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Blame It On Del Rio

July 5, 2017 5:00 am0 commentsViews: 96
Photo: Jovanni Jimenez Pedraza

Photo: Jovanni Jimenez Pedraza

by Steve Desroches

Since winning RuPaul’s Drag Race three years ago, the loveably vicious Bianca Del Rio has traveled the world with her insult-comedy-in-sequins show. Australia, Canada, Norway, England, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and most every state in this country have been victim to the silver-tongued drag queen/stand-up comic and were left screaming for more. And after touring the world with her Not Today Satan tour, Del Rio finishes this comedic marathon around the globe with the final date here in Provincetown at Town Hall.

The growing success of Bianca Del Rio has sent the New Orleans born, Los Angeles based queen to heights achieved by few other drag performers. With season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race just ending with Sasha Velour taking the crown, a recent poll of the show’s fans put Del Rio on top as the fan favorite of any cast member from any season. Del Rio is a veritable phenomenon born out of another cultural phenomenon. So it’s no surprise the Not Today Satan tour, which takes its name from Del Rio’s popular catchphrase on the show, sells out venues across the United States. But what does surprise Del Rio, also known as Roy Haylock, is that she sells out wherever she plays around the world.

“It’s quite amazing, “ says Haylock. “The only way they can see the show is to hunt for it and download it illegally. I can’t wrap my head around it. I’m amazed they know who I am! It’s been an amazing ride. I never thought it would be this exciting.”

As a man Haylock is as sweet and humble as can be. But the horns come out once the sequins and lashes go on. A comedian in the school of Joan Rivers and Don Rickles, Del Rio brings a bit of gay culture to the schtick of insult humor, but never retreats and always goes straight “there” with a joke. Audiences continually flock to a Bianca Del Rio show as she takes the hot air out of all the grinding and heated issues of our times. She steers clear of politics most of the time and focuses on that which unites us, even if it appears she’s a hateful harpy from the bowels of hell.

In addition to her hard work and inhuman touring schedule, Del Rio can’t help but step into one pop-culture moment after another. This past spring Del Rio got into it with former Full House child star and anti-gay, conservative Candance Cameron Bure (younger sister of the even crazier Kirk Cameron) on The View. The star wore a “Not Today Satan” t-shirt with a smile, receiving an avalanche of criticism from Del Rio’s fans and eventually a rebuke from Del Rio herself. Bure eventually fell into the “love the sinner, hate the sin” kind of explanation, but Del Rio was having none of it. And just last week, British reality-TV star Scarlett Moffatt threw a RuPaul-themed birthday party for her 11-year-old sister, complete with Bianca Del Rio party favors, setting the Internet ablaze on that side of the Atlantic.

While both those stories garnered great attention on blogs and celebrity websites, it was an encounter with a young fan in Montreal this past May that grabbed headlines and showed how much our world is changing. While hosting the Werq the World Tour drag revue, Del Rio was told to stretch, as the next performer was not ready. She noticed a young boy there in full drag with his straight parents. So she pulled the 8-year-old in a blond wig and red dress with the drag name Lactatia on stage, and the drag queen of mean met her match and was read to filth by the tiny drag star. When asked who her favorite drag queen was, Lactatia quipped, “Ginger Minj” and stuck to her guns later when prompted to say Bianca Del Rio. Lactatia stole the show, from one of the top drag queens in the world no less.

“It was truly amazing,” says Haylock. “I just though that this was so insane, in a good way. I’ve seen 13-year-olds come to shows in high heels or with some make up on. But I’d never seen someone that young. I’ve never seen someone that young, never that articulate, and never that confident.  She was amazing, even if Ginger Minj is her favorite drag queen. Little brat.”

While of course the evening illicited controversy, (at least the social media kind), it was a moment that melted the heart of this evil queen (and also landed Lactatia considerable publicity). And while Del Rio loves to dig in when audiences moan and gasp at her politically incorrect shows, she steers clear of comment sections and online battles, as they mean little and solve even less. Her view is if you don’t like, don’t watch it, advice she offers as some fans of RuPauls’s Drag Race have taken the viciousness to a whole new level when defending their favorites queens. It is, after all, only men in wigs lip-synching and not that important in the big picture, says Haylock, so everyone should calm down.

After closing the Not Today Satan tour in Provincetown, Del Rio is taking a quick break and then heads to Amsterdam in August to tour the world again with a brand new show. She’s also hard at work on a sequel to Hurricane Bianca, her hit 2016 film co-starring Rachel Dratch and Alan Cumming, and a comedic self-help book. She says yes to everything. That’s been her credo, and it’s worked well so far, as she takes it all as it comes looking for an opportunity in each offer that appears. And that has her well on her way to superstardom.

“I don’t know what’s next; porn?” says Haylock. “I need a scandal.”

Bianca Del Rio presents Not Today Satan at Provincetown Town Hall, 260 Commercial St., Monday, July 10 at 8:30 p.m. with Tori Scott as the opening act. Tickets($50 – $150) are available at the Art House box office at 214 Commercial St. and online at ptownarthouse.com. For more information call 508.487.9222.