The clip is described by its creators, director PJ Raval and CHRISTEENE herself, aka artist Paul Soileau, as being the 7th installment of the CHRISTEENE video collection, where rabbits roam free across the sinister landscape of CHRISTEENE’s fuck fantasy.
Sinister is the word. There’s something almost primordially creepy about this video, which IS safe for work, but possibly not fit for human consumption. With “Big Shot,” CHRISTEENE has not only upped her own game, but that of the entire “online drag video” sub-genre.
I have to admit, I was terribly disappointed with Sharon Needles’ last music video ‘This Club Is A Haunted House’, and this is partly the reason why. Needles, the winner of the last season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, sold herself as being an edgy, outsider queen and, in her own words, “the future of drag”. Unfortunately her video was actually rather tame (and strangely, her music contains no trace of her favorite act My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult.) ‘This Club Is A Haunted House’ simply pales into insignificance when compared to the this disturbing clip, which musically manages the neat trick of sounding both retro and very current.
CHRISTEENE’s debut long-player Waste Up, Kneez Down is available now and comes highly recommended, being as musically exciting as it is creepy-as-hell.
Hey LA, watch out, ‘cos Christeene is comin’ for you! Tomorrow night sees the obscene (and obscenely talented) drag phenomena bringing her filthy ass to your town, to terrorise the locals, and officially launch her debut album Waste Up, Kneez Down with a live performance at Trannyshack on Sunset Blvd.
And what a damn good album it is! Make no mistake: Christeene may come across like a novelty act, pushing drag to its most unacceptable social limits, but there is a true artist at work here, with a style, voice and a sound that is completely unique.
Waste Up, Kneez Down is the best album to come out of any kind of “queer” underground in a loooong time. Christeene (aka performance artist Paul Soileau) has really come through with the potential she showed in her early clips, and delivered a fully-rounded, tight-as-hell, funky and filthy album that can hold its own against anyone else in dance and electronica.
Producer JJ Booya has done an excellent job here. There’s shades of the dirty south and British dubstep in the bass and the beats, with a majority of the tracks being guaranteed dancefloor dynamite. The less dancefloor-orientated songs are like the demented, bizarre offspring of R Kelly and Beyonce, kids that came out all wrong and remain chained up in the basement, but in their isolation have developed a surreal and shocking humour all of their own. Just what exactly are you “Workin’ On Grandma” with, Christeene?!
I haven’t been as excited about a queer act since I first heard Yo Majesty, and there’s even some mumblings about Waste Up, Kneez Down being the first true successor to The Teaches Of Peaches. And maybe it is. Yeah, it’s that good.
You can buy (and hear) Christeene’s debut album over at CD Baby, and if you are anywhere near Trannyshack LA tomorrow night, then this is one show that’s a MUST. To whet your appetite, here’s an interview with the lady herself, care of the very nice people at Austin’s Vesper magazine, who did us all a favour by subtitling Christeene’s guttural drawl. There’s also some neat footage of Christeene performing live (and performing lewd acts) with her dancers, so you know what to expect.
My Dangerous Minds colleague, Niall O’Conghaile conducted this rather fab interview with the one and only Christeene, the legendary “drag terrorist” and “sexually infused sewer of live rap and vile shamelessness”, who is more than “capable of adapting amazingly well to all styles of music”. Very little is known about Christeene, who has famously seduced and outraged in equal measure an unforgettable career across the U.S.A., leaving broken hearts, devoted followers, and used bodies behind her. Now in an exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds, Christeene tells us all we need to know.
Who is Christeene and where does she come from / how did you meet her?
I met CHRISTEENE in the dirty backyard of a shit shack coffee shop here in Austin called Bouldin Creek during a queer gathering called camp camp. CHRISTEENE was wearing, only, a very messy black rabbit fur coat and a pair of pink junked out high heeled boots. It was love at first sight.
What would you say are the main differences between Paul and Christeene?
I’ll say that the differences are fewer and fewer these days, but the raunch and stank sexuality of CHRISTEENE is something that shifts when it comes back to me. There is a more gentle southern fella on the inside that carries a knife I’d say.
Does Christeene get on with Rebecca Havemeyer?
Only via snail mail, internet, and very brief encounters. They don’t do tea together or anything, but I’m sure it would be a helluva conversation if they did.
Christeene provokes some very strong reactions, good and bad, in both the LGBT press and the mainstream. How do you feel about those reactions? Is there anyone who gets it very well and anyone who gets it completely wrong?
I think that the reactions that come from this work are so very important and need to be heard. All of them. When it all first started with PJ Raval and myself releasing the video for ‘Fix My Dick’, there were a ton of negative comments…especially from this one person who I think of as a kind of internet comment bully….this lone typist who throws verbal missiles from the safety of their stank couch, ya know? This person was so very upset on so many levels…I was called racist, homophobic, transphobic, classist, and the next Shirley Q Liquor. Wowee! This is rough..I’m thinking. I’ve never experienced this kind of an attack before and it’s personal. It’s angry. It’s throwing labels at me. But at the same time it’s fuckin gorgeous and necessary. The stew has been stirred and hot sauce has been thrown in. Good. Very good.
The work being done here is an uncontrollable expression of something very heavy inside of me…it’s not created to merely shock, to splash dick and ass in your face for a laugh. It’s made to make you fuckin think about the state of things…the state of our interwoven communities in the LGBTQIA world and beyond.
CHRISTEENE is an electrically charged dangerous product of our times with a heart of gold, and is used as a very striking yet approachable communicator to the masses. Many fuckin amazing people understand this and attach themselves to the explosion that is taking place onstage with all they’ve got. Those people are wonderful. They offer solid criticism and conversation on what’s being delivered. But the attackers are just as important, and the conversations that come from them, if they have the brains to discuss their anger, are even more wonderful and exciting. Overall, though, the best is the smiling faces from people having the time of their lives with this shit…as we are.
Who are Christeene’s main inspirations? In terms of drag/performance and also musically?
CHRISTEENE is really nspired by the lineage of Drag in performance. The superstars of our day that keep the Drag street in good repair. I have to say that if there is one lady out there that blows my mind, it’s Lady Bunny. Complete adaptation to the times and an impressive hold on the social network. I admire that a lot. But what mostly inspires this work to come out of me is when I think of how I can contribute to all of the amazing forms of Artistic Drag that are out there now and have come before me. It is a beautiful and very historic art form, and I want to explore it and take it to a new level.
It feels like Christeene is an all-round multimedia experience, not just a singer, but a performer/video artist. How do you think she integrates into the performance, video and high art worlds?
I’ll have to say that because of the brilliance of PJ Raval, the work of CHRISTEENE has had the privilege of being put into video and showcased around the world. PJ and I started working together about 3 years ago and our relationship takes the same direction of exploring this new and dangerous creature that is CHRISTEENE with excitement and no restraint. Our videos have been granted access to film fests and art galleries around the world, causing so many people to experience our work who wouldn’t necessarily find themselves in the same room with such stank shit. And in terms of the live shows…they are raw, angry, intimate and real…real as you can get. It’s new, and it burns.
So what exactly is “African Mayonnaise”?
All I can say about African Mayonnaise is that it is a very strange state of mind/experience that we found ourselves in when we were performing at Folsom Street Fair in San Fran back in 2009 I think it was? A very gooood state of mind/experience.
And what exactly is this “new celebrity” and “new America” that Christeene epitomises?
CHRISTEENE isn’t necessarily epitomizing celebrity or America…CHRISTEENE is serving the new breed and brand of it. If this is what these people have become (the current state of things)...if this current state of things is what people have allowed into their living rooms and their states of mind, then this is what these people are going to fuckin get now. Eat it up and hold it in, fuckers.
The video for “African Mayonnaise” is, em, interesting - are there any out takes that didn’t make it in? And who was scarier, the Church of Scientology people who forcibly ejected you form their offices, or the Christians who harassed you on the street at the end?
PJ Raval had sooooo much footage in the end, and our god sent editor, Victoria Chalk was amazingly able to put it all together. She’s the absolute SHIT. There is so much fuckin material that didn’t make it into the video we could make a film out of it. Outtakes? Oh yeah. And by far, the Church of Scientology what the most dangerous place I’ve ever set foot in.
How is Austin at this time of year?
Weather is wonderful, and people are smiling because the devil summer hasn’t hit yet.
Tell us a bit about the Christeene shows coming up at SXSW…
We just performed a show called ‘Get off the Internet” which was created by Alyx Vesey, an amazing writer who gets our shit in all the best ways, and by Homoground and it was fuckin gorgeous. So many amazing bands and people up in the yard of a bar called Cheer Up Charlies here in Austin. And our Showcase was a stank hit as well.
The last thing we’ll kick in the puss is gaybigaygay..and if you are in Austin on Sunday the 18th, you’d be a damned fool to miss this event.
What does the near future hold for Christeene?
A ton of travel with my Boyz, T Gravel, C Baby, JJ Booya and PJ Raval I hope.
And now just a question from me - any plans to come to the UK??
The minute we find a plane that can hold our stank azzesssssssss…we therrrrr. Hold your breath, Hawt Man.
Texan drag sensation Christeene Vale is back and she’s durtier than ever. “African Mayonnaise” is taken from her upcoming album Waste Up Knees Down - and while she may not be crawling out of a butthole a lá the video for “Bustin’ Brown”, I think there’s some sort of commentary going on here. I’m not sure exactly what but I guess it has something to do with life in modern, late-capitalist America?
I am your new celebrity
I am your new America
I am the piece of filthy meat
That you take home and treat to yourself
I don’t feel like there’s been a drag act this out-there (and hence exciting!) in a looong time, and I await her full length album with glee (no, not the stupid show). We’ll be doing our best to get an exclusive interview with Christeene for DM, or even better her “handler” Paul Soileau, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.
But for now, just check out the video. “African Mayonaise” is good. No, it’s better than good, it’s great - I’d say it’s Christeene’s best video yet. As she rides roughshod over some nasty synth horns and slick dubstep beats, we see some real world reactions to this, ahem, unusual character, including getting chased out of a mall by a cop on a Segway, being heckled by Christians and being assaulted by a member of the Church Of Scientology. You GO girl!
Meet Christeene Vale, one of the hottest drag artists in the US right now, and the weirdest thing to come out of Austin this week. If you think the Odd Future gang are shocking, then get a load of this chick. Sure, Tyler and Earl may feature blood and puke in their videos, but would they ever actually set a video inside somebody’s asshole? And as much as I like their beats, I don’t think they could make a dubstep track as downright nasty as “Slowly/Easy”. Still, they’re only teenagers and they’ve got a lot to learn about sex and sexuality. Maybe Christeene is the MC to teach them?
Christeene is the alter-ego of the artist Paul Soileau (who also performs as Rebecca Havemeyer) and since her debut in 2009 with the “Fix My Dick” clip, she has been making waves on both the gay and straight performance scenes. Although Soileau refuses to define Christeene or her “message”, others, like Skip The Make Up, have this to say:
[Even] though Soileau is of Cajun background, the way Chrsteene speaks/sings is clearly supposed to sound non-white. Therefore… the act is really him portraying a trans hooker of color who is massively fucked up and screwing to survive. You may now laugh.
While commenter TheWarholEffect defends her in the comments to the same post:
The patois you speak of is found in a variety of representations of impoverished ethnicities (incl those at least nominally labeled as white - but as you know in Louisianna whiteness ain’t monolithic, Cajuns being perhaps the best example) ... more productive, I think, would be to put Christeene alongside a performer such as Vaginal Creme Davis, whose brand of drag cultural critic Jose Esteban Munoz has branded “terrorist” drag.
Well, despite what you may think of her, you can’t deny that she’s pretty damn talented, with a lyrical flow that puts her beyond the realm of being a mere novelty act. Next weekend she will make her live debut as a showcase artist at the SXSW festival, where her video “Bustin’ Brown” will be shown as part of the Midnight Shorts schedule. Yes, “Bustin Brown” is the butt-set video. The director PJ Raval has this to say about itr:
In “Bustin’ Brown”, the fourth installment of the CHRISTEENE Video Collection, CHRISTEENE confronts the ever-present bastardization of anal sex from mainstream bourgeois heterosexuals by returning “da buh-hole” to its rightful owners.
Just when you thought drag was becoming safe and respectable! Christeene has been known to wear a butt-plug attached to helium balloons in her performance, and to set it free to sail up into the sky at the end of her shows. If you’re lucky, she might do that at SXSW. Now THAT"S something I would like to see on Jimmy Fallon!
Christeene - Bustin’ Brown (TOTALLY NSFW - duh)
“Fix My Dick and “Slowly/Easy” after the jump…
There’s more info on Christeene at her website: www.christeene.org
You can buy her EP Soldiers Of Pleasurehere.