To Kansas City and back in 24 hours for Trixie Mattel


Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

Trixie Mattel performs on the Palomino stage at Stagecoach at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif., Friday, April 28, 2023.

Zhenya Loughney, Arts Reporter

The car was a 2013 Mitsubishi Mirage and the drive was projected to be 285 minutes. In the driver’s seat was my best friend Nick Anderson and in my lap was a statistics  Who did we drive from Iowa City to Kansas City for? Trixie Mattel.

Mattel was the season three winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.” She is a drag performer in comedy and has a country music career. Mattel also owns a make-up product company called “Trixie Cosmetics” that I religiously watched the tutorials of when I was in high school.

Anderson and I were at a live show at Gabe’s, a live music venue in downtown Iowa City, on June 2 when his partner sent him a link to the Mattel show. We both shrugged and said, “why not?” The tickets were only $25 each, so the next morning we started our trek to Missouri.

The event was held at KC Live!, a venue in the Power & Light District of downtown Kansas City, Missouri on June 3. There was no show description on their website so Anderson and I were eager to figure out the mystery of exactly what the show would be. Just plain drag? Stand-up comedy? Country music? We were excited.

Parking in Kansas City was a headache. We went to about five full garages until we found a $30 spot next to a line of All Time Low concert attendees. Clad in our glittery hot-pink outfits, Anderson and I had a good chuckle walking by the fans in all black.

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Kansas City’s Power & Light district is a street-less area of shops, restaurants, and performance venues, reminiscent of Iowa City’s Pedestrian Mall. KC Live! was a bit intimidating with the full-body scanners, metal detectors, and a million security guards. But after that hurdle, it was a fun and comforting environment. It is an outdoor stage with a canopy covering the area. Bars, restaurants, and shops caged the venue in– the reason for the multitudes of security guards.

The show started at 7 p.m. and we barely made it in on time due to road construction stretching our 285 minutes into 330. The first opener was an unmemorable DJ; his beats would drop a moment too late and would often take random 1 to3 minute breaks, leaving the venue nearly silent. No one was dancing. He made 6 minutes feel like 20. I liked his fog machine though.

Once his set came to completion, Anderson and I were even more confused as to what the show would be. The DJ switchboard table looked very stationary and un-movable without multiple techies. As a joke, I asked Anderson if Mattel picked up DJing to make ends meet.

The next opener was another , mixing various Rhianna and Beyonce songs. Maybe the crowd was just getting more drunk, but they seemed to enjoy him more. It wasn’t anything special, but a lot more danceable than the last guy.

At 9:15, my joke became a reality when Mattel carried a mic and switchboard onstage. It wasn’t plain drag, comedy, or country music: It was a DJ drag queen.

The visuals projected behind her were mesmerizing. Everything was a sea of pink and glitter. The music was EDM disco– something I never thought I’d love. The mixing headphones wouldn’t fit over her wig so she wore them over her face.

Mattel said later in the show that she started to learn how to DJ at the beginning of the pandemic because she felt “bored” with traditional drag performances. Not only did she want to perform drag, but she wanted to create the beats to it as part of the performance.

The crowd was wild. KC Live! turned into a magical disco rave. I was covered in everyone else’s body glitter due to how packed we were at the barricade. It was all worth it to have Mattel touch up my hair with Aqua Net hairspray from the stage. To evade Mattel and All Time Low traffic, Anderson and I left her set around 10:25 to get back to the comfort of Iowa City.

Did I expect to cheer on a drag queen turning knockers? No. But it was an incredible show. She performed again at Des Moines Pride, headlining on June 9– that was also a very fun disco rave. Above all else, my favorite drag queen is now my favorite DJ as well.