- The Magazine
Who knew the Olive Garden could be a source of inspiration? But that’s precisely what it was for Brandon Voss, the producer whose namesake company, Voss Events, has become synonymous with some of the best live RuPaul’s Drag Queen shows in the world.
“The pandemic shut us down entirely,” Voss says. “Everything we do is for a live audience. We had worked for two years on a residency in Las Vegas. It was open for six weeks and we had to close it down. We also shut down the ‘Werq the World’ tour and a sold-out arena tour in Europe.”
The company pivoted to online shows, but after initial enthusiasm, audiences waned. “There was fatigue,” he says. “Every drag queen was doing digital drag shows, and I just think the consumer was sick of it.” Voss decided to take a much-needed break.
“John, who I work with, and I went upstate to Lake George. And we stopped at an Olive Garden.” The family restaurant’s parking lot had been festively decorated like a restaurant, with waiters, carhop-style, tending to patrons in their autos. “I thought there must be a way I can do a drag show like this,” Voss says. “And that’s where it was born.”
After a successful, limited run last summer, Voss launched a full-throttle “Drag ‘N Drive” Tour, currently on its final leg before the company resumes indoor productions.
It will be in the DMV area from June 4 to 6, and stars Asia O’Hara, Vanessa “Vanjie” Mateo, Aquaria, Violet Chachki, Kameron Michaels, and Drag Race season 13 finalists Gottmik and Rosé.
The show then travels to Raleigh, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Boston, before winding things up at Randall Island over NY Pride weekend, June 25 to 27.
“It’s ten times the work for ten percent of the money,” says Voss. “But it got everybody working — both the queens and our crews.” Meanwhile, Voss is busy relaunching the Vegas show, which will take up occupancy at the legendary Flamingo Hotel & Casino on August 5. The first month is already sold out. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand,” he says. “We’ve all had a really rough year and people are desperate for entertainment right now.”
“Drive ‘N Drag Saves 2021” runs June 4-6 at Westfield Wheaton, 11160 Veirs Mill Rd. in Wheaton, Md. Tickets range from $75 to $399. Full details at www.vossevents.com/drive-n-drag.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!