“Motherfucker, you better get your act together!”
It’s Pride month and we’re dipping into the video vault from back when my day job was pumping gay celebrities and porn stars (metaphorically–speaking) as an editor and video content creator for the world’s biggest gay men’s magazines.
This week—in honor of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars Season 6 debuting with back-to-back episodes this Thursday, June 24th—I’m posting some of the earliest drag queen content from YouTube, now collected on Vimeo and remastered in HD for 2021.
Filmed waaay before hit series like UNHhhh with Trixie Mattel & Katya or WOWPresents got their act together and became drag video powerhouses, I was out there with superstar Jewels Long Beach, running a camera and chopping things up on FinalCut Pro so the cutting-edge cognoscenti of the early ’00s could get their rocks off.
And I got proof! Those risqué old videos are, unbelievably enough, still online. But the story behind our biggest score has never been told—until now.
That’s because it’s also my BIGGEST embarrassment.
The reason I’ve decided to break my silence on this is that my partner and I just re-watched every single RuPaul’s Drag Race episode during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, and it reaffirmed a central RuPaul tenet—that it’s okay to show vulnerability. So here’s mine…
RuPaul EXPLODED on me in public—and I deserved every moment of it.
Here’s the backstory: RuPaul has been an inspiration of mine since the 1980s / early ’90s thanks to her glampunk persona, “Supermodel,” MTV’s Spring Break, the 1993 march on Washington—total hero then as now.
Around 2010, someone in RuPaul’s camp noticed the work we were doing so Jewels and I got invited to interview Ru and the cast of Drag Race Season 2 on the red carpet in Hollywood. Holy shit. We’re big time now!
We got all dolled-up and hauled our (padded) asses down there. We were so ready we ended up first in the press line and we interviewed all the queens—some of which are are returning for All-Stars 6, like Kylie Sonique Love and Pandora Boxx.
After chatting up all the luminaries, the biggest queen of them of all—RuPaul, supermodel of the world, oracle of our times—emerges from her limo to begin her winding path down the red carpet, and we’re her first stop.
I’d been anticipating this and I gave Jewels a ton of offbeat questions to ask about Ru’s underground movie, Star Booty, Kurt Cobain, and more. I knew this would hook Ru. I was right—it did! Jewels conducted the interview like the total pro she is. RuPaul was relieved to have someone ask her something other than, “Why aren’t you always in drag?”
RuPaul camped right in front of my camera while the other press folks stewed. Ru talked our ears off about alternative culture for a good five minutes. But you won’t see that in the video above. In fact, it’s not on video anywhere. That’s because…
I. DID. NOT. PRESS. THE. RECORD. BUTTON.
Arghhhh!!!! WTF! WTF!
Right at the end of Ru’s spiel I realized my mistake—the camera viewfinder was definitely showing a white square and not a red triangle. The counter was stopped dead sorta like my heart. Nothing else to do but fess up. What else could I do? Ru was the star—we needed her on tape to make this Drag Race red carpet video complete.
“Excuse me, ” I warbled nervously, a huge lump rising to choke my throat. “RuPaul—the camera wasn’t, uhhhhh, rolling. Could we please run through that again?”
Now, keep in mind that Drag Race was not yet the Emmy-winning cultural juggernaut it later turned into. This was new and pretty fringy and Ru had been down to earth with us, so I had to ask: “Would you mind?” I pleaded lightly. “Wait,” Ru asked incredulously. “We need to run that all again?” (You can hear a fragment of our exchange ever-so-faintly at :08 in the video above.)
Just then there was a cataclysmic change in energy and temperature akin to a thunderclap. She already done had herses as far as my bullshit was concerned.
Ru’s eyes narrowed. Her pupils went large—steely, obsidian black. Diamond-cutting lasers focussed right into my eyes. This was a hard, hard look.
“What the motherfucking FUCK!?” RuPaul yelled at me. Instant cringe. “ARE YOU A PROFESSIONAL!?” The other press folks further down the line from us were now gawking.
You know that classic RuPaul line where she gets monumentally serious right before the final lipsync—spoofing Tyra Banks-y / America’s Next Top Model imperiousness? And Ru intones “DON’T fuck it up”?
Well I am the one who fucked it up.
And let me just say, as someone who has fucked it up, that there is nothing quite like getting profanely dressed down in public by a huge star that everyone looks up to, in front of your co-workers and peers, to get the message across.
“Unacceptable—that’s UNACCEPTABLE!” Ru bellowed, all crazy Frank Booth-style. Then more quietly, but like she was going to strangle me she leaned in and said, “Motherfucker, you better get your act together! You gotta step it up.” Then she leaned back, adjusted her hat, and smiled through tight teeth. “Is the camera running now?”
“Umm, yes?” I croaked meekly in total shock and some fear.
RuPaul then proceeded to give us the sweetest most professional plug ever, before turning on heel and rapidly—definitively—walking off. Ouch.
Nowadays I keep that camera running no matter what. So thank you, Ru, for giving us what we needed to finish our video and for teaching me a life lesson:
“If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.” Indeed.
Live from the red carpet in Hollywood comes RUPAUL and the cast of DRAG RACE SEASON 2!
Starring Jewels Long Beach, our drag queen interviewer.
Go deep with iconic queens Shangela, Raven, Kylie Sonique Love, Nicole Paige Brooks, Pandora Boxx, Morgan McMichaels,
Meet the Drag Race judges including Project Runway’s Santino Rice, Phoebe Price, Merle Ginsberg and their celebrity influencer friends Jessica and Hunter, porn star Steven Daigle, Bobby Trendy, Thai Nguyen, and more!
Director / editor: Sean Carnage
Recorded: January 2010
But wait, there’s more…
Jewels was mortified by my red carpet ineptitude, I’m sure, but she stuck with me and we created some pretty cool green screen videos that presaged what folks have been doing these last few years. Recently I collected and remastered all of them.
I didn’t write these, but I did just about everything else on them. These were super fun to make ‘cuz, well, Jewels rules, dontcha know? Enjoy:
Learning new words is fun: Ms. Jewels teaches her class of porn stars (Brent Corrigan, François Sagat, Von Legend, Lucky Daniels, Trent Davis, Matthew Rush and more) the meaning of the words “snatchel,” “assues” and “handifat.” the first of five “Words of the Week.”
Also includes hilarious bloopers and outtakes, so make sure to watch through to the end…
Director / editor / animator / producer: Sean Carnage
Graphics: Theo Kenessey, Wayne Acree
Writers: Rick Andreoli, Winston Gieseke
Co-starring: Lindsay Marsak, Zach Sire, Michael Caruso