by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Staff Writer
Lukas Kane, one half of the Seattle drag king duo Girls Like Boys, says there are two sides to every coin. While most of the LGBT community is familiar with the long, proud history of traditional drag queens, Kane and company has taken gender-fuck to new heights. For the "boys" of drag king fame, the other side of the drag coin means rockin' songs, sexual innuendo, and gender illusion. On February 28, Girls Like Boys brought their show Homosensual to the unlikeliest of venues: punk rock locale The Funhouse, 206 5th Ave. N.
Kane told SGN that Parker Wood, the other half of Girls Like Boys, is very active in the local music scene, "so he was familiar with the venue." The Funhouse management decided to give the show a stage, but Kane admits they "took a bit of a chance allowing a drag show. Their typical clientele consists of punkers." Not necessarily the same people you would find at a drag show, she said.
Kane has a point. I ventured off the Hill and into the heart of Belltown to review Homosensual. I thought I was going to see yet another drag show with yet another version of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going." Well, drag fans, within seconds of walking into The Funhouse, I was forced to leave all preconceived notions and expectations at the door. This was going to be no celebration of Lady Gaga and Britney; that much I was sure of. I was greeted by paintings of clowns (and not just any clowns, but the angry, evil variety that scare the hell out of you), messy drag queen Phoebe Fondue in her teased and terrible wig, girls who looked like boys, and Jackie Hell's crazy ass walking around with a plastic knife and seriously sadistic face paint. The icing on the cake was the pair of fishnet stocking-clad mannequin legs dangling from the ceiling with a pair of pumps on. The tone had been set, and Homosensual delivered. From beginning to end, the show was unexpected, raw, and downright dirty.
The lineup of performers was a smorgasbord of gender-fuck delight. Aside from Kane and Wood, who acted as stage directors, producers, and event coordinators, the attitude-forward Renten rocked out to Chicago's "Mr. Cellophane" and "Prick" by Animal. The ultra-butch Ceasar Hart, who has the drag king art form down to a science, performed "Hotel Room" by Pitbull, Daughtery's "Life After You," and "I Love College" by Asher Roth. Girls Like Boys opened and closed Homosensual with "Sure Shot" by the Beastie Boys and The Lonely Island's "Jizz in My Pants," respectively.
"The drag king scene is not huge in the Puget Sound area," Kane told SGN. "It's slowly growing. New faces have emerged on the scene, but it is still typically overshadowed by drag queen shows. Wood and I, along with many other performers, are working to expand the king scene in the area. Girls Like Boys drag troupe strives to offer new and exciting things to the drag world."
Kane says Girls Like Boys works very hard to bring something extra to each performance. I'd agree; like their drag queen counterparts, the drag kings changed outfits, styles, and even props for each and every one of the 20 performances at Homosensual.
"Drag is a long standing tradition in the Queer community," Kane said. "Our group has high aspirations to expand on that tradition and bring our audience new-school drag performances that leave them wanting more at the end of the night."
Aside from performing together, Kane and Wood did a number of solo drag king performances, as well. Kane, who has great stage presence, performed songs by Cage the Elephant, Prince, and Atreyu. Wood, who has tons of live performance experience due to his involvement in the local music scene, gave a standout performance of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," "You're The Best Around," and Foreigner's "Juke Box Hero."
"When I started performing last year, I was extremely nervous because, though I'm used to being on stage, doing drag was something new for me," Wood told SGN. "I started out as a drag prince, mainly doing background stuff and helping Kane with his individual numbers. I started coming out of my shell and performing individual numbers last May."
Wood told SGN he loves doing what he does. "I always loved drag kings," he said, "but I always said that I never wanted to actually do it - until I did it. And now I don't know how I ever thought it was something I couldn't do. It comes so naturally and it is so much fun."
In addition to the drag king performances, Homosensual paid homage to traditional drag - but in a very non-traditional way. Kane and Wood enlisted the unique talents of Jackie Hell, Phoebe Fondue and Athena Kiss. Last November, the two met Phoebe at the Referendum 71 Victory Rally and exchanged information. The three began corresponding and planning for a mixed show.
Phoebe Fondue was the first queen to grace the Homosensual stage. Phoebe is unique, to say the least - his whole act is geared towards comedy and musical tragedy. Towering over the audience and dressed like a deranged housewife, Phoebe destroyed Cher three times last Sunday.
Athena Kiss took a more mainstream pop approach to her two flawless performances of Pink's "Funhouse" and Beyoncé's "Sweet Dreams."
And then there was Jackie Hell. There's a lot to be said for originality, and in the realm of individuality, Jackie reigns supreme. Dressed like a cross between a church lady and a bag lady, Jackie performed two original songs that were as shocking as they were entertaining.
After the drag portion of Homosensual, Pacific Northwest singer/songwriter Jade Jericho performed a live music set. Jericho, who has found success with her openly Lesbian and pro-Gay lyrics, was the perfect choice for the live portion of the show. Foxy, fun, and candy-coated, her music is infectious.
"We enjoy doing the mixed shows because it seems to appeal a bit more to the audience as well as draw a bigger crowd out since we have supporters and fans of both sides of the drag coin," said Kane. "For each show, we try to provide great entertainment and enough innuendo and downright blatant sexuality to entice the audience back."
"I think we need to showcase a lot more drag shows in the community, especially in Seattle," Wood told SGN. "Drag queens are more prominent than kings in Seattle. Most of the kings are in Tacoma and Olympia, and not everyone can find their way down there that often. Drag is a great way to meet new people and experience something a little bit different."
Wood says drag performances do not have to be limited to bars and clubs. "I am hoping in the future, we do a lot of all-ages drag shows lined up in the area. Drag isn't just for adults," he said.
Kane told SGN that Girls Like Boys is always on the lookout for venues to host shows, in and out of town. For more information about the group, visit them online at www.myspace.com/girlslikeboys_drag.
"This is our passion," said Kane. "This is something we love to do, and we want to make it the best experience we can for all the people that walk through the doors to see our show."
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