Drag king stories #4

David Bowie was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to become a drag king.  He was the epitome of androgyny amongst the famous, and I wanted to emulate him.  Whenever I did drag, I tried to capture the look of the singer, something that not all drag kings take the time to do.  And since I was leaning toward music of the late seventies and eighties, flamboyancy was big – eyeliner and eye-shadow, lip-liner and lipstick.  Clothing found in the women’s section of thrift stores, tight pants, boots with heels…

I just went back to an old email chain between my drag buddy and me, prior to my first performance, when we were bouncing ideas off of each other.  I’m sure that I talked about all the gender variant singers I wanted to channel, especially David Bowie.  For some reason though, my side of the email correspondence is all blank.  😦   (Otherwise I would have cut and pasted what I wrote, ten years ago.)  I hope my drag partner might still have these emails.  That’s disheartening that I might have lost that…  (This same friend’s first 7″ record was Blue Jean.)

I definitely did David Bowie songs more than any other musician, over the years.  Here is a list as best as I can remember, in chronological order:

– Heroes
– Ziggy Stardust (a Bauhaus cover)
– Space Oddity
– Rebel Rebel
– Breaking Glass
– Space Oddity again
– A Ziggy Stardust medley
– The Man Who Sold the World
– Let’s Dance

 

aladdin sane

The first time I was asked to do drag out of context (not at a drag show), was for a David Bowie tribute night, for his birthday.  I can’t remember how I got connected to that – I think through a friend.  I was super psyched to have been asked.  This was a show of local bands doing covers, and I was performing to a crowd that was made up of people who perhaps had never been to a drag show.  It was at a bar I always had wanted to perform at – a bar that definitely does not put on drag shows.  I did David Bowie as a glam rocker, and David Bowie as a mime.  (He was a member of the Lindsay Kemp Mime Company in 1967.)

A different organizer put on the tribute show the next year, and it was at an even more mainstream bar, with even more out-there musicians doing covers.  I did David Bowie as a glam rocker, and David Bowie in a dress.  The idea to do that came from the cover of his The Man Who Sold the World record.  I was mixing things up, wearing Aladdin Sane inspired make-up (see photo – I applied this make-up in the mirror before realizing it was the reverse!).  Interestingly, I felt very self-conscious wearing that dress – I didn’t feel like people were going to accept that, even though it was just a costume, and David Bowie definitely would have / could have flaunted it…  That performance felt stilted because of my discomfort in the dress, I think – not because of my thoughts that it didn’t do David Bowie justice.

Yesterday, after hearing the news of his death, a friend posted on my facebook wall that she thought of me when she heard the news.  I made this Aladdin Sane picture my profile pic, and many other friends commented that they thought of me.  I had no idea we were so connected in the minds of the people I know!  That feels good!  My mom even sent me an email that just said, “My condolences for your loss.  David Bowie, I mean.”

I have a radio show now, and I think I’ll play all Bowie songs on the next show – play some covers, play some of my fave songs of his over the many decades he was actively making music – right up till his death.  (I have yet to hear his new album…)

David Bowie, I will miss you being in this world and out of this world…

bowie bowie 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


11 Comments on “Drag king stories #4”

  1. Raye says:

    I was so shocked to hear the sad news yesterday. I love David Bowie and have always wanted to do the Aladdin Sane makeup and be a drag king! That is an awesome picture. You really do have the look!

    Like

  2. Lesboi says:

    Awesome pictures! I’m very sorry for your loss as well as the world’s. Bowie was ahead of his time and a great talent.

    Like

  3. Fredrication says:

    It’s a huge loss for us all!

    Like

  4. Kate says:

    Ah, a time when 7″ records were called 45’s!

    Like

  5. Amy says:

    the first thing arthur said when we heard is “this is going to hit K hard!” yes, you and david bowie have become very connected in our minds over the years!

    Like

  6. Can relate. The news of Bowie’s death hit me hard. In fact, I still can’t get around to watching his Lazarus video. Likewise, also did Aladdin Sane makeup in tribute. There will never be another Bowie.

    Great makeup/outfits you have in the photos, btw.

    Like


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