Drag goes digital during COVID-19 with ‘Dragula’ alum

Drag supermonster Biqtch Puddiń offers performers an alternative to IRL shows during COVID-19


For many queer performers who relied solely on bars and nightclubs to earn their living, the closure of LGBTQ2 venues during the COVID-19 pandemic has not only meant a loss of income but a loss of community.

It’s why nearly three weeks ago, Dragula Season 2 winner Biqtch Puddi, alongside producer Megna, launched “Digital Drag: An Online Drag Show”—a live-streamed drag event via the streaming platform Twitch.

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DGITAL DRAG 3.0! Join us live Friday April 3rd at 7pm PST // 10pm EST only at twitch.tv/biqtchpuddin for Digital Drag 3.0! Presented by @biqtchpuddin and @videodisease. Featuring performances by @ajathekween, @brigittebidet, @serenateanyc, @jakedupree, @lotionsideb, @fkatwink, @misssaraandrews, @bigdipperjelly, @didaswag, @vandervonodd, @morphinelovemua, @landoncider & mor! #DIGITALDRAGSHOW

A post shared by Biqtch Puddi (@biqtchpuddin) on

The idea came about when roommates Biqtch Puddi and Kiara (Biqtch Puddi’s drag mother) both had upcoming shows cancelled. “What, are we just going to do digital drag now?” Biqtch Puddi asked out of frustration. That’s when Megna, their other roommate, popped out of her room to say that it sounded like a great idea. Out of a sense of defeat, a new project was born.

“I basically cast the show and announced it before I knew if I could do it,” Biqtch Puddi tells me over the phone with a laugh. But she pulled it off: The first show streamed live on Twitch on Mar. 20 with 30 performers and a DJ. Even the minor technical difficulties gave the show some charm—a feeling that almost mirrored attending a live drag performance. “It was hard and we learned a lot during the first few weeks, [but] I’m trying to get better at this, because for the longest time I’ve always wanted to have my own show,” she adds. The first week of the show secured more than 10,000 viewers, and each week demand has grown.

 

Viewers can tune into Biqtch Puddi’s Twitch stream on Friday evenings at 10 p.m. EST. Donations via PayPal help support the performers and producers. The show kicks off with a DJ performance before launching into nearly five hours of drag featuring performers from around the world.

“One thing I really like about our show is that it has a wider range of talent, and it’s not just you know, six white men performing Dua Lipa,” Biqtch Puddi says. “That’s a part of drag I really like, but we have trans, non-binary and AFAB performers alongside drag kings and queens at all different levels.”

During each performer’s set, viewers are asked to tip the performers via Venmo, Cash app or PayPal in whatever domination they chose. “A lot of performers have messaged us independently to say they didn’t know how they were going to pay their rent that month, but the show basically did that,” Biqtch Puddi says. “So for me, it basically warms my heart to know I was able to help alleviate that stress.”

Now in its third solid week, “Digital Drag” shows no signs of stopping and Biqtch Puddi is happy to provide some levity and entertainment to people in the community. “I think it’s important to show positivity,” she says. “And it’s good to remind the public that there’s some positivity going on in this crazy situation that we’re in.”

Amanda Scriver

Amanda Scriver is a freelance journalist best known for being fat, loud and shouty on the internet. Her writing has been featured on BuzzFeed, The Walrus, Allure, CBC, Greatist and Chatelaine. She lives in Toronto.

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