Epiphany: A Sassy Drag Queen Who Can Sing
Glamour queen Epiphany is a popular performer/hostess who tells it like it is--and she has a great voice too.
I recently cornered her at a bar for some nocturnal chat worth repeating.
Me: "Hi, Epiphany. What--and whom--do you hate about the NYC drag scene? (Remember, we only have an hour.)"
Epiphany: "Hahahaha! I don't really hate anybody. I do dislike things about people. One of the things I most despise is transparent fakeness. At the end of the day be a good actor! If you can't suspend my disbelief then you aren't doing your job. Many queens here in NYC either feel the need to be extra 'bitchy' or extra 'nice' to each other. It's all an act within an act.
"For instance, other queens will go out of their way to deliver a nasty, obviously rehearsed comment to me when really they just want my attention. It's like a little boy pulling the hair of a little girl he likes. Or when a queen has a fake pasted-on smile, again well rehearsed but the delivery sucks and everyone knows she's full of shit. There is one queen for instance that gets onstage and 'reads' people for an hour!! How can you say that is any kind of talent? Those people are defenseless to your ugliness!
"There is another who sings literally the worst opera I have ever heard, but because it's in a bar, people assume that it is good. Just because it's opera, not quality opera. There is another who assumes the role of the 'nice girl', when she shows up late, leaves early, and will actually say she's going to the bathroom and perform somewhere else and come back. Is that 'nice'? No.
"So I don't hate any of these people, I just think that their bullshit is too transparent to be on stage. I HATE that we as Americans can't tell when someones being fake anymore. That social lethargy shows in our taste for music, theatre, and politics. Someone can be the worst liar/actor but if the lighting is right and we're drunk enough we will blindly follow."
Me: "You've been called 'opinionated' as a result of your being so, well, opinionated. Is this a great attribute?"
Epiphany: "I think having an opinion is what 'democracy' is founded on. I believe, though, as time goes on, America is becoming less democratic and more capitalistic. This isn't bad, necessarily. My opinions sometimes cost me jobs and friends. But only because I am unafraid to tell the truth. I question and analyze everything. I'm critical and articulate. This makes me a better person, but it does make people say I'm 'difficult'.
"If me telling the truth gets in the way of your lies, then maybe I'm just 'inconvenient'. From a capitalist's point of view, I am a failure because I don't adhere to the narrow social boundaries predetermined for me. From an artist's point of view, I soar on a cloud of enlightened musical gritty honesty. I am a very tough guy underneath my drag and when push comes to shove, I push back.
"I feel like I'm just an average New Yorker. A piece of this magical puzzle. People just have a hard time finding where I go, for now."
PART TWO TO COME...