Seattle drag stars and "RuPaul's Drag Race" alums BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon are teaming up for a holiday tour, "All I Want For Christmas is Attention," which lands in Philadelphia Dec. 6 at Union Transfer.
BenDeLaCreme — the alter ego of Benjamin Putnam — is best known as Miss Congeniality from Season 6 of "RuPaul's Drag Race," and "Drag Race All Stars 3." Jinkx Monsoon won Season 5 of "RuPaul's Drag Race" and tours the world performing her original cabaret shows.
"All I Want For Christmas is Attention," is the duo's second outing together after last December's successful national tour, "To Jesus, Thanks for Everything, Jinkx and DeLa!" This year's trek is DeLaCreme's first international tour under her production company BenDeLaCreme Presents.
We talked with BenDeLaCreme about her production company and what makes her and her drag sister, Jinkx Monsoon, such a dynamic pairing, bringing a wicked sense of cheer to the holidays.
Is this holiday tour different from shows you've done in the past?
This is the second tour of this show with Jinkx and me together. In terms of the shows that I do under BenDeLaCreme Presents, I have my solo stuff, and then I have larger cast stuff that, so far, is rooted in the Seattle area. The two-queen extravaganza is a version of that idea. All of those things that I create or produce, you can count on having a lot of content and political commentary, but through humor and wit and song and spectacle and glamorous costumes. We do what the perfect thing is to do in this bawdy, too-cool scene. It definitely falls into the cannon of everything I do, but it's distinctly its own brand and the perfect melding of Jinkx's and my personality.
What is your holiday show bringing to the table that people can't find anywhere else?
Obviously, there is quality content everywhere. I think that we, specifically, are a couple of drag queens. We come from the queer world and the queer experience. The holidays, particularly for the LGBTQ community, is a time where we're inundated with the idea of "being with the family" and "come home for the holidays," which can be much more complicated for a lot of people. So I think that while we want to celebrate the holidays, we acknowledge that the holidays are also a difficult time. A lot of things can really be hard about the holidays. Our job as entertainers is to delve into things that are complicated in our individual lives and the landscape of what today is politically, and also be like, "but it's OK, we can still celebrate." We can acknowledge everything is hard, and we can do it together, because we're all in this together. We can make something fun and campy and over the top.
What is it about you and Jinkx that makes the two of you an ideal team?
We have a lot of overlap. We are both very rooted in a cabaret mentality. My character is upbeat and trying to make everything perfect and, sort of, blissfully unaware and wants to have a great time. Jinkx is more the cynical, pessimistic one who approaches the holidays with a drink in hand and a sense of bitterness. That tension through our characters is a lot of the fun we get to play with. My specialty comes with the scripting and the spectacle and the songs and the costumes. Jinkx is part of the tradition of the bawdy cabaret singer who is really conversational with the audience. When we make this work together, we have this great hybrid of something that is this big, bold spectacle and this fun and casual conversation between two queens and whoever is in the audience that night.
Why did you create your production company and organize your tours, instead of staying under the "Drag Race" umbrella?
I already had an idea of what I wanted to be before I was on "Drag Race," and it was a nice boost and a chance to pursue it further. There is certainly something to be said about queens who are creating and producing their own work. I think that any time you have that sort of control over something, you are going to make a truly unique product that you are going to be able to bring to the people and stand out. I can't predict the future of where these other roads will lead, but I think that there is longevity in presenting work that is fully unique to you as an artist. What happened with other tours is they are so swaddled in the branding of the TV show that we suddenly can't see everything those queens have to offer beyond the packaging of the TV show. All these queens who are out there really putting out a unique product — people will continue to be drawn to things that don't look like anything else.
BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon's "All I Want For Christmas Is Attention!" comes to town 8 p.m. Dec. 6 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. For more information, call 215-232-2100 or visit https://bendelacreme.com/ or https://jinkxmonsoon.com/.