Draggkeppni Islands: Iceland’s 2013 Drag Competition

It’s been 5 weeks of biking and camping, and suddenly you’re in an actual city: Reykjavik, Iceland, home to some 200,000+ people. What do you do to celebrate city life? What do you do to break the routine?

Why, go to a drag show, of course!

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Mike and I arrived in Reykjavik on Wednesday, August 7th. We’re now only about 30 km from our starting point in Keflavik (by the international airport), but we won’t bike that last bit until Wednesday the 14th. We’re staying with an AirBnB host while in Reykjavik, though our Laugavegurinn trek interrupts our city stay (more on that in the next post).

I consider myself a straight ally to the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, and Intersex) community, so I was pleased to note that we’d be in Reykjavik during pride week. Iceland is one of the most progressive countries in terms of LGBTQI rights, and they are rightly proud of this. Iceland has legalized same-sex marriage and adoption for same-sex couples. Iceland also had the first openly lesbian Prime Minister in the world.

I am also a huge fan of the reality TV competition RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’ve watched all but the first season. Pandora Boxx, Sharon Needles, and Jinx Monsoon are so fierce and fabulous. When Mike showed me an advertisement for Iceland’s 2013 Drag Competition, organized in part by RPDR alum Detox, I couldn’t resist. As a bonus, the competition was held in the gorgeous Harpa theatre, one of downtown Reykjavik’s biggest attractions and most prominent landmarks.

After getting ready for our trek the next day (renting packs, grocery shopping, doing laundry), we took the bus downtown. We went into Harpa not quite knowing what to expect. I think my expectations were somewhat warped by the professionalism exhibited on RPDR, where the best queens from around the States are competing. The Draggkeppni competition was not so polished. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the show.

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The hostess, Diva Jackie Dupree from the States, was particularly horrendous. Gurlfriend couldn’t pronounce anything. Granted Icelandic is tricksy, but she should have at least practiced the contestants’ names, yes, baby, oh yes. She performed her song numbers well, but it was clear she had no business emceeing.

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The competition was a drag queen and king competition with 8 contestants total. Some lip synced and some actually sang. Of the drag kings, Mike’s favorite was Burlington Bertie, a British bloke who clearly had theatre training. He was in character from start to finish. The kings also featured two duos (Justin Bi-ber and Russel Brund and some bros) and a romantic lumberjack type. The lumberjack was crowned king.

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The queens were more entertaining on the whole. They were quite diverse as well. Miss Gloria Hole looked like Sharon Needles (the cleft chin maybe) but wore hot pink short shorts and did an elaborate dance routine with backup dancers to Christina Aguilera’s “Burlesque.” Ivana was a fishy queen (meaning she could pass), but her performance was dull Broadway. Rita Lin’s act was the most bizarre. Her entire dress was made of balloons, and she did weird magic and balloon animal tricks. Let’s just say that she can fit a lot of balloon into her throat. The final queens were a Filipino duet known as the Foxy Ladies. They lip synced a Celine Dion/Barbara Streisand duet but incorporated humor. One of the queens wore a way-too-short dress that showed off her snatch (or rather panties designed to look like her snatch), and the other had a giant black cock under her skirt. Ah drag humor . . . The duet were the crowned queens for the evening.

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Though the performances were not RPDR quality, I can at least say that I went to a classy performance at the Harpa while in Iceland!

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