This summer, the world’s longest ever drag show was staged in Portland, Oregon, clocking in at a whopping 48 hours, 11 minutes, and 30 seconds. How does an event so massive — let alone one involving 60 drag artists — come together? A new five-episode podcast has the answer.
Slaying a Drag-a-Thon is a deep dive into the queer chaos of breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest drag show ever, written and produced by award-winning journalists Eden Dawn and Fiona McCann. The series is a sidecast of their We Can’t Print This podcast, which features interviews with writers telling the stories behind their stories.
History was made with the help of numerous drag performers, but it started with Darcelle XV envisioning a brighter future for Portland’s queer community.
A new TikTok filter lets users do a blind ranking of contestants from ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. Naturally, the queens got in on the action.
The titular Drag-a-Thon was a collaboration between Dawn and gender-neutral apparel company Wildfang. It was motivated by the current cultural and legal attacks on drag in America, with states including Florida, Tennessee, Montana, Texas, North Dakota, and Arkansas aiming to restrict drag performances.
The Drag-a-Thon also honored the memory of Darcelle XV, the oldest working drag queen who passed away in March at age 92. The show was hosted in the venue Darcelle owned and operated, the Darcelle XV Showplace, which is the oldest continually running club in the U.S. Before her passing, Darcelle was aware of the planned record attempt and gave it her blessing.
The show was a massive success, smashing the world record, delivering a drag show like no other, and raising $250,000 for the Trevor Project in the process. But as with any good story, the event didn’t go off without a hitch, and the podcast covers every twist and turn. Along the way, it touches on the history of drag in Portland, what drag means to those who perform it, and what it actually takes to earn a Guinness World Record.
“After a lifetime of watching drag and a career of journalism deadlines, I thought I was entirely prepared to produce this event. I was wrong. This was the most stressful 48 hours of my entire life,” Dawn, who narrates the podcast, said in a statement. “But I’ve also never been prouder of anything I’ve done and getting a world record with your friends and a gaggle of drag queens and celebrities was worth all the ulcers.”
“Drag royalty, celebrities, a ticking clock, Dolly Parton songs on blast, and Guinness? I don’t think I’ve had more fun or less sleep in my storytelling life,” added series co-producer McCann.
The podcast features interviews with RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Peppermint, LaLa Ri, and Eureka O’Hara (all of whom performed at the Drag-a-Thon) and some of the celebrities who emceed the event, including Fred Armisen, Punkie Johnson, and Frankie Grande.
The first episode of Slaying a Drag-a-Thon is now streaming on all platforms.