Drag shows and drag artists have grown in popularity over the past decade thanks to Rupaul’s Drag Race, which catapulted drag into the mainstream, and as a result, some of us have become familiar with the world of drag. However, Drag Race is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to drag, and when it comes to local drag shows, they are nothing like Drag Race.
So expect the unexpected, especially when you attend a local drag show, and this is especially true when it comes to drag queen bingo. But as with any type of show, there are specific rules you need to follow, especially if you’re a straight person attending a drag show in a queer space. So without further ado, let’s learn more about drag queen bingo.
Or, to quote the grand dame herself, let’s take a look at the ‘herstory’ of drag queen bingo; it has its roots in Seattle and is thought to have been started in the early 1990s. It was initially created as a fun-raising capital for charity meant for people suffering from AIDs. This is especially important because the government did little to nothing to help queer people during the AIDs epidemic. Original, it was plain old bingo, but this was too boring to attract people and wasn’t making enough money.
To make this more exciting, The organizer of the charity, Judy Werle, got a group of drag queens to start hosting the bingo games. This made the rounds and gained in popularity, and drag queen bingo became a fixture of the charity and drag queen scene in Seattle and became a fixture in many places around the states and even outside. According to Werle:
“It was this movement that led to individuals from all over gaining an interest in Drag Bingo, and by the noughties, it had become quite the phenomenon.“
One of the most popular drag queen bingo is Legendary Bingo which raised over 6 million dollars over the years. It is hosted by drag queen legend Roxy Wood and has had celebrity guests bingo callers like Sia, Emma Stones, Amy Adams, and even Brtiney Spears. Over the years, Legendary Bingo has raised money for a plethora of organizations and has fought for many causes.
What to do at a drag queen bingo?
Well, it works pretty much like a standard bingo game with the main MC (Master of Ceremonies) as a drag queen who hosts and cracks jokes while hosting the game. Drag queens took this old and slow-paced game into a new dimension and went full throttle with it. If you happen to go to any drag queen bingo, you won’t see just older people like traditional games, but rather you’ll see people from all walks of life. If you are like me and loves drinking while playing bingo, you can do just that too.
If you are easily offended, then drag queen bingo might not be meant for you because drag queens can be catty and sassy. It is very common for said drag queens to flirt, target, and even pick on players, but this is all in light-hearted fun and is part of the drag queen experience. You can also get a makeover there, not a good makeover, but still, you get a shake-n-go wig and a feather boa. This wasn’t meant for you to slay the fashion game but for you to have fun and enjoy the game.
This is drag queen bingo; go as wild as you want, the sky is the limit, and no one will stop you from doing this. You can even go in drag; it is a safe space for like-minded individuals to mingle and meet and have a chat with each other. Also, don’t be cheap, it’s for charity, spend as much money as you can because it is a good cause and you are having fun along the way. There is no dress code when it comes to drag queen bingo, and you can go in your PJs or a cocktail dress.
The choice is yours, and no one will judge you on what you are wearing, but rather you’ll be complimented on your getup. Drag isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and the best thing you can do at a drag show is to have fun. Drag queens are like comedians, and they feed on your enjoyment, and the more you enjoy the show, the better they will act and perform.
Sound off in the comments section below and tell us who your favorite queen is. My personal favs are Lady Bunny, Miss Coco Peru, Bob the Drag Queen and any New York queen. New York is my home, and I go to drag bars whenever I can, and during the pandemic, I even attended virtual drag shows, which was how most queens made a living. If you are ever in LA, do attend one of the iconic Legendary Bingo games. It will be worth your while.