Review: "A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour" in Minneapolis, MN

This review originally ran in the November 30, 2017 issue of Twin Cities Gay Scene magazine.

Ho, ho, ho indeed! Held at the same venue as previous DragFans.com ensemble shows, Murray & Peter Present - A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour lived up to its name with a bigger, naughtier "RuPaul’s Drag Race" alumni show. Twin Cities Gay Scene came out to celebrate with the festive bunch. 

Photo: DragFans.com

Photo: DragFans.com

Photo: @derekplease

Photo: @derekplease

The Minnesota weather jokes came up often, but the heat inside the venue kept turning up. Like when host Trinity Taylor recognized a hunky audience member from the last tour; Ms. Taylor had him stripping on stage last time, but this time she settled on having him flash his toned torso.

Trinity wore a full Catholic nun outfit for the first half of the show, which she finally ripped off to reveal a fake, saggy nude body. It got the biggest laugh of the night, and everyone whipped out their phones to snap the moment. 

Each queen gave a monologue after their first performance. Some girls seemed more comfortable with that than others, but each shared words of wisdom. Minneapolis legend and “Drag Race” season 1 winner Bebe Zahara Benet encouraged the audience to support local drag queens. This was met with roaring applause, a nice reminder of how much we Twin Cities LGBT value our own talent. It was cool to see a major touring drag show pay it forward to local clubs in this way. She wasn’t just there to talk, though. Bebe’s performances featured the tightest lip syncs of the night. She knew every word.

Photo: @derekplease

Photo: @derekplease

Latrice Royale was as perfect as we’ve come to expect. Her performances were daring; she performed an intricate color guard routine in spectacular red costuming. It was cool seeing her in another ensemble show even after she sold out headlining The Cowles Center here on her own. 

Farrah Moan’s sultry performances were equally cutesy and thrilling. She seems to have found a perfect balance between her pop star and burlesque sides. Farrah lip-synced YouTube queen Trisha Paytas’ cover of “Santa Baby” while performing a burlesque routine. Like Trisha’s own music videos, Farrah’s performance felt inspired by Britney Spears’ Las Vegas show, in the best of ways.

Trinity Taylor got a huge reaction with her only performance of the night, a lip-sync of Faith Hill’s Grinch classic “Where Are You Christmas?” She played it as a physical comedy piece, and it was one of the highlights of the night. 

Photo: @derekplease

Photo: @derekplease

Aja’s performances were wild. She performed a number as the demon goat creature Krampus, while pretending to eat baby dolls. It was hilarious and intense at the same time. It made us excited to see what she does on All Stars 3 this winter. 

Lots of Holiday music medleys were lip synced, featuring yuletide hits from legendary acts like Destiny’s Child and Lady Gaga. But Chi Chi DeVayne shocked the audience with a fully live vocal rendition of “O Holy Night.” It wasn’t perfect, but it was an impressive decision that stood out. Her lip-sync performance of RuPaul’s edgy 90s classic “All I Want for Christmas” had the audience in stitches. 

Eureka O’Hara’s first performance was cute, but her second performance - she snapped! She flew off into the audience like a firecracker. Her makeup throughout the night seemed very Divine-inspired, which was delightful. 

Photo: @derekplease

Photo: @derekplease

Fan favorite Shea Coulee brought the house down with Ariana Grande’s “December,” a rousing, sassy Christmas album with more than a little sex appeal. It was a great showcase of her lip-sync talent, amazing costuming, and infectious energy. 

When the show ended, security had to kindly ask the audience to keep moving out the exits. It seemed like everyone had enjoyed themselves so much, they didn’t want to leave into the cold. That’s what Murray & Peter drag shows feel like… a toasty fire in a cold world. 

Highly Recommended.

Tickets for the remaining dates of "Murray & Peter Present - A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour" are available at http://dragfans.com 


Who's your favorite drag queen? Tell me on social media: @DerekPlease everywhere

Film Review: "Justice League"

DerekPlease.com got an early look at this year's most buzzed-about superhero movie.


Warning: Spoilers ahead.


The holiday 2017 blockbuster film season is upon us. “Justice League” is finally here, and I was lucky enough to attend an advanced screening. The film, which successfully ties together Warner Bros.' messy DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film franchise, follows a ragtag bunch of heroes that play well as a team, but vary in quality individually.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

The new characters are a mixed bag.

The Flash steals the show in a star-making performance from burgeoning queer icon Ezra Miller. Every Flash one-liner got a big laugh from the crowd. It’s been tough watching mainstream Hollywood figure out what to do with Miller’s skill set - his role in “Harry Potter” prequel “Fantastic Beasts” was not the ticket - but “Justice League” is his showcase. The only thing he’s lacking is a better backstory, which is probably being saved for the DCEU “Flashpoint” film.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Aquaman is… basic. There’s not much else to say. He’s just sort of there. The film didn’t care about him, so neither did I. Jason Momoa gives a shirtless shrug of a performance. He was mostly reduced to the overused, albeit classic DC joke that Aquaman’s only power is talking to fish.

Cyborg could use a tune-up. This mostly-robot character lacks much of a human element, sense of humor. The only human part of him is maybe half a face’s worth of gorgeous Hollywood skin. He’s just about as animated as a robot in “Transformers”, and that is not a good thing. Actor Ray Fisher could have breathed some life into the character, but gives a wooden-faced, self-serious performance… all in a monotone voice. 

When he’s not in battle, Cyborg wears unrealistic hoodies that somehow cover his giant robot body without looking misshapen. It seems like even the filmmakers are insecure about the effort they put into this character. Between Cyborg and Aquaman, it would have been great if the characters of color had been given more character development.

Halloween 2017 may be over, but “Justice League” invites “Frankenstein” to its Thanksgiving table. Kal-El AKA Clark Kent AKA Superman AKA God (if you’re asking the deranged Lex Luthor, and I am not) comes back in a thrilling, frightening sequence. The Batman vs. Superman fight scene that follows is the best action sequence of the film. The Mary Shelley vibes are real. The “big gun” Batman brings in to end the fight is a brilliant touch. 

Superman? More like super objectified. Kal-El spends that aforementioned fight fully shirtless. And that isn’t the only time he inexplicably loses his clothing. I’m not mad at it, though. It’s about time straight men get a taste of their own objectifying ways, and us ladies and gaydies get to enjoy a petty benefit of Hollywood’s paradigm shift.

The move to further fetishize Superman, while obvious and gratuitous, makes sense. DC tried and failed to make Superman more than aesthetics. In “Justice League,” DC nods to the feverish online army of Henry Cavill stans. Even Buzzfeed published posts lusting over him. The thirst is real, and they even joke about that - at Lois Lane (Amy Adams)’s expense. 

Left: The Amazons in "Wonder Woman" / Right: The Amazons on the set of "Justice League" There was some pre-release controversy over their reduced clothing in the photo on the right, but the change was not evident in the final cut of "Justice League." Warner Bros.

Left: The Amazons in "Wonder Woman" / Right: The Amazons on the set of "Justice League"

There was some pre-release controversy over their reduced clothing in the photo on the right, but the change was not evident in the final cut of "Justice League."

Warner Bros.

“Justice League” is actually the best use of Superman in the 21st century, so it seems like an odd choice not to feature him in the trailers or first wave marketing materials for the film. I mean, we all knew he was coming back. Hello! “Batman vs. Superman” literally ends teasing that fact. [Edit: I think they gave up and already started advertising Superman being in "Justice League"]

Ben Affleck is finally settling into his role as Batman, so of course, he wants to quit. Warner Bros. obliges, setting up a strong foreshadowing for Bruce Wayne’s near-future exit. The film is peppered with “old man Batman” jokes, and references to how this iteration has been fighting crime for 20 years. 

All previous Batman films featured a Batman that instantly recovered from injury. However, “Justice League” features a Batman who licks his wounds after every battle. Wonder Woman even insists that Batman “can’t keep doing this forever.” It reads as a set up for disenchanted actor Ben Affleck to leave.

Wonder Woman has a great story arc you may have thought would have been saved for her solo sequel. The one thing “Justice League” got right that “Wonder Woman” did not? A more even tone. Whereas the campy villain scenes in “Wonder Woman” didn’t quite fit the rest of the film, “Justice League” invites camp along for the full ride.

The DCEU films remain aggressively masculine, but now in an almost tongue-in-cheek manner. The cinematography is flamboyantly fire and brimstone. The CGI is adorned with a grainy faux film look. The fights are loud, ultra-violent, and metallic. Concrete slabs burst apart like sticks of chalk. Surely no film is this cartoonishly macho without being self-aware… right?

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

The Jack Kirby creation Steppenwolf is better than most Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) villains; certainly better than the next Avengers film’s big bad, that boring purple giant Thanos. Despite heavy motion capture, actor Ciarán Hinds pulls off a fantastical performance. Whereas a similar “world ending” big bad in the MCU film “Thor: Ragnarok” is the butt of jokes, Steppenwolf is a serious threat. His army isn’t weak, either. With their unique look and backstory, Steppenwolf’s insect-like Parademons are more memorable than your average, disposable “faceless army.” All this good does not save the bad final fight scene, which feels long and predictable. 

The credits feature a strange and intriguing decision not to credit Joss Whedon as Zach Snyder’s co-director, despite Whedon’s heavy rewrites and reshoots. While likely a show of respect to Snyder, the idea that this is as much a Snyder film as “Watchmen” or “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” does not compute. Whedon does take a writing credit for his reshoot efforts, though. 

Despite the tragic circumstances that brought him on (director Zach Snyder’s daughter Willow died by suicide early this year), “Justice League” is lucky to have Joss Whedon. The film could have been another dark, violent mess for DC without Whedon’s signature crowd-pleasing touches. Joss Whedon's genre-defining work directing the MCU game changer “The Avengers” set the bar so high, his involvement in DC’s equivalent film “Justice League” was its only chance of being comparable. This film was never going to be perfect, but it’s at least a very fun ride. This is a best-case scenario for the most complex film in the messiest cinematic universe. 


3.5 out of 5 stars


Who's your favorite member of the Justice League? Hit me up on social! @DerekPlease everywhere.

12 New Holiday Gift Sets from Britney Spears Fragrances

On the twelfth day of Britmas...

Each year Britney Spears Fragrances delights our nostrils with another array of holiday gift sets. Usually they're focused on primarily on the original Fantasy. There may be some "candy lotion," or a lip pencil, but usually nothing too far outside the box.

This year is different. Team B is taking advantage of her strong return to relevance by sending at least a dozen new kits to stores. These kits include Private Show, Curious, Radiance, Fantasy, Midnight Fantasy, and Intimate Fantasy scented items.

This expansive collection joins her recently unveiled Hot Topic, Target, and Urban Outfitters store exclusives.


Hot Tip

Buyer beware of eBay and Amazon Sellers perfume purchases! These are often faux... or real bottles refilled with inferior, copycat formulas. #fakenews


Target.com has listed all the gift sets, including both of the ones I found at Walgreens. Looks like Target is your safest bet if you want to purchase these drop dead beautiful sets online.

Check out the full gamut below! Click the photos to be linked to their Target listings. 

Britney Spears Private Show Fragrance Bath Set - 5 Pieces $14.99 at Target.com

Britney Spears Private Show Fragrance Bath Set - 5 Pieces

$14.99 at Target.com

Private Show Britney Spears™ is an irresistible fragrance that incorporates Britney’s favorite scents: whipped crème coffee is addictive, empowering and energizing while dulce de leche and luminous amber add a modern gourmand richness and seductiveness. A touch of nectarine on the top gives an extraordinary juiciness to the first impression that transports you to a place of pure pleasure.
Fantasy By Britney Spears Fragrance Bath Set - 5 Pieces $14.99 at Target.com

Fantasy By Britney Spears Fragrance Bath Set - 5 Pieces

$14.99 at Target.com

Capturing love’s ability to overwhelm when you least expect it, Fantasy weaves a tale of modern romance. Britney channels the elusive playfulness of the chase, and the carnal excitement of seduction to create a flirtatious scent for the empowered woman. Britney Spears™ Fantasy combines succulent fruits and Britney’s favorite white florals to create a sensual fragrance. The alluring mix of lush red lychee, golden quince, and exotic kiwi playfully intertwines with a delectable cupcake accord, jasmine petals, and white chocolate orchid. A surprising finish of creamy musk, enchanted orris root, and sensual woods will leave you—and everyone around you—captivated all day.
Private Show by Britney Spears Fragrance Gift Set - 3 Pieces $38.00 at Target.com

Private Show by Britney Spears Fragrance Gift Set - 3 Pieces

$38.00 at Target.com

Private Show by Britney Spears Women's Fragrance Gift Set - 2 Pieces $21.99 at Target.com

Private Show by Britney Spears Women's Fragrance Gift Set - 2 Pieces

$21.99 at Target.com

Fantasy By Britney Spears Fragrance Bath Set - 4 Pieces $9.99 at Target.com Previously found at Walgreens & unboxed exclusively on DerekPlease.com

Fantasy By Britney Spears Fragrance Bath Set - 4 Pieces

$9.99 at Target.com

Previously found at Walgreens & unboxed exclusively on DerekPlease.com

Fantasy by Britney Spears Fragrance Rollerball Ornament  $4.88 at Target.com

Fantasy by Britney Spears Fragrance Rollerball Ornament 

$4.88 at Target.com

Fantasy by Britney Spears Fragrance Bath Fizz - 2 Pieces $5.00 at Target.com

Fantasy by Britney Spears Fragrance Bath Fizz - 2 Pieces

$5.00 at Target.com

Fantasy & Private Show by Britney Spears Fine Fragrance Mist - 2 Pieces $14.99 at Target.com

Fantasy & Private Show by Britney Spears Fine Fragrance Mist - 2 Pieces

$14.99 at Target.com

Curious by Britney Spears Fragrance Gift Set - 2 Pieces $21.99 at Target.com

Curious by Britney Spears Fragrance Gift Set - 2 Pieces

$21.99 at Target.com

Britney Spears Curious captures the romantic, independent, and mischievous spirit of the Curious woman. This fragrance has a free-spirited scent that blends white floral notes with hints of vanilla and musk. Curious opens with fresh lotus, mouthwatering pear, and magnolia and then blooms with an intensive floral heart of tuberose, jasmine, and pink cyclamen. Alluring and feminine, Curious has a sensual base of musk, vanilla, and precious woods.
Midnight by Britney Spears Fragrance Gift Set - 3 Pieces $35.00 at Target.com

Midnight by Britney Spears Fragrance Gift Set - 3 Pieces

$35.00 at Target.com

Midnight Fantasy is the fragrance that puts you at center stage. This casual, citrusy scent, has a moderate, fruity bouquet that fits women of all ages. It has a careful balance of framboise, vanilla, black cherry, plum, night-blooming orchid and freesia, among other notes.
Britney Spears Fragrance Sampler Stocking Stuffer - 3 Pieces $21.99 at Target.com

Britney Spears Fragrance Sampler Stocking Stuffer - 3 Pieces

$21.99 at Target.com

Fantasy Intimate Edition celebrates being beautifully bare and confident in your own scented skin. A romantic fragrance of seduction where sensual florals and sweet notes delicately embrace the skin, ready for your intimate fantasy to begin. A mix of juicy lychee, violet leaves and a touch of Italian lemon exudes sensual fun. A seductive interplay wraps around the heart of muguet, delicate jasmine and brown sugar, giving in to your most secret desires. Dreams become reality as vanilla, heliiotrope, and white musk dance in the background.
Britney Spears Fragrances Sampler Gift Set - 4 Pieces $38 at Target.com

Britney Spears Fragrances Sampler Gift Set - 4 Pieces

$38 at Target.com

Britney Spears Radiance is a blend of luscious berries and dewy petals that unfolds to reveal a radiant heart of luminous pure white flowers, lit from within by the glow of precious amber, woods, and sexy musk. Radiance offers top notes of luscious wild berries and soft dewy petals to convey a feeling of unparalleled allure, a pure white bouquet of tuberose, jasmine, orange flower, and iris to exude an unforgettable feminine aura, and captivating cashmere woods and luminous amber to wrap you in the sensual glow of skin musk.

Additional sets from last year are available at Target.com


What's your favorite Britney Spears perfume? Hit me on social one more time! @DerekPlease everywhere. 

Mine is Believe... a long forgotten, underrated and unisex-friendly Britney Spears scent from 2007. I wrote a high school English class essay on its ad campaign. It received an A+! #JusticeForBelieve

The Fit: New Britney Spears 2017 Tour Inspired Hoodie at Urban Outfitters

"Another day, another drama"? More like "another day, more merch"!

Britney Spears and her merch company strike again with another store exclusive item out in retail. This time, Urban Outfitters is hitting us one more time.

Photo: UrbanOutfitters.com

Photo: UrbanOutfitters.com

Britney Spears fan @CandidlyCarlo found a new hoodie at his local Urban Outfitters yesterday, and tweeted out a photo:

Photo: @CandidlyCarlo

The tweet amassed over 150 likes. The fan response was so great UrbanOutfitters.com put it on their web store this morning!

Click here to buy yours for $54.

Fun fact, the hoodie is an Urban Outfitters-exclusive recreation of the long sleeve t-shirt that was sold at shows on her 2017 Asian tour. The design is playful; it says "Britney" in English and "bitch" in Japanese. Most people won't even know you're walking around with an obscenity on your sleeves!

After the tour ended, the original merch was briefly available for sale on BritneySpears.com - many other fans and I scored a few items. The original long sleeve version is so comfortable. Plus, I get tons of compliments when I wear it.

Twitter friends like @BraveNewMatt and I are debating getting this hoodie recreation so I can keep the original in mint condition. Hmm...

Fit details from Urban Outfitters:

"Cotton fleece pullover offers ribbed banding at the cuffs + hem for a perfect fit, complete with an adjustable hood and front kanga pocket."


Are you a pop music lover? Follow @DerekPlease everywhere for fun fan content!

First Look: Britney Spears Fragrances Holiday 2017 Gift Sets

Counting 1...2...3 Britney Spears item reveals on DerekPlease.com this weekend.

1. A Hot Topic exclusive "...Baby One More Time" album cover t-shirt.

2. A new vinyl compilation featuring the song "...Baby One More Time."

3. Holidayney is here.

My husband and I were at Walgreens late last night and noticed all the Christmas stuff being put up by employees. My first thought was, "I wonder if the Britney gift sets are out." They were:

A "Fantasy by Britney Spears" bath time box set including scented hair mist, bath bomb, body wash, and bath salts. Photo: @DerekPlease

A "Fantasy by Britney Spears" bath time box set including scented hair mist, bath bomb, body wash, and bath salts. Photo: @DerekPlease

A more standard Fantasy by Britney Spears lotion, perfume, and travel perfume set. Photo: @DerekPlease

A more standard Fantasy by Britney Spears lotion, perfume, and travel perfume set. Photo: @DerekPlease

It's da bomb dot com! Photo: @DerekPlease

It's da bomb dot com! Photo: @DerekPlease

As a beauty and entertainment blogger, one of my favorite parts of the holiday shopping season is scoring discounted celebrity perfume. Especially when it comes to Britney, bitch. There are always new cosmetic items bundled in, but this year takes the cake.

Three words: Britney bath bomb! Yes, it smells just like the perfume. It is a tad bit disappointing that the "Fantasy" bath bomb is basic white powder. In a world where our friends at Beauty Kitchen make bacon and egg-shaped bath bombs, "Fantasy" manufacturer Elizabeth Arden missed an opportunity to color or shape the bath bomb like the iconic "Fantasy" bottle. 

Britney bath salts are also a thing now. I've never soaked in a tub with bath salts before, but I'm excited to feel what all the fuss is about. The gel body wash formula is actually very good, I've used it before. I'll probably just use the hair mist as body spray. 

Note: These Walgreens sets are not available online at the moment.


"Want more? Well, I'll give you more..."

Each drugstore and department store tends to get its own exclusive Britney Spears Fragrance holiday sets. Expect places like CVS, Walmart, and Target to have more varieties. "Overseas places like Canada"... err, I mean the UK, might have exclusives at stores like HMV. 

Personally, I'm pumped to see the Target sets this year. After the sell out success of that iconic $12 Britney tee, we know they want more... of our fan dollars! 

The two sets I detailed above are all Walgreens has for now, but that could change. Classics never go out of style, but the "Fantasy" Perfume Set is comprised of stuff I already have. Check out a full unboxing of the Bath Set in the gallery below.

Photography in this post was taken by @DerekPlease, please credit us if reused.


What's YOUR favorite fragrance? Send your thoughts to @DerekPlease anywhere.