For many queer performers who relied solely on bars and nightclubs to earn their living, the closure of LGBTQ2 venues during the COVID-19 pandemic has not only meant a loss of income but a loss of community.
It’s why nearly three weeks ago, Dragula Season 2 winner Biqtch Puddiń, alongside producer Megna, launched “Digital Drag: An Online Drag Show”—a live-streamed drag event via the streaming platform Twitch.
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DĮGITAL DRAG 3.0! Join us live Friday April 3rd at 7pm PST // 10pm EST only at twitch.tv/biqtchpuddin for Digital Drag 3.0! Presented by @biqtchpuddin and @videodisease. Featuring performances by @ajathekween, @brigittebidet, @serenateanyc, @jakedupree, @lotionsideb, @fkatwink, @misssaraandrews, @bigdipperjelly, @didaswag, @vandervonodd, @morphinelovemua, @landoncider & morė! #DIGITALDRAGSHOW
The idea came about when roommates Biqtch Puddiń and Kiara (Biqtch Puddiń’s drag mother) both had upcoming shows cancelled. “What, are we just going to do digital drag now?” Biqtch Puddiń asked out of frustration. That’s when Megna, their other roommate, popped out of her room to say that it sounded like a great idea. Out of a sense of defeat, a new project was born.
“I basically cast the show and announced it before I knew if I could do it,” Biqtch Puddiń tells me over the phone with a laugh. But she pulled it off: The first show streamed live on Twitch on Mar. 20 with 30 performers and a DJ. Even the minor technical difficulties gave the show some charm—a feeling that almost mirrored attending a live drag performance. “It was hard and we learned a lot during the first few weeks, [but] I’m trying to get better at this, because for the longest time I’ve always wanted to have my own show,” she adds. The first week of the show secured more than 10,000 viewers, and each week demand has grown.
Viewers can tune into Biqtch Puddiń’s Twitch stream on Friday evenings at 10 p.m. EST. Donations via PayPal help support the performers and producers. The show kicks off with a DJ performance before launching into nearly five hours of drag featuring performers from around the world.
“One thing I really like about our show is that it has a wider range of talent, and it’s not just you know, six white men performing Dua Lipa,” Biqtch Puddiń says. “That’s a part of drag I really like, but we have trans, non-binary and AFAB performers alongside drag kings and queens at all different levels.”
During each performer’s set, viewers are asked to tip the performers via Venmo, Cash app or PayPal in whatever domination they chose. “A lot of performers have messaged us independently to say they didn’t know how they were going to pay their rent that month, but the show basically did that,” Biqtch Puddiń says. “So for me, it basically warms my heart to know I was able to help alleviate that stress.”
Now in its third solid week, “Digital Drag” shows no signs of stopping and Biqtch Puddiń is happy to provide some levity and entertainment to people in the community. “I think it’s important to show positivity,” she says. “And it’s good to remind the public that there’s some positivity going on in this crazy situation that we’re in.”