Mads Leigh-Faire

Mads Leigh-Faire (he/him) is a freelance theatrical dramaturg, literary assistant, and drag performer.  Mads hopes to use Queeries as a platform to educate and engage not only himself but the LGBTQIA+ community with a productive and empathetic dialogue surrounding our hopes, needs, dreams, fears, and accomplishments. They also have a lot of feelings about the sentience of droids in the Star Wars canon.

the rock and their hard place

Deep and fast, I found her in the woods –

A river.

A woman.

 

Her rough water soothed my edges,

leaving me nothing but a pebble in her wake.

 

I waited patient on her shore, the same but yet changed.

She kept going by.

RoyalTea: Rebel Kings of Oakland

First or third Wednesday of any month and you and your friends found yourself in the North East Bay with nothing to do?  Hop on the 6 and head on down to the White Horse, the oldest continuously operating LGBT+ bar in the United States. There you’ll find a packed venuw filled with cracking pool balls, the happy buzz of friendly people, and… someone thrusting their fanny pack at you.  You look around but the eye contact is unavoidable.

You just met VERA, one of the members of the Bay Area’s largest drag king collective – the Rebel Kings of Oakland.  From there, you’ll be eagerly ushered to the back portion of the bar where a large mass, small horde of patrons are gathered around a stage adorned which rainbow flags.

After that– who knows what you’re gonna get.  From live singing to kings lobbing candy into the audience, burlesque, gender-fuckery, and more, Rebel Kings brings an open platform to performance artists of all shapes and sizes for what always promises to be a night of humor, intrigue, and quite probably some nudity. …

RoyalTea: Jota/Emjay Mercury

Howdy folx and welcome back to RoyalTea: the only drag interview segment that puts the lotion in the basket.  This week, we got to wrangle with the sexiest duo to ever grace one body – Jota / Emjay Mercury, a performer who puts puts the “cheese” in Machismo.  Jota is a Bay Area Based Xicanx performer who’s performed across international stages.  He wasn’t always wooing the ladies and crooning the night away though…

 

Oaklash: the Bay Area’s love letter to eclectic drag

Two PM comes around in a classic car showcase warehouse and it echoes –

“Everybody, welcome to the show!”

Alaska Thunderfuck’s ‘HIEEE’ fills Classic Cars West on an unsuspecting Saturday afternoon. The famous show-opening number draws a crowd around a set stage as the notorious WooWoo Monroe kicks off the second annual Oaklash drag festival.

Born in 2018, Oaklash celebrated its second year over April’s last weekend. It kicked off with an opening night party Friday at Eli’s Mile High Club where performers and live bands gave the Bay a small taste of what was to come over the next two days.

After Monroe’s lip-synced instructions of flash photography being absolutely mandatory and tipping these [performers], the day kicked off its first set. With about five performances clocking in at half an hour and a DJ set filling the next half, each eight-hour day allowed over 50 Bay Area local and visiting artists to grace the stage – the festival hosted over 100 performers, vendors, photographers, bands, and more.

Queeries got the chance to sit down with a myriad of incredible individuals all working with the festival in one way or another and, phew, does it take a village. …

RoyalTea: Bus(s/t)y R. Keaton

Hello, all – and welcome back!

RoyalTea is back and piping hot with the newest kids on The Block.  This week, RoyalTea rolled up a jazz cigarette, threw on our flapper dress, and Charlestoned all the way up to the Hudson Valley – home of the dazzlingly dapper Bus(s/t)y R Keaton.

Bus(s/t)y has been performing in New York for almost two and a half years – both as a burlesquer and, more recently, as a drag king on the rise.  Er, um — pardon — drag CLOWN. Giggling and galavanting his way into our hearts, Queeries got the rare chance to pick into the mind of the peculiar Bu(s/t)y…. and we’re still not sure if he’s one of the murdering clowns or not —

TW: slurs, clowns

Where do I bury my anger?

It’s choking my throat but it makes me sick if I swallow it.

It’s poisoning my stomach but if I spew it out, it’ll seep into the ground- like salt in the earth.

It’s burning my heart but if I let it out, it’ll burn all yours.

So I ask again, where do I bury my rage?

Wanna Hear Something Scary?

You’ve probably peed at the same toilet as a transgender person.

Awful, right?

Get the holy water and scrub your genitals raw,

Blistering and bleeding- maybe that will cleanse you of their sins.

Meanwhile, they’ll wash their hands and go about their day

and you’ll be left on the floor, finally absolved.

 

 

RoyalTea: Nitrix Oxide

Welcome back, you spooky ghouls, to RoyalTea: the only drag interview segment that is slowly transforming into an alien chat show.  This week, we got a chance to sit down with Nitrix Oxide, a performer who is here to christen you in mouthfuls of blood.  Nitrix is a Gore Queen, with a penchant for the ooky, kooky, icky, and sticky who has been terrorizing San Francisco for close to a year.

 

 

Queeries: People’ve described you as everything from a club kid to a monster queen; why do you think your drag is labeled so many different ways?

Nitrix Oxide: I think it’s probably because I try to do all different things with [my drag] and I’m always experimenting. When I first started a year ago, I found out about drag through [RuPaul’s] Drag Race but I started doing drag because of Dragula.  I started watching Dragula, where I’d see the more alternative side. That gave me the hint that “Oh, there’s more to drag than the typical pageants or what you see on Drag Race.”  There’s definitely a darker side to drag.

I started experimenting and doing more alternative, more punk drag.  I’ve always been inspired by Leigh Bowry, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, people like that.  That all lead to my club kid drag.  I’ve had people call me one of ‘the’ club kids of San Francisco, which is very flattering.  I love going out, experimenting with different looks, building head pieces, all that.  I’m really trying to push the envelope.

Q: She’s quite the crafty queen, too!  Could you walk us through the basic steps of making one of your headpieces?  

NO: Yeah!

Q: About how long do they take?

NO: It depends on what it is!  If I have a Saturday, it takes maybe one to two hours?  Doesn’t take that long!  Of course, I’ve had some that’ve taken me three or four.  What I do is I get a regular headband and I take an embroidery hoop.  That goes on top with some cardboard, glue it all together, wrap tape around it: that all goes on as my base.  Once I have the base done, I build something off of that.

 

 

Q: You’ve performed all over the Bay Area; ever wanted to travel to perform?

NO: Yeah, I’ve thought about it.  Recently, I started going to Oakland more which has been great; I’ve wanted to go there for a while.  I love the drag scene there.

One of my favorite places to go to is Club BnB: they have a really good happy hour show on Wednesdays.  sometimes they ask me to do two or three numbers. Three numbers sounds like a lot but it gives me a chance to experiment, do some songs I might not normally do.  They had me do an R&B tribute; I had never done a Whitney Houston or Aretha Franklin song in a Leatherface mask but- Now I have!

As far as traveling outside the Bay Area, I’d love to go to San Jose and perform.  I’ve seen shows at Splash, the Renegades’ Bar– there’s a queen called WooWoo Monroe who has The Circus Show.  

I love San Jose; it’s a smaller town that has a really great drag scene.

Q: Is it more comparable to Oakland or San Francisco in size?  Or even smaller?

NO: It’s just a little bigger than Oakland.  However, I think Oakland has more small bars.  I’ve seen a lot more variety in drag shows there.  But, then again, I haven’t worked San Jose too much, so there might be stuff I haven’t seen yet!

I would also love to go to Los Angeles and perform.   I was there for Drag Con(vention) in May and got to meet a lot of Dragula girls- I’m very grateful to have met them and know some of them a little more personally now.  There are bars there like Precinct, Eagle, Red Line– there are so many great bars there and I would love to perform in some of their shows.

Q: Are you thinking about going to DragCon this year?

NO: I won’t be going to New York but I know, next year, I’ll probably go back to Los Angeles Drag Con.  I would love, in the future, to go to New York Drag Con-!

Q: You’ve been performing for nearing a year now; is there anything about the performance world that’s different than you thought it would be?

NO: I’ve been going out to shows in looks for about a year but I started performing in May; I did a talent show for my first performance.

I also do a lot of stunts in my numbers: wings, fake blood, all kinds of stuff.  If you’re adding a prop into your number, it’s probably gonna go wrong and you have to plan for that.  I’ve had reveals get stuck, zippers get stuck, forgotten which pocket props are in- you have to be prepared to switch up your number.

So, I had planned out this whole number but once you get up there, it’s all different.  You don’t factor in the rehearsal room that there’s actually an audience, there’ll be people giving you tips, all that.  There’ll be a lot of things you can’t predict once you’re actually in the space.

 

 

Q: Anything you wanna leave with the kiddies before we go?

NO: Huh- the kiddies.  That’s interesting!

Q: Yeah, our little Kiddie Kats-

NO: Well, I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately: “How do I get started? I really want to do drag-!  How do you do your makeup? Where can I perform?”

One: If you’re a new performer, before you message a producer, asking to be in a show, think “When was the last time I went to their show supporting?  Did I buy drinks? Did I tip performers?” Don’t expect to get into a show if you have not gone in support of that show. (If you can’t go, put it on your social media!)

Two: Anyone can do drag.  “I could never do drag-” yes, you can.  My makeup took me two and a half, three years to improve.  I practice by sitting at home in front of the mirror and doing my face.  There’s even still things I need to fix and performances I have where things don’t work out well or I could have pushed them even further.  You’re always growing, evolving, and changing.

 

 

You can find out more about Laughing Gas herself from her website and can find her turning l e w k s most Sundays at Big Top at Beaux.  With a lot to say and a loud voice to yell it in, you’re going to be hearing a lot more from Nitrix very soon-

As always, if you know or are a performer who would like to be profiled, feel free to reach out (@madsleighfaire on all platforms).  Until next time, this has been Mads interviewing Nitrix Oxide for RoyalTea!  Y’all stay outta trouble now, alright?

 

Finding Queer-munity at Oakland Pride

Moving across the country was the scariest thing I’ve ever done.  I uprooted my social life to pursue professional goals and was terrified that that meant I wouldn’t have friends ever again.  People living where I was going would already have all the friends they want and friends back home would think I’d abandoned them.  So, I resigned myself to a life of living in solitude, staring longingly at the friendly walking groups and coffee dates through curtains.   One day, while I was living vicariously through my neighbors, my phone pinged.  Oakland Pride was looking for volunteers to work its upcoming festival.

RoyalTea: Katarina Mirage

Hey, everyone, and welcome back to RoyalTea: the only interview segment to host blood orgies under the full moon.  This week, we sat down with The Countess, the reigning sovereign of Peach Castle, and Little Miss ‘So The Drama’ all in one!  When Katarina Mirage‘s not slitting throats with her diamond-studded talons, she can be found performing all throughout the New York Hudson Valley and Capital region and kicking her friends asses in Mario Party.  RoyalTea got a chance to sit down with her and let us tell y’all- she’s a fine-tuned machine.