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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

The sights, sounds and spectacle of Juneau’s biggest drag show

GLITZ celebrated Juneau Pride and Stonewall 50 with heart and humor

Calling the fifth annual GLITZ a drag show just scratches the surface.

It was a three-and-a-half-hour blowout with enough heart and humor to kick off Pride in Juneau and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the LGBTQ civil rights milestone the Stonewall Uprising.

Dozens of volunteers, 17 drag kings and queens and a sold-out audience at Centennial Hall Friday night came together for an event packed full of memorable moments and did-they-just-say-that quips.

[PHOTOS: See GLITZ’s glamour]

These are eight sights, sounds and special performances that stood out among the rest of GLITZ’s considerable glamour.

The opening number

Fifty years ago this month, a police raid on an LGBTQ-friendly bar in New York City, the Stone Wall Inn, led to spontaneous violent demonstration and the galvanization of a community. By 1970, Pride parades were popping up in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. GLITZ’s opening payed homage to the event with a stage made to resemble the bar, and a cops-vs.-queens ensemble performance that imagined what would have happened “if the cops would’ve just joined the party.”

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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Kelexis Davenport gets a microphone

Kelexis Davenport of Dallas was a special performer at this year’s GLITZ, and took time in between stage-commanding routines to banter with Juneau’s Gigi Monroe, who hosted the event, or pepper the audience with bawdy humor. Davenport was impressed with the crowd’s enthusiasm.

“I learned when I was a little kid the word gay means happy, and because of you, I am,” Davenport said. “This is a small town, but you b_tches got some heart.”

Gigi Monroe, left, shares the stage with Kelexis Davenport, of Dallas, Texas, 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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Gigi Monroe, left, shares the stage with Kelexis Davenport, of Dallas, Texas, 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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Sonique and Tenderoni show off their flair

Sonique and Tenderoni made up the rest of the night’s trio of special guests. Tenderoni is a drag king from Chicago, and Sonique is best known for competing on the second season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and being the first contestant on the show to come out as transgender.

Sonique performs at the 5th 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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Sonique performs at the 5th 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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Tenderoni brought the crowd to its feet during a performance that mashed up the viral hit “Gangnam Style” and MC Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit” with an impressive crab walk and gallop blend. Sonique was a dead-ringer for Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman in a strategically stitched spandex suit. She showed a flare for acrobatics while Janet Jackson’s “Black Cat” blared to a lot of applause and dollar bills.

The dancing

The back row of the GLITZ audience was basically a non-stop dance party.

People maybe danced with more abandon toward the end, but an early performance featuring “So What” by P!nk came close to starting a mosh pit. However, a joint performance by GLITZ’s seven local drag kings under the name The Seven Dudely Sins might have drawn the night’s biggest reaction. Decked out in white athleisure wear and light-up shoes, the dudes worked their way through a medley of boy band smash hits that got the crowd singing and dancing.

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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

United We Stand

From the moment Mikhail Van Jackson stepped on stage in a gladiatorial ensemble with arms spread in “Are You Not Entertained” formation, it was clear his performance was going to be a little different. By the time U.S. flags and Pride flags joined the performer on stage while miniature Pride flags were passed out to the audience, the lyrics “United We Stand” were blaring again and again over the sound system.

The show of unity was one of the night’s most affecting moments.

[It is Juneau’s biggest drag show though]

After the show, Van Jackson told the Capital City Weekly he wanted to bring attention to regent anti-LGBTQ policies, specifically the Trump administration’s attempts to ban transgender troops.

“I wanted to send a message of support,” Van Jackson said.

The props

Many of the night’s performances made inspired use of props.

Miss Guise 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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Miss Guise 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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Ryder Strong’s medley of ’80s hits began with the drag king interacting with a vintage Walkman that led to a nifty rewind effect. Tyquan came out with a backing band an instruments for an homage to Prince. Miss Guise may have had the most elaborate accessories. She came armed with fliers to toss into the audience and a device that looked like a weed whacker. Instead of manicuring a lawn, it unspooled ribbon and sent it into the audience.

Juneau’s drag mother brings the house down

Gigi Monroe emceed GLITZ and performed several times throughout the night, including an awesome Liza Minnelli-themed performance that drew a solid through line to the first music heard during the show, Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Garland was Minnelli’s mother. Over the year’s both have become LGBTQ icons, too.

Gigi Monroe 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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Gigi Monroe 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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

However, Monroe saved the best for last.

In GLITZ’s ultimate performance, Monroe performed to “I Am What I Am” backed by frame of light bulbs that evoked a vanity.

During the song, Monroe cast off her wig to reveal short brown hair. Then, off came her fabulous dress to reveal a male body in boxer-briefs. She then sat at the mock vanity to quickly remove makeup and put on a dress shirt, pants and jacket while singing.

Not long after the music stopped, Centennial Hall was on its feet.

“I’ve never seen drag like that,” said one voice.

“I want to cry,” answered someone else.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 20

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, July 18, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Buttons on display at a campaign event Monday, July 8, 2024, in Juneau, urge supporters to vote against Ballot Measure 2, the repeal of Alaska’s current election system. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Ranked-choice repeal measure awaits signature count after Alaska judge’s ruling

Signatures must be recounted after judge disqualifies almost 3,000 names, citing state law violations.

The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Juneau are seen on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska demographers predict population drop, a switch from prior forecasts

For decades, state officials have forecast major population rises, but those haven’t come to pass.

Neil Steininger, former director of the state Office of Management and Budget, testifies before the House Finance Committee at the Alaska State Capitol in January of 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neil Steininger, former budget director for Gov. Dunleavy, seeking District 1 Juneau Assembly seat

Downtown resident unopposed so far for open seat; deadline to file for local races is Monday.

A mother bear and a cub try to get into a trash can on a downtown street on July 2, 2024. Two male bears were euthanized in a different part of downtown Juneau on Wednesday because they were acting aggressively near garbage cans, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Two black bears in downtown Juneau euthanized due to aggressive behavior around people

Exposed garbage, people insistent on approaching bears contribute to situation, official says

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, July 17, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Cars arrive at Juneau International Airport on Thursday, July 11, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau seems to have avoided major disruptions following global technology-related outage

911 centers, hospitals, airport, and public safety and emergency management agencies are operating.

Most Read