On Chicago Drag Part 2

On Chicago Drag Part 2

With the advent of the new year, and my dedication to building an exhibition proposal on drag for my Curatorial Practicum (one of the elective offerings for the Masters of Arts Management program), I have pulled together a list of Chicago drag shows. Does this list cover ever show in the city? No, but if you’re totally new to the world of drag, this post is a good starting place for some events to check out to wet your feet. So c’mon reader, let’s get ATTENDING (drag shows, that is).

The most popular drag venue for us Millennials is Berlin nightclub. There are drag shows or drag related events almost every night of the week there—best to check their website to be sure. But here are some highlights:


954 West Belmont (directly off Belmont Red/Brown line stops)
1) Drag Matinee: Saturdays at 10:30
This is probably the most highly visible weekly revue of contemporary Chicago drag that features lots of up and coming stars. Hosted by Trannika Rex, a lot of the Chicago drag queens you might know from Drag Race got their starts on this stage at this show, and lots of Rugirls perform there.

2) Crash Landing: Every 2nd and 4th Monday at Berlin, hosted by Trannika Rex and Nico with startender Lucy Stoole
An amateur drag competition (in which I’ve competed twice) where 15 drag queens/kings/and everything-in-betweens compete for a spot in the drag matinee, $200, and some other prizes. Each cycle has three rounds—meaning a round every other Monday.

3) Plot Twist with Trannika Rex: Every 3rd Monday at Berlin
A show featuring acts that contain some sort of surprise element.

4) Stardust Thursdays: Stardust is a party production put on every Thursday at Berlin by Scott Cramer, and usually has drag hosts and interesting themes. Which party is held when rotates and is advertised on Berlin’s website.

5) Monthly/bimonthly shows: Goddess (an amateur show hosted by Kat Sass and Lucky Stiff), Clownfish (a themed concept show hosted by Chicago drag troup Sadhaus, featuring Wanda Screw, Yolo Ono, and Quinn), Geekhaus (yes, that’s right—get your comic nerdery on with this once monthly cosplay night) and Slay (a horror based drag show held on Wednesdays).


Basement of Metro, 3730 North Clark Street
QUEEN!–Sundays at Smartbar: perhaps one of the most renown queer/gay parties in the city. There is no show at Queen, just some of the best DJs in the city, with some of the most interesting drag hosts and the party attendees usually turn looks as well. The party is normally themed but the theme is only announced on the Instagrams of hosts.

Velvet Underground. Rock n Roll. Drag. First Fridays at Gman Tavern (and poster design by me)

GMAN is the bar attached to Metro/Smartbar and is part of the Metro and has a number of drag related events.

  1. Weekly viewings of RuPaul’s Drag Race, All Stars 3; 7:00 p.m. Thursdays
  2. BYOB, a Drag Loteria, hosted by my roommate Valentine Addams and The Lady Ivory. This is a Latin(x) night based on the Mexican equivalent of Bingo. It’s super intimate and a fun time. You can catch it the first Tuesday of every month.
  3. Velvet Underground, a Queen Celebration of Rock n Roll, hosted by Wanda Screw and Discord Addams, the first Friday of every month.


Fabitat: a biweekly, all-inclusive show originally held in Door No. 3, Fabitat moved to Beauty Bar after the Double Door closed. Hosted by Lucy Stoole, it’s one of the most queer friendly and avant garde drag shows in town.


I can’t really get into all the events that Roscoe’s has, but let it be known that this popular Boystown hot spot hosts all the prominent Ru girls and major tours in the city. They also have their own amateur competition with Roscoe’s Drag Race, and once a month Trannika hosts XYZ, a 1995-2005 themed party for you to have an opportunity to really relive the heinous fashion from that time.

Wanda Screw on her museum hack tour [photo source]

The Art Institute of Chicago: Drag Tours
Run through museum hack, Wanda Screw leads museum tours of the Art Institute to give you a fresh perspective on the museum. As the website reads “Join our renegade tour guide and Wanda for a fierce, high-energy, two-hour group tour as you sashay away through the museum’s hallowed halls with a “tasting menu” of crazy true stories behind a selection of art across the Art Institute’s collection.”