Meet Patrick Holt, the UA professor behind Tempest DuJour
Patrick Holt is a UA professor and a father of two. But to the greater Tucson community, Holt may better be known as Tempest DuJour: Tucson’s favorite drag queen.
Holt is the head of the Costume Design program for the UA School of Theatre Film & Television, and his persona as Dujour rose to drag stardom while participating in season seven of Logo TV’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“It’s a tough balance being a dad, doing drag and having an academic career,” Holt said. “I started doing drag almost 10 years ago, I was a late bloomer and actually started sort of late.”
Holt’s drag name, Tempest, was inspired by Shakespeare, and DuJour represents Holt’s southern upbringing.
“I love over-the-top hyper-theatrical entertainment,” Holt said. “I live real life, I don’t need to pay to see it.’
DuJour has been the oldest member ever to be on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” so far.
“That was sort of my niche,” Holt said. “People see me as an older girl in the business.”
Despite having only been featured in one episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” DuJour has attracted a myriad of fans, according to Holt, who said his story has been the main cause.
“I’m an adoptive parent, I overcame a terrible car crash that almost killed me, I had a major weight loss where I lost 150 pounds,and I was raised in a religion that was incompatible with who I was,” Holt said. “So people relate to all these different parts of me in different ways.”
Holt said his identity as DuJour is not a secret within his department or in his day-to-day life and several of his students and colleagues have enjoyed his performances.
Christopher Allen, costume designer and shop manager at UA’s Fred Fox School of Music and Opera, caught DuJour’s appearance on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
“It was very exciting to see him and sadly he left too soon,” Allen said. “Luckily Tucson gets to enjoy him and know what a winner he is.”
Holt has been working on multiple projects outside of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” like getting involved in planning Tucson Pride.
“I’m serving on the board of Tucson Pride for the first time,” Holt said. “We had a peculiar situation because the previous board was dissolved and expanded.”
Tucson’s 39th annual pride festival should have taken a year to plan, according to Holt. But the new board of seven got it done in two months.
“It’s taken up a lot of time,” Holt said. “But I like to stay busy.”
Jake Walters, a member of the LGBTQ community and a vocal performance sophomore, attended the pride festival.
“I admire the performers for their bravery and commitment,” Walters said. “I’ve always been into fine arts and I think events like these need to keep happening. The more awareness people spread, the more accepting people will become, which is extremely important for the LGBT community.”
Holt agreed that being a drag queen takes a lot of bravery.
“I grew up in a generation where members of the LGBT community were scared of society,” Holt said. “You couldn’t live openly gay because you feared for your safety and the drag queens I saw were out in the open at the time.”
Times have changed, according to Holt and Tucson seems to grow in acceptance of the LGBTQ community each year, and Walters agrees.
“I think support has improved over time,” Walters said. “It’s crazy to see how accepting the community has become. I think a professor doing drag is awesome. If anyone has a problem with it, I think they need to evaluate themselves.”
DuJour also hosts a local show called Retro Game Show Night at Hotel Congress. The show consists of flashy entertainment, where drag queens make an appearance.
“Drag can be glamorous, campy and over the top, what’s not to love?” Allen said. “It appeals to many aesthetics; the sharp with, the fashion, and who hasn’t done a killer lip synch performance in their lives?”
This brand of entertainment has worked well for Holt as the show has been preformed in Tucson for over five years.
“The audience is predominantly straight and many of them return to every show,” Holt said. “It’s fun and that communal experience is definitely one of the biggest reasons why I do drag.”
Holt’s main enthusiasm for drag stems from his love of theatre, but for him “the candy reward is when people can relate.”
Holt said that drag queens represent certain fears within the LGBTQ community.
In particular, getting support from family members, which is a big issue for men and women of the community.
DuJour serves not only the purpose of dramatic entertainment, but also as a gateway for Holt to educate the public about the LGBTQ community.
“I really feel like a professor in drag,” he said. “I would invite people to take a walk in my shoes to see what goes into it because it’s pretty intense.”
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