Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Khloe: One of Chicago's Iconic Glamazons

Standing over 6 feet tall in and out of drag, Khloe is surely a glamazon. While most girls stick to one type of aesthetic, Khloe works nonstop trying to expand her horizons and try different types of drag, all while remaining humble and positive. She can be pretty, she can be a clubkid, she can be never fully will know what to expect...but the one thing you can expect every single time is watching a talented performer who will genuinely appreciate your presence at her shows. 

1. Who is Khloe as a performer?

I like to think I'm a housewife on the streets and whore on the stage. But seriously, I enjoy all types of music and styles of performance so you never know what I'll do.- from club kid looks at JoJo Baby's birthday to neon crazed Barbie hooker for GAYGLOW at Charlie's.

2. Where did you get your drag name from?

Khloe Kardashian of course!! I originally had a last name but then as of lately I have just gone by the one name, Khloé! 

3. When and why did you start doing drag?

I always say drag starts on Halloween or a gay high holiday, for me it all started at Market Days 4 years ago! 

4. How did you learn how to paint your face?

I have had many influential people help me with techniques etc. However, mind over matter, I just sat down and kept experimenting and still to this day always try new techniques and styles of paint! 

5. What would you say is your biggest accomplishment so far?

My amazing show at Charlie's every Saturday night, Smoke & Mirrors. I'm also very proud of myself for the national travels I have been doing. Boston, Rhode Island, San Fran, Denver, and soon San Diego, Vegas, NYC, and Puerto Vallarta! 

6. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about doing drag? 

Buying tights. Hate it. But necessary. 

7. What is a makeup product you can't live without?

I LOVE Soft and Gentle by MAC which is a highlighter for your face and a close second is gel eye liner! 

8. How would you describe the Chicago drag scene compared to other cities?

So vastly different. Chicago has club kids, performance artists, bio queens, comedy queens pageant girls....we have it all! 

9. What would you say is your most unique quality? 

I'm one tall bitch! 6'4 before heels. 

10. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

I really want to go and perform in Perth, Australia! I have befriended many queens through Facebook and social media that it might happen sometime!!! 

11. Who would you say is someone you consider your drag inspiration and why? 

There are so many, but to name a few Aurora Sexton for her ability to create flawless characters  and performances. Monica Munro for her outstanding talent and dance abilities and lastly, she's one of my friends, Bentley James for her performances, costumes and most importantly being such a gem of an individual. 

12. If you could work with anyone in the future, who would you choose, and why?

I really want to work with Coco Peru again!!! She was so sweet and hilarious. She has a great heart. 

13. What would you say is your favorite number that you have ever performed?

I love the song Euphoria by Noreen. It's that one song that every time I do it you can feel the energy through your fingertips. It's so much fun to do. 

14. Do you have any advice for drag performers that have just begun performing? What about for performers who want to make it in the Chicago drag scene? 

Yes, stop the cliques!!!! Be yourself and be nice to everyone, always say hi to other queens or even people that come see your shows even if it's a five second smile and hello- performing is not a right- it's a privilege. 

15. What should people expect when they come see you perform and where can they find you onstage? 

Oh god, a fun time filled with lots of moonshine shots and dancing. In the newest cast member at The Kit Kat Supper & Cocktail Lounge and the show director for Smoke & Mirrors at Charlie's on Saturday nights. 

Follow Khloe:
Twitter: @khloechicago 
Instagram: @khloechicago

Photo Credits: 

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

Nico: Chicago's Alien Streetwalker

Chicago is filled with performers who aren't afraid to take their art to the next level. One performer in particular, Nico, is recognized as one of the most prominent performers in town. He's a self proclaimed "Alien Streetwalker" who can easily get everyone's attention just by walking into the room. With a variety of looks and a number of talents, one will never know what they're going to get with Nico. 

1. Describe your drag personality.

I'm in my own little word and just spacey.

2. Where did you get your drag name?

I picked my drag name cause I was obsessed with the Andy Factory scene and Nico was the singer of one of my favorite bands, The Velvet Underground, and she was tall beautiful and crazy. She'd break things and get away with anything cause of her beauty and I was like "that's what i want to be...." Sadly I'm more crazy then beauty.

3. When and why did you begin performing in drag?

I feel I've always dressed up performed and played with makeup. I use to clog dance back in Florida when I was in elementary. But "professionally" only since I've been here in Chicago just a year and some months.

4. Where did you learn to do your makeup? 

Just by practicing. I've always loved makeup and special fx stuff. 

5. How do you think Chicago drag performers are unique? 

Chicago is unique cause every queen in Chicago is unique. You have Valentine Addams, Jojo Baby, Trannika Rex, Imp Queen, Shea Coulée, Lucy Stoole, Kim Chi...I could go on and on everyone talented unique and we all work together and hang out even outta the gig. 

6. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Probably Mars 

7. What is one thing you would like to change about the drag community?

Nothing. Chicago drag is perfect. 

8. Do you have a favorite performance that you've ever done?

Yes I really love my 4 Non Blondes "What's Up" number. I just really get into it and feel and the crowd always sings along and it's an energy I can't describe. 

9. How long does it take you to prepare yourself for a performance?

All day because I always what till the day of to pick everything. I'm always procrastinating.

10. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Omg! Everything and anything! People, fashion, music, nature, trash! 

11. What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?

Probably that I'm still alive.... Just kidding...but everything is huge for me. Being apart of Drag Matinee at Berlin or Queen at Smart Bar and Debonair for Neo (plugs) I just recently was asked to do a gig at MCA which I'm excited for...or when I was on Vice Magazine but I'm humble, you know, I don't like to brag!

12. What is your favorite thing about performing in Chicago?

The people! I have never felt apart of a community. I love talking to and meeting people in the club and getting to know them and then seeing their frowns when I come on stage...sometimes a smile. Just kidding! Haha 

13. What is something no one really knows about you?

I can't touch my toes. 

14. Where can everyone come see you perform?

Every other Monday is Crashlanding hosted by Trannika Rex and I with Lucy Stoole behind the bar .

Saturdays for Drag Matinee at Berlin hosted by Trannika Rex

I host Neverlands Animal house IML party may 27 with Imp Queen

Also Neverlands pride party at Metro June 24 with me Sara Andrews, Imp Queen and more 

I host every Thursday at Debonair for Neo along with Jojo Baby and Imp Queen 

I host QUEEN on Sundays with tons of amazing Chicago girls 

And I do Fabitat hosted by Lucy Stoole as well :) 

Follow Nico: 
Instagram: @nicozworld
Twitter: @nicozworld

Photo Credits: 

Erik Michael Kommer: 
Instagram: @lad_of_leisure

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

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Vegas Van Dank: One of a Kind Sensation

Residing in North Carolina, Vegas Van Dank has been steadily taking over the drag scene and raising the bar to new heights. With incredible talent in many aspects of her drag, she's become a multi faceted performer who is quickly making her own brand and becoming a one of a kind sensation. 

1. How would you describe Vegas as a performer? 

I think as a performer the best way I can describe myself is high energy, animated, cartoon, glam. I love incorporating all different types of drag into what I do, but I love being a cartoon always.

2. When and why did you begin doing drag? 

I started dressing up on my 21st birthday for fun, but I didn't take it seriously, it was more of a club kid kinda thing. But Ibdont perform until November 2012.

3. How did you come up with your drag name?

My drag name actually took me a long time to come up with. I knew I wanted it to be like a city, state, provence, etc. I contemplated on Paris and London but then chose hollywood, but I had a friend in the porn industry with the same name so I figured that wouldn't work. Then Vegas just came out of no where and it was perfect. 
And the Van Dank is of course due to my recreational activities of choice. 

4. What is the biggest lesson you've learned when it comes to being a drag performer?

The biggest lesson I've ever learned in drag is to stop living in comparison to others. Compare yourself to what you know you are capable of. You are you're own person, there is no point in comparing yourself to anyone else around you.

5. How did you learn to paint your face? 

When I started painting I wore extremely minimal makeup on drag and like twice as much for my club kid looks. I eventually just made those 2 characters combine and then protected my makeup. It has honestly taken me a long time to become good at makeup. It wasn't like a natural thing for me, and I'm very impatient. So yeah, I never know what my face is going to look the next time I go out. 

6. What would you say is your favorite thing about doing drag? 

My favorite thing about drag is the sisterhood bond I have created and the relationships I have built. This is my creative outlet when I felt lost. Drag has boosted my confidence. So more less, I would say my favorite thing is what drag has done for me on the inside. 

7. What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment so far in drag is becoming completely comfortable in my own skin and having a platform to help other teens or anyone who deals with self doubt or just like no one gets them. I was there for the most part of my life. Yes I have won a few smaller pageant titles and competed in other things and do drag as my job. But being able to help people see it's okay to be different. Its okay to be wrong. Its okay to be the outcast. No matter who or what you are, IT IS OKAY TO BE YOU

8. If you could change anything about the drag community, what would you change and why?

I would change the fact that all drag isn't accepted in alot of places. Even in NC I had to work my ass off even harder because no one took me serious or even understood what I was doing. I just wish everyone accepted everyone (as dumb as that sounds)

9. If you could work with anyone in the future, who would you choose and why?

I would absolutely looooove to work with Alyssa Edwards. I would probably be gagging too hard to even focus. 

10. How long does it usually take you to get ready for a performance?

I usually spend 45min-1hour on my makeup and like 45min getting ready, so 2 hours usually. 

11. What is the weirdest comment anyone has ever said to you while in drag? 

I get alot of weird stuff said to me because I look weird I suppose. I've been asked alot of really sexually inappropriate stuff. I always get asked if my makeup hurts, that's probably the worst. 

12. What is your most embarrassing moment?

One time I was performing and the top half of my hair was falling off and you could see my underneath layer of wig and it looked like brains. It was soo bad. 

13. What is a makeup product you can't live without?


14. If you made it onto Rupaul's Drag Race in the future, what character would you consider doing for Snatch Game?

I have a couple characters I want to do. Bjork and dooneesee. But most of all I want to do Divine, I just know those are huge shoes to fill. 

15. Marry, Kai Kai, Kill: Sharon Needles, Raven, Jinkx Monsoon.

Marry Sharon. Kai kai Raven. Kill Jinkx. 

Follow Vegas: 
Instagram: @ratchetspicevvd & @shopvegasvandank

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

Monday, May 9, 2016

Eve The Bunny: The Playboy Bunny of Drag

Eve The Bunny started drag officially on Halloween night, as cliche as that sounds. She started experimenting with different performance styles and briefly performed in Chicago which gave her the push she needed to come into her full potential as a creative artist. She prides herself on being different and rarely ever repeats the same number twice. 

1. How would you describe your aesthetic as a performer?

That is such an interesting question. Mainly cause I think it's hard to pick just one aesthetic for Eve. I'd have to say always seductive, passionate, and a little extra. Drag is my very own theatre, for 2 minutes and 30 seconds at a time.

2. When and why did you begin doing drag?

My birthday will be my "drag-versary" actually so I'll have been performing for 5 years, although my first time out in drag was, you guessed it, Halloween. At first, I hated drag. Well, that's not really true. I, like a lot of people, didn't understand it. I saw my first drag show on my 18th birthday and I hated it. I wanted to dance with the boys. But I started seeing it for its initial roots, theatre. I was a theatre major in college, so drag is my theatre, and I get to be director, producer, costume designer, lyricist, etc..... 

3. What would you say is your best quality?

I think my best quality is my versatility. I PRIDE myself on it. There's nothing I hate more than a queen that does the same 5 dance numbers in the same 5 fringe outfits, with the splits in exactly the same spots and yadda yadda yadda. I don't know, I've always been different and I like being unexpected. Always keeps people on their toes 😊

3. How did you come up with your drag name?

Eve actually isn't my first name; It's my 3rd. There was Samara (From The Ring) then Alaysia (From ANTM S14) and I was actually listening to Pandora on my way to work and I had been thinking of changing my name for a while. I was planning on moving to Chicago, from Joplin, Missouri and I wanted to reinvent myself, start fresh. Like I said, I pride myself on being versatile and I wanted a name to reflect that. So anyway, I'm getting my life on Pandora on my way to work, and "Who's That Girl" comes on by Eve. And it kind of clicked. Not to mention, that song is a rap classic. And I always wanted a name that had a song about it, for future performances. I liked that the name Eve could be so many things; Eve the Bitch, or Eve the Sex Kitten, or Eve the Innocent One, Eve the Mother. The "Playboy Bunny of Drag" actually was influenced by my area where I grew up. Everyone had a "moniker", from "The Black Barbie Doll of Arkansas " to the "Dancing Diva of Texas". So I came up with "The Playboy Bunny of Drag" and it sort of stuck. A strong obsession with pink and all things fluffy and it swiftly came after.

4. Where do you get inspiration from?

Look wise, Janelle Monae, Tyra Banks, Erykah Badu. I don't know...I just like fashionable chic looks or conceptual looks. And that's for walking around the bar AND performing on it. Drag wise, certain people with their drag and then in general inspire me. Fashion girls like Raja, conceptual girls like Kim Chi and Manila Luzon, theatrical queens like Bob the Drag Queen and hardworking queens like my girl Shea Couleé from Chicago. There are so many representations of drag out there and I see certain things in queens that resonate with me and I stick with them.

5. What is your favorite thing about doing drag? 

The "APPLAUSE APPLAUSE APPLAUSE!" Is that bad? Oh well! I don't know, I'm an attention whore, but at least I'm up front about it. I love being the focal point for 3 minutes and I do love entertaining. I've always been one of those kids whiting their own tv pilots and plays when they were in school. And in the past few years, probably due to drag, I've grown a deep passion for music too. Of all kinds. Which helps with drag because my performance track record goes from Sneaky Sound System to Queen Bey herself "all hail".

6. How has drag changed your life?

Drag gave me my superhero, to be honest. Eve is absolutely the Batman to my Bruce Wayne, or Batgirl to my Barbara Gordon, but I'd rather not be a blonde.  I always have and still do struggle with self confidence issues. Depression is VERY real but Eve helps me through that. I don't know if it's the makeup or the outfits or the performances or what but when I'm her, I don't have any reservations. And that garners respect and adoration, which Eve eats up like Baskin-Robbins. But she's taught me so much and now I have that confidence and conviction without the makeup. I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for her.

7. What is your opinion on Rupaul's Drag Race? Has it helped or harmed the drag community? Why? 

Okay, I have HORRIBLE competition issues; I take it VERY hard and I am a perfectionist that's VERY hard on themselves as is, but I'd love the chance to do it. I think more so for me, to prove that what I can do is good enough. Good enough for Ru, that is. I see the level of artistry that makes it on the show but these are just regular dudes in wigs, honey. So, why can't I have the creative prowess that they do? Who says I don't? So it makes me study and grow with my craft. THAT is how I think it should be seen. Is it? Hell no. It's The Real World: Drag. That can be a good thing or bad thing. Verdict is still out for me but I am happy that it has given a more open face of drag to the community, all communities, and opened eyes to future queens everywhere. Drag Race has helped the subject of drag become less taboo and no one can really argue otherwise.

8. Where do you see yourself taking your career in the future? 

I would like to travel and perform. Different venues, different cities. Really elevating my performance factor and getting myself out there. I'm like a sponge so I'd love the chance to learn more and do more. I'd love to have a show or shows of my own, where I could showcase queens that I liked and respected and I feel could use a leg into the world of drag. 

9. What makes you unique compared to other performers? 

I'm very unpredictable. VERY. I rarely repeat numbers and I almost always perform something new. It keeps my creative mind turning and it helps me stay alert and not get complacent with my drag. I never wanna be the predictable one. Eve is a show, and she doesn't have time for reruns.

10. If you could have any super power, what super power would you want the most and why? 

Telekinesis. I've thought of this many times, especially from I don't know how many "Superhero quizzes" on Facebook, but definitely that. I'm a smart queen. Thinks a lot. Overthinks even more. Neurosis on FLEEK, like the whole nine yards. I like smart people and things and I love the mind. If I had powers, I'd want them to be an extension of my intelligence. You know what they say, "What do people with power want? More power." I think that refers to evil people though.........anyway.......

11. Do you have a most embarrassing moment from when you were onstage? If so, how did you handle it?

WELL, I'd have to say my most iconic moment WAS my most embarrassing one. I moved to Chicago in the Fall of '12 and I had barely been out in Boystown and never been out in drag in Chicago yet. I heard of a competition at Spin (RIP) in B-Town called Dragzilla and it was open. I was like "Sure, why not". It would give me a chance to meet some girls and see what kind of talent I could expect from the area. A fun recon mission, if you will. Anyway, I had been experimenting with a "buzzed head/no hair" look while back home in Missouri but due to the area, I didn't try it. I wasn't as confident in myself and the area I grew up in was/is a very "drag is a certain way" type of place. Something like no wig on on stage was a "no-no". Anyway, it was my turn and I was about to go on stage and the music started. 15 seconds in, I start feeling the gig and whip my head back. My wig comes off. I have a crowd of 75+ people staring me down with no wig on about to walk on stage. There's no time to signal to anyone to stop the track, nor can I find the wig on the floor. I was in anxiety mode: MAJOR. I did the only thing I could do: Performed the whole song without it. And, thankfully, the crowd LIVED! I was so happy because it was the first time that I felt like a creative step I wanted to take was met with a positive reaction. From that day on, I integrated the bald look into my performances and my looks. I liked being the "Buzzed head Queen of Boystown"

12. Do you have any specific routines or rituals that you absolutely MUST do before getting on stage or perhaps before even getting into face (i.e. praying, breathing exercise, etc.)?

Not particularly. Just relax. Go outside and take a breather. Just sit among the stars or in a quiet place and ready my mind for the stage. I need to be in a zen place before performing. I hate rushing on stage.

13. Who would you say has had the biggest impact on you as a performer and why?

Me. As conceited as it sounds, I may take certain things here and there from queens I've seen but 95% of what I do is from my own ideas and design. I start with a song and basically create a music video to it in my head. A visual album, if you will. The videos always star me and of course I pick makeup, costumes, set pieces etc. Then I make it come alive. And I love when someone loves what I've done because, I know it was my own. I always say that's one thing I'm not crazy about when it comes to pageants is how a queen can have someone else do their makeup, hair, gown, costumes, choreograph their dance number, and then win and be crowned "the best". That always rubbed me wrong a little. I wanna be the best on my own accord, not from the work of others. Honestly, if I had to actually pick a queen, it would be Shea Couleé from Chicago, hands down. We actually met that night at Dragzilla (I beat her). But I could tell she was in it to win it, she was a hard worker and ALWAYS gave it her all. And to watch that girl that I once had burritos with a Taco Burrito Palace become the powerhouse she is today, all from her OWN hard work, and creativity, and ingenuity. For independent queens like me, she's a total inspiration.

14. What is the biggest lesson you've learned pertaining to drag?

Be fearless. I used to not perform certain songs because I was scared of how people would receive them or if they would even like them. One of my fears is bombing on stage. It's happened a time or two but I got rejection issues, Boo so that doesn't work out that well for me lol. But yeah, I avoided doing those songs but I would constantly listen to the music and visually see myself performing them on stage. I just wasn't brave enough to make them real. But when I moved to Chicago, I noticed it was VERY "Queen eat Queen", and there was a schism between the classes of performers there. Some were safe, some were anything. So, for me I had to find a way to stand out. Performing has always been my strongest suit so it kid of forced me to make those songs I've always wanted to do happen. And every time I've felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff about to jump because I just had no idea how it would go. But I know the songs and concept were good and different so I'd take the plunge. And it got me into the habit of finding the harder songs to do instead of the easy ones. I'm not a big Top 40 fan. Everyone does Top 40.

15. What advice do you have for performers who are just starting out in the drag world?

Be you. Cause really, there is NO ONE who can do you better than you. No matter how hard they try. You are different for a reason. And don't try to be anyone else but you. Because you wouldn't want anyone to like you for being someone else. And most importantly HAVE FUN!! You might as well. There's duct tape on your junk for crying out loud. 

Follow Eve The Bunny:
Instagram: @eve4prez
Twitter: @eve4prez

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Veruca Voorhees: Drag With a Twist and "Slay Belles"

Residing in Milwaukee, WI...Veruca Voorhees is determined to make a name for herself. She's a drag queen, but also wants to be recognized for her efforts of filming, editing, and directing short films. The films she usually ends up making are campy films with a twist and she casts a handful of local talent that never fail to give it their all. Aside from films, Veruca attends many local drag events and is well known for her one of a kind, unique aesthetic. 

1. How would you describe Veruca Voorhees as a character?

Veruca is a quick witted connoisseur of pop culture and all things scary. Big hair, huge lips, and a colossal attitude. Veruca's very open about her non conforming views on drag. She's a firm believer that there's no right way to do it. Art is subjective and anyone who tells you different needs a history lesson.

2. When and why did you begin doing drag? 

My first time in drag was for a witch's bar crawl in  October 2010. My boyfriend and I were invited by a few women from the local bro bar we worked at in Okauchee, WI. They all looked liked your typical witches with either harsh green makeup or none at all (a feather witch? WTF?) and here we come decked out looking like neon glam rock nightmares (skin tight clothes, scooped out drag faces, and huge peasant slaying sickle eyebrows). It was a riot! None of these women had any clue what we were doing, but they knew we looked better than them. I kind of felt bad. 

I officially started going out as Veruca in 2013 during the fifth season of RPDR. Like most baby queens, my drag started off the rack and having no clue who I was as a character. Veruca eventually became a high camp, Ronald McDonald on crack, cross between Jackie Beat and Divine. I didn't give a fuck if anyone else understood what I was doing as long as they knew who I was.  By 2014, you knew my name in the Milwaukee drag scene even if we had never met in person. 

I met the amazing Lyn Kream in 2015 and that lead to a full evolution for Veruca Voorhees. Although I was always a camp queen with a sinister flare, we took it to the next level with the first dress she made me. It was this beautiful mermaid gown inspired by Beetlejuice. My ability to prod the boundaries of drag, which I believe there are no rules, was pushed even farther. It was because of Lyn and her constant love and support that I was able to look past any insecurities I may have had in the past. She made me feel like a fucking superstar.

3. When did you decide to take your love for entertainment and focus it on making films? How did you get started?

I've been making short films since I was twelve. I've always wanted to direct horror movies since I was very little. In high school I directed three short films (Bullets & Mascara, Blood on the Glass Slipper, and The Old Country Inn) that managed to be pretty decent and way higher quality than anything I had done before. This was probably due to the fact that my partner in crime and co-director, Heather Dixon, was a woman and had the patience to help me learn from her and vice versa. We had the best time making these films because it was a deep rooted passion for us. Our goal was to make them look as "real" as possible and avoid them looking like something that was homemade. **All three of these shorts are available on my Vimeo page.**

Before 2013, I hadn't made a short film in five years. It was when I met Jaymes Mansfield and we shared the same interests in film that the wheels started turning again. "Sister, Sweet Sister" was such a fun experience and only took us a day to shoot and less than a week to edit. It was originally supposed to be a faux trailer for Jaymes' youtube page, but it evolved into something way bigger than that. Back then we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. I'm pretty lucky to have found someone who is as dedicated to these projects as I am. 

4. Which filmmakers would you say are your biggest inspirations and why? 

The entire horror genre as a whole has inspired me since I was probably five or six. Before I made short films I was writing short stories, with illustrations, for my parents and family members. My grandma still has sketchpads with tons of doodles and sketches of various monsters, dead bodies, and madmen from when I was growing up. I knew right from wrong and definitely understood that these films were make believe. 

I have a huge love for euro horror and Italian director Dario Argento is my biggest inspiration. I've been following his work since I was thirteen. Suspiria definitely changed my entire view on what is acceptable in horror films. It taught me that horror films don't only have to be scary. They can be beautiful as well. Argento was always criticized for not following the rules of film making with his nonlinear, nightmarish imagery. It literally mirrors, for me anyway, what it's like to be a post RPDR drag queen. There are no rules to the game, but there will always be people who judge your craft because they saw a handful of episodes of a TV show.

My other major inspiration is the King of Filth John Waters. I'm truly obsessed with his raw film making and give no fucks attitude. The fact that films he made in the early '70s still have the same impact, on initial viewing, today that they did back then is astounding. Even during the most vile, tasteless of scenes you are still engaged in this world he created. He also made Divine a household name and that itself is a milestone. 

5. What is your favorite part about making short films? Out of the films you have already made, what is your favorite memory that you have during filming? 

I absolutely love the editing process. I love seeing all of these random puzzle pieces fitted together, but in the way I want them to be. I may have to hear Dora Diamond sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" for three hours straight, but I'll be damned if that sync didn't look perfect.

My favorite memories come from when I would notice little things that the cast did on camera that added so much to the film while editing. There's a scene where Dear Ruthie is belittling a set of characters and I didn't notice until editing it that Toyota is casually counting the diamond rings on Ruthie's fingers. It's those little things that add so much more to the film and make it more or less come alive. 

6. For your movie, "Slay Belles", what would you say has been your favorite part on set? 

I have so many favorite behind the scenes moments. I think with "Slay Belles" I loved seeing all of these people come together to get the project made. Toyota Corona came all the way from Chicago just to be in this film for a day. "Slay Belles" has the biggest cast I've worked with yet and everyone worked so well together. Everyone stayed in good spirits even though we were all exhausted at the end of it. 

7. Where did the inspiration come from for the movie "Slay Belles"? 

Slay Belles is based off of every '80s slasher film you could find at your local mom & pop video store back in the day. I was one of those kids who would spend every Friday night looking at VHS covers in horror section. It was literally my favorite part of the week. 

Jaymes and I wanted to make something that was reminiscent of the movies we watched when we were young that also incorporated hints of who we are today. The dark humor is placed evenly throughout the film, but we wanted the death scenes to be played absolutely straight. Our goal was to have a viewer be laughing one moment and then have them covering their eyes in disgust or disbelief the next. We had so much fun working on the outline together because we both had so many ideas that meshed together so well. 

8. What things can you tell us about "Slay Belles" without giving too much information away? 

To quote Peaches Christ:

"Slay Belles is fucked up and wrong! It embodies a twisted, dark humor that certain disgusting, depraved drag queens are so good at celebrating. These bitches are twisted and it's why some of you mentally ill people out there will REALLY enjoy it. I loved it."

9. What would you say is the biggest obstacle you've had to face so far? 

When I first started, my biggest obstacle was getting gigs and getting my name out there. Nowadays, it's making sure I stay humble and appreciate every opportunity that has been given to me. Whether its making movies or performing at a local club, I want to make myself as accessible as possible. I'm one of the most down to earth people ever and I love any one who has ever shown me their support. I couldn't do all of this without the amazing group of people that have my back. 

10. Do you have any advice for other filmmakers that are just getting started? 

If it's not fun, you are doing it wrong. That's my final word on both film making and drag.

Slay Belles will be premiering May 7th at Club Anything in Milwaukee. 
Doors open at 8. Show at 9. $5 cover for pre-show/after party.

Poster art by Matthew Scheer

Slay Belles trailer:

Slay Belles is a Christmas themed short film that is written by James Wirth and directed, filmed, and edited by Joseph Trione (aka Veruca Voorhees). It is set at a Christmas party hosted by Janelle Perkins (played by Jaymes Mansfield), who is the leader of an organization that often holds fundraisers. Janelle decided to hold an annual Christmas luncheon with the other lovely ladies (and family members) in the organization which include Sammy Jo Thot (Veruca Voorhees), Peg Dingleberry (Dora Diamond), Shelley Pickles (Dixie Kuppe), Karen White (Marianna Trench), Ellen Reddy (Toyota Corona), Penny Dingleberry (Sylvia Nyxx), Marc Dingleberry (Colin Acumen), Tabitha Holywater (Vynell Grits), Dear Ruthie (as herself), and Irma Hallmark (Ester Marie Flonaze).

As the day ensues, an announcement is made that a serial killer is on the loose named "The Christmas Ripper", and the party is doomed to a twisted downward spiral of events that lead to a massive surprise discovery at the end of the film. Slay Belles is a charming, enchanting, and twisted Christmas film with just the right mixture of mystery, comedy, and horror to satisfy any horror movie fan's desires. 

Will they catch the mysterious Christmas Ripper before it is too late? Catch the movie May 7th to find out! 

Follow Veruca: 
Instagram: @verucavoorhees
Facebook: Veruca Voorhees

Photo Credits:

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