Tuesday, May. 25, 2010

When Life's a Drag, Dance!

Ukraine's Verka Serduchka with "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" (2007)

A cult icon in Ukraine, singing drag queen Verka Serduchka rose to fame by poking fun at middle-aged women and playing on stereotypes that paint Ukrainian villagers as stupid. Sung in German, English, Russian, Ukrainian and Mongolian, her Eurovision song "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" angered Russians who heard "Russia goodbye" in the chorus and took it as an attack on their country's influence in formerly Soviet Ukraine. Serduchka claimed lasha tumbai was a Mongolian phrase for whipped cream (it was actually nonsensical gibberish). The drag queen's over-the-top dance performance won her fans in Europe and earned her second place. Russian officials didn't get the joke, and banned Serduchka from performing in the country for one year.