Out of the crop of RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants that Metro Bar has hosted in this post-Pride season—including Manila Luzon, Honey Mahogany and JuJuBee— Sharon Needles is most certainly the Baddest. Sharon’s a fierce queen from Pittsburgh whose sickening talents and macabre glam captivated America’s ghoulish hearts and earned her Season 4’s glittering prize. Her original pop songs—debut album PG-13 out now—have garnered this spooky performer a substantial following since her season ended, and devilish performances have carried her from clubs coast to coast along a tidal wave of American wet dreams.
Metro’s faithful patrons—a full microcosm of Utah’s alternative gay scene—were in attendance to welcome the Queen of Scream to Salt Lake City. Performances began with members of local drag collective The Bad Kids, whose M.O. is to provide a platform for diverse gender expression and a family for Salt Lake’s growing number of gender integrated performance artists. Cartel Chameleon Fenice—ever the scenemaker—was the evening’s emcee.
First on stage was The Bearded Femme, robed in silky white, donning gold and silver tinsel and a gaudy, saintly halo, which were all abandoned to reveal a red g-string and a chest and face each painted with a gold cross, like some ungodly genderfucking Saints fan wailing over Sleigh Bell’s “Crown On The Ground.”
The trio of Klaus von Austerlitz, Cartel Chameleon Fenice and Odge performed second. Over the tune of a Cocorosie song. On two separate ends of the stage danced Cartel, draped in black, two silver cone horns projecting out of her forehead and Klaus, face painted, holding a red bouquet, and fixed in a white lace dress and white wig spotted by red flowers. As the chorus rose the two met in the middle of the stage as Cartel stripped Klaus revealing the word FAG written on her chest. A siren blared; the song changed to something glam metal as Odge clambered on stage to help wash away the dirty word.
Sharon Needles emerged on stage from a black coffin with a black leather outfit, a blue wig, and long black nails. Though I was hoping for a Siouxsie Sioux, there was more camp than goth realness offered up by spooky Sharon. While performing her opener, “This Club Is A Haunted House,” Sharon knocked over a can of PBR that was conspicuously placed on stage and took a nasty fall, which she gracefully shrugged off as her first ever. Next song, “Call Me On The Ouija Board,” could’ve been cheesier than Morrissey’s own ghostly tune “Ouija Board, Ouija Board,” but above all Sharon is an entertainer, and she delivered quite well. In between songs she threw some lite shade, (likening Salt Lake smogginess to her hometown of Pittsburgh), but kept the mood fun, praising the city’s queer scene and resilience in the face of political and religious oppression. After a costume change she returned looking like a Marilyn Monroe dominatrix and performed a few more songs, including her cover of Ministry’s gay-cum-goth anthem of acceptance “Everyday is Halloween” and “Dead Girls Never Say No.” The sweetest moment of the show was when she invited one of the Zion Sisters in attendance on stage and inquired about their charity efforts, then handed over all of the cash people had been sending her way during the set.
Though the theme of the night was Halloween, the show was a great close to Metro Bar’s solid year of hosting innovative and exciting queens from across America. Check out photos of the event here.