Unless you have been living under a sequenced gown for the last few years, you will no doubt have heard about Ms Alana Duvey. Not only is she Glasgow’s answer to Oprah (see her helping the children at Life’s a Drag exclusively on SickeningGlasgow) but she is also the hardest working gal on the Glasgow scene. Guest performances, Dragony Aunt, Star of podcast ‘Show me the Receipts‘ and headliner and organiser of Drag-Opticon. We caught up with the legend herself to find out more about Drag-Opticon and when and where we can see the fabulousness for ourselves.
SG: Hey Alana, how the devil have you been since we last caught up?
AD: Hello there! Things are good, thank you. Busy but good. Feel like Boylana is in constant zombie mode these days but I love it!
SG: Can we just say before we get started that your Jessica Fletcher is a masterpiece!!!
AD: Ah I love doing Jessica Fletcher! Murder, She Wrote and Angela Lansbury are such institutions and I have so much fun doing my own little variation. Some people say my performance predicts the future of Dharma and I, I guess we’ll have see if that’s true!
SG: Tell us about Drag-Opticon.
AD: Eeeee, my newly adopted baby Drag-Opticon! I freakin’ love it! Drag-Opticon is a Drag Variety Show that was originally created and hosted by Glasgow Boylesque legend and sometimes Drag Queen, John Celestus. What I like about it is that it’s a little different than the usual Drag shows around the city due to it’s unique venue, big stage and sit down audience. I came about hosting it by kind of a happy accident, I misunderstood John when he mentioned that it was stopping for Christmas/New Year and I thought the night was stopping forever! So in a desperate bid to save the little night I’d grown so fond of I said to John that I’ll host it if it means the night will continue. He must’ve thought ‘what is she on?’ but he got in touch with me a few days later and explained that he has such a busy year ahead and if I meant what I said, he’d happily hand his night over to me to give him one less thing to worry about. Naturally I jumped at the offer!
SG: When and where is it?
AD: Drag-Opticon is held once a month either the second last or last Friday of the month in the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, Glasgow. The oldest surviving Music Hall in the WORLD!! It’s a truly stunning venue that’s drenched in history. It’s been around since the 1850’s! It’s survived World War I, the depression and even being nearly burned down thanks to a rogue stage light. Comedy legend Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy made his stage debut there. Proceeds made from the night go towards the conservation project run by Judith Bowers Mclay to help get the venue back to its former glory. Follow us on Facebook: The Drag-Opticon Show, Twitter: @Drag_Opticon and Instagram: @Drag_Opticon for regular updates on dates etc.
SG: Who are the performers?
AD: Well there’s me, your hostess with the mostest and you know wherever I am, my trusty sidekick Dharma Geddon isn’t far behind. She’s our resident apocalyptic queen. All other performers are guests who have submitted ideas to us via our little online form. We’ve had performers from all over the country, from local gals who’ve only performed in Glasgow to International Stars who’ve performed in various countries around the World.
SG: Tell us some backstage gossip. Go on we’re practically family
AD: Oh now that would be telling! There’s always lots of fun banter going on backstage. Especially when Mr. Celestus is in the building. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve sat on his bum as he gets ready or we’ve had a nude queen running around. Never a dull moment but what happens in the Panopticon stays in the Panopticon. Only the ghosts know what we get up to!
SG: Do you need tickets or can people pay on the door?
AD: You can do both! You can purchase tickets for Drag-Opticon by visiting www.tickets-scotland.com or you can turn up on the night and purchase a ticket on the door. I’d suggest getting your tickets online prior to the event just to avoid disappointment if it’s sold out. Tickets cost £5.00 each. The show starts at 8:00pm and usually finishes about 10:30pm which is good if you have a night out planned to warm you up for it or if you’ve got work in the morning and don’t want to stay out too late.
SG: What sets Drag-Opticon apart from the other drag shows around the city?
AD: Well apart from the venue etc as mentioned earlier our performers usually bring something to Drag-Opticon that they wouldn’t normally be able to do in the usual pubs and clubs so you can always guarantee that you’ll see your fave queens trying something new at Drag-Opticon. So far we’ve seen Queens and Kings perform theatrical pieces, ghost stories, musical numbers, poetry, burlesque, live singing, spoken word, ballet, stand-up comedy and even playing the saw as a musical instrument! Of course there’s always plenty of lip syncing thrown in there too. It’s a warm, welcoming show with an abundance of feel good factor thrown in for good measure. We welcome anyone to come along as there’s always something for everyone. Under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult, it is a drag show after all, who knows what we’ll get up to! And we actively encourage our audience to get into the spirit of things and dress up in their most fabulous Drag ensembles whether they’re a seasoned veteran, a first timer or just for fun like you do going to the Rocky Horror Show! I might just give you a shout out if you do!
SG: Running your own show AND guest performing at other shows must keep you on your creative toes. What keeps your looks and performances so fresh?
AD: Dharma Geddon!! Anyone who knows me knows I’m no MUA, it takes a lot for me to pull off a really polished look so you can guarantee if I’m looking different from usual, Dharma’s probably assisted me a little bit. Same with the performances, it’s so great having that creative partner that you can bounce ideas off of who also has a different way of thinking than you do who can come up with ideas you wouldn’t and vice versa. We help each other be the fabulous queens you all love!
Our next Drag-Opticon Show will be our Mad May show on Friday 26th May
Interview conducted by Gordon Penman
Cover photo by Amy Irene Marquez