Drag of Choice: Yvie Oddly Makes Seattle Strange Again


Author: Cameron Kidd

In February, I had the incredible opportunity to see the first performance of Yvie Oddly’s first-ever solo tour. This month, having updated her wardrobe and polished her material, she returned to The Crocodile for a second round of her Strange Love Tour, and Seattle could not have been happier to see her. Every member of the audience was glued to their seats from the second Yvie stepped onto the stage, singing a personalized rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Love and Marriage” examining her daily life as a recognized, touring drag artist in the wider context of being queer in the 21st century. Hilarious, unapologetic, and exceedingly talented, Yvie reminded Seattle exactly why she deserved to win season eleven of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Yvie Oddly’s command of the room was intoxicating. Artfully transitioning between irreverent spoken comedy and outrageous musical numbers, her ability to be simultaneously down-to-earth and dominating invited the crowd to place themselves willingly in her hands and let her lead the way. And when one likely well-intentioned but overly enthusiastic fan insisted on yelling out commentary after nearly every punchline, Yvie had no problems flexing her muscle. At first, she incorporated the heckler’s comments into her routine, keeping her rhythm and adapting while staying on track, which was impressive to watch. However, when it became clear that the audience member perceived this flexibility as a personal back-and-forth, Yvie decided that the best reaction was no reaction. Although the fan continued, the comments became more infrequent and Yvie’s cadence never wavered.


Having seen her first solo performance at The Crocodile earlier this year, Yvie’s second appearance on the same tour represented a unique opportunity to glimpse the queen’s creative process. While most of her core material remained the same, she had clearly gained some touring experience. Her transitions were polished and seamless. Her delivery was poised and assertive. The amount of confidence that she had gained from months of touring was apparent and inspiring. The first show was fantastic, but this one was breathtaking.

The most substantial addition to the tour, however, was Yvie’s stage kitten (for those unfamiliar with the term, a stage kitten is a person designated to run around picking up props and clothing in between burlesque or drag performances). About two-thirds of the way through her set, Yvie invited her stage kitten onto the stage with her, proudly introducing him as her new husband, Doug. Yvie announced their marriage on Instagram in July this year with a very on-brand dig at the institution of marriage in general and an encouragement to come and hear the rest of her opinions about marriage on her Strange Love tour. And though none of her thoughts on marriage seem to have changed since participating in it, in one of her more heartfelt moments on stage, Yvie invited the crowd to sing happy birthday to her new husband before dismissing him with a kiss.

The show also ended on a heartfelt note. After discussing the importance of drag in the realm of queer art, acceptance and expression, as well as in her own journey of self-acceptance and expression, Yvie moved into her final musical performance of the night, a personalized rendition of India Arie’s “Because I Am a Queen.” Adapting the song’s message of empowerment to her own performance, her own art, and her own voice, Yvie left the audience with a warm, joyful and inspiring reminder that drag is about more than spectacle and entertainment; it is a space of queer empowerment, acceptance and expression that grows and evolves along with the community.

Since winning RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2019, Yvie has built a reputation for pushing the boundaries of drag performance, revolutionizing what drag represents for modern audiences. Even during season eleven of the drag competition show, Yvie’s edgy, modern style seemed to frustrate some of her competitors, the majority of whom opted for a more traditional, pageant-style form of drag. But Yvie’s victory is proof that drag is changing, and Yvie is one of its new pioneers.

Cameron Kidd | KXSU Arts Reporter

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