Pride Insider

Paige Turner on 2020 pride season: “It’s even more important to stand together”

New York City is definitely one of the greatest drag capitals of the world, if not the drag capital of the world, and “Showbiz Spitfire” Paige Turner is at the epicenter.

Known as the illegitimate love child of Pee-wee Herman and Barbie, Paige Turner is a staple of nightlife and cabaret throughout New York City. In addition to numerous appearances on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, she is a cast member on the Fusion Network series SHADE: Queens of NYC and has headlined for Atlantis Events/Cruises.

Paige often performs outside of NYC and tours internationally with her all live sung one-woman shows including “Drag Me to the Top” and “The Marvelous Paige Turner.”

GayCities was granted an opportunity to chat with Paige about this unusual, revolutionary pride season in the Big Apple.

Why is New York a great place to live?   

It’s definitely a city of opportunity. Even though it’s changed throughout the years, and will continue to change, you can create here and constantly have a revolving door of people to share it with as an artist. 

What have the past few months been like in New York City?

Well, it has not been that bright, to be honest. Very scary. Sadness, fear, and unrecognizable.  I am proud of the way things have been handled. I feel Governor Cuomo has done a good job–no leader is going to be perfect in this situation, but I felt safer on the way things have been handled for the city. 

Tell us about SLURP and how we can check it out! 

Slurp is the longest-running drag show in NYC. It is in its 9th year at Therapy NYC every Sunday at 10 pm. It is a night of mayhem and foolishness, show-stopping numbers, boys, and plenty of Slurps! I am happy to say that Slurp has gone online right at the start of the pandemic. You can watch it every Sunday at 9:00 pm ET on my Facebook page.

Might you have a favorite NYC Pride moment or two you that can share with us?
Well, it definitely has to be PRIDE 2019 Stonewall 50th. The energy of this city was like riding on a rainbow for months leading up to it. I have never seen so many people support a community as they did for the anniversary. Many people visited the city and I saw people I hadn’t seen in years who just wanted to be here to celebrate. Being part of the parade is a huge thrill any year, but this past year was special and emotional for how far we have come. I love looking out from a float and seeing a straight family with their children all dressed up and supporting our community. It’s a reminder that we are not so different from each other and kindness and support really do win at the end of the day. 
Why would you say pride celebrations are important, even now, in 2020? 
I think with COVID-19 and the horrible attacks that continue to happen to our black community it’s even more important to stand together and celebrate. We should always celebrate the good that has happened, but make sure to continue to fight for what is right and what should have always been our birthright. We were celebrating Marriage Equality, then the Orlando massacre happened, last year we were celebrating 50 years of Stonewall and many amazing wins and now this year it seems like we are at the bottom of the staircase again, trying to climb up. I believe all this is happening for a reason and good WILL come from it. 
Does Paige Turner have a favorite neighborhood in NYC & why?  

Well, I live in HK, but it’s not my favorite hood, I know I’m spoiled! It would be the Lower Eastside because it still reminds me of old New York. I’m also into neighborhoods that don’t have a lot of chains and have more independently owned commercial spaces. The Lower Eastside feels very New York to me and still has a very cool vibe and I always discover something new when I go there. 

Any recommendations for a few gay-friendly shops or restaurants in the area? 

Toy Tokyo on 2nd avenue is amazing. I actually went to Tokyo this year, so I’m glad this fun store is here. Clinton Street Baking Company is out of this world, especially for brunch. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is really worth checking out. Doughnut Plant, their original location is the best! Try their tres leches doughnut. Economy Candy has old fashioned nostalgia and every type of candy you can imagine. I think they’re all gay friendly! It’s New York (after all). 

How about the best gay-friendly restaurant in NYC or a good spot for brunching with friends? 

Oh, definitely Hell’s Kitchen for Mexican on 9th ave. It’s a great bar, delicious Mexican food, and VERY GAY!

How about a few of your favorite bars & what is Paige Turner‘s drink of choice? 

My favorite is a Margarita or a good glass of wine. Margarita HK mentioned above and I love Marseilles in Hell’s Kitchen for an amazing pre-fix before the theater and fantastic wine menu. 

You’ve traveled quite a bit over the past year, with headlining for Atlantis Events/Cruises and Drag Me To The Top in NYC and out West. What have been some of your favorite places to perform?  

As a performer, California will probably always be my favorite place to perform. Many people who follow me live out there and many friends and followers have moved there, so it’s always like a reunion or surprise who is in the audience. They are extremely appreciative and hungry for a fleshed-out drag cabaret. My favorite place internationally has been Osaka, Japan. The people are just lovely and it felt like a Seattle version of Japan to me. It’s fab.  

Is there a Pride celebration you would like to go to, once it’s safer to travel again? 

I do love Pride out of town and doing Pride out of town. I would love to do pride in Mexico City.  I love the culture, the people, and have done New Year’s in Mexico twice and the parades and celebrations are amazing, colorful, and very loving.

Might you have a recommendation for something people shouldn’t miss before heading out of town? 

Definitely go to MoMa (Museum of Modern Art). I love the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center and they usually have a free amazing exhibit. I always love taking someone to ride the carousel in Central Park.  

Can you share a little about the new project you’ve been working on, The Marvelous Paige Turner
My whole aesthetic as a Queen has always been retro with a modern sensibility. I wanted my new cabaret to be a take on everything old is new again, with retro stylized numbers and answer the question have we really changed since the 1950s? With Mrs. Maisel, Mad Men, and some various other nostalgia has definitely made a comeback and this era is a passion of mine. I’m not playing Mrs. Maisel, but there is a twist. 

Lastly, where can we find you online/social media?  On IG: paigeturnernyc

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