Kate Middleton’s Cousin Katrina Darling on Her ‘Playboy’ Debut & Burlesque Tonight

So the summer is over according to everybody except my really smart smartphone which swears I have another couple of weeks till fall. To add to the confusion, Fashion Week is upon us and it’s celebrating spring 2013. Tonight, down at Demi Monde, Katrina Darling – the second cousin of Kate Middleton – will perform her burlesque routine. Darling will join my favorite double entendre DJ Miss Guy and the princely but not really truly royalty DJ Prince Terrence for a soiree. The event is to celebrate her cover of Playboy, although "Playboy is not a sponsor of this event.”  I’m completely confused but feel comfy as the always enlightening Lyle Derek, Patrick Duffy, and Kimyon Huggins will surely fill in my blanks. Katrina was a burlesque queen before she fell into this Middleton muddle and is enjoying the luck.

Burlesque troupe Lady Circus will also provide some flesh for fantasy. Now the whole shebang will take place down at the aptly-addressed 90 "Broad" Street. There is also a celebration of Elle Macpherson’s new lingerie line "Intimates" and rock goddess Theo Kagin’s new makeup line “Armour Beauty.”

I caught up with Katrina Darling and asked her all about it

So you are coming back to the USA for a show at Demi Monde… what did you learn from your previous NYC burlesque experience, and how will it affect this performance?
With every performance, the venues and the audiences are different, so I’m always adapting and tweaking things to fit. I know that this time around the audience will be at a safer distance as I’m using fire in my performance.

Did you get to meet NYC’s burlesque queens?
Not whilst in New York, however the guys from The Slipper Room did two shows in Edinburgh and Glasgow a couple of years back, and I saw Julie Atlas Muze, Ms. Tickle, and many more. They’re two of my favorite performers; I’m more into the bawdy, provocative, modern burlesque than the mainstream stuff.

This cousin Kate thing… is it her problem, your problem, or anybody’s problem. Has anyone "talked" to you?
I don’t think it’s anybody’s problem! I’m a distant relative. I’ve been performing since I was 18. I’m not going to stop expressing myself through my art because some British journo showed up on my parent’s doorstep and decided to “out” me because I did  a “God Save the Queen” act (I’m not the first girl to do a royalty-themed act). You deal the hand life throws at you and mine seems to be unfolding with some happy coincidences. That’s all. Katrina Darling

What attracted you to this ancient art form, and where do you want to take it? With your new notoriety, has it become your entire world?
Well, as a child I was a show-off, and as a teen I dispelled my angst by performing in music bands. But as a young adult I stumbled across burlesque and toyed with my sexuality. I grew up in a small town and come from humble means; the gift of being able to express myself was a form of escapism for me. Being able to create a fantasy world is what I’ve been doing since I’ve had an imagination. I prefer a modern take on burlesque; for me, if the art form is to last it needs to evolve past nostalgia and into the present. As an entertainer, I love to parody the present pop culture and explore new skill sets. Ten minutes on stage isn’t too long, so you gotta make them remember it. As for the future, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Playboycalled, and you said yes. Why did you do it? Was the money the primary factor or does it define you as your own person and, of course, drive your brand?
I’ve spent a lot of time admiring beautiful women and great minds. For me, it’s a privilege to be accepted into an institution and be a part of that history, alongside beautiful women and great minds. I had an amazing time working with everyone on set shooting the cover spread, and I’m proud of what was created.

What have you gained and what have you lost?
Reaffirmation that I am always going to be very decidedly myself, my mind, and my hair.

Your act includes “God Save the Queen.” Tell me about what you are saying with this royal reference.
When I created this act I was hanging out with a lot of the older punks in my area. They were pretty split on their ideals, but when discussing monarchy I was pretty much on the fence, listening to both sides of the argument. I guess, in my naivety, I thought the problem was I couldn’t relate since I came from such a different world. Which then led to me parodying this in my act. 

Speaking of queens, you have large – how shall I put it? – broad appeal in the gay community. Tell me about that.
Well, someone asked me the other day if I thought it was weird for me to go on stage with my tittles out, having men gawk. I said "it’s not just straight men that come to shows; it’s straight women, lesbians, gays, trans, queens, blacks, white, Asians, Indians, young, old, rich, and those who don’t have two £1’s to rub together." And I’m humbled by everyone who takes time out of their life to watch me perform.

Your gigs are timed with NYC Fashion Week. Will you attend some shows? What appeals to you?
I am very excited for Fashion Week and I’m scheduling in as much as I can, including Marc Jacobs and The Blonds. However, as this is my first Fashion Week, I am more than open to show suggestions. I just want to absorb it and have a great time!

If Kate called you on the cell.. what would you say to her?
"Fancy a cuppa?" – tea, that is.

Katrina Darling

God Save the Queens: Star-Studded Benefit for Russia’s LGBT Community

The new Secretary of State at the Vatican, Pietro Parolin, said the other day that the subject of celibacy within the church is open to discussion. Responding to a question during an interview with Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, the man regarded as "the most powerful official at the Vatican after the pontiff," said, "Celibacy is not an institution but look, it is also true that you can discuss [it] because as you say this is not a dogma, a dogma of the church."

"The efforts that the church made to keep ecclesiastical celibacy, to impose ecclesiastical celibacy, have to be taken into consideration," added the 58-year-old prelate from Italy. "One cannot say simply that this belongs in the past." (Now if i can only get this guy to talk to my girlfriend.)

The world is changing. Amid the usual doom and gloom, skirmishes, war and all the tragedy our media shows us, there are movements forward. I was the best man at a wedding between two women the other day. Rights and fair play are at least discussed. Society is more forgiving. Lindsay Lohan will get another chance. And we almost forgave Weiner and Spitzer—which is destined to be a talk show…OMG a reality show! How fun!

But then we have Russia. Vladimir Putin—who looks like the gayest man alive in every photo I’ve seen him in—is leading a regime of oppression against LGBT citizens of his beloved homeland. An event to raise awareness and loot to support our oppressed friends over there entitled "God Save the Queens" will light up XL Nightclub on Saturday night beginning at 7pm.

Lyle Derek and Noah Valentyn have put this shindig together and they should be rewarded for their efforts. By all means attend and tell everyone you know about it. Things can be done! I mean is any gay bar or club selling Stoli anymore? Shouldn’t all the clubs take a stand on this? I say fuck ’em in the wallets…It always works with my girlfriend.

A star-studded benefit for Russia’s LGBT community, God Save the Queens! To Moscow, With Love, will feature performances by Katrina Darling, Joey Arias, Miss Guy, Sherry Vine, Mistress Formika, Tina Burner, Dallas DuBois, Maddelynn Hatter, Michael Cavadias and Cher Noble.

Miss Guy will also DJ. I am assured there will be some surprises as well. It’s $20 at the door, shows at 7:30 and 9:30. The gala is hosted by Mudhoney Salon and Any Old Iron. Your door dollars will benefit the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, which is working to stop the violence in Russia.

Lyle sent me this:

Hi Friends:

I hope this finds you well. I am producing a party next Saturday that is a real labor of love! This party is supporting a friend’s organization called the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance which is working on the sad situation in Russia for our LGBT brothers and sisters.

Of all my events over the years I am so proud of this one. And it really needs your support and I would love it if you could join us and get tickets for this wonderful group who are taking direct action. Let’s all come together on this night and celebrate and send Moscow lots of love!

I would truly appreciate it if you would get tickets to this one and if you cannot go please spread this around on Facebook and emails, etc. Let’s show Russia some real New York love!

And the show is one of the most exciting NY line ups in ages—and we have some real surprises in store too! I hope to see you there and share a Pink Russian with you!

xoxox

Lyle

I had a chance to ask Lyle some questions.

What is the situation for LGBT people in Russia?

We have spoken to some of the queens in Russia and as we all know, it is rough for them, but they have a thriving gay scene and drag scene despite it all. Russians are a very strong and resilient people, but I am by no means an expert on this issue. Like many, I am just concerned and this is a sad state in this day and age. We have come so far and had such a great year here and it’s like the dark ages there.

What do you hope to accomplish with this event?

We hope to raise awareness for the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, and some funds would be great too. They are friends of ours and we want to help them. They are from Russia and working in Washington now on this issue directly. They will be at our event Saturday and will speak about what is going on and they know much more about what is going on than I do, so we hope everyone comes, we all get the facts and the night makes an impact.

What is going to happen at the event?

"God Save the Queens" is really a drag spectacular with Mistress Formika doing a rare drag appearance. We have the legendary Joey Arias and Sherry Vine and many more who will do numbers in the theme and spirit of our event. The scandalous Katrina Darling who ruffled the real queens’ feathers last year with her Playboy spread will open the show with a sexy burlesque number and Miss Guy is going to close the night with his new track "God Save New York," which he did with Debbie Harry.

Are you excited about doing this at XL?

Doing this at XL made so much sense as they are the epicenter of gay culture and are doing it with such class. A lot of venues wanted this show but XL at The Out Hotel just made perfect sense to us and we will be doing another God Save the Queens right before the Olympics and in London and Los Angeles to continue to help the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance. The one thing this is doing is bringing the global LGBT community together and that is good. It’s going to just grow before the Olympics.

Is there hope?

Of course there is always hope. Look at the great year we had with the Supreme Court. It was a long road to that victory. And Russia will be next.

What do you feel is appropriate regarding the Olympics in Russia? A ban? A boycott of advertisers? An armband of solidarity?

We need to take our anger to the Olympic Committee and the government, not companies that have nothing to do with Putin or his policies. I think the blogger Dan Savage was very irresponsible by putting false information about Stoli out there and started this boycott. All of our performers find that a waste of time and Stoli has been supportive of LGBT events for decades and continue to be. We should all stand together, not have this animosity for folks who our on our side.

Are Russian gays eligible for political amnesty in the USA?

I am not sure if they are, but after Russia took in Edward Snowden, I hope our country would welcome the queens from Russia. Gays never give up secrets.

Get "God Save the Queens" tickets here!

 

image of Joey Arias via