If you go to Vancouver and say the name Ponyboy in any queer or artistic circle, it’s likely your fellow queers and artists will know exactly who you’re talking about. Drag king culture thrives in Vancouver. Since arriving on the local (and international) scene, Ponyboy has elevated a tradition built on amateur nights in seedy lesbian bars to David Bowie-worthy glam rock performance art. Here Whiskey Blue* talks with Ponyboy about how it all began and how it’s all still going.
WB: How did you first get into drag?
Ponyboy: In 2007 I moved to Vancouver from Ladner (deep in the surburbs of Vancouver) and started bartending at Lick, Vancouver’s now-defunct dyke bar. The manager at the time was quite supportive of community folks coming in and throwing their own events, often one-offs and fundraisers, so when my birthday rolled around in January of the next year, I proposed doing a benefit party for Greenpeace. A good way to draw a crowd seemed to book entertainment, and although I didn’t know the first thing about drag, the manager put me in touch with one of Vancouver’s ‘veteran’ kings who could help connect me with local performers and book the show. (This king, Sammy Tomato, ended up designing an event poster for me as well which turned into a wonderfully unexpected crash course in event planning.) Sammy ended up daring me to perform in the show myself, and while I was totally nervous and had no idea what I was getting myself into, I accepted the challenge. I kept it a secret from all my guests, even my girlfriend at the time. The event ended up bringing out quite a big crowd, we raised $700 for Greenpeace, everyone loved the show, and a month later, Sammy approached me about teaming up (along with Majik and Edward Malaprop) to start a new monthly drag king night. We had our first “Man Up” that March.
Cassidy Gardner is the founding member of QUEEROCRACY, a New York City-based grassroots organization that promotes social and economic justice through direct action, community engagement and education. They commit to challenging institutional injustice locally and globally within a queer framework, building a sustainable movement to confront and transform the intersecting issues our communities face. We sat down to talk with Cassidy about HIV Criminalization. Her roomie and fellow QROC member, Michael Tikili, put in a surprise appearance as well!
Ella Boureau sat down with Sarah Schulman, activist, teacher and author of 17 books, to discuss her new title Israel/Palestine and the Queer International which came out from Duke University Press in October. It is a fascinating read written in plain English that ties American queer politics to international anti-colonial struggles. A long time hardcore activist in the women’s movement, member of Act-Up, and founder of the Lesbian Avengers, Sarah has a particularly in-depth and long-range view of late twentieth century Leftist organizing, which makes her analysis of Israel/Palestine personal, relatable and pulse with relevance.
Artist and Activist Camilo Godoy is a New School BAFA student, a member of Queerocracy and a recent recipient of Queer Art Mentorship. We sat down to talk with him about him project on immigrant detention centers. We thought it best that with his extensive knowledge of the subject, and the connections he makes, it would be best to split the interview into two parts.Continue reading →
On February 25th and 26th, the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio had its final performance before shutting its doors forever. The last piece, titled: Run Little Girl (after a line from a poem John Cage wrote at age 4), was choreographed by Lindsey Drury, a Seattle native and non-Cunningham dancer. In her own words, Drury states, “Run Little Girl is performed as a folk dance haunted with demons, struggling in schisms between collectivism and individuality, feminism and misogyny, memory and anti-sentimentality, formalism and folk art”. We talk with her about the experience of showing her work in that space, what it meant both to her and in a larger context. Continue reading →