so this year has been a tough one, Its’ raised a lot of questions about who I am as an artist. You know the questions: “Why am I doing this?”, “Who am I doing this for?”, or my personal favorite when I really want to stick it to myself : “Am I enough?” Thankfully I’m not alone. So what is this Horrible Head-banging feeling?
As a new queen your first year seems to be an abundance of bookings. The hunger for showcasing art that once seemed like a “Old time Rock and Roll” Bedroom Fantasy is finally coming true. The second year the shows start to run together with some “Please forget this even happened” performances. Every idea starts to look farther from reality. The more you create the more you find your self being crushed. But what happens in the 3rd year? This is when the mind of the artist really hits a wall, spatters everywhere in a mist of glitter. As you look at what once was your brian you enter a mind set of what I like to call the “3rd year plague”.
“As we know a artist living in this generation, a Social Media presence is extreamly important long with the ablility to maintain a following and keep it growing” – Novaczar Drag Perfomer
as the 3rd year hits I started it off by doing one of the shows I cant stop gabbing about: Black Mass. To give you a snapshot of what Black Mass is like: Young grunge punk Twenty-somethings in a unmarked room watching other glittery punk kids in makeup doing massively unconventional numbers that screams “It’s not a phase mom!”, It’s like that and more. Behind the scenes the energy in the dressing room, I noticed that some of the girls I started with had exchanged there glitter in for rhinestones. The costumes I saw in almost every show had a little more flare. I looked good, but you can tell there was a difference, “At least she’s a good performer?” Did I mention the third year is usually the year you look back and say “Damn, no one told me I looked hit!” So needless to say my brain was not in the space to grasp what was really happening to me.
So I talked to my Cleveland Sisters, The first was Dr, Lady J. Quarantine is Trying, but try it living in a house with a Drag historian! Lessons around the clock. She noticed my mental ball of confusion and frustration about drag and in its core Branding. With a mothering tone she looks at me and says “Girl, take it from a queen who’s been in this for 10 years, you think I looked like this every time I hit the stage? I looked a fucking mess when I started (as a male entertainer) — It took years for me to be the neon Lady J people know, because I let myself have the time to.”
“I let myself have the time” one thing an artist seems to have none of. Time to experiment, Time to learn, Time to gather and perfect skills and slowly merge into who i wanted to be. The Palatable to Pleasantly Unique. But if a Nationally known Queen like Lady J says you got time… than maybe I did? I needed another opinion with the Social media pressure I called another local sister of mine Peach Fuzz (Producer of Fembot Party). Peach is also in her 3rd year. She said confidently “It feels like I’m in constant competition with everyone to create more looks and more shows, but I think that it all comes out of wanting to constantly perfect who Peach Fuzz is”. While I’m living with Lady J, She further fueled my fire by handing me this book called “IT” by Joseph Roach: “Roach Traces the origins of “IT” back to the period following the Restoration, linking the sex appeal of today’s celebrity figures with those who lived centuries before”.
Here is what I gathered from the many head scratching moments. First, “The Third Year Plague” is not necessarily limited to the 3rd year of your artistry, its more of a term most commonly known but never can be named (as i know it to be). Second, this may sound simple enough but gathering inspiration from mediums! For example take Weird Al’s song “Dare To Be Stupid” . This is a layered Camp master piece. The intricate building of Music and visuals all comprised from multiple inspirations with the theme in mind and Original lyrics that makes you fully emerged in an illusion. Thirdly, Money may be an issue especially if you are in need of a new wardrobe, but a trick I’ve learned over the past month of isolation is watching doll clothes being made… no seriously, I’m not joking. If your job is to create an illusion the best way to do it is to understand how some illusions are made. Dolls are so cheap to make yet most seem pretty polished. So when costume designing this would give you some alternatives to the basic hem of another way to ditch the stitch! Lastly, give yourself time to grow. As an artist it is imperative that if you take nothing away from this I urge you to take this: “Calm the fuck down, and breath Bitch!” I know how mind boggling creation is. If you need a minute or 525,600 until your hit with the Idea of a lifetime, taking that time to re-cope is OK, but importantly Breath!
Photo Above: “The Plague” Ian Argo