Drag queen moon baby returns to Pittsburgh for special Christmas Eve event at Ace Hotel | Community Profile | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Drag queen moon baby returns to Pittsburgh for special Christmas Eve event at Ace Hotel

click to enlarge Drag queen moon baby returns to Pittsburgh for special Christmas Eve event at Ace Hotel
Photo: Josh Bondi
Christmas Eve On the Moon, Baby with moon baby (left) and Jonathan Russell (right)

In the year and a half since former Pittsburgh drag queen, the moon baby, moved across the state to Philadelphia, she believes her act has evolved.  

“When I was in Pittsburgh, I was good but I was very, like, drunk girl in a t-shirt aesthetic,” says moon baby, real name Sam Perry. “I didn’t really push myself.”

Now she’s ready to showcase her new and improved self for Christmas Eve On the Moon, Baby at the Ace Hotel. In its fifth year, the annual yuletide event features moon baby doing what she calls a “lounge lizard-y” cabaret act with her pianist partner, Jonathan Russell.

Besides indulging in a little adult fun, moon baby says the event also provides a space for queer people to express what the season means to them. Among the festivities, for example, is a parody of the famous holiday song “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” titled “I’m Beginning to Want to Just Say F*ck This,” which moon baby says is about the current political climate.

“We save that for the end,” she says, adding that they plan on performing it in the hotel lobby area well after any lingering children have gone to bed.

While moon baby has returned to Pittsburgh for a variety of performances, including the regular Bathhouse Betty party at Hot Mass, she sees the Christmas Eve event as a return to her beloved Ace Hotel, where she regularly worked and performed.

“Ace is a special place for me,” she says. “So many times when I come home for a show, I don’t really get to see many people or socialize with them because, even if they come to a show, I’m working. But this is the kind of show where I can just kind of kickback … and I can see a bunch of people at one time, and it feels like home to me, for sure.”

It’s the place where she debuted her 2018 EP Barbara, which, as she points out, preceded an album of the same name by RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Trixie Mattel.

“I was just like, ‘That’s so great for me, now two drag queens who make music have an album under the same name, and one of them has two-million followers on Instagram. I’m screwed,’” she says.

But the incident hasn't deterred her, as this summer she plans on releasing an updated version of the Urallpoor.us EP she recorded five years ago with Wise Blood, the local musician who now goes by Chris Laufman.

“The music world wasn’t really hip to the trend of a drag queen or non-binary person making music,” she says of the EP’s original release on Soundcloud. “It got coverage but didn’t ever blow up.”

That changed two months ago when Urallpoor.us hit Spotify, where she says some of the tracks have racked up 12,000 streams. The newfound success inspired her to remix the EP with new songs.

With a more polished act and new music on the horizon, the upcoming year seems like a promising one for the drag queen who got her start doing shows at various Pittsburgh venues. While her future lies in Philadelphia, a larger city where she says the demand for drag queens has allowed her to perform full time, she plans on continually returning to Pittsburgh for events like Christmas Eve On the Moon, Baby.

“Now I get to bring that back to Pittsburgh and I’m not unrecognizable, it’s just like, it’s better, which is a treat to come back and show my friends."