Saturday, January 29, 2011

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 3

So "RuPaul's Drag Race" started its third season earlier this week. I had it recorded on the DVR but hadn't gotten around to watching it until earlier today. I'm a fan of the show but I don't think I'd ever seriously try to get on it. For myself I really don't know enough about making clothes, plus I don't really feel at home amongst drag queens. I know that might sound weird but in my time as a performer I became much more a part of the burlesque scene, and I really appreciated the more welcoming vibe of that scene. Drag queens tend to be... well frankly the tend to be bitchy. The problem is that most of them can't leave the diva attitude on the stage, so it spills over to the backstage and into their general attitude. Get too many divas in a room and nothing but drama will ensue. This makes for great TV of course, but not something I personally want to have to deal with.

There's some things I'm excited for this season. First there's three full bodied queens in the running. There's been one bigger queen in each of the previous seasons but they were cut the first and second week respectively. I'm not saying those particular queens from the first two seasons didn't deserve to be cut but it did feel like bigger girls weren't being well represented. Some of the best drag queens I've ever seen are larger girls and it's nice to see them get their due. Actually speaking of drag queens I know there were a few of them featured in the casting special before the first episode aired. While I wish they would have gotten in it made me smile to see them on the screen if only briefly.

The other thing I liked in the first episode was RuPaul pointing out to a rather distraught Mimi Imfurst that she can put together an outfit without knowing how to sew (thank god for hot glue.) This was just nice for me to see because the second season especially felt almost like more of a fashion design show than a drag show. I know the outfits are a huge part of it and knowing how to make your own gives it that personal touch, but making it look like you're not a real queen if you can't make a runway worthy dress out of scraps kind of ticked me off. The design work is still a big part and it always will be I suppose but it was nice to see it spelled out that not all the girls are awesome seamstresses and some just fake it until they make it.

I am a little concerned about the bitchiness level of some of the queens. I can appreciate a decent dose of reality drama but if things get too bitchy it just makes me want to tune out. The first season really had a great balance of clashing personalities but also a sense of family backstage. The second season saw a bit more of the diva crap going on and things got a little bit more back-stabby. My first impressions of the new cast are a little iffy to be honest, however I'm happy to say that one of the two queens who struck me as the bitchiest was cut in the first episode. So hopefully that'll bring the drama down to manageable proportions.

I may or may not post my thoughts on the show as it goes along but I suspect I'll probably let it be until the last episode then I might give a little wrap up piece.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gender is Overrated

It hadn't come up in a while but I recently received a communication from somebody who seemed very eager to peg as a woman in a man's body. It actually caused me to realize that I don't think I've ever directly addressed the issue of gender identity here. The closest I came was in my entry about labels, but since my point was how I didn't really fit into most labels used to describe dressers it didn't really address this question of gender.

Man, woman... why should I have to choose?

So what am I? Am I a man who dresses as a woman? Am I a woman who was born as a man? Am I something that is neither one gender or the other? Ugh... gives a headache just trying to nail this stuff down. This was the sort of question that actually really haunted me for quite a while. I just feel that those who have a certain amount of gender ambiguity have even less guidance than those with questions about their sexual preference (though I suspect I'm going to tackle that in another post.) There was a time when I honestly thought that I might be a transexual and that I might need SRS (sexual reassignment surgery.) Thankfully with a little support from a few very close people I came to realize that wasn't what I was or what I needed. But I thought it might be because it seemed like the only logical conclusion based of the very limited information I had at the time. It seemed to me that a guy who dresses as a woman and isn't doing it for sexual kicks must want to be fully transformed into a woman. It didn't occur to me that there was middle ground. Society has to a certain extent come to terms with people who have full on sex changes, however there's so little said or acknowledged about all the gray area in between living as your gender of birth and getting a sex change.

Well I know I'm not androgynous. While I actually tend to be in a bit of awe of people who pull this off I know it's not me, when I'm dressed as a woman I'm quite feminine and when I'm dressed as a guy I'm more masculine (though I hesitate to say manly.) The two don't really bleed over into each other, there's a pretty clear distinction. What's more I seem to be one of the few dressers I've met who's equally at home as either gender. I feel that I have both a feminine and masculine side that are each defined enough that they have their own personality. It's not literally a split personality but I know that being dressed as a woman brings out aspects of myself that are dormant otherwise (flirtiness, extroversion, etc.) I don't feel any more or less "me" as a man or woman, it's just a change of emphasis.

I feel this has gotten a little bit ramblish so I'm going to wrap it up for the day and end by sharing a video. This is a performance I did that is one of my own personal favorites because it plays with the notions of gender much more than anything else I've done. Enjoy and be true to yourselves, whatever that means for you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Mark the Occassion

I'm coming to realization that I'm rapidly approaching 1,000,000 views on my Flickr photostream. This really feels like something that I should do something for. Something to mark the occassion. The problem is that I'm absolutely stuck for what to do. I'd hate to do something as generic as just adding text to a picture saying "1,000,000 Views!" or some such crap. Guess I'm just not great at these kinds of ideas.

I've considered putting out the call to my contacts on Flickr and Facebook for suggestions. Frankly it's something I'm hesitant to do because I have a strong feeling I'm going to be flooded with requests to go full nude or otherwise indulge in somebody's fetish. Then again amongst all that there might just be a suggestion that's worth doing... well we'll see if I get that desperate or not.

In other news I just want to vent quickly about how much I want to punch our old neighbors from NYC. Recently our mail forwarding stopped which means that some junk mail and solicitations probably turned up at the old address. Well one of our neighbors took it upon themselves to use the info they found in those to open up several credit accounts in my wife's name. We know it's them because they were stupid enough to list their address and give their real name as an assigned "authorized user." Thankfully Laura was able to get in touch with everybody and make clear that these were not initiated by her and we've filed a police report. We seem to have caught it early enough that it shouldn't impact her credit (thank god we closed on the house before this crap started.) I just wish I could be there when the cops knock on their door with a warrant. Fuckers.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

Care to share some champagne with me to ring in the New Year?

Well 2010 was a bit of a roller coaster it has to be said. I lost my job (twice) and left New York. Laura and I have now have relocated to the part of the country we plan to remain in but haven't really completely settled in yet. We have a house but only after jumping through more twisted hoops than we even knew existed. We've started making new friends but are still finding our footing as far as having a social life goes. However for all the annoyances we suffered through at the end of it all it's been a pretty possitive year. And hopefully it's laid the foundation of a prosperous 2011.

Generally I don't do resolutions (not formally anyways) but there are a few things I hope to achieve or change in the coming year. For starters I have GOT to get a work out routine and stick to it. I refuse to be forced to loosen by corset anymore than it already it. Secondly I want to try to find some more opportunities to perform or at least go out in dress. Since leaving New York I've done a few shoots but only performed twice (once at VT Pride and once on a return visit to Brooklyn.) I know that performance opportunities up here are few and far between, and I'll probably have to commute a ways for them. However I just don't want to feel like this part of my life ended because I moved. I hope to get over to Burlington for a Drag Ball in February and I might try to advertise my services as a performer for private events like birthdays or bachelorette parties. I haven't done private parties in a long time but they can be fun (they can also be nightmares but what can you do?) If I'm not able to get out more I suspect I'll probably just end up doing more home shoots as a way to vent (that's not a resolution, just a general statement.) Well anyways I hope everybody had a great New Year's Eve and Day. May 2011 bring you wonderful things!

Now who wants to pop the cork?