Randy Roy – Australia

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Randy Roy, Drag King from Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Ebony Ciarrocchi   @ciarrocci.balboa)
Hair and makeup by Randy Roy. Costume made by Randy Roy, based on Zoolander original.

 

Performer name: Randy Roy

Where do you live (and perform): Melbourne, Australia

Gender: Nonbinary

Age: 26

Muggle day job: High school English teacher (full time)

Length of time performing: I’ve been performing since September 2017, so about 8 months

What you refer to yourself performance wise: Drag king

Why do you perform? Because it’s what I do. I know everyone says this, but to me drag is the culmination of all of my interests and skills and loves in life. I got intro drag from being a cosplayer, which meant I could bring my love of costuming and performing another character. I’ve also had a lifelong love of classic rock and related genres, and the associated aesthetics that come with the genre. I love westerns, which feeds into my “cowboy” persona, and I love music and love to sing, which I do as part of my shows from time to time too. Even in terms of my gender, I find it a really healthy way to express myself in a safe and accepting community.

 

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Randy Roy, Drag King from Melbourne, Australia.  Hair, makeup and costume by Randy Roy

 

How would you describe your performance style? Erratic. I’m not a dancer, and I don’t have the natural grace that a lot of drag performers do. I know that, and I accept it, and I use it to my advantage. Unless I’m doing a sung number, I tend towards being more comedic and over-the-top with my shows. I also the sort of person who isn’t really content to do the same thing over and over, so the erraticism comes from the range of different performances I try to do too.

What /who inspires you: In terms of the what? Everything. The things I like. Most of my shows are based on a piece of media I really like – whether that’s impersonation (Elvis, Robert Redford, Edith Piaf) or a tribute to a film I like (The Mask, Zoolander, Spy Hard, Fifth Element) or even an aesthetic I particularly enjoy, for me it’s all about choosing something I really love and making it into something enjoyable for an audience.

In terms of who: I do a lot of shows at House of Love, and that’s really been my growing place as a developing performer. There are so many incredible kings and queens there that I’ve learned from. I’m really inspired by performers who are able to just take the stage and have the presence to hold everyone’s attention with their work. People like Bumpa Love and Rocco D’Amore are two I’d say have that innate ability (although I expect it’s something that comes with their level of experience too, which I guess means I need more practice).

Sexy Galexy has also been my inspiration from day one, and finding out he was one of the regulars at House of Love, which I’d sort of just stumbled into, was like a dream come true. He and Rocco have both been so helpful these past few months in giving me advice and encouraging and supporting me. His shows are so diverse and so funny, and he really pushes the boundaries of what drag means, and what constitutes a drag show. When I first started drag, I was convinced I was going to be “the cowboy one” and only do cowboy shows, and I think watching and talking to him had a lot to do with how diverse I’ve eventually become.

There are also a bunch of overseas kings I think are incredible and inspiring, who are Hugo Grrrl, Julius Fever (who I don’t think performs anymore?), Landon Cider, and Andro Gin.

 

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Randy Roy, Drag King from Melbourne, Australia.  Hair, makeup and costume by Randy Roy

 

Some information about your costumes: I make all of my costumes myself – I think that’s one of my strong points as a performer, because it means that I can design things to suit the exact kind of show I want to do. The first outfit I made was actually a replica of Randy Jones’ outfit from the finale of “Can’t Stop the Music,” a pink sparkly cowboy outfit. I have a few cowboy outfits now – one based off Matthew McConaughey’s cowboy character in Magic Mike, one with lights sewn into it, based on Robert Redford in The Electric Horseman, and a kilted cowboy based off a Kirin J Callinan red carpet look. Aside from cowboys, I also have a bunch of mostly disco inspired outfits, as well as a few more cosplays (The “Cuban Pete” outfit from The Mask, Zoolander’s “Derelicte,” a zombie hunter outfit, a few sci fi looks).

Your favourite act (of your own or someone else’s) and why: There’s a Sexy Galexy number where the whole song is just him increasingly frantically snorting cocaine and it’s probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

Biggest challenge as a performer: I could be boring and say time. I teach full time so I need to be very careful with my time management to make sure I’m doing the best shows I can (while also doing my job to the best of my ability).  Being a teacher though, I actually spend a lot of time identifying my own challenges and setting goals to improve them – I keep a drag journal for this purpose. Boring, I know. So really, my biggest challenge as a performer changes between each show, as I decide on what I need to work on most at that particular point. Some examples include lip sync, better blending, more diverse makeup styles, not relying on any props or reveals, and choreography.

Some of your achievements: I’ve never worn makeup before so I’d call that an achievement. In all seriousness though I’d say getting to the Vic final of Dragnation last year was a highlight (I came third) as it was also my first foray into drag. I guess the fact that I can perform pretty regularly (presumably because the people booking the shows want me there) is an achievement in itself too!

Social media handles, any links you want to share: I post all my drag stuff at @randyroydrag on instagram

Something you would like to tell readers: I think it’d be cool to talk a bit about why I like drag as an art form in the first place. It’s so unique in that it’s essentially the performance, and the examination of gender. There’s no one correct way to do it, and in that I think inherently it is such a great avenue for examining what makes up masculinity and femininity. In parodying elements of gender that have traditionally been really limiting, I think drag is really freeing. Especially speaking as a non binary person that essentially had to “perform” femininity and being “female” against their will, drag has been a really healthy outlet to explore elements of gender expression, and to take control of that performance. Obviously like every community that exists there are issues, and I don’t harbour any ideas that I’ve found the ultimate utopia of free gender expression, but at the core of the thing, and in the community I’ve found, it has been good.

 

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Randy Roy, Drag King from Melbourne, Australia.  Hair, makeup and costume by Randy Roy.  Photographer: Daniel Sutton Photography @danielsuttonphoto

Mr Green Teal / Sparklemuffin – Australia

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Mr Green Teal posing with showgirls for Miss Kitka’s House of Burlesque, Christmas In July show 2011

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Mr Green Teal as Johnny Ray, in Miss Kitka’s House of Burlesque, Kitten of the Year Show in 2011, photo by Captain Spitfire (Shannon Brown, now The Den Photography)

Performer name(s): Mr Green Teal and Sparklemuffin

Where do you live? Canberra, Australia

Gender: Genderfluid or Non-Binary

Age:  50

Muggle day job:  Currently not working, due to illness. Studying/working on starting up my own business.  Worked in the community sector/education for 17 years.

Length of time performing:  I’ve been performing as Mr Green Teal for 14 years and Sparklemuffin for 5 years.  It’s hard to say how many shows I have performed as Mr Green Teal, probably only about 40, and as Sparklemuffin, I have done about 20 shows.  I’ve had illness, lack of resources and being the only king (at times), which has meant challenges to performing, (more often and outside of Canberra).

What you refer to yourself performance wise:  Depends on the context, often I say I’m a drag king or burlesque performer or just a performer.  I am originally visual arts trained, so sometimes it’s just ‘artist’.

CaptaVitae Photography - http://www.captavitaephotography.com

Sparklemuffin (as character Aladon Heat), in Erase The Binary show, 2014.  Show produced by Megan Munro (Mr Green Teal /Sparklemuffin) and Melina Fahrenheit.  Raising $$ and awareness of gender diversity.  Photo by CaptaVitae Photography (Chris Manchester)

 

Why do you perform?  I started doing what I called Drag King performance originally after I came out as Same Sex Attracted (lesbian), at age 36.  It was part of the beginning of lots of identity exploration and I came out more times after this.  I had always been creative, and I wanted to perform but never had the ‘guts’ or nerve to do it because I was never ‘enough’ when I was younger, and types of performance seemed limited.  I had, had little exposure to kings, so it’s hard to say how or where I got the idea from. Many of the lesbians I excitedly told I wanted to do drag king performance to were not as excited as me, some were VERY excited. I found a way to start, that is a whole story unto itself.  Because performance opportunities were rare I treated each gig as the last one. After about 7 years the venue that I had been doing most of my performance at, closed. I approached a local burlesque troupe, Miss Kitka’s House of Burlesque and asked Miss Kitka if I could possibly perform with her troupe.  I performed that year (2011) with Miss Kitkas t for the first time (as Mr Green Teal).  After that, I thought it was time to explore my femme side and build on my performance skills. I had never experienced queer femme.  So, I took up burlesque classes with Miss Kitka and did my first burlesque solo as Arachne Phobia, in a show ‘Jungle Fever’ in 2012.  I didn’t ever feel fully comfortable in the full femme burlesque mode, which, apparently you’re ‘supposed to feel sexy doing.  To me it is more drag than any other presentation I have done.

In more recent years, my performance has had a focus on queer themes.  I perform because it is the time when I am truly standing up for and representing other queer/LGBTI folk.  I am also representing the ‘older’ performer.  I was the oldest performer doing burlesque, for some time, in our local burlesque scene. Others came and went, but I was still there. I perform now because I am standing up, raw and exposed as a queer person. I’m here and I’m queer.  I’ve also been the first drag king that many people have seen. This is something special.

CaptaVitae Photography - http://www.captavitaephotography.com

Sparklemuffin performing their ‘Creep’ routine at The Abbey as part of Mondayitis.  Photo by Captavitae Photography (Chris Manchester).  Costume, makeup, styling all by Sparklemuffin.

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Sparklemuffin is Lady Elvis, for Miss Kitka’s House of Burlesque, Elvis Tribute Show, 2016.  Photo by D-Eye (Brett Sargeant). Costume, makeup, styling by Sparklemuffin.

How would you describe your performance style: Mr Green Teal is an old-fashioned crooner.  He is distinct in his style and models himself off the likes of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Chris Isaak Style.  Occasionally he has chosen to perform to raunchier or up-beat music.  His signature songs are ‘Bad Things’ and ‘Fever’ (Michael Buble).

Sparklemuffin does a range of presentations from femme burlesque to boylesque. Sparklemuffin is the gender bender, who, in most cases is a character performer. Choosing very different looks and themes to perform to.  Often the costuming is specific to the ideas in the act.  I would like to push Sparklemuffin much further, performing mostly as a male persona.

What /who inspires you: I am inspired by ‘everyday’ people. Folk in the LGBTI communities that continuously advocate for our rights. I am inspired by many of the trans and gender diverse people I know, that are part of my life. I’m inspired by people of colour, and people living with chronic illness, or mental illness. I’m inspired by the people that just keep going in a world that’s often against them.  I love the artists that challenge ideas. In my current world the people/performers that inspire are;  Jenni Atkinson; Ginger Gorman; Bella De Jac and Alyssa Kitt (whose words of encouragement I will never forget); The Rainbow; Bust Herr; Ziggy Disco Balls; Glitterfist; Archie Arsenic; Miss Kitka; All the Kitka folk; Betty Grumble; Rocco D’Amore; Sexy Galexy; Lance De Boyle; Lee Valone; Paradox Rei; Glitta Supernova; Dolores Daiquiri; Lillian Starr; Fancy Piece; Bunni Lambada; Spikey Van Dykey; Rubyyy Jones;  Any intersectional performers;  A number of our local performers, but particularly InkBits and Bambi Valentine.  Many of these people I have only seen images of on social media, but am a big fan of them, of their ethos and what they ‘put out’. It’s about leadership and social and cultural change.

Some information about your costumes:  I was originally trained in textiles, so I love a good costume.  My costumes are all styled by me, and wherever possible, designed and made by me. I either use found upcycled items and often deconstruct them to create a costume I want, or I make them from other materials from scratch. One of my biggest costume achievements is a gladiator suit, which is covered in medication packs.  The act being about mental illness. I like it when costumes add relevance or meaning to the act.

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Sparklemuffin doing their ‘Butch Burlesque’ routine at Dr Sketchys Canberra, December 2017. Costume, makeup and styling by Sparklemuffin.  Photo by Sam Ingham.

Your favourite act (of your own or someone else’s) and why:  I don’t really have just one. A few that currently stand out are; The Body Map show by Glitta Supanova (Australian Performer); An act by Ruby Slippers (Australian), which involved using film and awesome costuming; Sweaty Pitts (local Canberra folk) and an act they did dressed as lemons. The Rainbow (Australian), Mad Hatter act.  Baron Von Envy’s winning act in Mr Boylesque International 2017.

Biggest challenge as a performer: Health, resources ($$$$) and, sometimes I feel like the only queer in the village.  My health has been a problem for the last 7 years, this combined with lack of resources has meant that I haven’t been able to do the workshops and training that I want, or to get out of Canberra to perform. Being the only drag king for chunks of time, in my home town and feeling isolated in that.

Some of your achievements:

That I have kept going all this time, despite feeling quite alone at times.

In around 2007 I ran my first drag king workshops.  Encouraged by my dear friend Rocco Hardness.  We had a small, Canberra based troupe which ran for about 4-5 years, members came and went.  I decided I needed to ‘own’ that I was the ‘expert’ in my local area and I started up the workshops again in 2017.  We currently have a few kings who are keen to get performing.  I continue to run these workshops, because I believe it’s important to me. It supports new performers and helps them get a head start.  I had to navigate my own way without things like Facebook groups and with very little information. I’m proud of my ‘kinglets’ as we call them (as opposed to baby kings).  We have a little family.

Winning the inaugural Kreative Kitten in Miss Kitka’s House of Burlesque in the annual Kitten of the Year Competition at the end of 2016.

Competing in Miss Burlesque Australia competition in 2016. I was so sure I was going to be so far behind all the other competitors, in terms of how good I was, but this was not true. It was hard, but I really grew as a performer.

The several shows I have produced to raise awareness of varying issues. The first two were LGBTI focussed variety shows, raising money for those communities.  The last show was in 2017 and that was to raise awareness about mental health problems and $$$ for a local mental health organisation.  These shows are about creating community on several levels.

This blog. Hopefully it will become huge.

 

Social media handles, any links you want to share:

https://www.facebook.com/megan.munro2

https://www.facebook.com/MrGreenTeal/

https://www.facebook.com/erasethebinary/

https://www.instagram.com/meganmunro1968/

Sparklemuffin

Sparklemuffin posing before performing their ‘Manhattan’ routine for Miss Kitka’s Boys, Boys, Boys and a Girl 2! in 2017.  Costume, makeup and styling by Sparklemuffin.  Photo by D-Eye (Brett Sargeant)

Something you would like to tell readers:

Thank you to all the people who have supported me and continue to support me. It means so much to me.  Thank you to elders and artists who have come before me/us.

It’s not easy being an artist, a creative thinker or an advocate for change.  You’ll always get people that disagree with you, you’ll always get people telling you, you are wrong or trying to put you down.  Change doesn’t happen easily. The only way to make change is to DO YOUR THING. Keep trying.  There is still a lot that needs to happen in the world as far as LGBTIQ rights are concerned. There’s lots of horrible things continue to happen, including death. Trans folk. Now is our time, now is time for change around perceptions, around gender. It’s hard but keep being yourself (but always try and stay safe).  It’s also hard for women, all kinds of women. Keep pushing. Keep standing up for you.

To quote Paradox Rei (do you know Paradox Rei?  Look them up.) #AllDragIsValid.   You can be fat, thin, male, female, trans, non-binary, black, brown, yellow, white or green. There are no rules. You can do it however the fuck you like, you can bind, not bind. Have a beard, not have a beard. Pack or not pack.

Not everyone comes to their art equally. Some have more advantages than others. Some don’t have the money or the health to do their drag as they wish.  The colour of their skin might impact them; They might not be able bodied, or they might have multiple ‘challenges’.  Some are living in isolation (either geographically, or emotionally) and don’t have the support. Just because someone is ‘doing well’ or is ‘successful’ in terms of winning awards or such like, doesn’t mean they are better than you.  Go forth and change the world do your drag 😊

Megan

Sparklemuffin posing before doing their ‘Betty Howard’ inspired routine at Miss Kitka’s House of Burlesque, Kitten of the Year 2017 show.  Costume and styling by Sparklemuffin, makeup by Ange Broso. Photo by D-Eye (Brett Sargeant).

Marlena Dali – Australia

3. Marlena Dali

Marlena Dali, photo by Odd and Peculiar / hair and makeup and headdress by Marlena Dalí / latex, props, and location provided by Maxx Black

Performer name(s):   Marlena Dalí / Fellatio The Fagnificent / Gsus Christ

Where do you live (and perform)?   Sydney, Australia – I am from Los Angeles and I have performed there the longest.

Gender: Non-binary Clown

Age: 30

Muggle day job: I’m a fulltime artist.

Length of time performing: 18 years (first 10 as a professional musician that incorporated theatre performance as well as drag and film)

What you refer to yourself performance wise? Drag Thing

1. Marlena Dali.

Marlena Dali, Photo by Little Raven Photography / hair by Jamie Hill / makeup + costume by Marlena Dalí

Why do you perform?  I HAVE TO – Performance is my life, it also happens to be one of the only things I’m decent at. It’s also the best way that I can be an activist.

How would you describe your performance style?  Life Clown – clumsy sexy – disgusting.

What /who inspires you?  70s Glam, early 20th century Jewish variety/comedy artists (I’m Jewish), animals, water, chaos, failure, meaninglessness but also sentimentality, ICP, Ney Matogrosso, Dzi Croquttes, Dolly Parton, and my family friends Alicia Partnoy and Antonio Leiva who survived government sanctioned torture in Argentina.

Some information about your costumes: Mostly I make them from stuff I find literally on the ground or at thrift stores. I am inspired by Baroque and fetish aesthetics as well as animals. I try to portray and also dissect queer iconography through my costumes. I love shiny, glittery sparkles and latex and crystals… poofy, billowing white sleeves or skirts, and black leather pants. Weimar coattails and creepy creature masks.

Your favourite act (of your own) and why: At the moment, my Fellatio the Fagnificent leather daddy balloon swallow act.

Biggest challenge as a performer: Loving myself

2. Marlena Dali, Pastel prince

Marlena Dali, Pastel Prince, photo by Skye Gellmann / hair and makeup by Marlena Dalí / costume by Melanie Gillbank / shoes from Jamie Hill

Some of your achievements: I moved to another country and established myself as a professional performer. I may be poor, and don’t have access to centrelink, but do not have to have a day job. I emceed the Women’s March 2017 in Sydney in front of 10,000 people. I actually applied for a big grant and got it for the show I produce that is my dream show, The Oyster Club—we sell out every single show. I got a master’s degree when I was 24. I was named Gsus by Robert Downey Jr. I made an anti-torture film that’s shown in classrooms around the world called “I Have Two Voices”. I finally realized I don’t need to have a gender and I don’t need to look a certain way to be that non-gender. I threw pumpkins in Spike Jones’ pool with Karen O. I got out of abusive relationships. I survived rape and molestation when I was 14 and 17 and I continue to survive the abuse from cis men and the patriarchy every damn day.

Social media handles, any links you want to share:

Insta: marlena_dali, Face: /marlenadali

Something you would like to tell readers: Never listen to anyone that puts you down for your art, they are wrong and not worth your time. Destroy Capitalism. Destroy the white supremacist patriarchy. Help those that need help. Love the planet, it’s the only one we have.

4. Marlena Dali, mouthy

Marlena Dali, photo by Odd and Peculiar / hair and makeup and costume by Marlena Dalí