ABOUT THE SHOW

Welcome to Drag King Legends, an online event to honor the Drag Kings with 25 years or more experience. This event will be the first of its kind to showcase the legendary Drag Kings who have kept this art form going and who have contributed to our community. Legendary co-producers: Flarington King, Fudgie Frottage, Ken Vegas, and Mo B. Dick teamed up to create this phenomenal show. Please join us for this landmark night that will inform, excite, and entertain you.
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DRAG KING LEGENDS MERCHANDISE
TIP THE KINGS

MC’d by your host with the most,
The Legendary Mo B. Dick

Mo B. Dick
New York City, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Started in 1995

Mo B. Dick started in 1995 in NYC where he produced and hosted the world’s first weekly Drag King party called Club Casanova. The Men of Club Casanova hit the road to tour US & Canada 3 times. Film director John Waters hand-picked Mo to be in his film, Pecker. He’s been heavily featured in books, documentaries, articles, periodicals, podcasts etc on Drag Kings. In 2018, Mo teamed up with Ken Vegas to co-create the website Drag King History.com which is now being archived in the US Library of Congress. In 2020, Mo co-produced and hosted Kings of the World, a global cyber Drag King variety show. Check out: https://mrmobdick.com/

– 1996: Produced/hosted Club Casanova, the world’s 1st weekly DK party

– 1998, 2001, 2002: produced, hosted & performed in The Men of Club Casanova, 1st ever DK tours of US and CN

– 1998: John Waters film Pecker premiered, John hand-picked Mo to play T-Bone the stripper with a Drag King twist

– 1998: H/X for Her Award for best Drag King

– 1999: featured in The Drag King Book by Judith “Jack” Halberstam & Del LaGrace Volcano, it was the 1st book about and for DK’s

– 1999: The Men of Club Casanova performed in Vienna, Austria & Lucerne, Switzerland

– 1999: MC’d and performed at Midwest BLGT College Conference in Madison, WI

– 1999, 2000 films & docu’s premiered:

– Terror Firmer by Troma

– Gendernaughts: A Journey Through Shifting Identities by Monika Treut

– History Lessons film by Barbara Hammer

– God Shave the Queen documentary for HBO

– SEX 2K: Drag Kings documentary for MTV

– Downtown Darlings documentary  by Dan Falcone for Sundance

– 2000: performed in Sydney & Melbourne AU (at midsumma LGBT Festival)

– 2002: Venus Boyz  documentary by Gabriel Baur premiered

– 2013: Super Fun Night by Rebel Wilson in pilot episode as Drag King party go-er

– 2012, 2014, 2015:  guest judge at annual SF Drag King Contest

– 2018: Co-created dragkinghistory.com with Ken Vegas & now archived in US Library of Congress

– 2018: Austin International Drag Festival – co-presented Drag King History workshop

– 2019: Milton Fringe Festival – MC’d Fri night show and co-presented Drag King History workshop

– 2019: Queer Forms – multidisciplinary group exhibition at Katherine E . Nash Gallery

– 2020: co-produced & hosted Kings of the World with Johnny Gentleman & Pelvis Breastly

– 2020: DragKingHistory.com accepted into THe US Library of Congress archives

– 2020: 1st DK to trademark a stage name

– 2021: Co-produced Drag King Legends show with Flare, Fudgie Frottage, and Ken Vegas

THE LINE-UP OF LEGENDS

Murray Hill
New York City, NY
Started in 1996
Photo: © Gregory Kramer

NYC legend, comedian, host, and international entertainer MURRAY HILL is Mr. Showbiz. He’s a relentless shtick slinger, larger-than-life personality, and freewheeling ad-libber. Murray was awarded The New York Voices commission from Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater and debuted ABOUT TO BREAK directed by Scott Wittman. In 2021, he’ll be a recurring character in two new series: Amy Schumer’s Love Beth (Hulu), Bridget Everett’s Somebody Somewhere (HBO) and will be featured in an episode of Paul Feig’s This Country (FOX). He’s been flexing his comedy chops touring with comedian/singer BRIDGET EVERETT, COUNTESS LUAAN from The Real Housewives of New York, and Bally’s in Las Vegas. He was the first guest on AMY SCHUMER’s podcast on Spotify. He debuted solo stand-up shows at JUST FOR LAUGHS and EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL. He’s currently writing a book, developing a TV show, and trying to lose 2-3 pounds before 2022.

For ten years, he toured the U.S. as the original host with burlesque superstar DITA VON TEESE and hosted her historic debut sold-out Australian tour. He’s performed two seasons at The Sydney Opera House starring in CLUB SWIZZLE which went on to tour major festivals. He starred in his own pop culture show on MTV’s digital network entitled SHOWBIZ and was the U.S. Showbiz Correspondent for Channel 4 in UK. Murray’s other television appearances include: TLC’s LI Medium, LOGO’s New Now Next and Cocktails & Classics, HBO’s Bored to Death, BRAVO’s Watch What Happens Live, HBO’s Taxi Cab Confessions, BRAVO’s Real Housewives of New York, and music videos for PEACHES, COUNTESS LUANN, TV ON THE RADIO, THE REGRETTES, JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN, BRIDGET EVERETT and GOSSIP.

The New York Times anointed Murray “Downtown’s New ‘It’ Boy.” He’s been included in “Best of New York” lists in the Village Voice, Time Out, PAPER, New York Magazine; inducted into PAPER’s Nightlife Hall of Fame; selected as OUT magazine’s Top 100 influential performers twice; included in New York Magazine’s “Fifty Most Iconic Gender Benders of All Time,” PAPER’s “Top Ten ‘It’ Boys in NYC Nightlife History,” and named one of the Top 12 gender-bending performers in NYC by Time Out.

Murray is New York’s “reigning patriarch of downtown performance” (New York Times). His eponymous The Murray Hill Show was the hottest ticket in town for a decade at such notorious joints as Fez, Mo Pitkin’s, and The Zipper. Murray’s annual sold-out A Murray Little Christmas is a “downtown institution” (New York Times). Dubbed “The King of Comedy” by Time Out, he’s performed his comedy at top showrooms like Upright Citizen’s Brigade, Gotham Comedy Club, Comix, LA’s Billy Wilder Theater, and headlined his own show at Caroline’s on Broadway.

As “the emcee of choice” (New York Magazine) in the neo-burlesque scene, Murray has hosted shows all over the world from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Canada, UK, and more. This is Burlesque, the Off-Off-Broadway show Murray starred in and co-created, ran for over a year to packed houses. At London’s Arts Theatre, Murray was the host for the Immodesty Blaize Burlesque Show, the first-ever show of its kind at the historic West End venue. He’s also hosted sold-out burlesque shows at the Bloomsbury Ballroom (London), MTV Italia’s opening party for the Venice Film Festival, NY International Burlesque Festival, The Birchmere (Virginia), and Just For Laughs (Montreal) directed by Thierry Mugler.

Murray crosses over to many scenes, and has toured with Le Tigre, The Gossip, and introduced the Beastie Boys, Antony, and The Johnsons, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, to name a few. Murray starred in the internationally released video for Gossip’s Listen Up and was featured in Le Tigre and Scissor Sisters videos. His film credits include roles in Florent, We are the Hartmans, House of Satisfaction, Maria and Bruce, and John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus. He has been the subject of books, documentaries, podcasts, and radio programs. Murray has been welcomed in the halls of academia as a lecturer and performer. Murray is featured in two new books: DRAGS by Gregory Kramer and Gotta Get Bigger Dreams by Alan Cumming and has an essay included in Dan Savage’s book It Gets Better. The City of New York awarded Murray a Citation for his positive impact on the LGBT community in Brooklyn.

MILESTONES:

• Starring in show Club Swizzle at The Sydney Opera House and being on billboards, bus stations and cabs ads with pix and listed as “Murray Hill” – without a label or precursor

• Cast as a regular character on 2 upcoming TV shows: Amy Schumer’s “Love Beth” (Hulu) and Bridget Everett’s “Somebody Somewhere” (hbo)

• Star in an episode of a new show “This Country” on Fox

• Running for Mayor of New York in 1996

• Touring the US & AUS with Dita Von Teese as MC for a decade

• First guy like us to headline show at Caroline’s Comedy Club on Broadway

• Received grant/commission New York Voices at Joe’s Pub/Public Theater to create a one-man-show “About To Break”

• Producing and hosting Miss LEZ Pageant, Mr. Transman, and Drag King International shows

• Being on a panel with Elaine Stritch

• Meeting Don Rickles

• Making a living, against all odds, in NYC as a performer for 25 + years and I’m still alive and kicking!!!

Leigh Crow/Elvis Herselvis
San Francisco, CA
Started in 1989

Leigh Crow is a Drag King and gender-bending cabaret singer who gained notoriety as Elvis Herselvis, the world’s first female Elvis Impersonator. Her Drag King career started in December 1989 at Nancy Kravitz’s rock’n’roll lesbian party, Female Trouble in San Francisco. In 1995 Leigh and fellow performer Annie Toone created SF’s first Drag King musical, The Hillbilly Kings, and they became the first Drag Kings to perform at Wigstock, Trannyshack and the first FTM Conference of The Americas. And that same year, Elvis Herselvis went down under to perform and MC at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Australia, the Melbourne Gay Pride, and was given the key to the city in Hobart,Tazmania.

In her 31 years of performing, Leigh has been featured in Drag shows, independent films. feature films, musicals, rock bands. music videos. documentaries, and on stages all over the world. She has produced, written and starred in Drag King theatre productions such as the wildly popular Hillbillies on the Moon and starred as Captain Kirk in Star Trek Live at the SF Oasis Club. She fronted and toured with her bands: Elvis Herselvis and the Straight White Males, and the Mighty Slim Pickins.

Since 2016, Leigh has been co-producing the monthly show, Dandy Drag King Cabaret with her partner Ruby Vixenn. And currently Leigh is writing and recording an original EP called “Rhymes With Loretta” with her Queer Country Band ‘Velvetta’.

Fudgie Frottage
San Francisco, CA
Started in 1995
Photo © Larry Utley

Fudgie Frottage

SF underground icon best known as impresario and emcee of the Annual San Francisco Drag King Contest is The Man With The Biggest Balls in Show Business.

As an entertainer, the artist formerly known as Lu Read, started performing drag back in the 80’s as a singer and guitarist fronting a huge Motown cover band which incorporated notorious drag trendsetters: Doris Fish and the Sluts A-Go-Go.

Lu Read began promoting club events in 1988, teaming acts like The Del Rubio Triplets with fellow drag artists who relished in outrageous, bizarre, and hilarious performances.
In 1993, Lu masterminded Merkinstock as a West Coast response to Lady Bunny’s Wigstock.
With so many talented Queens and a burgeoning number of Kings anxious to entertain, DragStrip was launched by Read as a monthly showcase of both Drag and Strip/Burlesque acts – to top it off a Fetish Lounge, “Dungeons and Drag Queens” was incorporated. Every show benefitted local charities like PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) and other AIDS non-profits.

DragStrip and SFDK has featured international stars like: Holly Woodlawn, Justin Vivian Bond, Jane Wiedlin, Animal, Landon Cider, Vinsantos, Kitten on the Keys and more.

Fudgie was voted best Drag King 2020 in the BAR Besties poll. He has also hosted and appeared on the SF Pride Main Stage, Folsom Street Fair, The Warfield, Regency, Castro and Kabuki Theaters, and every last underground bastion that makes San Francisco the wild, gay, charming, and eccentric City it is.

Fudgie has been recognized by the State of California with proclamations thanking him for his creativity, performance, and celebration of the diversity of gender.

As an actor, Fudgie’s favorite film appearance to date is “Hush Up Sweet Charlotte” where he shared a scene with Dreamlander cult goddess, Mink Stole.

Fudgie has also worked as an Andy Warhol impersonator and somewhat recently debuted a new drag alter ego character, Byrd Turgler, his cousin from Calabria, who sings in Italian.

Fudgie Frottage’s Dazzling Array of Appearances and Production include:

MOVIES
Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, Billy Clift, 2015

Lulu Gets a Facelift, Marc Huestis, 2006

El Presidente, Anne Geezman/ ISW, 2005

Strap ‘Em Down, Ann Meredith, 2002

Virtue, Esther Paik/Camera Obscura, 1997

Gendernauts – Monica Treut, 1997

TELEVISION
Hey USA, 2015

The Tyra Banks Show, 2005

Dog Eat Dog (NBC), 2003

Reality Check, SF cable, 2001

Canned Peaches, SF cable, Peaches Christ, 2000

The Maury Povitch Show, 1999

Lavender Lounge, Mark Kleim, 1996

THEATRE and NIGHT CLUB
SF Drag King Contest, Producer / MC, 1997 – present

DragStrip, Producer, Emcee 1995 – present

The Dong Show, Producer / MC, 2017

Co-Producer: Lady Bunny, Trans-Jester SF, 2017

Chez Badunkadunk, 2013 – 2014

Ghostlight, Theatre St. Marks, — The Jackie Factory, NYC 2011

Warhol Live, The DeYoung Museum, Andy impersonator, 2009

Exotic Erotic Ball, MC 2007-2009

Mondo Porno SF, Co-producer, MC, 2005 – 2007

Smutfest, co-MC w Jennifer Blowdryer, 2006

Fudgie Fridays, MC, weekly show at the Transfer, 2006

Village Peeps, performer, Don’t Stop The Music, Castro Theatre, 2002

Murray Hill’s Drag King Invitational, NYC 2001, performer

Gomorrah, Club True, NYC, 2001, performer.

Village Voice Radio, Robin Byrd, guest, 2001

House of (Mo B.) Dick, Kings of the Road Tour, 1998, promoter, host and MC.

More For Les — Leslie Feinberg Benefit,  Co-Producer, 1997

Club Throne, Where Kings Cum, 1997, producer, MC.

Transfusion Smackdown, Drag wrestling, Producer and MC, 1997

Wigstock West, Consultant, 1996

A John Waters Xmas, Castro Theatre, 1996, performer.

Burning Woman, Flaming Queen, 1996 and 1999

Merkinstock, Producer and performer, 1993 and 1999

Still Alive, Doris Fish Benefit, 1989, performer.

Booking Agent for The Del Rubio Triplets, 1988

Singer and guitarist with Zazu Pitts Memorial Orchestra, 1983 – 1985

DISCOGRAPHY
First I Look At The Purse, Single 2021

Padded Bra, Single, 2009

Pass the Fudge, Single, 2008

Cock of the Bay, single, 2007

Sweet Pee, single 2004

To Sir Fudgie With Love, single 2003

Mama Told Me Not to Cum, single, 2001

BiValves for Breakfast, with the Androgyneous Androids, 2001

Porn Star, single, 2000

BOOKS
Genderqueer, Dave Naz, 2014

Iron Glove, Velvet Fist, Larry Utley, 2004

Bridge Markland
Berlin, Germany
Started in 1990

The Berlin performer Bridge Markland is a virtuoso of role play + transformation. An artist who crosses boundaries between dance, theatre, gender performance, cabaret + puppet theatre. Since 1985 she has been performing on stages around the world. Bridge is a pioneer of Drag + Gender Performance in Germany and organized Drag King events, tours and festivals between 1994 – 2002.

Del LaGrace Volcano
Middle of Sweden
Started in 1995

Del LaGrace Volcano is considered to be one of instigators of queer LGBTQI culture with a working practice that not only documents a ‘queer time and place’ but are also iconic testaments to the love, lust, and burning desire to defy the forces that seek to destroy, disrespect and deactivate us.

Volcano has produced five photographic monographs: Love Bites (1991), The Drag King Book with Jack Halberstam (1999), Sublime Mutations (2000), Sex Works with Beatriz Preciado (2005) and Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities with Ulrika Dahl (2008).

Recent photographic exhibitions include: Kiss My Genders at the Hayward Gallery in London, 2019, ABOUT FACE, Wrightwood 659, Chicago, 2019 and a Retrospective at The Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Arts, Skopje.

Sexy Galexy
Sydney, Australia
Started in 1993

Performing as a King and a Queen in the 90’s, it wasn’t until the 1998 that Sexy settled on the look and King persona of Sexy Galexy. His career took many years to take off and after 9 years of performing, His nights and performances gained the attention and momentum he’d always dreamed of, and finally performing full time as a successful Drag King. Having performed all over the world throughout his 27 year career, the Original Glamourboi is Glitz, Glam, Masc and Fem, a Get Down Boogie man, all wrapped up in a disco loving, muscle flexing, more-of-a-woman-when-he’s-a-man Man.

1 – The first Drag King lead performer at Sleaze Ball Sydney ( a huge Mardi Gras fund raiser) performing in front of thousands.

2 – Performing for a Main show at Mardi Gras Party 2005.

3 – Creating 2 very successful Drag king nights in Sydney, one weekly and one monthly show where I produced group production shows.

4 – Convincing The Drag Industry Variety Awards Sydney ( DIVA awards ) to include Drag Kings , and winning the title for 3 years until I left Australia.

5 – Co-hosting The Sydney Mardi Gras parade with Queer TV for 3 years.

6 – Pushing the Sexism boundaries in the LGBTIQ community and being the first Drag King to perform in an all male venue, The Northcote Hotel.

7 – The first Drag King to work along side the Drag Queens in weekly production shows in Sydney.

8 – Writing, producing and performing a one wo-man show – Manliness.

9 – The First Drag King show at Brighton Pride 2009.

10 – Creating a 3 month community Drag king workshop in Amsterdam – developing a show with non performers and performers. Performing at one of the biggest parties of the year for World Aids day 2011.

11 – After all these years, struggling with sexism within the LGBTIQ, constantly being overlooked, shoved into a backroom to perform, not being seen as an equal, I have accomplished some incredible feats. Drag has helped me overcome some terrible mental health issues and I sit here writing this today feeling proud and thinking of the amazing things that I still want to create.

Deb “Dirk” Pearce
Toronto, Canada
Started in 1993

Deb Pearce is an MC, radio/tv host and has been entertaining audiences throughout North America for over 30 years with her quick wit and charm. Some of her many accomplishments include hosting the opening ceremonies of World Pride, creating and hosting an award-winning tv show-‘foQus with Deb Pearce’ and hosting the travel show- BUMP! on OUTTV. Her sense of community is unwavering and unapologetic. Deb is a drag king, singer, comic, and more. She’s bold, she’s funny and she’s thrilled to be included in this wonderful event.

Performing with and introducing Lady Gaga in Chicago at ‘Gays Got Talent, at the cusp of their success in 2008 with the release of ‘Poker Face’, performing in drag on stage with Cyndi Lauper in 2001, performing in drag with Flare and Christopher Noelle on ‘Queer as Folk’, MC’ing Toronto Pride main stages for over 25 years – including World Pride Opening Ceremonies in 2014, MC’ing Washington Pride in 2008, interviewing kd lang, Debbie Harry (Blondie), Lady Gaga, The Indigo Girls, and more for both radio and television and giving youth mentoring workshops regarding drag kinging/make-up, etc. at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Flarington King aka Flare
Toronto, Canada
Started in 1995

Flarington King also known as Flare started in 1995 in Thunder Bay, then performed one year in Vancouver before moving to Toronto where they started producing with The Fabulous Toronto Drag Kings.  After attending the first IDKE in 1999, Flare joined the IDKE Steering Committee, created the first international Drag King Film Festival, and co-produced with Christopher Noel and Deb “Dirk” Pearce, Toronto’s first international drag king show “United Kingdom”

A filmmaker and documentation Flare co-produced with Meaghan Derynk the documentary”A Drag King Extravaganza” distributed by Frameline, and used at Harvard and Princeton.

Flare was a headliner at The Great Big International Drag King show and three times at the Austin International Drag Festival.

They are a documentarian, a historian, and an international producer (even co-producing this show Drag King Legends).

Ken Vegas
Washington, DC
Started in 1996

Kendra Kuliga is a producer and a drag king legend known as Ken Vegas. Started his hand at being a drag king in December 1996 as a contestant in a Drag King Contest in Washington DC, which was a fundraiser for the DC Dyke March produced by the Lesbian Avengers. The 1st time a very socially awkward Ken took the stage, the king fever took over and he let loose one heck of a performance that won him 1st place. Having a chance to step into another character gave Ken a confidence that he never felt before and he was hooked. He wanted to explore why people treated him differently when he was in Drag so performing and being in public in drag became an experiment in people’s perceptions of gender roles.

In 1999 Lizerace (NY Drag King) told Ken about a new conference called the International Drag King Extravaganza in Columbus, Ohio. Ken was curious to meet other Drag Kings and to see what the kings were doing. This was before the internet and youtube. We had to actually go to shows to see what was happening. The experience of attending the 1st IDKE was so impactful and intense that Ken wanted to share the message of being respectful and supportive to fellow kings rather than be competitive.

Ken also met his future best friend King Flare from the Toronto Drag Kings during that trip which started a friendship of sharing ideas of producing and performing that has spanned over 20 years. When Ken was given the opportunity to form the troupe the DC Kings in March of 2000, he wanted to share what he learned from IDKE and create a space of not only exploring gender but to also encourage all members of the troupe to be empowered on and off stage while respecting and supporting their fellow kings. This formula worked for 15 years where Ken was able to induct over 400 Drag Kings into the DC Kings. With so many talented kings, we needed spaces to perform. Our original home was Chaos which the owner Carlos Aguilar gave us the opportunity to hold month monthly shows on Wednesday nights (2000-2008), Joey O from Apex offered us a big stage to perform monthly on Saturday nights (2002-2011), and our local Lesbian Bar Phase One offered us a monthly Sunday night shows (2004-2015). Having these various spaces gave us room to tailor each show to meet the needs of each venue and audience. Which in turn gave the kings spaces where they felt like they could shine. Ken sadly retired the DC Kings in 2015 to focus on his career as a graphic designer. He is happy to see the king scene continue to thrive.

One of Ken’s love of producing took new heights after attending IDKE. He wondered what would happen if he could produce an invite only show where the king troupes from all over the world who were pushing the boundaries of performance could have a space to really highlight their act. To have the best sound and lighting system and a stage that really made them look like rockstars…he found a way to produce the Great Big International Drag King Show. This show invited kings from all over the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Italy and always held several spots for the DC Kings to take their performance to the next level. The show started at the Black Cat (Washington, DC) from 2001-2003 and then moved to the 9:30 Club (Washington, DC) from 2004-2007. The largest Great Big was in 2007 where there were 135 performers who performed in front of an audience of 1000 people. Being a part of the new Modern Drag King movement Ken realized the importance of documenting what was taking place in the Drag King scene as it evolved. He self-published King Magazine in 2000 which focused on IDKE 2 by documenting who was there and recording history as it was happening. Later Ken teamed up with Carlos Las Vegas to produce Kingdom Magazine to explore the king scenes from all over the world. There were interviews, photographs of Drag King shows, and a Drag King Art section where kings could submit their Drag King art. They produced 4 bi-annual volumes (2001-2003).

Ken is currently working with Mo B. Dick on the dragkinghistory.com website documenting the history of performance starting with the Tang Dynasty (618 AD) to today. The importance of recording history and honoring those who came before us is paramount to Ken’s heart. As we can not appreciate where we are if we are disconnected from our roots. History gives our art depth. Ken’s love of Drag Kinging has spanned over 25 years and he is excited about the Drag King Tribute Show. What a fantastic concept and nod to all who have come before.

Toe B.
Columbus, OH
Started in 1995

Heidi Madsen spends all of her time doing creative things for good causes, supporting good causes creatively, and creatively causing good. Based in Columbus Ohio, Madsen creates awareness of social issues through live performance. You will most often see her clowning, dancing and/or performing as a drag king to get her point across. As a community leader, she is co-founder of the Super Art League – a league of super artists integrating visual art and performance art to teach children self-confidence and leadership skills. Artistically, she is focused on bringing mixed media installation and sculpture to life through performance art.

Co-founder H.I.S. Kings, Co-founder International Drag King Community Extravaganza (IDKcE), Board Member Ohio AIDS Coalition, Co-creator of Gender Norm Exploration (GeNiE) Workshop, Author of the play “From Sister to Mister”, Professional Clown, Steering Committee Member of Creative Arts for Women (CAW) Columbus, Co-Founder Super Art League, Social Presencing Theatre Practitioner, Social Learning Leadership Practitioner.

Luster Dela Virgion
Columbus, OH
Started in 1992

Luster Dela Virgion is a performer who’s career spans almost 30 years. They are a published spoken word artist,  ‘cross cultural’; theorist, playwright, queer activist and social justice warrior. A gender queer before the term existed. Please welcome to the stage The Great Grand-dandy themself…LuSter Dela Virgion.

Jan 30, 2020 featured Story Corps NPR broadcast with Ms Ginger Boyd

2019 Advocate Top 100 LGBT and Equality Ohio Advocate of the Year

Producer of the 2019 International Masculine Gender Performance Spectacular (The SPECTACULAR)

Nov 2017 TDOR Keynote Methodist Theological School of Ohio Wednesday Chapel Service

2017 World Pride Host Emcee

2017 screening of film Kings Queens & Inbetweens at NYC’s NewFest Film Festival

Dec 2016 Tedx Columbus Risk Mentors: Bridging Self-Worth and Success

Writer and Producer PAINT! A Transformative Project August 14, 2010

2004 documentary Ladies as Gentleman: Drag Kings on Tour

1992-2012 co-founder/producer of H.I.S. KINGS drag king troupe and The International Drag King Extravaganza (IDKE)

Crema
Vancouver, Canada
Started in 1978

Crema, from Vancouver, Canada, started performing in 1978. She was one of the first male impersonators/drag kings to perform at The Quadra, Vancouver’s first lesbian club that opened in 1979. Crema won the title of Mr Gay Vancouver in 1984 and again in 1995. She joined the Imperial Court System of Canada becoming an Emperor in Vancouver in 1996. In 2000, Crema received the Jose Honor which recognizes individuals for their outstanding achievements.

2021 marks her 25th year as an Emperor.

SPECIAL TRIBUTES TO DIANE TORR & DRED

Diane Torr
Ontario, Canada
Started in 1989
Passed Away in 2017

Diane Torr (1948-2017) graduated from Dartington College of Arts in England in 1976 and moved to New York to study at the Cunningham Studios.

She became a trail blazer in gender activism and an integral part of the downtown art scene both as a member of DISBAND–along with MacDowell Fellows Ilona Granet, Donna Henes, and Martha Wilson–and with her own work from late 70s onwards. She was a fellow of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. She is best known for her performances as a male impersonator, and as a pioneer of drag king culture. Her performances and Man-for-a-Day workshops were internationally known.

In 2003, Diane received her M.F.A. from Bard College and she re-situated to Glasgow, where she was a visiting lecturer at Glasgow School of Art. Her book, co-authored by Stephen Bottoms, Sex, Drag and Male Roles: Investigating Gender as Performance (2010) was published by University of Michigan Press.

A feature film about her work, Man for a Day, by Berlin filmmaker, Katarina Peters premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival 2012. She toured with the filmmaker and the film to festivals and venues in Europe, South Asia, Mexico, New York, and Montreal.

One of her last performances, Donald Does Dusty, received rave reviews during its run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2015.

Dred
New York City, NY
Started in 1995
Passed Away in 2019

Haitian-American Drag King Dred was one of the most prominent Drag Kings to emerge from the dynamic drag scene of New York City during the late 1990’s. Dred embodied the term “gender bender” long before it became common parlance. Moving with ease from male to female and showcasing an array of characters within one medley made Dred’s performances mesmerizing to say the least. Dred blurred and blended gender lines; made you question masculinity, sexuality, identity; challenged racial, social, gender stereotypes; and provided memorable, world class entertainment.

Born on June 9, 1971 in Brooklyn, New York, Mildred Gerestant began as a Drag King in December 1995 after seeing Drag King performances by Buster Hymen (Tracey Blackmer) and Justin Kase (Justine Keefe) at the infamous drag landmark, Pyramid Club, in the East Village of New York City. Following her first encounter with Drag Kings, Mildred was encouraged by Buster Hymen to participate in The Drag King Dating Game. Under the tutelage of Diane Torr at her Drag King Workshop, Buster learned how to become a Drag King and imparted this knowledge onto Mildred so she could make her first Drag King debut as Dred. That same night, Dred met fellow Drag Kings Mo B. Dick and Labio. Mo then persuaded Dred to enter Club Casanova’s first Drag King contest where Dred won making it the first of many Drag King contests s/he won in rapid succession.

From Lucas Hasten’s interview with Mildred: “She (Mo) had this contest coming up, a drag king contest, and she encouraged me to enter it.” Gerestant, however, was still too frightened to commit to the appearance; it was Fischer who pushed her to do it. Dred won that competition and thereafter began his longtime association with Club Casanova. Gerestant credits the other kings with bringing her into drag and making her feel welcome there. “Mo B. Dick helped me,” she said,”she pushed me to really do drag. And Buster Hymen helped me. It’s always good when people, your peers, are helping you get started. And there was real companionship there, and we did a lot of shows together.”(1)

Club Casanova was the world’s first weekly Drag King party produced and hosted by Mo B. Dick that started in 1996 and lasted 2 years. Dred was a permanent fixture and performed there regularly. Club Casanova closed due to pressure from then Mayor Rudy Giuliani who disliked NYC nightlife and subsequently closed many bars and clubs which provided entertainment for the masses. Not one to be stopped, the popular Drag King party became a touring show called The Men of Club Casanova.

1998 was an expansive year for the The Men of Club Casanova seeing the likes of the world’s first Drag King tour of US and Canada along with performing at the Creation Festival in Vienna, Austria and the Viper Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland. Dred participated in the two European festivals and joined the East and West Coast portions of the tour of US and Canada performing with the group in Philadelphia, Atlanta, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Club Casanova was also where film director Gabriel Baur came to know of the Drag King scene and was inspired to create the successful feature documentary Venus Boyz in 2002. Venus Boyz is a ground-breaking feature documentary and the first to showcase the exploration and expression of female masculinity through the lens of drag and its myriad of expressions. As cited from their website, ‘women become men – some for a night, others for their whole lives’. This is an intimate journey with people who create intermediate sexual identities and bring us closer to the rich world of transgender life and the existential struggle as they break gender boundaries. This iconic documentary heavily features Dred as well as Diane Torr, Del LaGrace Volcano, Bridge Markland, Storme Webber, Mo B.Dick, Shelly Mars, Queen Bee Luscious, Philly Abe, Hans Scheirl, Svar Simpson, J. Jack Halberstam and others from the Drag King and transgender communities. Through the international success of Venus Boyz, Dred traveled the world to screen the film, perform and engage with audiences contributing her magnetism, charisma and loving personality that brought together a more inclusive world without gender, sexist and racist discrimination.(2)

And picking up on the burgeoning Drag King scene, the popular lesbian dance party Her-She Bar in Manhattan hosted a series of Drag King contests in 1996. Dred won every round to become Her-She Bar’s reigning Drag King winner. This spawned a frenzy of interest and club appearances throughout all of New York City.

Dred quickly garnered an international reputation as a phenomenally skilled gender bending performer using costumes, wigs, signature dance moves and an apple. Her performances paid homage to popular black singers: Isaac Hayes’ Shaft, Sly Stone, Busta Rhymes, Puff Daddy, Run D.M.C., Jackson 5, Prince, Biggie Smalls, DJ Kool, Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Grace Jones and more. S/he embodied the mack daddy, superfly, gangsta, pimp, rapper and goddess supreme effortlessly in one performance medley. Dred also collaborated with fellow performers Drag Queen femme fatale Queen Bee Luscious and sexy stud’s Drag Kings Shane and Mistah to create duets and group performances.

In 1997, the Club Casanova Drag King crew performed as The Village People at Wigstock, NYC’s infamous drag festival hosted by Lady Bunny. Dred played the military officer in the group ensemble. This was the first participation for a Drag King ensemble to be included in Wigstock and a clip of this performance was included in Wig, the HBO documentary in 2019.

In 1999, the seminal work of famed photographer Del LaGrace Volcano and academic Judith “Jack” Halberstam, came out in bookstores to critical and international acclaim. The importance of The Drag King Book can not be overstated as it was the catalyst to inspire and galvanize Drag Kings on an international level. The striking photos taken by Del reflect multiple layers embedded in the many stories of masculine expression. Dred is a prominent figure in this important tome which serves as the first book ever to feature Drag Kings.

In 1999, Dred participated in the first International Drag King Extravaganza (commonly called IDKE) in Columbus, Ohio. This was a 3 day event that promoted community among Drag Kings on an international level. Dred’s performances were well documented in The Drag King Anthology edited by Donna Troka, Kathleen Lebesco and Jean Noble.

On June 25, 2000, the popular HBO television show Sex and the City aired episode 4 from Season 3 entitled “Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl….” which incorporated Drag Kings in its plot. It was the photographs by Del LaGrace Volcano in that inspired this episode and subsequently were featured in the gallery scene. Del insisted that real Drag Kings be given parts as extras and the producers complied by hiring Dred, Mo B. Dick and others. Unfortunately, their scenes were left on the cutting room floor. Despite the omission, it stands that Drag Kings were a part of this award winning show serving as the first time scores of people came to know of Drag Kings for the first time.(3)

Also in 2000, the film History Lessons by award-winning, American, lesbian, feminist filmmaker Barbara Hammer premiered. Shot in 16mm, Hammer reclaims and rewrites lesbian history through her playful but empowering manipulation of a vast array of archival footage, from popular films to newsreels, sex ed pics, stag reels, medical and educational films, old nudies, and more.(4) Barbara cast Drag Kings Dred, Mo B. Dick, Antonio Caputo, Mistah, performance artist Carmelita Tropicana, Coco Feliciano and others to recreate outdoor and bar scenes in the formerly seedy Meat Packing district of Manhattan. Hammer is considered a pioneer of queer cinema and her work is seen today worldwide in museums, film retrospectives, art gallery’s and in University courses.

Dred also made television debuts on Maury Povich, Ricki Lake and Sally Jessie Raphael in their gender reveal episodes. Dred was successful in fooling the audience on every show as her gender bender fluidity left them stumped and unable to correctly identify her as a woman.

The fateful day of 9/11 in NYC was a tragic day for those who worked in the twin towers and for the world at large. Fortunately for Mildred (and us), she performed the night before and was too tired to work her data entry job and requested the day off otherwise she would have perished amidst the ruins. With gratitude we can say that drag saves lives.

In her book, 100 of the Most Influential Gay Entertainers, author Jenettha J. Baines, aptly describes Dred as the multi-talented actress and star of “The Dred Love Experience”. This is one of many books where Dred is extolled for her contributions on and off stage.

As listed on the website for Venus Boyz, here is Dred’s updated bio from 2004: “DRED GODDESS is smooth-headed, Internationally known Haitian-American, multi-spirited creator, perfor-mance-artist, actress, activist, singer,comedian model-citizen, poet, educator, writer, inspiring filmmaker, choreographer and gender-illusioning woman – seen on HBO, MTV, Oxygen Network and one of the stars of the award-winning and world premiering film “Venus Boyz.” DRED’s film experiences include working with Steven Spielberg on “Terminal” where she sang a Haitian Creole hymn she wrote. She also does workshops on identity with kids, adults, and spirits, and speaks and performs at universities and shelters as well. Using theater, dance, film,cultural history, music, poetry, and LOTS of humor, DRED breaks down racial, sexual, religious, and gender stereotypes, and conventional roles created in society – creating a better under-standing and acceptance of the beauty of the expression of one’s individual truth. She also does characters and voices and her own facial-hair make up. DRED’s performances are humorous, lots of fun, and uses them to educate people about being open to all forms of beauty, all kinds of humans, and has been blessed to do it all over the world including the US, Korea, Australia, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland, Scandi-navia, Germany, and Brazil.

In the midst of her world wide travel, Drag King shows and performances, Mildred took her skills to theatre stages as well, acting in numerous plays and performing her one person show at Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Dixon Place, Black Box Theatre and Wow Cafe Theatre.

In 2011, Dred performed and served as a guest judge at the 16th annual SF Drag King Contest In August. Her final performance as a Drag King was at the annual Pow Wow conference in Chicago, IL in November.

In early 2012, Dred relinquished her Drag King identity to focus on her spiritual life far from the spotlight, constant hustle, and cheering crowds. She became a yoga teacher and changed her name to Light Ning.

On November 19, 2019 Mildred Gerstant aka Dred aka Light Ning passed away. We lost a friend, legendary Drag King, cultural giant, queer renegade, tireless activist, inspirational icon, fierce force, shining star and overall wonderful human being.

“Always remember to love yourself”

– Mildred / Dred / Light