Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trannika Rex: Chicago's Comedy Gold

One of the faces of the Chicago drag scene, Trannika Rex, has climbed her way to the top with a microphone and a love for making people laugh until they cry. Everything that comes out of her mouth is comedy gold and she doesn't plan on being part of Rupaul's Drag Race, but I'm sure most people would agree she wouldn't really need the show because she's quite brilliant on her own. 

1. Who is Trannika Rex?

An awful drunk white woman with a microphone who wanders through Chicago making Jewish jokes and pounding shots of Fireball. It's really quite gross.

2. Where did you get your drag name?

I came up with it my first time in drag when I was a block away from the bar. I didn't really think it out. The base joke was originally about being a train wreck but became a dinosaur pun unintentionally. It was either this or Paris Texas & Trannika won by a hair.

3. When and why did you begin doing drag?

Four years ago I met a queen named Roberta Cleveland (now Whitney Davey) and begged her to put me in drag, she said no, I did it anyway and showed up to the club looking like a swollen muskrat, so then she basically said "Fine, come here because you look like shit and it's embarrassing for everyone." I discovered the drag show at Berlin soon after that and started going religiously. There was a drought in performers back then so they let me do a show. I was really ugly and a terrible performer so it wasn't too hard to convince them to let me host instead of subjecting the audience to my unorganized, knock-kneed renditions of Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs and I've been ripping apart bachelorette parties on the mic ever since.

4. Who has been your favorite queen to book for your show and why?

Well I gotta shout out to my ride or die chicks Kim Chi, Shea Coulee, Valentine, Trixie Mattel, Kahmora Hall, Sara Andrews, Nico, Lucy Stoole, the Princess, and Ivory. I wouldn't be where I am without these girls. I'm only as good as my cast and these are the queens who come early, stay late, & do their homework. There's a ton of other amazing Chicago queens but this is my squad and I love them dearly. As for visiting queens... Nicole Paige Brooks is my favorite hurricane to bring to Chicago. That human is a mystery to me. I can't stop watching.

5. Who is your biggest inspiration?

My grandfather lived next door to me as a child and he taught me at a very young age that our bodies are only vessels for our souls and that if you carry a message and pass on positivity, that your soul will live on for a very long time. Also: he was a Buddhist who listened to Snoop Dogg and his favorite movie was Pootie Tang so that has a lot to do with the path I chose. The take away is basically that you can be a real sarcastic, obnoxious son of a bitch and still come from a place of love.

6. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Lately I've been really into Amy Schumer and Bo Burnham. When I watch their stage shows I legit cry tears of happiness. Sometimes when I see someone really in their element on stage just blowing my mind... I can't help but feel proud of them and I break down into tears like a mom at a dance recital. I don't know why it happens to me. I feel like they have a great message and that they're packaged up as shitheads so their messages are more easily consumed. Now is really the time to be a young, loud, ass kicking, feminist, asshole with a microphone. It's ok to be a fucked up if you have a message. Make people laugh but also make them think about why they're laughing. And also just like get drunk and have fun because why the fuck not?

7. How long have you been living in Chicago?

Seven beautiful years as of last week.

8. If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you want to have an why?

I would want to fly but like if the weather wasn't good that day I would just wanna be able to see through hot dudes' clothes or whatever.

9. What is something not many people know about you?

Both my legs are wooden.

10. What is something you wish you could change about the world?

I wish my legs weren't wooden.


Would you ever audition for Rupaul's Drag Race and if you made it who would you be for snatch game?

I think my rocket is gonna come in some other form. The things I'm good at aren't really showcased on the show. If the challenge was to pull a crowd to the bar during a blizzard on a Monday in January then I can win... But if you need me to make an outfit out of wrapping paper in an hour while blindfolded then it's probably just going to be disappointing for both of us. I would do Long Island Medium for Snatch Game.

Why are you so fucking pretty?

Uncle Jeff I know you wrote this! Leave me alone and take my nudes off your blog!

Who is your favorite serial killer?


What is your favorite color?


What sort of drag jewelry do you go for and why?

I'm partial to gold and AB stones because it looks the best on stage.  I stack jewelry in the rule of ones and threes because it's just proven to be more aesthetically pleasing. That's all Kim Chi's influence by the way.

What's the best opportunity/favorite moment you've had through doing drag?

I got to host the Dance Pavilion at Milwaukee Pride this year with Trixie Mattel who's one of my good gal pals. For three days, 21 hours we just partied on stage and did whatever we could to make people laugh. Trixie was on roller blades at one point. I kept trying to get my leg over my head. We have a really good comedy rhythm together. We know each other's beats and how to build on them. She is also prepared to be the butt of any joke which is a great quality to have. With comedy, it's very rare that you find a match, someone that can give as much as they take, and she is a perfect puzzle piece for me. She really is a national treasure.

Watching Milton Berle on tv as a kid and Lou Reed's reference to Candy Darling is the extent of my drag history knowledge. I want to learn more about this amazing art. Any recommendations for this new fan?

Go to your local drag shows! Watch Paris is Burning! Watch Wig Stock!

Who is your favorite introverted wallflower? Choose wisely. 

Hi Nicole!

Do you have tattoos?

No but I'm about to get a couple. I haven't decided which to get first... My grandfather's third grade school picture or a screen shot from King of the Hill where Bobby is saying "it's Louis Vuitton and it's unisex!"

How did your relationship with Dexter start? 

Dexter is my roommate's cat and he weighs between one million and two million pounds. He's bae.

Stalk Trannika Rex:
Twitter: @TrannikaRex
Instagram: @TrannikaRex

The Drag Enthusiast:
Twitter: @DragEnthusiast
Instagram: @dragenthusiast

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Novympia: Twice as Nice

Surfing the waves of the internet drag community, Novympia isn't showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. This drag duo based in Bournemouth (United Kingdom), they post new YouTube videos every week part of the World Of Wonder network, that will leave anyone laughing to the point of tears. These two crazy personalities are more than just entertaining entities, but they both are very genuine souls who clearly are very passionate about what they do and they love to make people smile.

1. Describe both of your drag personas.

Nova: I always describe Nova as just myself but a little bit... more haha! Nova doesn't have a particular character, she is the same as Aaron but just a bit louder and a bit more outgoing. I don't create a voice for her and she doesn't have a backstory. There's already way too much of that nonsense in Olympia hahaha! So Nova is really just a combination of all the things that inspire me I guess.

Olympia: Oh Olympia is a total asshole haha, She literally thinks she knows everything but she's super idiotic. I try to make her as much of a buffoon as I can and she finds everything cute. She's perpetually 17 and loves anything like gothic that also manages to accentuate her rack. 

Nova: She's the worst.

Olympia: And if I can find a way to over-pronounce something in her pseudo-Australian accent then I'm going to.

2. Where did you guys get your drag names?

Nova: Olympia originally wanted to name me Eva Launch because she thought it was hilarious but I thought it was stupid. (At the time she was Olympia Roman by the way.) So she stole the Avalanche bit for herself.

Olympia: I wrote a script once and called one of the characters Olympia and she was like this monstrously tall chick, and when I first wore heels I was like dude I'm a giant I'm essentially the bird in that awful movie I'm writing. Then Roman came about because of that shit Nicki Minaj song and I needed to swap it out so...yeah...Avalanche was in my head from trying to pick a name for Nova so I stole that. I feel like Olympia Avalanche sounds like a giant lady which works cause in heels and hair I clear about 7 foot.

Nova: I found the name Nova whilst watching Once Upon A Time - there was a minor character called Nova who was a fairy and I just liked the name! I like stars too so it seemed to fit. Ginés was Olympia's idea. When I suggested Nova immediately she tells me "oh my god your surname should be GINA." I thought it was funny but a little tacky so I softened it a little which was probably a mistake because now nobody knows how to pronounce it hahaha. Olympia makes me think of Mount Olympus. 

Olympia: Yeah that was the idea.

3. How long have you both been doing drag?

Nova: 3 years this Halloween

Olympia: I whipped out the best Amy Winehouse for Halloween in 2011 and I was like I CANNOT DEPRIVE THE WORLD OF THIS HOT SHIT LADY.

4. Where do you guys get your inspiration from?

Nova: I draw inspiration mainly from music icons! Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna.... I also really love a lot of K-Pop artists and I take a LOT of inspiration from the lead singer of the girl band 2NE1, CL. Apart from music I would say I'm influenced by Disney, Pokemon, Sailor Moon and Digimon too! Olympia thinks she's Avril Lavigne.

Olympia: Visually I'm stuck in the 90s naughties like Avril, Marilyn Manson, Courtney Love but everything else, anything Australian and I'm there. Literally obsessed with Kath & Kim, anything Chris Lilley uggghh it's such a ridiculous laundry list though it ranges from like Joanna Lumley to Jack the Ripper. I feel like there's a lot of Chelsea Handler there too.

Nova: Oh yeah I see that in you.

Olympia: Nova's like Rachel Dolezal she's super Korean.

Nova: Oh my god.

5. Which queens do you guys like the most and why?

Olympia: I love Dame Edna. All I want to do is be best girl friends and play scrabble with her. I love her dry way of handing out back handed compliments. UGH also Raja she's so intelligent I could listen to her talk about shit for hours, the way she analyses stuff. Also the actual Queen is kind of cool I wouldn't mind hanging out with her for an afternoon.

Nova: I absolutely love Adore Delano. She was my introduction into the world of drag. I was a big fan of Danny Noriega since his time on American Idol and I have followed his Youtube channel for years. When he started becoming Adore and created a video about how she wanted to get on RPDR I googled the show and started watching it then! She is everything I aspire to be in terms of the fact that she has created an album of amazing commercial music whilst in drag and I would love to be able to do that one day with Novympia! I am also fascinated by Kim Chi because she creates looks I have never seen before, and I am in love with Arabia Felix. Arabia is just a beautiful person inside and out 😊

Olympia: I'm totally obsessed with Divine as well, I listen to that song 'I'm So Beautiful' like every day. Her movies just bring me joy.

6. What do you guys like most about doing drag?

Olympia: Drag is such an encompassing hobby that it's tough to pick anything out, I'm super into constructing the outfits and doing makeup is the best and then on the other hand it's so cool to have someone come up to me in a club and they recite me a joke that they liked from one of my videos. You know what is good actually, is when you put the white highlight under the eyebrows and you can do it so precise and crisp yeah that's my answer.

Nova: I like to use it as a creative outlet. I've always been very arty studying photography and fashion at college but this I find so much more fun! So yeah basically I find it hard to pick one thing in particular too. I like shopping for drag though 

7. When did you both decide to do YouTube and why?

Olympia: I had to have an avenue to throw my jokes at, I couldn't mortify Nova with them anymore so I started a vlog. Then when we were talking to World of Wonder it became evident that we could expand and do other shit.

Nova: I just got involved through jealousy basically.  No but seriously. I initially had a YouTube channel as a boy with a few covers on there but had little to no response. You do the same in a dress and hair and suddenly people love you! Youtube has introduced me to so many amazing people and it continues to do so and that is why I keep making videos with Olympia.

8. How did you guys meet? 

Nova: On a drunken night out in a gay club

Olympia: the crowd parted on the dance floor like the moses situation and we were at opposite sides

Nova: No no, it didn't.....

Olympia: 'call me maybe' was playing and he was like omg i love this song and i was like yeeeeah dude im going for a cigarette. and the rest is l'histoire

Nova: You were loving it. Yeah basically we exchanged numbers and kept in touch and now we are Novympia haha!

8. What has been your favorite YouTube video to make so far?

Olympia: It's actually one that I'm editing right now which is a parody of a show on TLC that we did a few days ago I think it's gonna turn out SO WELL. Although the chicken farm video was good.

Nova: I personally liked the Spyro video I did! I wish the lighting was a bit better but I was super happy with the overall look and I love to see other people liked it too.

9. What is it like working with Joe Harwood and making videos for Perfect Androgyny so far?

Olympia: He's top drawer. He's like Michelle Obama-level classy/cool it's been super fun to do PA.

Nova: Joe Harwood is one of the most genuine people I've ever met! He's such a nice person and I feel super lucky to be working with him on PA. It feels super weird that last year we were watching these videos and now we are a part of it. It's nice to branch out and again meet some awesome new people.

10. Who do you wish to eventually get on your podcast in the future?

Nova: Valerie Cherish. I'm a big fan.

Olympia: I'd love to coerce grav3yardgirl she's the best.

Nova: Maybe Miranda Sings too.

Olympia: But at this point these people are celebrities so fuck it, let's try and get Cher, Betty White, or Rupaul. 

11. If Rupaul's Drag Race ever let UK queens audition...would you guys do it?

Olympia: yeah what've we got to lose, i'd love to be presented with a bunch of shit to make an outfit with and stuck on the snatch game it'd be like disneyland.

Nova: Yes 100%!!!! Like Olympia said there's nothing to lose!!

12. Who would you both do for snatch game?

Nova: If I was on the show with Olympia it might be fun to do her. I suck at impressions though. 

Olympia: THERE ARE SO MANY, I'd like to fill the panel with different people. I think maybe Joanna Lumley or Sofia Vergara. But I do a pretty solid Winehouse, Ina Garten, Dame Edna oh I just can't pick. There's a show in the UK called 'Ladette to Lady' and there's this crusty school headmistress in it who had a stroke I do a pretty decent impression of her. 

13. Do you think Rupaul's Drag Race is helping or ruining the drag community and why?

Olympia: Nah it's not the show itself but there are a bunch of fans letting their asses hang out by not just chilling. People don't differentiate between the queen and their performance on the show and it creates bs when they forget that they're real people and they troll them on twitter and shit. it's a frothy colourful fun TV show and it stirred up a new exodus of drag queens.

Nova: The show has done so much for the drag community and has allowed drag to be so much more culturally accepted. every fandom has morons that ruin it for everybody else. but without it i don't know if I would be doing this interview with you right now!

14. What is something you guys want to change most about the world?

Olympia: There's this gutter/grate thing down our street that's been flooding for weeks I wouldn't mind having that sorted out.

Nova: You are so embarassing

Olympia: and..... world peace!

Nova: Oh god. I would love to see Putin harpooned. i mean it would be amazing for lgbt rights to become a world wide thing. The idea of being executed for something beyond your control is horrible.

15. What advice do you have for aspiring drag performers?

Nova: Be nice to people. Do your homework. Have fun! 

Olympia: Stop saying 'cut a bitch'. Like where did that come from why is everyone carrying scissors?! Yeah be yourself I think. That's something that messed with my head at first, I think I tried to steal so many drag tricks that I ended up forgetting to not be a drag race contestant pastiche.

Subscribe to Novympia's YouTube shenanigans:

Subscribe to Perfect Androgyny:

Follow Nova: 
Twitter- @ginesnova 
Instagram- @ginesnova 

Follow Olympia:
Twitter- @ohhiolympia 
Instagram- @olympia_avalanche 

The Drag Enthusiast:
Twitter- @DragEnthusiast
Instagram- @dragenthusiast

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Crystal Lubrikunt: Honesty is Beautiful

Photo Credit: Greg Bailey 

Many people know that to be a drag performer, it takes a lot of work, money, and passion. Crystal Lubrikunt takes her work seriously and is anything but a disappointment. At a young age, she already has a positive outlook on life and has had enough experience to become very wise and honest as well. She's very well rounded, down to earth, honest, and will most definitely give you a show that will leave you speechless. 

1. Who is Crystal Lubrikunt? 

A lip sync assassin who enjoys cake, shirley temples, love and cuddles.
But mostly cake. 

2. Where did you get your drag name?

It took a while as I wanted it to come to me, hit me right on my head as I had brainstormed and tried putting it together myself but it came to me one day and it stuck. I just hate it when I perform somewhere that don't want to say my surname... "cunt" shouldn't be seen as a bad word, it's a woman's vagina! We should all worship the Kunt haha! 

3. How long does it take to get into drag?

Back in the day it'd take 2-3 hours but the full transformation for me can be done - if relaxed - 2 hours, but if rushed? I can do it in 30-50minutes at a push. 

4. When and why did you start doing drag?

Growing up I was always aware of drag thanks to my incredible and open-minded mother who went to art school in West London back in the late 70s/early 80s so most things I get up to nowadays is nothing compared to her shenanigans back then. I never thought about doing drag and sometimes would ignorantly reject it: "Nah mate you'll never see me in a dress" "burgh no, not for me!" I loved the greats like Mrs Doubtfire, Priscilla, Too Wong Foo and Lily Savage but would never think about doing it myself. It wasn't until the summer of 2012 where I witness Willam, Detox and Vicky for the first time I grew a little fanatical with drag and then later on that year I performed a mime/lip-sync piece at University and aced it so much that my classmate Jayk really encouraged me to pursue a drag career and yeah at first I was close-minded and ignorant towards it but then, a few weeks later I pursued it with Jayk and a guy in the year above me at University called Alex - both now Rococo Chanel and Lydia L'Scabies - and what started out as a one-off night for LGBT artists, performers and supporters became the House of Grand Parade. We wanted to create a night that abolished stereotypes within and outside of the LGBT community where anyone can come along, be themselves and feel safe whilst watching some #talentlessmen on stage. Never did we even dream we could be where we are today back then, I am incredibly proud of us and our never-ending and exciting journey. 

5. Is your family supportive of what you do?

As stated earlier I have a wonderfully supportive mother who loves Crystal and is proud of her son, and I never take that for granted. I also have an older brother and sister who both support what I do 100% and always enjoy seeing me live my dreams, I'm so-so lucky. Both my parents are divorced so I am much closer with my mother but my Dad was a little shocked, I don't have a massive relationship with him but when I see him I can tell he's not sold 100% with it but he's my Dad and just wants me to be happy and again, I won't and will never take that for granted. It's a huge deal for some people and I totally get that. 

6. What is your favorite style of drag that other queens do?

Although I major in lip-syncing I love a live singer; I love a queen with some killer pipers or a comedy queen. I'd much rather pay to see live queen than a lip-syncer because it's hard to enjoy without getting critical, without thinking about your own craft. I love and crave escapism so I love to go and watch queens/performers who thrive within performance styles I'm not involved with. Personal favourites are my friends Myra Dubois and Virgin Xtravaganzah, the legendary Bianca Del Rio and Coco Peru Brown.

7. What is your opinion of bio queens and drag kings?

A queen is a queen, a king is a king, gender is blurred and I love that, I love them all.

Photo Credit: Mya Cohen

8. What has been your biggest accomplishment?

Oh there have been many... Bloody hell, this is a hard one to answer. 
I think rather than a single accomplishment, I get so emotional and proud whenever I receive messages or comments from baby queens, audience members etc. Telling me how much they enjoyed a performance or how much I inspired them, made their day etc. It's just, there's no feeling like it, it's like getting promoted, that notification that what you're doing is the right thing and people love you for it. It's just... There are no words. 

9. Were you ever star struck meeting someone well known in the drag community? Who was it?

I got starstruck meeting and chatting with Raja back in 2013 but after that the Drag Race buzzed faded after doing so many shows with the girls and getting to know and realise they're just chill people like all of us. Even meeting RuPaul this year in London I wasn't too phased by, she's queen but I was very taken back by the fact that at the UK Drag Ambassador competition she didn't even wish the contestants luck or give them words of encouragement backstage, I found that to be real shitty but hey-ho, I've been told she likes to arrive, do her job and go and that's fair enough! Respect... I guess. 

10. Have you ever had a most embarrassing moment during a performance?

Absolutely! Recently at a show our HOGP group and my solo performances were back to back so I had to quick change, tuck and all that jazz in under 3 minutes and I forgot to tuck and was wearing a swimsuit which I reveal mid-way through the act. Lets just say the audience weren't looking at the swimsuit when I revealed it onstage...

Photo Credit: Erin Considine 

11. What is your favorite song to perform to and why?

Look At Me Now by Chris Brown ft Busta Rhymes (skip Lil Wayne's part cos he's just terrible and sounds like an asshole) I love this track because I can lip-sync and keep up with every word Busta spits in his part so it's a showstopper when I unleash it to a crowd but I love it also because it's an open letter to every individual, keyboard warrior out there that's ever tried to forcefully criticise or bully me when doing drag, or even liking guys. I mean, look at me now!

12. What advice do you have for aspiring drag performers?

I get a lot of baby queens, young gay guys, bio girls asking me for advice and tips and I say the same thing each time:

- Be you, don't try to be like anyone else, get inspired but try not to imitate another artists work they're good at. 

- What can you bring to the scene that you feel is missing? 

- Be ready, it's a dog eat dog world, people will have something to say and you best ignore it because if you really want this? You won't care. You better be prepared to do a hell of a lot of free shows before you make a single coin and if you care? You will go for it and success will come if it is meant to be. If I got here alone? With no drag mother, no one helping me out from the start? Just an 18 year old with a drive and want to be better and better? So can you. 

13. Where do you draw inspiration from?

I'm very Taylor Swift about my inspirations; a lot of my experiences inspire my drag and my performances but outside of that I'd say my mother, my drag sisters and every queen, king, man, woman, creature out there that has the guts to go onstage and open their heart inspire me. 

14. Do you think Rupaul's Drag Race has helped or ruined the drag community? Why?

It's definitely gotten me a sh*tload of more gigs with the fandom it's created that craves drag all over, and I am forever thankful for that. The platform RPDR has is incredible and it's wicked to see drag so much in the mainstream of pop culture but the only negative aspect of is the mixed signals the show gives off with the characters on the show and the editing. A lot of young people think that because a certain individual on the show acts a certain way and is entertaining then so should they and it's not the right way to go about life whether you're a queen or not. A lot of the queens on the show are edited to perfection, it's not 100% raw and I am sick of people that are nothing but "read" or "shade" dispensers aka bullies. Real queens out there gigging and making that money don't butcher each other constantly and nobody, no promoter or manager finds it attractive or impressive because the 14 queens that are aired internationally are hamsters within a cage for 2-3 weeks, they are prodded and put through an insane amount of stress so yeah, of course they're gonna be grouchy and bitchy but that is in no way a reflection of the scene  and I wish the show promoted less of the bitchy, unnecessary drama and more realistic sides of the drag world. I wish they had the Viva Glam challenge every series, just more political/health awareness within the show would be wonderful.

15. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be and why?

Other than hate being abolished completely? I wish people would quit assuming stuff they don't know anything about. Assumptions are the mother of all evil, I was brought up with that phrase and was raised to never believe anything until told the factual details or until I experience it myself otherwise it's none of my business. I wish that everyone was a bit more real with themselves and others also, less delusion in the scene and social media. Be real with yourself, be real with your supporters and give yourself the love and respect you deserve and if that means owning up to your own sh*t? So be it! We should all be real to one and other, support, respect and love, nothing better than those 3 things.

16. What is your favorite thing about drag?

That there are no rules and if anyone ever tells you that you're doing it wrong? F**k em'. 

Photo Credit: Erin Considine 

Follow Crystal Lubrikunt:
Twitter: @CrystaLubrikunt
Instagram: @CrystaLubrikunt
Periscope: @CrystaLubrikunt 

The Drag Enthusiast: 
Twitter: @DragEnthusiast
Instagram: @ragingdragaholic