I caught up with THE Jewish non-binary drag artist Rogue to find out about their first time there, Drag Race girls, and I got a little advice about the art of sucking up.
Follow Rogue on Instagram.Transcript
It was just a community. Like I think the people that went there knew what to expect. It was the bartenders there were all just they loved being there for drag, like, like you go to some of these other gay bars. And there are these bartenders, and what do they call bouncers and like the staff that just don’t enjoy being there like they they’re not clear, or they don’t get dragged or they don’t like drag and they’re clear, whatever it is, and x, y and liberty one were places that were filled with staff that loved being in that community.
K Anderson 0:39
Hello, I am K Anderson, and you are listening to lost spaces, a podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person, about a venue from their past, the memories they created there, and the people that they used to know. x y had a fairly short run, opening in 2015 and closing in 2018. But in that time, it firmly established itself as the go to club for drag and performance within Vancouver hosting events. Most nights of the week. I caught up with the Jewish non binary drag artist rogue to find out about their first time there being inspired by drag race girls. And I also got a little advice about the art of sucking.
The first two years of my drag was very bland, very blonde wig, pale bs nudes clothing. And then I lost the competition and kind of went bucket and went into very this like club kid phase. And that’s kind of where I am now. And so but I knew that I always wanted to do something in driving. So when I was picking a name, even though I was doing the same pretty girl thing all the time. I knew that I didn’t want something like, Jennifer, you don’t need me. Or, or Ashley or like I wanted something like like, oh, like almost alien esque in a way. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And so I I chose rogue I also liked it because it was a word like going rogue. I thought that was a fun little thing I could do. I’ve never done anything like it. Or with that. But like if I wanted to make a merge that was like, let’s go rogue, whatever it was then I could. And yeah, so then when I when I had all these things, I think I just vibed with rogue the most but I actually forgot that it was I’m not a huge comic book person. Or I like to just say nerd. I’m not a big nerd. In the classic way of the word. I’m a huge nerd for makeup and drag but not in the classics.
K Anderson 3:35
That’s not the filter that you pick on Grindr, then.
Oh, no, no, no, I’m I’m I’m, yeah. Used to be twink. Now, I would say, Boy Next Door.
K Anderson 3:50
does that even mean? Yeah, I don’t. Maybe I think it means like, my body’s not perfect, but I’m pretty defined as I don’t really know how to respond to that. So instead, change the subject. So you said you said before that you lost the competition when you were being the pretty girl. Do you just mean that like is in general lesson that you? You know, you couldn’t kind of keep up with that kind of perfect aesthetic?
Yeah, I mean, I don’t think I’m very good at being feminine. If we’re just like, point blank. That’s sort of as I’m like, not a feminine. I mean, I think feminine energy, but I don’t think that like in the classic. Like, you have to sit like this to be a lady do this to be a lady like that. Like I just, that’s not me. And I and I honestly like I I I’ve studied gender for like years like I was dying like fagot that wasn’t in like that wasn’t out in high school that would like read about Gender and Women’s Studies and be like this straight male feminists. Then then later on was the gay one. And so it was just kind of one of those things where like, I didn’t think that women should be held to that kind of standard, which they shouldn’t be. So I just put that into my drag that like, Why do like Why? Like, I just thought it was I’d never understood why it was such a pressure to be like the exact same pretty drag queen as everyone else. I never understood that. But I that that’s what you needed to do to like become famous. Like what I don’t know what
K Anderson 5:33
that is the aesthetic you chose. Mm hmm.
Yeah. And it was just well, because I think it was like my introduction to drag I when I first start doing dry before that I hated flamboyant men. And I hated them, man. I was like really struggling with my internalized homophobia. And so I think I’ve started with season six, and I wanted to be friends with the door because she was a stoner, and I was kind of like, what how like, why am I feeling this way? Like I like it. Do I want to sleep with her? like do I want to like be friends with her? I was like, what’s happening? And I was like, I just want to be friends with her like this is so weird though. Because I’ve never felt this connection to a such a flamboyant stem. Man. At the time, man, I guess. And like then I watched season seven and Pearl flies by you have a tight? Yes. Was my set. Yeah, it was like it was like the low voice like the flat say, like, the long blonde hair stone or bedroom eyes. Like I was like, holy shit. And even even when I do blonde like Sam looks now I like I still take inspiration from her back then. Not necessarily pearl now. Because she’s more like natural I guess now but that like whole beginning of pearl where she was like, dramatic I and big huge blonde hair huge tits, like, like beige colors like, like old woman mixed with like New Age tumbler girl, like I just loved that vibe. And I really related to it. And I still do I still think that’s part of Rogue. I just don’t think it’s all broke. So I think like I pulled some good looks did some good numbers. But I think it just wasn’t what I really excel at what I excel at is like creativity and pulling, like different club kid things and working with color and body paint and different colored wigs and styles. That’s instead of just like pinstripe blonde hair, and like I think, like getting that push from that competition too. And I didn’t do badly like I literally made it to the finale and got fifth I think. But I don’t like a gaggle of girls, but
K Anderson 7:58
I was an actual competition. Yes. Ah, and this was just like the catalyst you were just like, Yes, I did. Fuck you. Oh,
oh, I was so mad. So in my head, I thought I was gonna win. And then the winner was a local Queen here who actually was friends with one of the head judges. And the year before the winner was a friend of the head judge and the year before the same thing. So I
K Anderson 8:27
mean, you still wouldn’t have won because you came fifth?
Yeah. Okay. Thanks a lot, two years ago, but it’s still still still.
K Anderson 8:37
Okay, but let’s not let’s not be mad at this person who just had the good fortune of being friends with the judge. Because if they
Yeah, okay. Also, if they ever I doubt that she does, she’s, she won’t listen to us, but it just to clear out the name, whatever. But it’s like, she did work really fucking hard. And that’s a thing to have that like, if I was more and she’s also like, she’d been doing drugs for like, four more years than I had and like, grew up in Toronto. I’m a lover. So it’s like, this is someone who like really knows who their drag character is, like, all the facets of and I think I was still figuring it out, I think two years. And I was like this 2122 21, whatever, early 20s year old, like, like, still trying to like figure out like being so confident that I know what I’m doing. But it’s like, I don’t know what I’m doing. And like, I had this whole other side of me that I didn’t even think was possible with drag. And then fast forward two years later, like here I am. Like, it’s just, it’s this whole other envelope.
K Anderson 9:40
seemed like it was a good thing.
Mm hmm. So I had a gig the night after the finale. And I had ran out of foundation, like my base note my home What was I found one of my foundations, either my head or my base, and
how many foundations are there? There. I have three, I use three I use a base and then use a contour. They use a highlighter. Oh, wow. Yeah, I mean, I’ve everyone’s makeup is different, but I like the really dramatic face shape changers. I don’t know. We ran out of something.
So I ran out and I also didn’t want to I was like, fuck it. I’m not I was like, Okay, well, I’ll just be like this natural kind of club kitty Look, I’m not going to put on a wig. I’m not going to shave. And then I did a panic of the Disco Song. And it was literally my most liked picture on Instagram and my most tipped ever number. And I felt so fucking hot. I was like, wow. And then I went home. And I was like, is this what I’m doing? Now was like, like, what’s? Yeah,
K Anderson 10:52
yeah. And so said that the character for want of a better term has evolved. Since then. Do you feel Do you ever feel kind of locked into that? and unable to experiment outside of the boundaries that you’ve set yourself?
Not now. Actually. Okay, I think in real life and my drag? No. I do feel that way. With what I’m going to post on Instagram. I do feel like my audience really likes the makeup selfies and anything else that I do? Just gets like no engagement at all. Which is it? My biggest concern right now? It really goes in waves. And yeah, but um, but in terms of my drag? No, I really don’t. Because I do think that like who I am and who I’ve created the past two years is just like, when you book me, you don’t know what you’re going to get back. And I say that in my booking bio thing when people are like, do you have a little excerpt for us to post in the, on the website or whatever. And it’s like, there’s this line that’s like from Carly Rae Jepsen to m&m and row gets on the stage, you have no idea what you’re gonna get. Because like, I could literally do like an afro Libyan song from like, the early 2000s. Or I could do the new Sam Smith song like remix by Felix cartel. Like, it literally is, like, I could do whatever I can look like, whatever. And that’s kind of the drive that I
K Anderson 12:24
feel good. But, sir, okay, so not to like labor on this for too long. But then, but do you? So are you saying then that you’re curating the person that’s presented on Instagram. But you’ve got like a no fucks given attitude in real life?
Yes, I also, at the end of the day, kind of have a no fucks given attitude about Instagram. But it is important to me that I share my art to like as many people as possible, and the way that that happens now on Instagram, you like have to have high engagement, which means like giving your which means, like trying to figure out what your followers want and like and whatever. Yeah, so. Exactly.
K Anderson 13:13
Yeah, it’s, it’s like, I mean, I’m not I’m like, I’m really sorry, if I come across like I’m being judgmental or anything. It’s just, it’s just really fascinating the way that it impacts the way you engage with the world, I suppose. Because you’re, you think in a very different way. In order Yeah, in order to Yeah, like, oh, what does everyone else gonna like? But you also then have to try and go to a sound like such a wanker. I’m sorry, but then you’re like, you also have to try and convey the message that you want to convey. whilst also not upsetting the algo?
Yeah, 100% like that is it’s Yeah, yes. So it’s like, at the same time, I like don’t give a shit. I’m like, we’ll just post whatever I want. But that on the flip side will be like, Okay, well, do I want this like, like, do I should I post? I don’t know. You already mean?
K Anderson 14:19
Yeah, I know that like, I am like, I’m so totally not not good at any of that. And I’m, like, fascinated by the that whole culture of the curation and the emphasis that’s placed on it within social media. And that can become a means unto itself. Anyway, sorry. So like, I know, it’s totally boring when people talk about like, oh, social media is killing all of our values. And which is no, it’s not what I’m trying to do at all. I mean, it’s all Well, yeah, yeah. But anyway, let’s talk about getting messy in a nightclub. And nightclub themed link and bringing it to that to why we’re here today. is x y nightclub? Yes.
Which I just found out recently from my cousin last night when we were at Rosh Hashanah dinner because I’m Jewish. And it’s a holiday right now. But he was talking about autism. And we were talking about chromosomes. And I was like, I must have learned this in high school. I just recently found out again, that the X Y chromosome is for men.
K Anderson 15:46
yes. That’s why I had spent four years in this community. But I went to the club x, y, I just had no idea that that I just went cool. x y. Like that is the name. There was no reference to be known from that. side, I was like, Oh, alright.
K Anderson 16:09
Well say How did that come up over dinner?
Well, there, school year just started and there is a teacher. So he has a kid who has autism in the class. And so he was talking about how like chromosomes and this and that, and this, and I honestly didn’t understand any of it. But then he was talking about how well you know, men and women invest now it’s like, right? Right. They do. Yes, yes, sure. Whatever, whatever you say.
K Anderson 16:40
Okay, well, okay. And so, so the the nightclub backs Why? When did you first go there?
I went there. For the first time, I was watching a late night show called The chic wall hosted by all my bitches. I think it started at 1am if I remember, right, and I, it was my first night out, watching drag shows. And there was a big huge tradition that you would go to X Y to watch legends you would do across the streets to watch sanctuary. And then you’d go back to x, y, and watch and watch SQL. And so it was the same bar owner and manager at the time. And Jen McKee bless her soul. And so she owned 1181 and she owned x y. And so everyone would just it was like, it was like a lounge versus this little small or I guess it was like a cabaret lounge versus a cocktail lounge. So you go from this like huge stage with like curtains and like seats and booths and whatever, to across the street to this like little kind of not dingy at all, but just kind of narrow. Longer Yeah, kind of bar with with seats on the side and this like kind of like stage that’s literally just a piece of wood. And just like this, like people would just performed through like in between you and it was it was super, I don’t know. I don’t remember exactly what night it was. But I remember walking in and going like wow, this is way more put together and fancy than I thought like the the interior of that club was and is still probably phenomenal. Like it’s beautiful. It’s very old, old timey old style. It’s gorgeous.
K Anderson 18:44
Wait to enter. Right now we’re talking about x y. Yes. Which is a cabaret venue. Yeah, yes. Yeah. And and So where were you at? Then we’re on your journey with drag if that was the first drag show that you saw, were you still in this kind of like, Oh, I don’t really know about this or Yeah.
Okay. Beginning beginning. I don’t even know if I had performed yet at that time. It may have been before I did the number ever.
K Anderson 19:14
But like, was it before you were crushing on a Delano? Or? No, no, no. So
that was all in my bedroom, watching drag race catching up. Before I even put down like I watched all the seasons before I started doing my face. We’re like practicing. Okay. Yeah, so my the timeline is like, I was homophobic. Then I die. But I stuck with the guy who told me that not watching drag race is homophobic. And I was like, No, you’re wrong. I’ll show you that. I started watching it and loving it. And then I decided I wanted to do drag and now I decided that I was going to do drag I should learn my history. And so I watched all the seasons. And I started doing
K Anderson 20:01
two ends. And that was your only reference point was drag race.
It was kind of problematic at the time. But I also put myself really into the local seat. So I think it was like I threw myself in there. I like had a whole group of friends that are honestly not really not close with anymore. Before I started doing drag, mostly because like I just put it into, like, when I saw that first episode of Queens lip synching against each other. I was like, I had been lipstick. I was like, is this what dragons do for a living? I had no idea. And they and they did. And I found out
K Anderson 20:41
this all my life. I was like, I have been practicing for this my entire life. Like, I cannot believe I have not heard about this before. Because my only idea of drag queen is like Robin Williams in The Birdcage. Like, it’s just, it’s like this old fight. Yeah. Yeah. And so when I saw repulse records with these young, fashionable queens,
K Anderson 21:07
I was like, what,
like, with, like, added drag that looked like me talk like me, like I was, I was, I was, I was totally shocked. And yeah, shook us. And I was like, I got to do this, like, I’m born to do this. And so when I, when I started going to the local scene, and and going to x, y, I think something that really that people like, took a liking to me early on, that they still kind of see now is that I just have this love for drag, it’s for the art form. So sitting there at the cabaret, or sitting there, wherever watching drag shows, I will just always have a smile on my face. Like we’ll just be watching for and like just, I just love watching someone love what they’re doing. And like, if you’re doing drag rights, you’re loving what you’re doing.
K Anderson 21:59
Yeah. And just like as a quick side note, do you think that like in 10 years time, every single person is going to be a drag queen? No. Like, it’s just incredible how that TV show has inspired so many people to who just may never ever have tried it. This is true. So yeah, maybe not everyone maybe like every second person.
Yeah, I think a lot of people want to do drag. And I don’t think everyone should. I do think and I know that sounds shady, but I do. I do think that drag is for everyone. It’s just a question of whether or not you want to make it a business. It’s very similar. I think of it very similar to YouTube, where it’s like, you know, it can start off as a hobby as an art form as a expression. And then it’s kind of like, come to this moment where you’re like, Okay, am I going to make this my business? You know what I mean? Yeah, because I had that kind of shift as well. around like, it was a bit it was a, I think a year and a half in where I was starting to hustle. But then it was like, a year after I started doing club kids stuff where I was like, oh, not even a year. But uh, you have to that’s like, two years. And I was just like, you know what, I need to start making real money from this. And of course, you have to, you have to pay your dues as well. And so that’s like, I think that I really wanted to take with me when I because I don’t know, I guess I’m just I’ve had a person that really doesn’t want to get that first impression. So of course, before I go to all these structures, I’ve watched all these videos of like, what to do in your first drag show like what to do as a first draft. Like what to do blah, blah blah like how to not insult the Queen’s how to not do this how not to like it’s like me being very careful and like drop you off my bag and changing the bathroom instead of the backroom because like I don’t want to upset the Queen’s and so I just like really tried to like pay my dues, I’d come to all that. Like I went to all the drag shows for like, at least, like a good six months, I went to like almost every single one supporting the Queen’s and like I would I would wait like the first month or so. So they would see my face before asking to be a part of it. And then you know what I mean? Like I’m the I did like a competition. I did another competition. And that was and then a third one which I won. So that was how we’re ending. Yeah, so I think like when I was in x y chain trying to do by boys Why? I think like when I came to x, y for the first time, I was really on ads because they want to make a good first impression. And then it was kind of just the vibe of the bar that you that you just feel Good you feel at home like you feel I felt comfortable I felt like like when the drag when the host was saying something on the stage and everyone was screaming and laughing and the people in the corner were making out and then people over there were like, can you to those nails in the booth while having like tequila, you don’t I mean, like, it was just one of those moments where like, it seemed like this was a bar that people went to every single night and created a community there. And that was something I’d never experienced. Like I would say before, like I had this whole other group of friends that weren’t inside it that weren’t a part of drag at all. And then when I threw myself into here, it was just like, all or nothing to me. Like I really wanted to make a good first impression. I want to all these shows. I wanted to like hustle, hustle, hustle. And yeah.
K Anderson 25:47
So I don’t know how to ask this without. Just do it. Yeah, I have tough skin. Seemed like you just kind of embarrassed yourself in the scene. Did you just abandoned things from before?
Yeah, so I worked at a summer camp and grew up at a summer camp that was very into like social justice.
K Anderson 26:10
Why I just got excited about summer camp. Sorry, carry on.
Oh, no, no, it’s all good. And it actually there’s a branch of it. It’s an international like movement that has summer camps in different places, they actually have one in the UK as well. When I went on a program traveling, I met the UK age group of me whatever. And so it’s called hovering drawer. It’s like this Jewish socialist, whatever thing move into like, strict change, whatever. So I grew up going there, my parents met there, I worked there at the Summer Camp as a as a adult, I was the Jew, I was the junior counsellor counsellor for fucks sakes for like the second last year. And then I started doing drag a lot and like trying to put that in, and they were it wasn’t necessarily they weren’t interested in that, that they had a lot of things on their plate that they wanted to get done with the world. And drag was not really on that. And so I kind of had to just realise that like, these are friends of mine that were really close by association, and by convenience and buy, you know, time and growing up with them. But at the end of the day, if we think about and we like, look down to the base of what I have, who I am as a person and who they are as a person, who majority of them are straight and like privileged and go to university. And whenever I was like, You know what, that’s that’s not me. And so I for a long time, invited him to the shows and asked him to come out with me. And because I was nervous about going alone and whatever. And it was, it was repeated offences of No, no, I can’t No, no, no. Then I that I finally just realised, like I need to. I need to make new friends. And I need them to be involved in my life. And it’s not it’s really not like I have bad
K Anderson 28:17
with them. Do you mean or Absolutely. It’s just that weird thing, isn’t it? Like of, of? I guess like, you know, looking back, you’re like, of course, they wouldn’t come with me like why would they? But when that is your whole world, there’s this naive sense that they want to expand into areas that you want to expand into. And that’s just not true. But it’s, it’s heartbreaking isn’t just to like it is recognised, you went out and have to strike out.
Yeah. And I’m a pretty direct person. So it definitely didn’t go down. I’m pretty sure. Yeah. So it was Yeah, it was a few months of blah, blah, blah, blah. And they’d be like, hold on, and I’d be like, you need to support me. Whatever, whatever message, but let’s get back on it. I sorry.
K Anderson 29:16
Yeah, and I’m just getting a bit of a sense here that you have a temper.
Okay, I don’t have a temper. I just, I I’m aggressive. So I think that like when I want to, like if you right, like, yes. Like I think like if you had done something that upsets me, I’d be like, before getting really upset because like, that’s the thing too is that some people will just take me as aggressively being like, hey, just you know, that upset me. Can we please do that again? Like, like, I take this really personally bah bah. Some people would take that and think that I’m getting mad. Meanwhile, I’m like You have no idea what mean Matt looks like, honey. Like I, like I’m like, this is me asking politely and letting you know that that bothers me. And don’t do it again. And then if you do it again, then I’ll get angry and have a temper, but I just, I just feel like I I treat people well, at the end of the day it like, even if you don’t give me anything, if you don’t have anything for me, like I not, I do like to like, climb the ladder of whatever, but just literally just literally to be able to get bookings, like it’s not to step on over people. If I can hold my friend’s hands while I climb that stupid superficial ladder, I would gladly do that. Like, on my like, like, throw them on my back. I don’t care. Like you already mean like, I’m not trying to step on people. But I do think there is a way to get bookings. And that is its it is just to suck out to people sometimes. And so that is like a reality. But there are people that just can’t handle the direct truth. And so I don’t necessarily vibe, but those people that you know, we just have to make the work. And so sometimes when Yeah, so anyways, no temper but aggressive.
K Anderson 31:23
Okay, all right. All right. And said in jest, by the way. So going to x y you weren’t going with, with your friends, you were where you going like on your own? Or had you’ve made friends by that stage?
I would have, I would have figured out who from that show, I would have known. And so I would have known that when I was going there, I would have had someone so like to hang out. And so it was a mixture of some nights that I went there, did the number and then said thank you and then laughed. Because at that time, I wasn’t getting paid even. So it was just like a spotlight getting my name out there. And I make sure that versus like, you know, I like Ryan to this guy that I knew from Tinder years ago. And so he’s like, Oh, you do drag now and I go Yeah, and he’s like, hang out with us. And I say okay, and so like kind of just building that kind of familiarity with in the scene as well.
K Anderson 32:26
I’d say okay, so your first time performing there, tell me about it.
Oh my god, I was so nervous. Um, I don’t ever what’s Oh, you know what I do? I did want you back by Cher Lloyd. The one that’s like Oh, I got it. Anyways, I denisha across town and I like like I said before sequel happened on like 1am on the Sunday and so it was like kind of a late night maybe it was definitely move got moved into a I think at this time it was one of them. It was supposed to be like a late night dropping show. And so what does
K Anderson 33:17
what does that late night drop in show me?
like no one’s paid for it. Okay, so there’s like,
K Anderson 33:24
like, type thing like
he Oh, yes. You know, it’s a better way to put it like an open mic drag nights whatever. Yeah. And so um, it’d be like, I’m like just like 20 performers, I would say maybe 10 of them are relatively new just getting exposure and then the other 10 are like, good, or like two of them have been booked for the same night and then like eight of them were booked for something else or wanting to do a song or wanting to do something else kind of were established and in your words good. And so I think like I say so sorry. So I did a show across town and I was in this oh my god it was so I would hate this look was so bad. Um,
K Anderson 34:09
describe it to me.
It was like you know what, I probably archived that I probably show you but it’s like this. I remember I put my blonde right behind my ears for the first time which I was like obsessed with and I pulled a ponytail. And then I had this like giant flower white flower just in the centre like have my where my hairline would be but like on my forehead still
K Anderson 34:35
like with a centre part.
Yeah, but like right where the laces which ended up fucking up the lace which is so annoying. And then I had this like body suit on that was white and skin tight and glittery and French cut and then I had a white fish that’s on and then these white heels that are actually a size too small for me. I was in a lot of pain because I realised that my feet are 13 and a half in women’s which means that when I get 13 they hurt a lot, but I got 14 as were extra socks. So it’s really sad to lose lives by But yeah, I remember I because there’s curtains and I told all my bitches who is actually when I really good friends now and a huge inspiration to me and drag in this city. She was super established super well known at the time, just like she is now. But I was not i remember i i she was like, it’s just like, she was like it’s robe, right? And I was like, yeah, and she was like anything for me to say like that. I was like, Well, it’s interesting for me x, y. And she’s like, that’s exciting. Like, just like, it’s one of them. Not doesn’t care. Like not looking at me. She’s like, that’s cool. And I was like, do you mind if you say my Instagram handle with it? And she like, looks at me from a clipboard, and she’d like kind of starts and she’s like, okay, like, what’s the Instagram? And I was like, it’s at, it’s just rogue. And she was like, like this and you’re down. And I was like, yep. And she was like, perfect. Cool. Yeah, I can do that. And so she said this intro and the curtains were closed. And I stood behind the Koreans. And they opened and it was just I literally don’t remember anything from it. Other than the one video clip that I have, which is me going Oh, and yeah, but but little fun fact is that within a year, everyone was saying their Instagram handles before being introduced on this stage. So I I take full credit for that, because there was no other fucking Instagram queen in Vancouver at the time. They may have had Instagrams. But I was the first one that was like obnoxious. Follow me on Instagram. It’s just rogue.
K Anderson 37:03
Great, something to be proud of. being obnoxious. Yeah. And
that’s part of the brand is like rogue is this annoying? Instagram person like that. That’s, that’s my character. You don’t mean? And so like, because I, that was a part of me. Before I did drag I would have this curated boy, whatever, Instagram. And it was just so once I started doing drag, I was like, Oh, this, there’s no point for me to do this anymore. Because like, that part of my personality, I just put into drag, which is great, because it’s a business too. So it’s like, not only am I like, like getting engagement and getting new followers, whatever. But it’s like, I’m also getting new gigs. And I’m getting these like cool fun bookings and whatever. And I think like, if you’re going to be annoying about anything, it’s it’s good to be annoying about your business.
K Anderson 37:56
Yeah, that’s true. And and so what is it about performing that you have?
I love interacting with the audience. I love engaging, I love I love lip synching to, I think it’s a I think it’s a really interesting form of art and expression. Because you know, you’re telling a story, and you’re like, in your own way, like, of course, you can do a ballot and just stand there. But the way that people do ballots even are so wildly different, and the way that people can relate to this, like, you know, top 40 pop song that is all everywhere right now, but like you see 20 Queen’s performance, and like, they all do it differently. You only mean and that’s I think that’s so interesting. And I think that’s just that’s what I love about performing and x y honestly going back to that is made it like performing so amazing, because not only could you walk through the audience, but there was a whole other high rise where the booth where the booths were there, you could walk through the audience and go to and there was no separate stage. And there were steps and there were curtains. It’s like, it’s like it was literally just the most perfect little drag venue. Well, it was a cabaret. Like it was a guess it was a cabaret style, whatever. So that’s where it was for.
K Anderson 39:18
So perfect for showing off. Really? Yeah. Brilliant. Yeah. And so this was your first performance. You got your feet were got your feet wet. Is that the phrase? Yeah, also to clarify, first. Cut your teeth. Yeah, anyway, you got your teeth? No, no, I definitely think it’s the feet one. I think you can use both. Maybe in the UK. Oh, I can just say anything and say yeah, it’s British. But and then so how did you build from there is it is the scene that you do a few free gigs. When you get a booked gig or how does how do you make your way up?
Um, I mean, there’s different people who get booked for different things. So like, if there’s someone who came on the scene and was super talented from the beginning with like this cool new trick, then I think you will be reaching out to to get them booked. Whereas for me, I was a pretty classic. Like, I think if I was doing what I’m doing now, back then, I would be getting reached out to be booked, but because I was different and cool and new and exciting, but back then I was not I really wasn’t so I was just this twin of this other. I was like this attractive boy, twin who did drag it’s an attractive girl that like, you know, was blonde and more like pantsuits from Topshop and you know, like, it just wasn’t like wasn’t breaking the mould. And so people were in breaking their backs to try and book me and so what I had to do was pay my dues like I mentioned before and kind of reach out to these people these these it’s drag queens is drag queens I do the booking soon Vancouver, so majority of them, so you have to like really make friends with them. And like figure out who does the weeklies. Figure out who does the monthly is figure out who? Who likes you? Who doesn’t to wait, what’s the weeklies in what’s the month face?
K Anderson 41:24
Like weekly shows and monthly? Oh? Yeah, sorry. I don’t know why that was hard for me. Yes. Okay.
So so like, from there, it was that like, that wasn’t necessarily a big deal for me getting booked, necessarily, but it was a big deal for me to be booked by. And to be performing on that stage. Because for me, I love being really comfortable with a stage like I performed at another bar at a weekly show. Since January. And getting to know that stage was I already knew that stage from working and doing shows there for like four years. But from doing it every single week, you get to really know, like the tips and tricks of like the courage and swerves of that stage. And it seems so it seems like you don’t think of that. But then when you have a wig on and a corset and nails and a pound and pounds of makeup, and heels on and there’s an audience and you’re having lip sync and remember the words and the dads and those people looking at you and there’s lights on your face, you don’t I mean, everything is really blurry and you have to like really, you have to know that stage for it to look like you are just sailing along in control. Yeah.
K Anderson 42:38
So I want to get some advice from you. About sucking up. Okay. What what’s your approach?
I just like to be really real. So like I said before, so I’m not gonna say anything that I don’t mean. So if someone looks good, I’ll be like, Oh my god, you look great. If someone looks bad, just you know, like you saying, It’s good to see you.
K Anderson 43:09
You’re looking alive.
Yeah. Yeah, like I think a lot and that’s I think what I think it took a little bit for people to get to know me in the scene because I am a little bit reserved, and I am.
K Anderson 43:20
Oh, wait, wait, you’re reserved. Okay, in social interactions. When I don’t have friends, yes. Okay. Okay. No, no, no, I get that. Sorry. Yeah, sorry. No, don’t don’t apologize. No, I’m just like, I’m aware of how obnoxious I’m coming across at this call like Hang on a minute. You’ve got a temper Hang on a minute. Yeah. Anyway, so carry on. I think it’s just like I did sorry What was the question was sucking up how do you suck right? So you’re more reserved at first
a little bit more reserved? And so I think people thought that I was this hidden bitch like I think people really thought that I was talking a lot of shipping on people’s backs because I was nice their faces and so for a long time people like didn’t really know what to do with me and then ever until I did my first competition people were like, oh, you’re just kind of awkward in person. Like you’re not like you’re Eisley rude you’re just like kind of awkward and like, and like you’re just actually nice and but you don’t want to like overdo it to seem fake. So that’s why you’re not like it’s like triple saying thank you only mean like I don’t really think it was. That’s how I think you set up successfully successfully success.
that sounds weird in my head. Because I’ve seen them come and go mama of them fuckin sucking up and then people not liking them because they’re too much of a suck up and then they don’t get both and they leave and they pull a tantrum and whatever. Whatever. There has been a dime a dozen queens that comment I’ve run them out of town,
K Anderson 45:03
other people because I don’t if someone’s like fade to me all the smile and and not engage, like I just won’t like, there’s no point there for me. Like, if you’re gonna not be real with me then I’ll just smile and say thank you. Yeah, like, I don’t have time for that. See, I
K Anderson 45:21
think the problem that I have is that like, if I don’t like someone, it’s really obvious from like, just from the first or second yanik echo. And so, yeah, I really struggle with that sucking up thing of being like, Oh, hey, it’s really nice to see you when I’m just like, Fuck off.
Yeah, I can do the smile. For like, I’ll look at someone go. Yeah, I’ll go. But I like I stand by it. And I like I said, I’ll say it again. I say no lies like I do not lie. I will white lie, if it makes you feel better. But like, I if I have a problem with you, it’s funny because people will say, like, I could tell you remember this person? And in my head. I’m always like, yeah, cuz I wanted you to like, it’s not like when I don’t want you to know that I’m mad at someone. You don’t know. That’s why you. That’s why you don’t know. Like, like, Yes, you’re right. You know, when I’m at someone, when I want you to know that I’m mad at someone. And it’s usually when I’m drunk. Like, I really try not to make up. I try not to make big scenes about anything. But you know, if someone’s bothering me and someone’s getting in my face or whatever, and I’ve had a couple of drinks, then you know what? I’m going to tell them on them. Yeah.
No temper though. No, temporary.
K Anderson 46:49
No, I I’ve been told I know. And with with thinking about the wider veteran Vancouver scene, what did x y bring that other clubs didn’t.
So I mentioned before the owner, Jen, Mickey owned x, y, and the bar across the street. 1181, which is now 11. A one has to be reopened by other management, which is super great and fun. But we will go back to the gen Mickey time. So Jen was just like this ball of fun and smiles. She had like this bangs brown hair that like she was like a care a Karen before Karen’s were this horrible thing, if that makes sense. Like she like that kind of like talk to the manager haircut. But in bang form, if that makes sense. Like it was I don’t know. But it was just like, she wasn’t she just was like the mother of everyone. And, you know, she like really took care of her queens. She really, she just paid well. She would always try to work with the Queens versus being like, well, that’s the shit out of the stick. And that’s what you got to work with, which is what other bars would do. Every single night. There was a drag show there if maybe not every single night. Let me see there’s one Monday, Monday, I guess they hopped around a lot. Sometimes they were as soon as there wasn’t. But majority there was almost every single night. There’s a drag show. And an earlier event happening. So like there would be gay improv on Thursdays and then Thursday night there’d be some some drag show
K Anderson 48:20
near me and you just say gay improv? Yeah. Is that just improv?
Well, it’s in the this is all in the village. Right. So it’s, I guess it’s I guess it’s Yes. It’s just improv. improv.
K Anderson 48:35
Yeah. Okay. Just wanted to like, you know, I didn’t want to get my membership revoked for not knowing what game prov was. Well, I
guess maybe it is like a thing where it’s all queer people? I don’t know. I don’t really I never went. No, so so she just made she tried to make the most money that she could and honestly, I don’t think I think the rent at those two places were so much and she took such good care of those queens giving us free drinks and keeping us so well, that she just really didn’t make enough money there. So it was open for two years. And when it closed, it was I remember actually the last night we were at a Liberty one there had been a show at x y they’ve bent an extra hour and everyone’s with everyone when she was already supposed to be close. I mean, we stayed that we locked the doors and it was like a huge group of us. Until like, I think five a maybe 6am just like drinking shooting this shit because it was like she was closing both of them because she just couldn’t afford it anymore. And so it was it was really sad for these for the drag queens and for the drag performance of course, and and it was sad for her like she really she was always out. She was always out having fun. She was always out with us. Her boyfriend was a sweetheart, just like this huge lovable teddy bear. Who would always who I actually became friends with first not even knowing that was her boyfriend, and then just became friends with her out of like, out of connections, which was perfect because I was like, Wow, this is great, the owner of the bar. And that’s how I got my first like kind of show, which was called the Yikes, I know, it was called Beauty and the Beast, and then we changed it to Yikes. And, yeah, it was really, it was, like I said before, it just, it was just a community. Like, I think the people that went there knew what to expect. It was the bartenders there were all just they loved being there for drag, like, like, you go to some of these other gay bars. And there are these bartenders, and what do they call bouncers, and like, the staff that just don’t enjoy being there, like they they’re not queer, or they don’t get dragged, or they don’t like drag and they’re queer, or whatever it is. And x, y and liberty one were places that were filled with staff that loved being in that community. Whether it was a queer woman is straight woman, a trans woman, a trans man, a queer guy, a gay guy, whatever it was, like they all just were, were, they loved it? They were all beautiful and fit. That was that’d be the one restriction, I would say that they they stuck to.
K Anderson 51:32
Well, in terms of hiring people,
in terms of hiring people, yeah, there was not not anyone that was in bed didn’t have a six pack or a hard hard set of abs. But but they were all just really happy to be there. Which is can save after bit laborious
K Anderson 51:52
and, and to do you know what happened to Jen? what she’s doing now.
So Jen comes from a pretty I think she comes from like a business see entrepreneurial background. So I think this was like one of her many projects. And I think this was just one that kind of hit close to home that lasted for like I think it was supposed to be like a year because x y is in a location where they there have been clubs that have tried to open there over and over again and it just doesn’t really necessarily work out for a long time or at all. So I think this is just her next adventure and I think it happened longer and she had more of an emotional connection to it than she thought and expected and I think it was really hard. I know it was really hard for her to let go Yeah, so that was it was sad, but I also at the same time haven’t seen her since so i don’t i don’t know what she’s up to. But I assume she’s you know doing business woman stuff
K Anderson 53:01
Yeah. This is Robin stuff Yeah. And and so what did Vancouver lose when it lost this bar?
Oh, I lost a lot. We we used to say there was a show every single night in Vancouver now now you just can’t say that because because with all the bars whatever there would have been just like out every single night at some point because xy would have so many one offs or and weeklies and monthlies and or whatever. But when x y and let me what because it was both of them at the same time. And they both those It was like Okay, now we’re down to two shows a week. And that was just like,
K Anderson 53:48
well, like two shows in the whole of Vancouver. Yeah, for a week. Yeah. Wow.
With like, maybe two months, please. Yeah. But like that and like and of course one offs or like, like there are these shows that like, it’s like meeting a friend and we’re doing this thing at this huge venue come by, obviously, those still existed. And those kind of events also happened and other things too. So people really got creative, but that’s how much it was really like that’s how much she did was she created opportunities for all these queer people. And honestly, she didn’t give a fuck what you did like she like if you were a bearded queen or comedy Queen, a pretty Queen, a fashion whatever it is like a club, like just do it well. And not even well be successful. Like bring people into the bar. And you’re and you’re
K Anderson 54:48
like, doesn’t matter if your ship performer if you bring people who are buying drinks.
Yeah, bars making money. Then then yeah, and she would stay and watch the show too. You know, like she, yeah, she was just she was an angel. She was an angel.
K Anderson 55:05
And so then what does that mean, then for your I mean, not the current situation withstanding, like, what does it mean for your kicking life?
What it was a lot less to choose from. And actually what ended up happening from that was that there was this huge push and moving away from the village. So moving away from Davey street in Vancouver, and trying to explore different avenues and venues all over the city. So Eastside studios, and the clubhouse really popped off, which are just venues that aren’t in the village. And it’s more alternative drag. And so all the people that would come to xy for that community aspect really, honestly, I think, shifted over to those venues, because it was just, it was this aspect of community and queerness, that the other venues and bars on Davie, and that bar that reopened didn’t really have, like, like, it’s very clear to, or let me put it this way, it was very clear to us with Jen, that she didn’t, at the end of the day, give a shit about the money she goes to about us. And that is the only person I would say that owns or manages whatever on on Davey, like in the village that would think that way
K Anderson 56:31
that makes a difference to the space doesn’t
make a difference, the space, nice difference to the employees and the Queen’s working, which that makes a change, or affects the customers. Like if I’m feeling stressed about something, because of the owner or being stressed about something, then I’m going to treat the bartenders probably not that well. Yeah. And then the eye and then the buttons are going to treat the customer as well. And the customer is really bad. So they’ll be watching me, and then I’ll be annoyed because they’re mad watching me. And then I’ll be annoyed if I’m performance. And then I won’t go back. You’re gonna mean like, it’s obviously not that extreme every single time. But it’s really it’s this cycle. So when Jen was just like, so sweet was like, What can I get for you? Like, are you happy here like do anything like the fan on like, we can open this room for you want this one that like, just totally make like, whatever you want to start like anything we wanted, making sure we were all good in the hood. And she it was just like so many shows there went so smoothly and perfectly and happily. And yeah, it was all because of her I would say obviously there’s credit to us. But like I would say if we’re gonna look at like, who pulls the strings. She did an amazing job at pulling those strings.
K Anderson 57:53
Ah, yeah. Just like a love letter. Did you ever go to x y? Well, if you did, please tell me all about it. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Under the username K Anderson music. send me photos. Tell me what you got up to there and share any gossip. You can also find out more about rogue by following them on Instagram. Their user handle is it’s just ro la spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I’ve been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there. And we’ll be releasing songs over the coming year. You can hear the first single well groomed boys which is also playing underneath my talking right now on all streaming platforms. If you liked this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on Apple podcasts or just told people who you think might also be interested in giving it a listen. I am K Anderson and you have been listening to loss of spaces.