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RuPaul finds 'Hidden Meanings' in new memoir
by Jerry Nunn
2024-03-18

This article shared 9733 times since Mon Mar 18, 2024
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RuPaul Andre Charles made a rare Chicago appearance for a book tour on March 12 at The Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave. Presented by National Public Radio station WBEZ 91.5 FM, the talk coincided with The House of Hidden Meanings, a new memoir penned by Charles focusing on the first 40 years of the drag icon's life.

The statuesque author strutted onstage wearing his signature glasses, sharp black suit and slippers with no stockings and was met by a standing ovation. After a quick bow, Charles announced, "After doing this work for about 300 years, Chicago has always been my number one market." He added, "I am very blessed to have your love and support over the years."

Charles, a 14-time Emmy winner, joked that not everyone gets to be the "Supermodel of the World" and spoke about how challenging show business can be.

"Listen up, you young whippersnappers: The more grateful you are, the more abundance will come to you. This book is about all the little life-hacks that I have learned along the way," Charles explained.

At many points during his talk, Charles returned to his longtime theme of loving oneself and learning how to do it.

"It is easier said than done," he acknowledged. "We want to love ourselves, but how can we when there is so much debris in our consciousness that blocks the blessing of that love?"

To begin to address that question, Charles suggested to the audience they follow his lead by using a childhood photograph for wallpaper on their individual mobile devices, as a constant reminder to take care of themselves.

"I don't want to ignore that child anymore," Charles said. "Putting that child first and foremost is my purpose."

More confessions from a drag queen continued, as he covered his journey into sobriety and years of therapy. He compared the rush of running late to a form of addiction that he claims to have beaten now.

Charles substituted "laxatives" for "drugs" because he knew there were some younger people in the audience. He joked, "There were a lot of laxatives in my pocket that day and they didn't arrest me!"

He described his parents as being "toxic" and "hillbillies." Charles recalled, "At age seven, my parents finally divorced, thank God. They put us through hell, and I can't remember a time when those two were happy together. It taught me many life lessons growing up."

The self-help guru was self-deprecating at times: "I'm not good at math," he said before flipping the script and adding, "I don't need to be!"

There were no career video clips, no surprise performances from his drag friends and random questions were not taken from the audience. Instead, preplanned questions "from the World Wide Web" were answered such as, "Was there anything you wish you had put in the book but didn't?" He curtly replied, "No, the book is pretty comprehensive."

The drag artist signed the current book, two record albums and a Monopoly: RuPaul's Drag Race version of the game from a few guests in the front section, before sashaying away.

RuPaul's House of Hidden Meanings is currently on sale from HarperCollins Publishers, and WBEZ Chicago's future events can be found at wbez.org .


This article shared 9733 times since Mon Mar 18, 2024
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