Now that the fifth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” is in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to vote for your favorite champion of all time. Don’t forget, even though there’s only been five “All Stars” installments, there are actually six winners since Monet X Change and Trinity The Tuck tied in 2019. The most recent champion is Shea Coulee, while the initial three were Chad Michaels, Alaska and Trixie Mattel. Vote for your favorite crowned queen in our poll below, and then defend your choice in the comments section.
“All Stars 1” (2012)
Following the original fourth season in which she placed second to Sharon Needles, Chad Michaels became the series’ first All Star champion. As an impersonator, most of Chad’s looks are inspired by Cher, but in many ways that is just a jumping off point for her extremely polished showgirl style of drag. Chad beat runner-up Raven on November 26, 2012.
“All Stars 2” (2016)
The second installment of All Stars aired four years later and saw the returning queens lip syncing for their legacy instead of for their life. After previously losing to Jinkx Monsoon in Season 5, Alaska prevailed on the back of four challenge wins and with the protection of an alliance with her former cast mates. Alaska beat runners-up Detox and Katya on October 13, 2016.
“All Stars 3” (2018)
Trixie Mattel returned for her second appearance on the reality TV series after a premature exit on Season 7, which Violet Chachki ultimately won. With charting singles and a hit web series already under her belt, Trixie topped nine other all stars in a season that featured a new jury twist. She beat runner-up Kennedy Davenport on March 15, 2018.
SEE Despite controversy, ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ predicted to win Best Competition Program Emmy for 3rd time
“All Stars 4” (2019)
Monet X Change contended in this edition right after placing sixth to eventual winner Aquaria on Season 10. Trinity the Tuck only made it to third place on Season 9 of the main show, which was won by Sasha Velour, before her return as an All Star. In the end, host RuPaul Charles couldn’t decide on a winner so she determined it was a tie in the February 15, 2019 grand finale.
“All Stars 5” (2020)
Shea Coulee previously made it to third/fourth place on Season 9 of the main show but won this fifth All Star edition during the July 24, 2020 finale. She beat out co-runners-up Miz Cracker and Jujubee. During this installment there was a “Lip Sync Assassin” twist in which former contestants returned to battle the week’s challenge winner.
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‘The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the World’ Review
Tom Ratcliffe and Becky Paige’s doc focuses on the Black athletes whose silent protest rocked the Olympics in 1968.
An iconic image of protest gets its backstory explored in The Stand, Tom Ratcliffe and Becky Paige’s look at two Black Olympians who raised their fists and bowed their heads at the 1968 Mexico City games. Reminding viewers that Colin Kaepernick was far from the first athlete to be told he should keep his principles off the field, the straightforward but welcome doc doesn’t need to spell out how many of its protagonists’ concerns remain pressing today.
Many viewers will be unaware that Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the track-and-field medalists who raised their fists after receiving medals, had considered more dramatic forms of protest: Some Black athletes had proposed boycotting the Olympic games entirely, or had considered going and, should they win events, refusing to accept medals on behalf of a country that had treated them so poorly.
The filmmakers might’ve provided us with more of the specific complaints these men had; instead, their assessment of “The Struggle” relies on very familiar images of police brutality and general observations about how much remained unfixed after the Civil Rights movement’s legal successes. Athletes including Ralph Boston and Mel Pender recall their childhoods in ways that would be appropriate for any doc about race in America; only occasionally does the film get concrete about how athletes experienced discrimination.
Then we meet Harry Edwards, organizer of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. In vintage newsreel footage, Edwards is an impressive spokesman: Framed in closeup as he wears dark sunglasses indoors, he calmly asserts athletes’ right to use their prominence to speak the truth without punishment. (One of the OPHR’s key complaints, not cited here, was that Muhammad Ali had been stripped of his heavyweight title because of his opposition to war in Vietnam.)
Most relevant to this film’s narrative is the objection athletes had to Avery Brundage, the president of the International Olympic Committee. As the film tells it, Brundage objected to anything a Black athlete might do to publicly convey support of a social cause. (Interviewees pointedly observe that Brundage had fought to keep the U.S. from boycotting the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, and had made no objection to the Nazi salutes seen there.)
As OPHR members publicly discussed the possibility of boycotting the 1968 games, they drew support from some unexpected places. The filmmakers devote a sizable chunk of their time to the story of a rowing crew at Harvard whose all-white members wanted to help: They met with Edwards to ask what they could do; interviewed today, Edwards recalls “the fundamental role that they played in this movement.”
The doc finds some old-fashioned sports-movie drama in the races leading up to that famous award ceremony: Smith injured his groin in the semifinals and could hardly expect to be competitive in the final race. Speaking at length to Ratcliffe and Paige (John Carlos’ interviews were conducted by other filmmakers years ago), he gives a beat-by-beat account of how he held his body together long enough to finish first.
If that sequence has a touch of mythmaking to it, the explanation of what followed is more modest. Though Smith had taken certain steps to prepare for a public gesture (he’d asked his wife to bring him a pair of black gloves from home; he and Carlos wore other symbolic items onto the field), he insists he didn’t know exactly what he would do until the moment he did it. He also says his raised fist was “not a black power sign — not at all,” but instead signified “solidarity and strength” with a broader human-rights cause.
Such subtleties were lost on many in the media and the public. Carlos and Smith paid a price for their gesture, starting with the boos as they walked off the field. But in the half-century since, generations have recognized the moral courage in what they did. And only the willfully ignorant fail to grasp that publicly expressing one’s concerns about the state of his country is a very different thing from being unpatriotic.
Production company: Kimbia
Distributor: 1091 (Available Tuesday, August 4, on digital and on-demand)
Directors: Tom Ratcliffe, Becky Paige
Producers: Tom Ratcliffe, Michael King
Executive producers: Selena Roberts
Director of photography: Editor: Becky Paige
Meghan Markle Turns 39, Receives Shocking Birthday Message From Kate Middleton!
Well, if you’re stuck at work right now, and you’re growing antsy with the vague feeling that today should be a national holiday, we have some information that may help to explain your frustration:
It’s Meghan Markle’s 39th birthday!
Okay, so that might not be a good enough excuse to punch out early and hoist a few wheatgrass shots in honor of the Duchess of SoCal, but it’s a pretty big deal, nonetheless.
After all, Meghan is capping off one of the most eventful years of what has thus far been a very, very productive life.
This was, as you’ll recall, the year that Meghan and Prince Harry stepped down from their roles as senior members of the royal family.
They made history with that bold stroke — and then they made it again by pulling up stakes and relocating 5,400 miles to the west.
Yes, when Meghan and Harry moved to America with their infant son in tow, public opinion was sharply divided.
Many praised the Duke and Duchess for doing what they had to do in order to protect their son from the encroachments of the British tabloid press and the sky-high expectations of the royal family.
Others, however — mostly royal traditionalists in the UK — felt that Meghan and her man were betraying and humiliating the Queen.
For a long time, it looked as though the Queen felt that way, as well.
Rumors of bad blood within the royal family have been circulating for months, and the situation has only worsened in recent weeks thanks to the publication of a pair of new tell-alls.
The fact that neither party appeared to be interested in putting those rumors to rest seemed to confirm that Harry and Meghan were not on the greatest of terms with the rest of the royals.
But today something subtly remarkable happened.
First, the the official royal family Twitter account tweeted a birthday greeting to Meghan:
“Wishing The Duchess of Sussex a very happy birthday!” read the tweet, which was accompanied by balloon and birthday cake emojis.
For obvious reasons — not the least of which is that she’s 94 years old — the Queen doesn’t do any tweeting of her own, but the account is known to represent her, and so, it’s safe to say that QE2 approved that message.
Moments later, royal-watchers were caught off guard by what might be an even more surprising birthday shout-out:
“Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Sussex today!” tweeted Prince William and Kate Middleton’s official account, closely echoing the sentiment expressed by the Queen.
(They even used the same emojis!)
We probably don’t need to tell you that rumors of a bitter feud between Meghan and Kate have been circulating for years, and have been corroborated by some very credible insiders.
Some have even claimed that the situation has gotten worse since the Sussexes moved overseas, as Kate feels that she’s been burdened with additional work and responsibilities in the absence of her fellow duchess.
But apparently, the animosity was greatly exaggerated — or at the very least, Kate was able to set it aside for a day.
Honestly, the latter explanation seems more likely, but hopefully Meg won’t waste too much time dwelling on that today.
We’d like to add out voice to the chorus of millions wishing the Duchess of Sussex a very, very happy birthday. Here’s hoping next year is a little less eventful!
Ben Gibbard Covers “Centerfield” For Seattle Mariners Opening Day Ceremony: Watch
It feels like forever ago that we were getting new Ben Gibbard covers every single week as part of his lockdown livestream series. He stopped doing those back in May, but he revived the practice to support his local team the Seattle Mariners for their Opening Day virtual ceremony, which took place last week, though his performance was just uploaded online today. (The team has been playing games all week.) He set up his acoustic guitar on an empty T-Mobile Park field to perform a cover of John Fogerty’s baseball standard “Centerfield,” updating some of the lyrics to reflect Gibbard’s own Mariners fandom.
Gibbard, along with the rest of Death Cab For Cutie, is contributing an ’00s cover to our fundraising compilation. Wonder what they will do! Just kidding, I already know.
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