It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Alaska

She's coming home for the holidays!


In the late aughts, I was invited by a friend to Blue Moon Bar in Lawrenceville to see this wild drag queen they had seen there named Alaska Thunderf*ck. The show was wild, to say the least, and I very much enjoyed myself but I had no clue what I had just seen. In all honesty, there was no way that I could have known that I had seen a drag queen that would end up taking the entertainment world by storm in just a few years. Alaska is now one of the most famous and hardest-working drag queens in the world! And that famous, hard working queen is coming home for the holidays with a couple gifts for us! The first gift will have you smelling absolutely filthy (in a good way) and the other is a sickening live performance, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like ALASKA …A Christmas Show”, happening December 17 at Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead.

In case you weren’t aware, Alaska grew up in Erie and came to Pittsburgh for college. While here, her illustrious drag career started in such Pittsburgh bars as Pegasus and Blue Moon. She received more notoriety after making it to the top 3 of season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and later winning season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Since then, Alaska has been hustling non-stop. In recent years, she has released four studio albums, appeared on VH1’s hit reality series “Scared Famous”, Hulu’s “Drag Me To Dinner” and in a movie in the Sharknado series, released two books (a young adult novel titled “Alaska Thunderfun and the Inner Space Odyssey” and “My Name’s Yours, What’s Alaska?: A Memoir”) and started the Drag Race recap podcast “Race Chaser” with fellow drag race alum Willam. That podcast led to her co-founding the LGBTQ+ Moguls of Media (MOM) podcast channel on the Forever Dog Network. Alaska also co-created the Drag Queen of the Year Pageant Competition Award Contest Competition with another legendary Pittsburgh drag queen, Lola LeCroix. And if that’s not enough for you, there’s also her series of Divatronic icon tribute shows (Gaga, Britney, Taylor, Miley) that she performs at Brooklyn’s famous queer venue, 3 Dollar Bill.

Now, Alaska may not be Santa but she is coming to town and she’s bringing gifts for both the naughty and the nice. First off, during her initial run on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Alaska was challenged to come up with an ad for a fictional fragrance and what resulted was a hilarious commercial for something called “Red For Filth”. Ten years later, you can finally purchase Red For Filth for yourself. “Red For Filth” is a layered scent with notes of leather, sandalwood, lilac, hops, and turmeric. As for “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Alaska,” I’ve been told we can expect a lovely evening of story and song. The show was created by Alaska and her longtime collaborator, Jeremy. There will be holiday classics you may know along with some you may not know and that special kind of Alaska silliness that we all know and love.

I recently had a chance to speak with Alaska about all of these endeavors and here is what she had to say.

First of all, I’ve gotta say that I’m so glad to reconnect! Wow, you’ve been busy! Ma’am, how exactly do you do it all? And where does your drive and ambition come from?

Honestly, it’s less about drive and ambition and more about just doing stuff I like.  I like to say yes to stuff that comes up and when I do, I usually am like, oh damn, I am doing too much because I also like to sit on my ass and do nothing.  But I like to get the chance to do 1000 different things, and in drag, you get to do that. 

Can you tell me a bit more about how Red For Filth came to fruition ten years after that legendary commercial on Drag Race?

When I won the fragrance challenge on Season 5 of RuPaul’s Drag Race 10 years ago, I wanted to do a fragrance. So I bought a bunch of dollar store body spray and printed out my own labels and put them on the boxes. I was going to sell that as Red for Filth, but I decided it smelled too awful and I couldn’t do that to my fans.  So now, 10 years later, thanks to the genius scientists at IFF, we have come up with an actual fragrance that actually smells amazing.  And the boxes are really pretty too.  I love it and I’m proud of it and my mom likes it too. 

And as for this tour, what inspired that? What can your fans expect from “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like …Alaska”? What are you excited to bring to the stage in this show?

My best friend Jeremy and I love to sing songs at a piano.  I like to look beautiful and speak to things happening in the world today and I think the holidays are a perfect time for that sort of nonsense. 

Pittsburgh loves you. We’ve watched you strive and dream and work and work and ultimately, succeed. What will it feel like for you to bring this show here and to your hometown of Erie?

It’s always amazing to come to Pittsburgh and Erie.  I spend a good part of my summers in Pennsylvania because it’s where my heart resides.  So getting to come back and do drag there is really special and I love it.  My grandma gets to finally come to a proper show in a theatre and I could cry just thinking about it. 

To wrap this up, is there anything else you’d like to share with QBurgh readers?

Go Steelers. Go coleslaw and french fries on sandwiches. And go chairs in the street to save your parking spot. 

When a drag queen who works this hard comes to town, you should go because you’re definitely in for a treat. When that queen is Alaska and your town is where she got her start, you do not wait to purchase a ticket. The show will be extra special and something not to miss! That is definitely true for the Pittsburgh date of “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Alaska” so don’t dally. You will definitely want to be there to see what Alaska is going to pull out of her sack this holiday season. Just look at Alaska’s personal mantra: “Anus-thing is possible.”

Jason Shavers is a born and raised Pittsburgh native. He is an actor that has worked extensively on stage and not so extensively on screen. Jason is also a self proclaimed expert on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Musical Theater and sitcoms that feature 4 women leads. Yeah, he’s gay AF. Follow him on Instagram. (He / Him / His)