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Sexual terrorism and Drag de-evolution with Christeene
03.01.2011
08:17 pm

Topics:
Music
Queer

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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.

 

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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 Pleasure here.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Lypsinka has a glamour fit
02.14.2011
04:48 pm

Topics:
Art
Queer
Superstar

Tags:

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Drag artiste John Epperson as his glamorous alter ego “Lypsinka” performing at The Tiffany Theatre in Los Angeles, 2001. Lypsinka! The Boxed Set was the winner of the LA Weekly’s “Best Solo Performance Award” that year. This video is a great look at a brilliant performer, really on fire here.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Dorian Corey: The Drag Queen Had a Mummy in Her Closet
01.24.2011
09:18 pm

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Here’s an interesting aside to the Paris Is Burning post from yesterday. Dorian Corey, the older drag queen featured heavily in the film, kept a mummified corpse in her apartment for an untold amount of years. Shot in the head, wrapped in fake leather and stuffed in a suitcase, it was only discovered after her death.

Figueroa said the body was “half-way” between mummified and decomposed. “When you have all this wrapping no air is getting to it” he explained. “But it is still losing liquid out of its body. So the body sort of floats in its own soup.” The skin was in very bad shape. “It was like very old fabric” Figueroa said. “If you touch it, it’s going to fall apart.” Figueroa spent several days treating the skin so he could take ten fingerprints off it.

...

I asked Figueroa if he thought the person who wrapped the body in imitation leather was trying to emulate the Egyptians. I thought it possible that Dorian Corey was into high camp with dead bodies as well as live ones.

“I don’t think so” he said. “People just wrap a body in whatever is available. It’s just spontaneous. You wrap it up. Then you put it in a suitcase. Then you put it in the closet. Then you just look at it periodically and wish it would go away.”

To this day nobody knows for sure who killed Bobby Worley or why. The full story, from a 1995 issue of New York magazine, can be read here. This is a bona fide legend of the drag scene, so it’s good to finally get the full low down. Or at least as much of it as possible.

Thanks to Geoff for digging this out!

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Paris Is Burning: Vogue Realness
01.23.2011
10:30 am

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Released twenty years ago this year, Paris Is Burning is one of the all-time great music documentaries. It’s not really about music though, it’s about the mid 80’s gay/drag “vogue” subculture that sprung up in New York City, and the adverse social conditions overcome by the contestants (mostly black and Hispanic transvestites and transsexuals). The music is in the background, but plays as important a role as the clothes, the make-up, the settings or the interviews. 
 

 
This time, this place, and unfortunately most of these people don’t exist anymore. This upload won’t for long either, as it keeps getting yanked - so seriously, if you haven’t watched this film before, watch it now while you can. The director Jennie Livingston has never made another film that garnered as much praise and sadly, for most of the queens involved, this was as famous as they were ever gonna get. Despite being some of the most funny, articulate and charming people ever seen on film. They never had a penny to their names, which is probably why they threw the best parties in the world.

Voguing wasn’t just some hyped up fad that was hot for a New York minute (well, maybe if you are Madonna), - it has a rich, complex history and is just as big a subculture now as it was then, bigger maybe, with the dancing developed to new super-athletic extremes and the balls bolder events. Vogue dancing and vogue balls are an overlooked part of both gay and black history and culture, but more and more they getting the attention and recognition they deserve. Due in so small part to this remarkable film. 
 

 

EDIT
 
As I thought, this film wouldn’t last long on Vimeo. However, someone has thankfully uploaded it to YouTube too:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Walter & Sylvester: The Reverend & the Disco Queen
07.12.2010
08:41 pm

Topics:
Belief
Music

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If you’re like me, your atheism has been challenged by the sheer force of certain metaphysically oriented artforms. One of those forms for me is African-American gospel music. One of the greats of that genre, the Grammy-winning Rev. Walter Hawkins, died yesterday of pancreatic cancer. Hawkins had plenty of Billboard chart success leading his Love Center Choir. Significantly, he’ll also be remembered as head of an Oakland, CA church that wholly embraced and was supported by folks like disco singer, drag queen and gay icon Sylvester.

Hawkins’ initial success came as part of his brother’s group the Edwin Hawkins Singers, which had a crossover hit with 1967’s “Oh Happy Day.” According to Joshua Gamson’s The Fabulous Sylvester, the Legend, the Music, the Seventies in San Francisco:

Hawkins was one of those who left church, but as he grew older he started looking for a way to bring together “all those young people who I knew could not survive in a traditional church setting.”

One of those was the young Sylvester James, who was a well-known child gospel singer in his LA hometown before running away and eventually moving to San Francisco. By the time he’d arrived at Hawkins’ Bible study group-turned-church the Love Center, Sylvester had already done a short stint with local psychedelic drag performance group The Cockettes and performed with the then-unknown Pointer Sisters. When he tells the anecdote about Love Center members’ jaded acceptance of a prostitute into their ranks, Gamson notes: “They took the same attitude to Sylvester. His strangeness, when it was even noticed, was beloved.” In fact, the Love Center Choir would appear on numerous mid-‘80s Sylvester tunes, including “Call Me” and his cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.”

When Sylvester died of complications from AIDS in 1988 at age 41, his memorial service was held at the Love Center. According to J. Matthew Cobb of Prayzehymm Online, the gospel industry and the black church in general has a lot of work to do with regards to its gay membership. 

Hats off to Reverend Hawkins. 
 

 
Get: Walter Hawkins and the Love Center Choir: Love Alive - 25th Anniversary Reunion, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 [CD]
 
Get: Sylvester - Mutual Attraction [CD]

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
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