King of Queens

Promoter Daniel Cole introduced his “Hard Candy” series seven years ago, and it has recently
expanded beyond just Louisville, adding events in five other cities: Lexington, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Baltimore and Huntington, West Virginia. The current season is headlined by several drag queens that have competed on the hit TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Who will win season 7 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”? Who should win?

I see Ginger Minj as the winner – she’s kind of the sure thing in my eyes. The show has definitely leaned towards fan favorites over the last few years, and she is very deserving in my eyes, just like Bianca Del Rio last year. She’s funny, (has) great stage presence, and anyone who calls themselves a glamour toad has to be appreciated.

My favorite, hands down, is Violet Chachki. She’s the youngest queen on the show but has such a specific identity of what kind of aesthetic she wants (Bettie Paige and Dita Von Teese come to mind), and is so incredibly on-point with it. Her runways are consistently jaw dropping. She’s not nailing acting challenges just yet, but I know she has incredible performance elements that have yet to be seen on the show, like aerial stunts, etc.

Hard Candy at Play by Zymage JZ-1It’s incredibly hard for some queens like that to be given justice when the gals like Ginger, Bianca, who are incredible MCs, can improv in nearly every situation. I think if you’re looking for the next drag superstar, Violet just might be it.

How does booking shows work for you now – do you approach other cities or vice-versa?

In some instances, it’s been where I had a friend who managed a nightclub who had interest in having me bring entertainment to their venue. Penny Tration in Cincinnati has been a great friend over the years – she was actually the first queen I ever booked at “Hard Candy” – so I love working with her at The Cabaret. It’s a similar situation with Cadillac Seville at The Bar Complex in Lexington.

I’ve also had a couple of markets like St. Louis and Huntington where I reached out because one of my favorite queens, Willam Belli, wanted to work that particular market. Willam had been burned by a venue in St. Louis last year for a Pride booking, and all the fans there were super disappointed. I was already doing a gig with her in Louisville, so we put together a pop-up show at this great spot called Attitudes. It was so successful that I’ve made St. Louis a regular city for the event series.

Same with West Virginia. It’s one of the very few states Willam had never performed in, so Ireached out to Stonewall in Huntington and we did an event there. It was fantastic.

Tell us about your new “Drag Brunch” series.

Well, it’s not a series just yet. Here’s to hoping, though! I worked in the past with a benefit drag brunch a couple years back, and it was so fun. There’s such a desire for fun daytime events, and it opens up to a whole new crowd. We had people ranging from 21-75 in the audience.

The first event is going to be Sunday, May 31st at 8UP Elevated Drinkery and Kitchen. It’s one of the most gorgeous spots in Louisville and a perfect fit for this type of event: a great brunch that flows seamlessly into a great Sunday Funday on the patio. Add drag queens into that, and it’s a memorable event in the making!

One of my all-time favorite gals, Delta Work, is the featured performer. She’s incredibly funny and so polished as a queen. Her celebrity impersonations are incredible, yet she still has her own identity as Delta outside that element. Also, two Entertainer of the Year titleholders will be with us: Trinity Taylor and Vanessa Demornay.

What will be different about this versus a night at a club like Play?

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who can’t do late night events like the “Hard Candy” series. They have job or family responsibilities, and I understand that. I’m really excited to offer a daytime event as an alternative and still offer the same high quality entertainment.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/HardCandyKY.