“This is the front… and this is the back!” RuPaul phrases as we enter the twisted 1993 Christmas Variety Show curated by Ru and her gang of East Village queers.
In this hour long special, Ru serves you absolutely everything: from the shopping channel selling ‘diamoniques’, an extremely un-precious stone in place of diamonds; fragrance and alcohol gift ads – under the stunning brand name Whore D’Ouvre and Whore respectively, of course. There’s Hattie Ruth’s Country Kitchen, in which a (fairly problematic) fat-suited RuPaul attempts to teach Earth Kitt(!) how to cook a Christmas Dinner – a practice Ms. Kitt has no time for, since she’s off out to promote her new memoir Confessions of a Sex Kitten.
There’s cameos from an iconic Latoya Jackson, who binds RuPaul in rope and dresses up as her. There’s a holiday message from the intensely sexy Little Richard, and the intensely spaced Nirvana. Taylor Dane, Belinda Carlisle, En Vogue, and Fred Schneider from the B52s all make a festive appearance – basically, there’s something for all the family!
Boy George takes the stage live, and Elton John duets with RuPaul as part of a stunning mash-up of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, and “Last Christmas”, before the pair get into costume to appear as famous heterosexual couples from the past: Danny and Sandy, Marie Antoinette and some prince guy, Deee-Lite, and the pair from that Grant Wood 1930s painting American Gothic.
All in all, it’s a wonderful, festive mood. It’s a snippet of history from that strange time just post the 80s, just pre the cementation of the 90s, where everything was utterly bonkers. It’s queer, it’s beautiful, it’s marginally offensive, and it’s all about love. Because, as Ru says at the top of the show, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”. Yes, she’s problematic, but she does know how to serve stockings full of queer Christmas goodness.