Ladyfest 2016 and Pride’s Got Talent 2016

Ennis has been a busy boy, y’all! The quiet of winter is finally dying down and the city is coming to life again. Thank goodness– the busier my schedule, the more productive I am in general.

I was thrilled to debut a new act with my fellow performer Mint at Ladyfest 2016, a woman-centric festival that offers art, workshops, panels, and performances. Mint and I previewed our brand-new “Barbie Girl” act. It’s always great to perform in front of a supportive crowd, especially a crowd that isn’t your normal drag crowd. They ate it up!

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We took that same number to the big stage at ShanghaiPRIDE’s Pride’s Got Talent, the 2nd annual LGBTQA competition produced by yours truly. I never imagined myself as a producer– I don’t think of myself as particularly assertive and I’m certainly not organized. It happened, though, for the second year in a row, this year with over 370 people in attendance. (AHHH!)

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The audience choice winner was my good friend Honey West (pictured above, center) who absolutely turned out a crowd of otherwise tired and drunk attendees. It’s so inspiring to watch somebody who really knows how to command a stage. She’s a natural. She’s so good, in fact, that I basically stalked her into forming a small company with me, Mint, and Miss Jade: the House of TBD.

TBD can be many things: To Be Determined, The Best Drag, TaoBao Drag (Taobao is Chinese ebay where everyone buys their costumes), Ting Bu Dong (how one says “I have no idea what you just said” in Mandarin). I have never had a drag family before so it’s been great to be able to talk shop with other performers, bounce ideas around, and push each other to be better. We’re making our debut next weekend and I am SO excited!

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Other than that, we’ve got another Qi-POW! show coming down the pike. More info on that soon. 🙂

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“So this blogger can suck it, really.”

Hi everyone! It was interesting to see the variety of reactions to my previous post. While some people agreed with treating the theater as a sacred space, /r/drag accused me of being an inflexible Luddite:

this sounds like the type of article a baby boomer would write blaming the younger generation for everything wrong in this world. –/u/moonyruna

what a boring article, we live in the age of technology and we like to record shit we’re doing with our phones, actually get over it – it’s not ruining the experience for anyone unless you’re one of those baby boomer technophobe types lmao –/u/avacassandra

Every morning after a drag show there are posts from all the queens that performed asking if anyone recorded the show so they can see it/share it, and nobody did. There are like, zero videos you can find of my local queens and it’s really unfortunate actually, there’s no way to look into their work beyond instagram (which just isn’t enough unless all you care about is painting skills).

So this blogger can suck it, really. –/u/BrokeWhoregan

On the flip side, audience members and fellow performers from Facebook:

How many of these people ever re-watch their shitty recording? And how many miss what’s happening on stage because they’re too distracted with their phones? It would be like if a french chef cooked you a fine meal, and you were so busy taking pictures of it that your food went cold. –Zhaochen

Precisely! Enjoy the show! That’s what you paid for. Live, up close and personal. A privilege and view that others couldn’t understand from your crappy video -Bea

100% on your side on this one. We’ve watched this evolve over the eight years we’ve been doing shows, and it blows my mind to see so many people eager to just whip out their phones as soon as the show starts. I’ve been tempted so many times to walk up to people and ask, “So, what are you going to do with all that video you shot?” –Keith

Interestingly, this topic was also addressed in one of our local alternative publications, City Weekend. From the article by DJ and promoter Chris Russell:

So, is this a problem? Over the years, some bands and venues have put up signs asking audience members not to film the gig on their phone, the reason being that this affects the experience of other gig goers – it’s not as good to watch the band play through someone’s phone screen.

The other issue is about focusing on the music and living in the moment – not all of our cherished memories need be captured.

Thanks for your feedback and discussion, guys and dolls. In the end, the decision to take photos and video at a live event is your choice, but as a performer I ask you to be considerate of the folks around you and not block their view during performances. For pictures and video taken inside of a club, the issue is not as big– but for ticketed shows, shows you spend a reasonable chunk of change to attend, maybe the phones are better left in your pocket. And that’s just my $0.02.

In other news, that’s ya’ boy on the SmartShanghai home page. Click the image to see the rest of the gallery for the show we just wrapped, Love Boat:

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Until next time!

E