I’ve always wanted to be a drag queen. Impossibly tall, with big hair and overwrought, glamorous dresses, drag queens are the opposite of my mousy five feet tall self. I’ve always envied their makeup skills, which are so impractical, yet fabulous. I would stare at Jackie Beat and watch her do her makeup and whimper, “Jackie will you show me how?” as if I was a little girl watching her big sister. So when I got the email, inviting people to come to the tranimal makeover at Machine Project, I was intrigued. What is a tranimal, and how do they do it? Would the secrets of the drag universe be revealed?
Not really. Squeaky Blonde and Fade-Dra are not your mother’s drag queens. “We’re not real drag queens. We’re gutter whores. We’re tranimals,” said Squeaky, out of drag, with a head full of white paint on his hair (yes, actual house paint). It’s an apt description. The room was filled with bright young perky things, lining up first to get their before picture by Austin Young, one of two the brainchilds behind the documentary, Ultra Fabulous, Beyond Drag, screening tomorrow night at the Downtown Independent Theatre. (The other is Saskia Wilson-Brown). After the “before” state was documented, the kiddies gamely lined up conveyer belt-style to get re-done in Squeaky Blonde and Fade-Dra’s image. The results were not pretty, but filthy gorgeous.
We deduced how one becomes a tranimal. First, you need fishnet stockings in a bright-colored hue—or nude stockings. This goes over your head, bank robber style. If you are using the fishnet they cut holes for eyes, ears, and nose, and sometimes mouth. If you are using the hose, they paint you a whole new face over the top which is totally creepy.
Then, you fill those orifices with makeup, preferably colors that are the polar opposite of what is on your head.
You will need glitter and a Sharpie and an airbrushing machine. Adorn the head with a wig, again, preferably a color not found in nature. Add accoutrements—tutus, tulle, feather boas, rings. Adopt an attitude. Either a “work it, girl,” or “menacing serial killer from the Midwest.” Take your picture.
There were two different kinds of tranimals, a glamorous tranimal (the prettiest was a girl in silver gloves and pink and blue mask and makeup.) Two large men, with full beards were working the scary tranimal look. They stood menacingly in the corner and glared at everyone. Later, after they de-tranimaled themselves, they were revealed to be mere humans.
As the room filled up with the bastard cousins of Leigh Bowery—all bright red, yellow, slit faces, and outrageous nonsensical outfits—a man clutching a camera exclaimed, “I don’t know who anyone is anymore!” The plan was for the newly done tranimals to go to Mustache Mondays where it was rumored that Peaches was supposed to DJ. I am not sure if she showed up, it was rumored her boyfriend wasn’t feeling well, but I’m sure she would have been proud at the sight of so many unsightly creatures of the night.Ultra Fabulous, Beyond Drag screens tomorrow at the Downtown Independent Theatre at 7:45.