Thursday, May 16, 2013

Drag 101: TabiKat drag queens, kings lay down stage statutes

Lindsey Treffry | Inland360

After more than 18 years of shows, the leaders of TabiKat Productions can tell you that performing in drag is more than just clothes, make-up and dance.

Kathy Sprague | Courtesy
Bill Pfister (Kathy Sprague) and Claudia Stubblemeyer pose
for a photo at a TabiKat Productions drag show.
Led by Kathy Sprague and Tabitha Simmons, the monthly performances in the area give drag queens, kings and faux performers a chance to get on stage and dress up (or down) to the nines.

But Sprague, also known as drag king Bill Pfister, said, “If you’re going to be an attitude problem, that usually doesn’t correct itself. That’s a lot harder to fix than walking better in heels.”

So, TabiKat is offering Drag 101 to give interested or “virgin” performers a chance to learn the ropes of basic drag etiquette and TabiKat house rules at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Moscow Moose Lodge.

Sprague will lay down some rules and regulations, along with tips and tricks to help new performers meet higher standards:

1. Be responsible and safe.
“Inappropriate behavior is the number one thing that will get you fired,” said Sprague, who notes that performers get paid. “It is a job.”

Only performers are allowed in the dressing room. Sprague said that increases their safety, protects belongings and keeps the temperature down in a small space.

Drag queen Aquasha DeLusty recommends the buddy system when going to and from shows.
“Don’t show up to the show alone,” DeLusty said.

Because alcohol is served to those over 21, Sprague said some attendees can get a bit rowdy. Bouncers and security staff are on hand.

“They will have your back,” Sprague said. “They will walk you to the car at the end of the night, so nobody jumps you, because sometimes that is an issue.”

Outside of shows, DeLusty suggested setting a good example for fans.

“Be smart about what you put out” on your Facebook page, DeLusty said.

2. Without music, there’s no show.
“Once you have been booked, once I give you the OK, you have to contact God,” Sprague said.
“God,” or Simmons, is in charge of all music.

“No matter how good you look in a dress, no matter how much you rehearsed, if we don’t have the music, you can’t perform,” Sprague said.

Sprague said music downloads must be purchased.

“If you love Cher so much that you want to do a number or perform Cher numbers, then she should get a chunk of that money,” Sprague said.

Simmons requires music files the Thursday before Saturday performances, to ensure sound quality and to prevent overlap.

“The audience is not paying cover for a show when they’re going to see the same song four times,” Sprague said. “That’s boring for them.”

DeLusty suggested different musical genres. A mix of hip hop, country and Broadway is better than being a Hip Hop Queen, DeLusty said.

“You are going to find that you actually like doing other things,“ DeLusty said. “Because I was like, ‘Oh god, I’ll never do country. I can’t stand country,’ and it’s actually one of the funnest show lists to do.”

3. Get the hair and makeup right.
Sprague is also co-owner of Safari Pearl and Eclectica, which houses costumes, wigs and stage makeup.

“At the Drag 101, I’ll break out the crepe hair and chop it up and let everybody play with it,” said Sprague, who generally sports a blond, reddish mustache with thick sideburns when dressing in drag.

Makeup kits will be available for those who want basic palettes, as long as they private message “Bill Pfister” on Facebook before the Sunday event.

4. Know your power.
Sprague said TabiKat is one of the few events in which those under 21 can take part.

“The first time I realized how much some of the kids in the community looked up to me, it’s terrifying,” Sprague said.

“The dance floor is the most interactive place that you want to be,” said DeLusty, adding that is where tips are made. “Focus on the kids.”

Sprague said their younger audience can be the most vulnerable members of the community and performers must set a good example.

“It’s like Spiderman. With great power, comes great responsibility,” Sprague said.”If you don’t respect that, and you’re not careful with it, you become the problem.”

5. Don’t be afraid.
Drag 101 may help the curious decide whether TabiKat drag is for them. If so, the rules must be followed, Sprague said, and if all goes well, TabiKat will have a few virgin performers.

“The one thing I can suggest is have fun on stage,” DeLusty said, “because if you’re having a blast doing your number, the audience will have a blast with you.”

Drag queen Claudia Stubblemeyer said virgins are put early in a set, because it’s nerve-racking to wait.

“Never look at the person before you,” DeLusty said. ”You’ll build your own following and your own way of performing.”

With more than 30 RSVPs so far, Sprague said most of the attendees are excited about becoming performers and the majority have never performed before.

“There are a couple of people who are attending, who actually have been performing for years, but have not gotten the rules,” she said. “This is the important part of it, because then we don’t have misunderstandings, and we don’t have absolute chaos backstage.”

Drag 101 is free for attendees who arrive on time and are well-prepared. Late arrivals will be charged $10 for the class.

If hired, some virgins will perform at TabiKat’s June 22 show at Moscow Moose Lodge. The next drag show will take place on May 25 at T’z in Lewiston.

If you go:
WHAT: TabiKat Drag 101
WHEN: 6:30-9:30 p.m.
WHERE: Moscow Moose Lodge
COST: Free, $10 if late
OF NOTE: RSVP on Drag 101 Facebook event

As seen in May 16 issue of Inland360.

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