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Shangela, Willam, and Bianca del Rio to Take Over Manhattan for 'Hallo-Queen' Weekend

Shangela, Willam, and Bianca del Rio to Take Over Manhattan for 'Hallo-Queen' Weekend

Shangela, Willam, and Bianca del Rio to Take Over Manhattan for 'Hallo-Queen' Weekend

“We have never done anything to this scale,” says party promoter Brandon Voss, who booked all nine floors of Madame Tussaud's for Halloween night's festivities.

By R. Kurt Osenlund

This weekend, drag queens descend on New York City like never before for an epic, two-night Halloween bash organized by tireless party promoter Brandon Voss. On Friday, Shangela and Willam will be joined by fellow RuPaul's Drag Race alums like Raja, Latrice Royale, Alyssa Edwards, and Jinkx Monsoon as they host the fourth annual Night of the Living Drag at Liberty Theater (233 West 41st Street). Beginning at 9 p.m., Night of the Living Drag will have a post-apocalyptic theme, with drag zombies standing as the city's lone survivors. Lady Bunny will be spinning in the DJ booth and reigning queen and Season 7 winner Violet Chachki is also scheduled to attend.

On Halloween night itself, Voss will be pulling out all the stops, with quip-slinging queen Bianca del Rio hosting Madame Tussaud's Halloween. The 42nd street attraction will be completely taken over for the event, which will feature a "Presidential Dance Party" with DJ Hector Fonseca, Bianca del Rio's "Hollywood Horror Show," a costume contest, and multiple dance floors. In advance of the events, we chatted with Voss about broken legs, tampons, and who's the scariest queen of all. 

Out: Since you launched your new Zoo Fridays party, you've been throwing themed costume bashes every week. Hasn’t it felt like Halloween all the time lately?

Brandon Voss: True. I guess it always feels a little like Halloween at my events. I can promise you will never come to one of our parties and find the standard go-go boy on a box in his underwear.  We always put production behind it and we’ve had loads of fun with the animal theme at Zoo.  We’ve had everything from flying drag-queen fish to a “King Dong” gorilla contest. Just consider it a year round warm-up for Halloween. 

Landing a venue like Madame Toussaud's with Bianca del Rio seems like a real coup. How did you secure the it? Are guests going to have access to the entire museum?

To be honest, I completely cold-called.  I walk by the place all the time and saw one of their creepy wax figures perched on 42nd Street. I thought it would be an amazing place for a Halloween party so I asked about renting the entire venue. They loved the idea. Turns out the New York outpost of Madame Tussauds is run by a bunch of gays, and they were familiar with my events. They have been really fun to work with and I have a feeling we’ll make this an annual thing. And, yes, all nine floors of the museum will be open. We have two dance floors, a show room for Bianca, a costume contest, rides, bars, food, and loads of creepy wax figures to interact with.

Last year, at Night of the Living Drag, emcee Sharon Needles shocked the crowd when she eventually walked out dressed as the recently deceased Joan Rivers. Can the audience expect any big shockers from Willam and Shangela?

Shangela always makes an entrance. At Bianca’s roast over the summer she surprised the audience when we lowered her from the ceiling inside a giant disco ball. Three years ago, at this very event, Shangela broke her leg when her death drop collided with one of Sharon’s stage props. So she can make quite the exit too. I don’t plan to break any legs this year, but there are plans for quite an opening number.  One thing that’s new this year are group numbers. This is our largest Halloween show to date and several of the girls have collaborated in larger production numbers instead of solos.

Did you make the choice to hire Willam and Shangela as emcees? Why them and not, say, Alyssa Edwards?

I did make that choice. We do so many of these shows, I like to keep it interesting and try new emcees. Alyssa just hosted our Pride show back in June.  She was hilarious, but I wanted somebody different for Halloween.  Shangela, who I work with all the time on Logo events, suggested Willam, so I decided to have them do it together. Two drag zombie hosts are better then one. I like to do everything in excess.

Bianca pulls no punches, Sharon is goth-chic, but who's really the scariest queen of them all?

All drag queens are scary, but if I had to sit in the front row of both their shows I think I’d fear Bianca most. She can be brutal once she starts tearing into you.

What's the funniest (or scariest) behind-the-scenes story you can offer about organizing this weekend?

During the pre-show, while people fill the theater, we have little bleeding drag-demons hanging above the crowd and we’ll be tossing dirty tampons at people (we like to keep it classy). We found it pretty funny that my poor assistant had to purchase and prep 1,000 dirty tampons (he probably found it pretty scary).

What do you hope people take away from this Hallo-queen weekend, besides new zingers from the girls?

Memories of a really fantastic time! And a dirty tampon.

Tickets for Night of the Living Drag and Madame Tussaud’s Halloween are available at www.VossEvents.com. For information and VIP access, call 212.481.6203.

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