The global drag renaissance is nowhere more fabulous than at The Glory, the crown of London’s queer cabaret scene. Part pub, part club, part community hub, Wednesday nights get absolutely rammed for LIPSYNC 1000. (Make sure you pee before you leave home.)
Drag performers of all genders and backgrounds enter, with total beginners and polished queens competing side-by-side for a panel of rotating judges, including press, celebs and previous winners. It’s a fantastic platform for any drag performer. Past entrants have gone on to work at the Glastonbury Music Festival and run their own events at The Glory and far beyond.
We asked a selection of this year’s contestants, hosts, winners and guest performers for some tips on first-time drag:
1. John Sizzle
Act: DJ, LIPSYNC 1000 host, publican, performer, comedian, prosecco connoisseur
Top tip: Cleanse, tone, moisturise and don’t be a dick. It’s only drag, honey.
2. Annie Pics
Act: An all-singing, all-dancing Barbra Streisand medley.
Top tip: If you’re not challenging the heteronormative, patriarchal, white supremacist culture, then you’re not doing drag!
3. Sue Gives A Fuck
Act: Half-Mommie Dearest, half-“When You’re Good to Mama.” If your Mama is Joan Crawford, you better god damn be good to her.
Top tip: Getting a credit card is not a legitimate way to avoid learning how to make things.
4. Felix Le Freak
Act: Felix is a very clownish, trashy yet glamorous storyteller. She likes to find the underlying narrative in a number and put a new spin on it.
Top tip: Find the balance between drawing inspiration from all the amazing talent on the scene and forging your own path. You may never do the fiercest contour or sickest death-drop, but no other queen on earth can do you, so keep working out who you are as a performer and don’t be scared to think outside the box!
5. Jacqui Potato (LIPSYNC1000 judge)
Act: “Right Now” by The Creatures, Siouxsie Sioux’s side-project band. She’s normally found doing comedy lip-syncs and DJing around East London.
Top tip: Just be yourself. There is no rule book. If there are any, they are there to be broken.
Act: Post-modern jukebox version of “Seven Nation Army,” with vocals she recorded herself. (This queen is a professional singer.) And a seductive striptease that turns violent, with bloodied genital mutilation.
Top tip: Drag is the freedom of expression. Use it to inspire the people who don’t have the courage to be themselves.
Act: The messiest bitch in town, falling about a stage covered in fake blood. She’ll do anything for a drink ticket.
Top tip: Make sure you learn your tracks inside and out, get those earphones in and do not stop listening until you have every word and beat down. Also, don’t use hair dye as a prop.
8. Orange Gina
Act: A nutbag who doesn’t stop moving! Repetitive dance moves, high heels and overdoses of caffeine.
Top tip: Know when to put that makeup brush down! Your face is only part of the art.
Act: Rock-A-Billy Lady Party from Saturday Night Live with Joseph Wilson.
Top tip: Take inspiration from other performers and artists, but never compare yourself. Drag is such a personal art form that it’s about finding your own feet as a performer and figuring it all out along the way. And if you’re considering doing drag for the first time, my advice would be to throw yourself at it. Performing at LIPSYNC 1000 was one of the most daunting things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most empowering. It’s led me on a completely ridiculous, mad adventure!
10. Akimbo Moonchild
Act: An interpretation of Natasha Bedingfield’s “I Bruise Easily” dressed as a giant peach clown.
Top tip: The audience looses attention quickly. Do something or change something every 30 seconds.