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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA professor by day, drag queen by night

Noelle+Haro-Gomez+%2F+Arizona+Sonora+News+ServiceTempest+DuJour%2C+host+of+Retro+Game+Show+Night+at+Hotel+Congress%2C+is+the+tallest+and+oldest+contestant+to+ever+compete+on+the+Logo+TV+reality+show+competition+%26%238220%3BRuPaul%26%238217%3Bs+Drag+Race.+Patrick+Holt%2C+who+plays+the+character+Tempest+DuJour%2C+is+also+a+costume+designer+and+a+theatre+arts+professor+at+the+UA.

Noelle Haro-Gomez / Arizona Sonora News Service

Tempest DuJour, host of Retro Game Show Night at Hotel Congress, is the tallest and oldest contestant to ever compete on the Logo TV reality show competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Patrick Holt, who plays the character Tempest DuJour, is also a costume designer and a theatre arts professor at the UA.

“Boogie Wonderland” by Earth, Wind & Fire plays as a warm-up for the crowd. Young and old shimmy and shake down the aisles with wine, beer and nachos in hand. Then, a theme song announces the start of the show at Tucson’s Hotel Congress. Tempest DuJour has arrived.

“Are you feeling sassy!?”

Tempest DuJour, tops on the drag scene in Arizona and nationally, hosts Retro Game Show Night at the historic Hotel Congress in Tucson.

Patrick Holt, 47, the man behind drag queen Tempest DuJour, is the tallest and oldest contestant to ever compete on the Logo TV reality show competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” He is also the only contestant to ever represent Arizona in seven seasons.

“I love larger than life theatrics,” Holt said. “It’s about letting loose and having a communal good time with the audience.”

Retro Game Show Night features a different audience participation game at each monthly showing with a new set and props. A neon sign twinkles center stage with the words “Retro Game Show Night” in bold colors. Games include Password (sassword), Wheel of Fortune (wheel of misfortune), and the Newlywed Game (not so newlywed).

Contestants compete when they volunteer or have Tempest DuJour pull their names out of a fuzzy, pink box. Tied games are resolved by a dance off. The monthly event has been selling out every performance since it began three years ago, Holt said.

Holt began his drag career in 2007 when he won the drag pageant Miss Gay Arizona. Raised Mormon, Holt attended Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City and ended up in Tucson through an opportunity to teach at the UA.

His extended family has been supportive of his drag queen persona, Tempest DuJour, and her appearance on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Holt said.

Holt’s sister didn’t understand drag at first. According to Holt, “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” produced by the actor and world famous drag queen RuPaul, helped make drag become more mainstream.

“RuPaul opened the door for greater respect and understanding of drag as an art,” he said.

Priscilla Fernandez, an actor in Retro Game Show Night, added that RuPaul was a pioneer for abandoning gender stereotypes in the 1980s.

Fernandez plays game show “celebrity guest” Elena Sanchez. Retro Game Show Night producer David Hoffman recruited her when he saw her YouTube videos.

“Where else can you see a drag queen hosting a game show?” Fernandez said. “I had to be a part of it.”

Fernandez’s character is a “tacky” and over-exaggerated Hispanic woman. Game show night is breaking down stereotypes, Fernandez said. “The show gives visibility to a subculture that most people don’t know about,” Fernandez said. “We celebrate stereotypes and laugh at ourselves.”

Retro Game Show Night’s “silly” and “adult” humor is attracting people from Scottsdale, Phoenix and Casa Grande, Fernandez said. 

According to Holt, the audience is mostly straight, 18-80, married, single and “everyone in-between.” If audience members keep an open mind, they will enjoy themselves, he said.

The political climate in the state of Arizona does not impact the drag queen community, Holt said. The drag queens are focused on their commitment to the art.

“I won’t let some old white guy in a suit in Phoenix determine my happiness,” Holt said.

Holt is a costume designer and a theatre arts professor at the UA.

“Discussions in class force me to keep learning,” Holt said. 

Holt takes up to two hours to prepare for a performance, applying theatrical grade makeup foundation in “brighter” and “garish” colors.

The creative team behind Retro Game Show Night all have theatrical or choral experience, said Paul Katona, who operates the music and sound effects.

Retro Game Show Night audience member Colleen Halpin said Tempest DuJour is quick-witted like an improvising comedian.

“I never knew what to expect next,” Halpin said. “The show is over the top and fun.”

Holt said he enjoys balancing his offstage persona with that of Tempest DuJour.

“If you don’t take it too seriously, you will have a good experience,” Holt said.

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