. “It was an example of the true diversity and art form of drag.”
Referring to herself and her fellow Drag Race competitors, Needles elaborated: “RuPaul didn’t care if you were a 40-year-old, black incarcerated Divine impersonator … if your heat was true or your body was made of plastic. … She didn’t care if you were a label-toting, ball-busting, rule-breaking bitch … if you were a possibly biological Puerto Rican midget … and we had an underrated underdog under appreciated Pittsburgh downtown clown.”
After Nova shouted “Fuck Phi Phi O’Hara!” referring to Needles’ bitchy, backstabbing rival from the show. The audience chanted “Fuck Phi Phi” with middle fingers raised in the air as Sharon watched expressionless.
“Now what have I taught you?” Needles said in admonishment. “Sharon Needles has been an example that you can be anything you wanna be, do anything you wanna do, say anything you wanna say as long as you don’t hurt other people. So instead of saying, ‘Fuck Phi Phi’ I wanna hear ‘I love Sharon Needles.'”
“Season four was a little different. The people of America were allowed to speak. And RuPaul didn’t give me that fuckin’ crown. You gave me that fuckin crown.” she said. “If anyone in this room was ever bullied because of who they were of they were as a kid, who ever challenged the American concept of what beauty is, for any person in this room who ever told their parents to fuck off for their own personal sacrifices, and for anyone in this room who said ‘fuck you’ to college because the streets will teach you real education, there is a rhinestone in my crown for you.”
“But you know what kids, there was one thing that RuPaul did care about. RuPaul wanted us to know our maker. She wanted us to have a feeling that we were all put on this planet for a predestined reason. She wanted us to know that there was someone upstairs looking out for everyone of us. Well I might play stupid on TV, but I don’t believe in fairy tales.”
“This gets me in trouble a lot in the South but I’m sorry, I cannot subscribe to 2,419 pages that have done nothing but separate the gay community from the rest of the fucking world. At the end of every episode of RuPaul’s episode what did she say, ‘Can I get an amen?’ Well this isn’t fuckin’ RuPaul’s show. This is my goddamn show. And just for the fun of it, just for a couple of laughs, at the count of 3, can I get a hail Satan?”
She then counted to three by repeating the number six three times and then screamed out “Hail Satan” along with the audience.