Saturday, September 25, 2010

Influences and Inspriations

When I get strapped for ideas on this blog (which is rather often) I tend to default to answering questions that I'm sometimes asked. FYI if anybody has questions please feel free to ask them either in comments to e-mails, believe me it would help to have more specific things to respond to. Anyways, a question I think most performers get asked from time to time is who their influences and inspirations are. It's a question that I didn't really know how to answer for a while because I didn't latch on to particular influences (for instance I don't do impersonation acts... well except for that one Britney number.) However upon further examination I think I can naile down a couple of things that have helped shape my persona as both a performer and a dresser in general.

Photo by K. Walter

First let me be clear, I never had what I call the "Faye Wray" moment. Anybody who knows The Rocky Horry Picture Show might know what I'm talking about. There is a song in which the transvestite character Frank-n-furter (played brilliantly by Tim Curry) describes that he saw the beauty of classic actress Faye Wray and he wanted to be dressed just the same. I never had that, in fact my initial interest in dressing came in sort of sideways. But that's a story for another entry. My point is that I've never had a specific feminine ideal that I've been shooting for. There is no singer, actress or model that I was ever trying to directly emulate or wanted to be like.
That said there are sprinklings of different influences. Most of the women (real life or fictional) that I feel influenced me aren't the usual drag fare. I can appreciate Liza Minelli, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe but I have no desire to be like any of them. I take my influence from women of the more butt-kicking variety. Think Emma Peel, Angelina Jolie, and Princess Leia. I probably have my mother thank for this, she was always big on the women who can dish it out. However there is one influence that has become clear and I certainly can't ignore: Pink.

Video by Laura

I've always loved Pink's music, I've performed to songs by her more than any other artist. Yet I've never gone out of my way to directly emulate her, and I've certainly never done an impression of her in an act. Instead she embodied much of what would end up going into my feminine persona, both on-stage and off. The sense of independence yet the hints of a softer side. The full on kick-ass chick with attitude who still seems like she could just kick back and relax. That was the kind of persona that I've tried to have for myself. In all honesty I'm probably quite a bit girlier than Pink but I still can bring the attitude when I have to.

Now that's probably my biggest influence, as for inspiration... well I actually think I take inspiration mostly from my fellow performers. When I see another performer (drag or otherwise) do really amazing work it inspires and invigorates me to keep doing this and try to step my game up. I especially take inspiration from those younger than me. I'll admit that when I see a young performer who I feel is better than I am there is a part of me that is jealous (I'm looking at you Bianca Dagga!) However that quickly fades and I just get excited at what's being done in with burlesque and drag by the people who will still be doing it after I retire. Anybody with the balls (literal or figurative) to slap on a ludacris outfit and get their ass up on a stage is an inspiration to me, and always will be.

Honestly not sure who took the picture... it was taken with Laura's camera though.

I also have to mention my wife. Yeah, yeah, yeah I can hear the eyes rolling already (yes that's right, I can hear your eyes!) I can hear some readers thinking it's the obligatory wife/girlfriend thank you and I'm only doing this to get in good with her (yeah right, I'm not even sure she reads this thing.) I know it's a sappy cliche but my wife really is a huge influence and inspiration to me. I'm convinced a big reason that most straight dressers stay closeted is that they think they'll never meet a woman who will understand. And in truth many would not understand, however I was lucky enough to find one who not only understood, she supported. Hell she gave me make-up tips back in the early days of Boston and has helped me refine my look over the years. There are even times she'll come home with little surprises for me (thanks for the pink leopard tights baby!) I know how amazingly lucky I am to have a wife as supportive as Laura and I'm inspired by her every day, and for reasons far beyond her support of this side of myself. Yeah so it went a bit sappy there... suck it up, it's my damn blog!


  1. A great post, with great words from a great person. A person that have influenced me, and I'm sure, so many others as well.

  2. Thanks so much Sarah. I tend to not think about whether or not I've influenced others, and to hear that I have will always makes me smile.