Photo by Banafsheh Ehtemam
Without getting into an overly detailed history of how I ended up on stage in a dress in the first place, I started performing in drag shows when I was living in Boston. I actually had a rather easy time getting on stage because I happened to be working (in drag) at a gay bar called Machine that had a weekly drag night. I had an easy way into doing shows and the performers I met at the bar got me into Boston's only drag bar, Jacques Caberet. I did several very fun shows there but it wasn't long before Laura and I moved to New York City, which turned out to be a whole different beast.
Photo by Efrain Gonzalez
Then a revelation. I had a friend that I knew through MySpace who was graduating from a burlesque workshop, and the graduation was getting to perform on stage. To show support I went to my first ever burlesque show. Now aside from the teacher of the workshop (Dottie Lux) all the performers were amatures, and of varying levels of skill and talent. However what I saw there was eye opening. In that one night I realized that the type of performance that I did was much closer to burlesque than traditional drag. Most drag queens do one of two things: they either stand and lip sync in over the top hair and make-up and glamorous dresses (just not my thing,) or they are amazing dancers who happen to be men dressed as women (I dance alright but I'm not in this league.) What I did right from the start was try to tell stories with the pieces that I would do, which (along with a certain amount of clothing removal) is what is at the very heart of burlesque performance.