How to be a Drag Queen

Words of wisdom from drag artists

 

Ok, so I’m making to push towards performing as a drag artist. I started thinking about it back in 2010 but it was one of those things I regrettable never did at the time. Now I’m looking at ways to go about it. I’ve had a make- up lesson from Jenny Wave, (see photoshoot post) and started burlesque courses at Mizz Twisted Cherry Studios with a Great Gatsby theme routine. And of course I’ve watched countless you tube videos and read up on everything I can find to give me advice and tips. I’ve even started my own Facebook page under the name Cherry Ade in order to start pushing myself out there.
But I figured the best place to get some advice is from some of the drag artists I know and so I asked some of them, what is the one piece of advice you’d give to anyone trying to become a drag artist?”
The first person I turned to was my close friend Miss Felicia, a drag queen for over ten years, bringing her own version of drag race to Gloucester, discovering Misty Monique and thus being the originator of what would eventually become Drag Wars. She now lives and performs regularly at the Golden Cross, Cardiff and has her own Christmas shoe coming up. What did she have to say?

72626139_10157812600180979_3205054722562064384_n
“Don’t be me.” Maybe meant as more of a joke but still solid advice. One of the things that I’ve found with drag is that the performances and the styles vary greatly. Miss Felicia, Luna Lakes and Isabell End are all very different. I’d love to be able to sing as well as Felicia or dance and look as gorgeous as Luna. And as much as I love Doctor Who Isabell has already scared a number of Daleks in her performance. So simply copying my friend isn’t a great move. What I need to do is to find the persona that suits me that I feel comfortable with. What kind of person is Cherry?
I turned next to Misty Monique. The host of Oh My Drag and Drag Wars at the Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham. She is someone who had helped other drag artists get a chance and recently won a ‘We Are One’ Awards Young Adult Upstander Award, (which I’m really pleased about as I was one of the people who nominated her. Misty also puts on another show. Flock aimed and new artists to get a chance to perform, something to keep my eye on in the future.

52920207_10213819337186367_4099008025845563392_n
Misty gave me this advice: “my advice would be to research, go online, go on youtube etc. The internet is a fantastic resource for learning the basics of drag. Get to know your local scene and ask those involved for tips etc, but don’t be reliant on having a ‘drag mother’ to teach you everything – you learn so much more without one. Don’t use drag race as your only resource – you will find out so much more by going to local shows”
Along with the Oh My Drag shows in Cheltenham I’ve also visited The Golden Cross in Cardiff. Along with guest artists at both these events and Drag Wars this has allowed me to see a great variety or acts. Most of the artists I have spoken to at these events have been friendly and helpful. I’ve helped Miss Felicia behind stage at the final of Drag Wars this year and will be working backstage at Miss Felicia’s show at Christmas all of which has given me a chance to learn a lot. Even after a year or so of working towards this goal I’m still find stuff on the net.

75210692_2557417547645238_5036902933376008192_n
Luna Lakes: my advice would be to make sure you do drag for yourself first, always! As a movement, drag is all about non-conforming and embracing the weird, wacky and wonderful parts of self-exploration and it’s crucial you remember that. More often than not, you will find there are people both within and outside of the community that will try to police or censor you on how you should express yourself, but just remember that drag is yours to enjoy, and finding what drag means to you is the key part of the experience. All art is subjective and unique, and drag is art, so don’t dull your shine by sticking to any ideals and traditions thrown your way when presenting yourself as a drag artist. The biggest gratification you get from drag is a pat on the back from yourself! Once you have that, you’ll be ready to conquer the world! ”
I’ve been questioning why I want to do drag. I just really want to do it, I’m not thinking about it as a way to earn extra money and I’m not after fame. To me it feels like a way to express myself, to feel a part of something. It certainly isn’t because it’s easy. I’ve learnt there is a lot of hard work involved. I did my first performance in drag at the end of my first burlesque course this week and despite the practise I put in I forgot the routine half way through and struggled, luckily it was only in front of the rest of the class but it would have been nice to watch the video with pride and not notice all the mistakes. I still take pride in the fact that I got up there and did it though and at times when I did mess up the moves I was able to improvise. And while my performance was lacking I did have plenty of good responses to my drag. I overcame my anxiety at doing it and I think I can pat myself on the back for that.

71555193_633323930528971_1245946450379014144_n
This also feeds into the advice I got from Isabell End. “I think my main advice would be to enjoy yourself, however the performance is going. The audience love it when you’re having fun and engaging them ”
Despite my mistakes and my panic over doing the routine I loved it. I felt relieved when it was over but I enjoyed doing it. It felt like an achievement and I got a good response from the class.
So to reiterate. Try not to copy another artist and to find myself. Find out how to express myself and don’t let anyone else chance that. But at the same time take time to research and get advice and tips from others. Above all enjoy myself when performance regardless of how it’s going and just try to entertain the audience.

I’m ready for the next time which is in eight weeks’ time with a Rocky Horror Show theme. Yes I was pleased with my makeup this time but there is still a lot to learn and to practice and this time I will put even more practice time in on the routine. The goal is to perform at the Mizz Twisted Cherry Showcase next year. I have song in mind and the first ideas of a routine. Hopefully by next year Cherry Ade will be performing.

 

burlesque pose 1

 

As these Queens helpped me out with their advice for this post:

Miss Felicia’s show, Applause: A Christmas Special is on Friday 20th December at Rhiwbina Memorial Hall, Cardiff. Tickets available from;

http://www.ticketlab.co.uk/events/applause?fbclid=IwAR24qm-M_w9o357EcoQyTxpcP60r17Dr1V-UtsgTUM9wtn-3rCT2xpJp8tk

Misty Monique will be at Flock Vol 2 at The Sober Parrot, Cheltenham and Oh My Drag: Nightmare on Elf Street is at the Frog and Fiddle on 7th Dec. Ticket available here;

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/487256?fbclid=IwAR0GTUrxlzv_eZ2uMQEOtT99Flxjsbg6pn-F67E5_Fwbxva3bckmIHd0Pbk

You can also catch Luna Lakes and Isabell End at Oh My Drag. If you want more Luna, she is also performing along side Lilly Love at the Little Vic, Stroud for the next three Tuesdays (7th, 14th & 21st with their Drag Race UK Viewing Extravaganza.

 

The similarities between Doctors

“He will become a new man”

 

doctor-who-best-and-worst-regenerations

Regeneration. One of the greatest concepts a show has ever come up with allowing us to follow the adventures of the Doctor for nearly sixty years. Thirteen incarnations (fourteen with the War Doctor) all completely different from one another. The first Doctor was like a Edwardian gentleman who could be quite crotchety sometimes, the second a cosmic hobo, underestimated by the enemy who sometimes showed a darker side.
Or are they? Certainly when the first Doctor first regenerated it was into a young, shorter version. At first it was likened to a renewal, as if the years had been stripped back. But it was clear very soon that this was not just a younger version of the Doctor. It was a different persona. Then it happened again. So the crotchety old man, the cosmic hobo, the Dandy, the bohemian madman, the youthful wonderer, the older crotchety Doctor, the cosmic hobo, underestimated with a darker side.

Doctor_Who__30_classic_episodes_heading_for_Horror_Channel
Already with the classic series we start to see repeats, throwbacks if you like to other previous versions. Some of them are intentional. Both Davison and Baker said they looked towards the first Doctor for inspiration for their Doctors. And the seventh Doctor although starting out very Troughton like developed into a darker version.
I actually began to think about this back in the nineties when I first became a fan. It seemed that after the fifth Doctor the incarnations started to echo earlier incarnations. The sixth was like the first, the seventh like the second.
There was even a theory at the time that the fifth Doctor was actually the thirteenth, based off the events of The Brain of Morbius and completely overlooking Mawdryn Undead. Had some sort of regeneration reset happened? Future Doctors would channel previous incarnations in order. No it’s a stupid theory.
Yet when the TV movie came along in 96 it’s interesting to see the similarities between the eighth and the third. While the young Doctor’s style emulates the firsts to a degree there is a lot in common with the third Doctor and his era starting with the logo itself.
Regenerating from a small mysterious man into a taller striking body, the Doctor ends up in hospital. Awakening he explores the hospital, stealing some clothes from a hospital employee. He manages to leave the hospital by stealing/ stowing away in, a car.
He luckily has assistance from another doctor. It’s not long before another of his race, the Master threatens the Earth. The Doctor and his companion races around on a motorcycle to try and save the day.
Ok they are very superficial similarities but it’s interesting to look at.

When the series returned it seemed that the spell was broken. The ninth Doctor was hardly anything like the fourth. But if the TV movie was a failed pilot and this was a second attempt, learning from the mistakes then what.
So from here in I’m going to look at the similarities between Doctors nine to thirteen compared to Doctors three to seven. Not merely in terms of character but also their era. Sorry it’s taken five hundred words to get here.
The ninth and the third are very different Doctors. A striking dandy working for the military, and a loner alien dressed in a leather jacket. But within the series itself we can find things very reminiscent of the third Doctor era.
For the most part the Doctor’s adventures take place on Earth. Out of ten adventures four take place on modern Earth (if we include Dalek which is set only a few years into the future at the time) and the final although set in the future has scenes set on modern Earth.
Another three are set in the past. And three in the future, End of the World, The Long Game and Bad Wolf/ Parting of the Ways and all three of these take place on a station orbiting the Earth. In short within the TV series itself the ninth Doctor doesn’t visit an alien planet, he is effectively for the most part Earthbound.

dvd175-.jpg
In his first adventure he encounters the Autons including an iconic scene of shop dummies bursting through shop windows and gunning people down in the street. His companion for most of his adventures is a young blonde haired girl. But there is also a feeling of a family here as there are regular characters that crop up when the Doctor is on Earth during the modern day adventures. The Doctor himself is considered by the government as an expert in alien encounters.

The tenth Doctor may seem at first to have more in common with the fifth Doctor then the Fourth, especially considering the conversation in Time Crash. However….
The first adventure of this new Doctor takes place on modern Earth. He starts of acting very erratic. Luckily there is someone on hand with a stethoscope to check on his hearts. By the end he’s recovered, more settled down and with his companion(s) takes off for new adventure in time and space. His adventures during this time include Sarah Jane Smith and K9. Gabriel Woolf provides the voice for one of his more powerful foes. Davros appears for the first time in the classic/new series with this Doctor.

davros
Donna in her final adventure gains the Doctor’s brain putting her on the same level as him, almost like a time lady companion of the fourth. There is a sober feel to the final few adventures of this incarnation as he feels his end is coming soon along with a premonition of sorts. (The Watcher/ Four knocks)
His adventures brings an end of an era. Over the course of his time the series has become the most popular it has ever been with the highest ratings, and this incarnation of the Doctor has been the most popular cementing themselves in the minds of many as the iconic version of the Doctor. There is doubt by some that the series might not survive the change, especially in light of the news that….

…….The new Doctor is the youngest actor to date to take on the role. Many wonder if they will be able to bring through the age of the character. The fears are misplaced. The actor is able to play the Doctor as an old man in a young body. During his era he travels with a number of companions at the same time although this returns to the one Doctor, one companion by the end. There is an anniversary story during this time with the Doctor meeting up with previous incarnations in an adventure that involves Gallifrey. In fact it is Gallifreyan technology that allows this to happen. We also have the death of companions during this time.

12th-6th-Peter-Capaldi-Colin-Baker-Sixth-Twelfth-2000x1125

 

If anywhere it is the similarities between the sixth and twelve Doctor that are the most striking. Both are showed at first to be uncaring Doctor’s. Note the sixth Doctor’s talk of how alien he is. “I am, in your terms, an alien. I’m therefore bound to have….
In Into the Dalek we have the Doctor talk about Clara. “Yes she’s my career, she cares so I don’t have to.” Over time however he mellows a bit. He has one companion for the majority of his adventures and is extremely upset by her apparent death during an adventure. However it turns out later that she didn’t really die. It does seem during this era of the show that it starts to decline and despite liking the Doctor many feel that a lot of the stories are not doing him justice. There is a feeling that maybe the producer/showrunner has stayed in the job too long and it needs to be refreshed. There is at least a story that teams up the current Doctor with a previous one in a non-anniversary way as they simply cross paths. For the first time in the series run there is a gap year before this Doctor returns for one last series.

 
Of course as mentioned above there is also a similarity between the sixth and the first Doctor and it’s interesting that the last adventure of the twelfth Doctor also involves the first.
Ok, I really have nothing with the thirteenth Doctor. In fact I’ve made many comments on various social media about how much this series and Doctor reminds me of the fifth Doctor and his era as well as noting points with the first Doctor era. But it is early days with Jodie only having one series under her belt. The first series is followed by a story involving Daleks and she travels with three companions, two males, one female.
However the show itself seems to be suffering. Its run has cut down on the number of episodes it produces a year. Many believe it has had its time and needs a rest and that Jodie could be the last Doctor before the show goes off the air again for a rest.
So the thirteenth Doctor seems to have broken the chain of following previous Doctors, or at least the order of previous Doctors. However the show itself still seems to be following the pattern. But a note of hope to finish. The next two series of the seventh Doctor started to show a return to form with the second series landing on an anniversary year. (The 25th of classic/ the 15th on New) In those days it was too late and the series couldn’t recover. Hopefully the next couple of series will help the series recover some of its former glory. It does feel different this time.

 

656471c504299f5426958a1a0a8f1cfc

Speaking of endings, this blog was written in the café where many of them have been over the last three years. It is also the last. After three years the café is closing down (27/9/19)
It’s rather sad. It is the place where I wrote my novel, (and started my second) spending many Saturdays typing away armed only with a pot of Assam tea. It was a chance to get away from the distractions of home and concentrate on my writing. During that time I’ve wrote posts from discussing issues from transgender to role models. I’ve spoken about changes in my life as I’ve explored myself and as I head towards new areas of my life it will be sad that this part is over.
So a thanks to Le Petit Hibou, its owners Barry & Jill and all its staff for allowing me to sit here for hours upon end even when closing.

Love Lives Here

Love Lives Here
By Amanda Jette Knox

Kind of a review

 

https___bae.hypebeast.com_files_2019_08_end-of-summer-reading-list-books-mystery-memoir-non-fiction-poetry-8

I don’t do many reviews on here. In the early days I did one on my favourite movie and to a degree the new Ghostbusters movie. However my site went in a different direction. However after reading Love lives here I felt compelled to write about it. Not only because of how much I enjoyed it but also because of how I related to it. As such this is not just a review but a post on what this book means to me and how it has affected my own life.
The main thing about the book is that it is a page turner. I love reading. I started at an early age and use to spend hours reading novels. I loved studying. However in later years, with distractions such as multi-channel TV and laptops I have slowed down on the reading front.
However when I got this book I couldn’t wait to read on and on. It gripped me from one chapter to the next. Having followed Amanda on Twitter for quite some time as well as reading her own blog, I was well aware of the story that was unfolding on the pages before me. That didn’t make it any less interesting. For those not in the know, the book tells the story of Amanda’s family, dealing first with her daughter coming out as transgender and then her wife and the effects it has had on them.
For those in the know then reading this in the book will be no surprise but there are a lot of intimate details. We get the story how both Amanda and her wife Zoe grew up before meeting and getting married. We get to know Amanda’s inner most thoughts, not only with the drama unfolding in her family but also with her own demons. There is a simple honesty with the story being told here and it shines out through the entire book.

Amanda_Jette-Knox_P
As I mentioned there is some things in this book I really related to. Not only with Zoe’s experiences but also with Amanda’s. How she was always someone who tried to please everyone in a way to be liked by them is exactly the same as me. With my low self-esteem it is something I realised late in life and I’m still struggle to control. Knowing that I’m not the only one like this and that the behaviour can be changed was good. Likewise her tenacity to keep on writing her blog, to use media platforms to help the LGTB community and her basic rule to simply live life through love has reenergised me to carry on with my own little contributions. The way that she deals with negatives things that crosses her path with love and understanding without compromising or taking any nonsense is amazing and a lesson to be learned. In short Amanda Knox’s has become another role model for me. Oh and look, once again it’s a woman and a real person (see Role Models encore). I find myself wondering did she find writing this book therapeutic in any way, as I did when writing A Girl’s Night Out. A book I’m even more determined to get published.

raw
Amanda’s wife, Zoe also resonated with me. She was around my age when she transitioned and looking at the photos of her and seeing how beautiful she looks has helped with some of my fears of whether it’s too late for me. Also the love and support she received from friends, family and co-workers was amazing. Having posted some of my own revelations and photos on Facebook recently and having positive feedback has encouraged me even more so to explore and come out as myself more publicly. There is another outcome to her coming out that I have started noticing with myself. That afterwards her personality changed, more positive and relaxed with who she is. Since owning my bi-sexuality and my more feminine side I have found myself caring less about what people think of me. Finding myself freer in expressing myself but also an inner happiness inside me. I can actually feel it. A swelling up in my chest. A happiness and satisfaction with my life that I haven’t got close to since university five years ago. A feeling I thought may never come again.
But back to the book itself. Amanda writes with a nice pace blending emotions and humour throughout the book with ease. In particular pages 107, 225 and the final page triggered my emotions. And if you want to know what those instances were I suggest you go and buy the book. The last sixty pages flew by in one reading. It was getting late but I just had to carry on. And then I stopped on the final chapter and put the book down. I didn’t want it to finish. I was loving the unfolding story and if I read that last chapter it was finished. I wanted to hold out that anticipation a little longer. To prolong the story just a bit more. Hopefully there will be more from Amanda sometime in the future. As for Love Lives Here, all I can say is that it left me filled with hope and love. It rightly deserves its place as a best seller and I’d recommend this to anyone to read. Hopefully it may even change a few closed minds out there.