Thu 10 Dec, 2009
Tags: Drag Queen Magic, Event Recap, Nina Flowers, SPIN Nightclub
Recap of Nina Flowers at SPIN Nightclub
By J. Scott Hill
Her name is Loca. She is a showgirl — a showgirl who knows the age-old advice, “Always leave them wanting more.”
The original Miss Loca herself, Nina Flowers — runner-up and Miss Congeniality from the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race — teased an enthusiastic audience with her elaborate costumes and impossibly vertical hair Saturday night at SPIN Nightclub on Belmont at Halsted. Nina Flowers, AKA Jorge Flores, came to Chicago for one night only on December 5.
On RuPaul’s Drag Race, Nina Flowers was a fan favorite. For the uninitiated, the LOGO/VH-1 series RuPaul’s Drag Race is a drag-queen competition reality show that is one part America’s Next Top Model, one part Project Runway, and a whole lot of fierceness. Miss Nina excelled in every way: performance, makeup, hair, costume making and modification, sass, but most important, kindness. She showed immense class, humility, and poise in a television genre designed to glorify and reward backstabbing, bitchiness, and secret alliances.
At SPIN Nightclub, Nina’s two numbers were energetic and crowd-pleasing — the second number being her new hit dance single with Ranny, “Loca” (#41 this week on the Billboard Dance/Club Play charts). She was energetic, athletic, and beautiful.
Miss Loca is like a cross between Ivana Trump and Carmen Miranda, as re-envisioned by Patrick Nagel. Such exotic fabulousness takes a lot of primping. Nina Flowers does not just throw her face on and slip into her shift five minutes before curtain. Nooo.
Nina Flowers needs a little prep time.
Her two numbers were scheduled an hour apart, with a fan meet-and-greet to follow. Nina Flowers comes to us from Puerto Rico originally, by way of Denver. For a one-night-only performance for a mere $10 cover, it is understandable that she did not bring a giant entourage and one of her famous DRAMA DRAG shows like the ones she conducts monthly at her home club (Tracks in Denver). Two numbers, a costume change — and maybe a hug, an air kiss, and a photo op — were priceless to the club full of her adoring fans. Most scintillated with anticipation for the hour between Miss Nina’s two numbers.
Still, I wish that SPIN Nightclub would have filled that time better. Encouraging patrons to belly up to the bar while they feel the thump of the subwoofer does not sustain the level of energy with which Nina Flowers had infused the room. Miss Loca’s appearance drew some pretty amazing local drag queens — some obviously paying homage to Nina’s signature look (Yes, you in the black with the feathers, I am thinking especially of you; I wish I would have taken your picture to include here). SPIN Nightclub could have showcased some of Chicago’s sizeable pool of drag talent between Miss Nina’s numbers. There could have been a Nina Flowers drag-alike contest. They could have even hired a couple of birthday party clowns to make dirty balloon animals with condoms. Most of the crowd was just happy that Nina came to visit, but I wanted more show in the show.
I realize that sometimes talent has a rider in their contract about being the only performer that evening: no one wants to come to town only to be upstaged by the locals. But could Miss Congeniality Nina Flowers ever have a rider so catty and unsporting? Never, locas.
If you weren’t at the Nina Flowers appearance at SPIN Nightclub Saturday night, you missed a great little piece of drag spectacle — the only negative being that it was barely a taste. I think Nina Flowers could have put on a three-hour extravaganza and still left her audience wanting more. I hope the divine Miss Loca returns to Chicago soon, with either a full DRAMA DRAG show, or onstage support from some fine Chicago drag queens who can make the time during her costume changes feel as if it is flying by on gossamer wings.
Nina Flowers’s Homepage:
RuPaul’s Drag Race:
Track Nightclub/DRAMA DRAG:
The single “Loca” by Ranny, featuring Nina Flowers, is available on iTunes and at Masterbeat:
Nina Flowers performance photo by J. Scott Hill.
Nina Flowers poster photo by Venus Zarris.