Gigi Monroe emceed the 2020 GLITZ Drive-in Drag Show, held at the University of Alaska Southeast Juneau campus where viewers stayed in their cars arranged around a stage in the parking lot on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. This year, the event is returning to Centennial Hall and will be less of a “GLITZ-lite” than organizers worried it could be. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Gigi Monroe emceed the 2020 GLITZ Drive-in Drag Show, held at the University of Alaska Southeast Juneau campus where viewers stayed in their cars arranged around a stage in the parking lot on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. This year, the event is returning to Centennial Hall and will be less of a “GLITZ-lite” than organizers worried it could be. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Live and in color: GLITZ returns to full, glorious presence

Back from the pandemic, the performance heads to Centennial Hall once again.

GLITZ, the one of the headlining events of Pride Month in Juneau, returns to its home at Centennial Hall on Friday after two years in pandemic-wrought exile.

Organizer and longtime Juneau drag pillar Gigi Monroe said it’s exciting to bring the show back to the big stage.

“It’s a little surreal to imagine such a big event after the last couple of years being so tough in the world of events,” Monroe said in a phone interview. “At the same time, it’s super exciting. I think we’re all so ready for it.”

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Three out-of-town headliners and 10 local performers will perform during the approximately 2-and-a-half-hour set on Friday and Saturday nights.

“There’s only really one way to do GLITZ, and that’s enormous,” Monroe said. “I was really excited to book the headliners we have. There were just as many local performers who wanted to do it as previous years.”

Monroe said that planning, which usually takes upward of six months, was considerably compressed this year, but that there would still be a full-bore show instead of a stepped-down version, which was a consideration at one point.

Centennial Hall crewmember Dylan Taylor, atop the lift, prepares equipment for GLITZ, which returns to the hall this weekend, on June 15, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Centennial Hall crewmember Dylan Taylor, atop the lift, prepares equipment for GLITZ, which returns to the hall this weekend, on June 15, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

“We usually start planning Glitz in December for the following June and this year we didn’t commit to March-April,” Monroe said. “I don’t think it’s going to be GLITZ-lite like we thought it might be. We’re about to sell out so we’ll have just as many people in the audience as we usually do. They just have to be vaccinated this year.”

Headlining the performance are Trinity K. Bonet, Frankie Doom, and Tenderoni. Bonet and Doom will perform for Juneau for the first time this year, Monroe said. Bonet, a member of Monroe’s drag family, was featured in “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” while Doom played in “The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula” and “The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula Resurrection.”

“It’s about being the most and being as extra as possible,” Monroe said. “It’s a big room to fill so the theme is Pride.”

The third headliner, Tenderoni, was named 2021 winner of a Drag Queen of the Year pageant, also brings a side of drag performing to the show that might not regularly be seen in Juneau, Monroe said.

“I love bringing people to town who show all the different varieties of drag that are out there,” Monroe said. “We have a lot of diversity in styles of drag performances here in Juneau but I think there’s even more out there.”

Tenderoni, of Chicago, performs at the fifth annual GLITZ Drag Show in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and Juneau Pride Kickoff! at Centennial Hall on Friday, June 14, 2019. Tenderoni is one of three headliners who will take the stage for GLITZ this year. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Tenderoni, of Chicago, performs at the fifth annual GLITZ Drag Show in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and Juneau Pride Kickoff! at Centennial Hall on Friday, June 14, 2019. Tenderoni is one of three headliners who will take the stage for GLITZ this year. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Some of the local performers include Aquarius Valentine, Aura Borealis, Blake Slate, Dear Evan Handsome, Lamia Monroe, Miss Guise, Stevie Smalls and Tyquan.

Each night will see more than 400 guests with performers and support staff bringing the crowd at Centennial Hall to nearly 500, Monroe said. Centennial Hall itself is also an entirely different prospect from the regular Juneau Drag venues such as the Red Dog Saloon or the Alaskan Hotel and Bar, Monroe said.

“The first big difference is the size of course. As a performer you have to learn to play to the whole room. There’s a lot of difference between 500 people and 100 people in a bar,” Monroe said. “Some of the music needs to be longer or you need to plan out choreography to cover more of the stage.”

Glitz is the Juneau drag scene’s flagship performance each year, Monroe said, where the crowds bring their best.

“The other difference is there’s a lot more energy in there. People are so happy to be there,” Monroe said. “They’re there to celebrate Pride.”

It’s also one of the biggest events happening in Juneau for Pride Month, though far from the only one, with events for all ages happening around town for the month. The proceeds of the performances will go towards Southeast Alaska LGBTQ+ Alliance’s scholarship and community reinvestment programs, Monroe said. Sponsors and partners include Tito’s Vodka, T.K. Maguires and GCI, Monroe said.

“It’s like the climax of all these things happening,” Monroe said. “You walk in there and there’s like these electric vibrations in the room. It’s pretty exciting.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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