drag queen

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: 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?

 

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.

RoyalTea: Andramada & Show Ponii

Welcome back to Queeries, the only interview segment guaranteed to give any reader severe second hand embarassment.  Strap in and strap on folx, we’ve got a doosy for you!  Two bodies, one kindred alien spirit here to lay glitter eggs in your chest, only for them to burst forth five to seven business days later.  Today, we burrow deep into the minds of Show Ponii and Andramada, find out what makes them tick.  Besides the alarm clock Show Ponii swallowed in pursuit of a certain pirate captain-

   Andro-  Andramo- Miss “I actually can not spell my name” Andramada is a Hudson Valley-based drag queen whose performances dazzle and amaze, all while encourage body positivity and representation.

Show Ponii hits hard and fast, like a punch to the gut.  He has a lot to say and has too much to do to let heteronormative drag representation get in his way.

RoyalTea: Medulla Oblongata

“That might sound a little pretentious.  Medulla’s a little pretentious, though. You can put that in.”

 

Hey all!  Welcome back for the newest installment of RoyalTea, where we corner and pester the drag performers you should be following! Performers who can thrash and bash, who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty and who DO NOT smoke cigarettes, thank you very much.

Welcome to her channel: this week, we got to interview local Hudson Valley queen, the aptly named, Medulla Oblongata (The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End).  When you’re in her trance, she is a cone-shaped neuronal mass responsible for your autonomic (involuntary) functions ranging from vomiting to sneezing.  We sit down and discuss the chaotic and unpredictable whirling entropy that shrouds Medulla’s life.