Digital drag: Gigi Monroe takes Juneau’s drag scene online

(Image courtesy of Gigi Monroe)

“Performing in drag is a necessary creative outlet for me,” said Gigi Monroe, a local drag queen and wig stylist on Tuesday’s Juneau Afternoon. “It has the power to inspire, comfort, and entertain, even when we cannot gather physically,” said Monroe.

Monroe is one of many artists whose livelihoods are cast into uncertainty as events countrywide are canceled in response to COVID-19. Performers have been forced to find creative ways to connect to their audiences, with many turning to online broadcasting.

Monroe’s appearance on KTOO’s daily talk show was to promote an online solo drag performance on Thursday, April 9, at 7 p.m. The performance is pay-as-you-can.

Monroe has been doing drag for 16 years and has produced countless shows in Juneau. Thursday will be her second broadcast performance.

“Half the fun of a drag show is getting up close and personal,” admitted Monroe. But on Thursday, viewers will get a first: They’ll be able to see makeup and wardrobe transformations in between musical numbers — a process typically reserved for backstage.

Monroe is optimistic about the experience of watching a performance from home. Her show will be hosted on Stageit, a platform dedicated to live music broadcasting, where viewers can interact closely with the performer through a chat interface and tipping system.

“It’s BYOB!” Monroe said. ”Feel free to dress up, feel free to wear your sweatpants. You can get up and dance in your living room with me. … You can do whatever you want to do.”

Juneau’s drag scene has been a source of vitality for the local LGTBQIA+ community. Monroe hopes that other performers and artists continue to create, undeterred by the circumstances.

“I’m really hoping that some of the other performers, locally, are inspired to get their act together, so we can do some broadcasts live from our living rooms,” Monroe said. “If you want to hear it, make it known, get those requests out there!”

The full interview can be heard below:

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