#bathroomselfie

20180131_145231-ANIMATIONThe lighting in my bathroom is sooooo good! What more could a glamour-puss ask for before she leaves the house than the perfect light to do a last minute spot check of the paint job. My bathroom vanity is flanked by two ornately framed mirrors hung perpendicular to one another so that I can see every angle. Look up, look down, look left, look right; check the straight on and the profile; make a kissy face, make duck face, make a silly face, smile. Then, the only thing left to do is take the unashamed and totally self-approved bathroom selfie.

I don’t actually put on my makeup in this mirror. For that, I use my trusty, two-sided magnifying mirror. I sit at the kitchen table with all of my tools spread out for easy access. There is a lamp with a 65 watt, full spectrum flood light focused on the center of my face and a 65 watt, full spectrum light overhead. I pick up the mirror from time to time and swivel around in my chair to see the effect I’m creating from all of the many different angles (making all of the many different faces, of course).

Finding good light when I want to take a picture is really important. I’ve taken many, many terrible pictures in bars, performance spaces, dressing rooms and hallways with lighting conditions from blackout to washout. Over head fluorescent lighting is the absolute worst. They seem to completely erase all of the work I did to create dynamic contrast and blend my face into a totally unnatural shade of blech (no, that’s not a spelling error, I meant BLECH). I would much rather turn out the lights and take the photo in the dark with my phone flash, at least it’ll be dramatic. Public bathrooms at venues tend to have this scenario and finding a good selfie spot can be challenging. In this situation, I try to put the phone up as high as I can in front of my face to soften the blow from those harsh, contour killers.

Light that comes from directly in front of me seems to work the best. And, if there is a dimmer control all-the-better! I also really enjoy the effect of early morning outdoor, natural light. When I am in very dimly lit spaces, I try to find any light source (like the nearest window or the glow of an exit sign) where I can put myself in front of its beam  and snap the pic from there, no matter what strange position it requires me to get into (’cause it probably will). And while profile pics always seem like a good idea, they are not always the most flattering to my drag makeup.

There are for sure times when I have no choice but to take the less than perfectly lit snapshot, and that’s when I have to decided either to shrug it off as “capturing a moment” or not take the picture at all. Staging myself for what seems like a simple selfie sometimes makes me feel a tiny bit vain, but I didn’t spend all that time at my kitchen table for nothing, dammit.   đź™‚   It’s definitely worth it in the end.

 

Pieces of a Refrain

29 mar 2016aI sit center stage on a high, black lacquered stool in a puddle of soft blueish white light. My deep black finger waves glisten as I roll my head back with the high note of a melancholy melody. You can just see the stiletto’d foot of my crossed leg  peeking out from the cascade of sequins of my floor length dress. A very pretty man at a baby grand plays to my right, an intellectual drummer keeps smooth time at my back and a tall upright bassist to my left punctuates the air with long wave exclamation points.

The room is dark and smoky, and from stage the flickering of candles around the room look like fallen stars that refuse to stop twinkling. Swaying folks dressed to the absolute 9’s stir the air with their shoulders. They sip on expensive cocktails while murmuring bits of conversation in each others ear. Servers swim elegantly through the sea of tables balancing liquid and glass works of art on little round trays.

People reserve tickets months in advance for a table at my show. Celebrities, politicians, and social icons come not just to be seen, but to be seen grooving to my newest jams. If you don’t “know somebody”, you get sat at a booth around the perimeter of the room where the sight lines are perfect for watching how much the people in the choice seats are enjoying my performance.

Standing room only jazzers at the back bar keep the tenders shaking ice like auxiliary percussionists I didn’t hire. Around the corner in a curtain lined hallway there is a bouncer sitting with a hard-nosed hostess. She just may have the hardest job of the night with the responsibility of telling the line of walk-in’s who are hoping to get into the packed-to-the-gills venue that the next available table has more than a 45 minute wait. And yet, they wait… their musical appetites whet by the pieces of a refrain that drift by in the wake of a passing bus boy.

 

Straight-On Botox Face

Photo shoot days are so much fun!  In this one, I was living a 1970’s urban disco fantasy. You can’t tell from the photos, but the gold outfit I’m wearing is a V-neck sequin jumpsuit with a super wide belt. I love it! I’m totally making another one in black with extra big shoulder pads!

As much as I like to think I am when I get in front of the camera, I am not a supermodel. Amongst the many awkward faced and eyes half shut pictures that inevitably get caught by the shutter, there are 4 reliable poses that I hit at every shoot.

1.) Side Eye

15 mar 16b city

It’s flirty without being overly sexy. It’s playful but not crazy. It’s mysterious but not serious. Most of the time it happens because something shiny has entered my field of vision.

2.) CoverGirl Laugh

15 mar 16d city

Easy breezy! I’m sure Tyra Banks wouldn’t approve, but I like it. I can easily get caught up in all serious non-smiling poses and that’s just boring. It could easily also be an advert for Virginia Slims or Dentyne Gum.

3.) Straight-On Botox Face

15 mar 16e

There is no better way to get to know the angles of your face than staring in the mirror and making your face as blank as possible. It makes you aware of even the slightest facial muscle movements and also forces you to focus on your eyes. And isn’t that what all the haute couture girls do? Instant editorial.

4.) Half Profile

15 mar 16a city

When I want to show off my cheek bones there is only one way to go. It’s a swift pop of the right shoulder with a left head tilt. Bam! These mammoth gold hoop earrings are from the Basketball Wives collection and they did not make this one easy, but I pushed through like a pro and got the shot.

 

My First Stiletto

pink stiletto

I remember my first stiletto like I remember my alter ego’s childhood Easter outfits. I had shopped around for weeks trying to find exactly the right style and color. When I finally got them, I would stare at them in the closet and just couldn’t wait to step out in my fly new gear.

I was 24 years old and had only been dragging for about 1 year. Up until that point I had 1 pair of brown boots and 1 pair of black lace up platform boots that I wore with EVERYTHING! They were the largest of their sizes on a sale rack at Payless – no shame. But, at that time, I was discovering drag all by myself. I wouldn’t have  drag mother for a while after that and my aesthetic was focused on looking “real”. The idea of “drag spectacular” wasn’t even on my radar.

When I  decided that I needed to upgrade my shoe collection, naturally I went online. I searched for extra large shoes and stumbled on a website geared toward exotic dancers. I was done. I had never seen shoes like these before and no one was gonna tell me I couldn’t have them. There were kitten heals, high heals, high-high heels, stiletto’s, mules, sling-backs, vintage, platform, boots and pumps in every material, color and variation you can imagine. My mind was blown. I was like a kid staring at the world largest Easter basket full of candy.

After days of deliberation, I finally picked out the shoes that would be my very first pair of stiletto heels. They were black lacquer, lucite and clear pvc mules. They featured a 2-inch platform in the front and a 5 inch gold heel that was crowned by a ring of red crystals. And, I paid full price! My first performance in them was a lip-sync number to Queen Latifah’s version of “Lush Life”. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t hot as Hades when I hit the stage in them. Hindsight, however, being what it is, they were the tackiest kicks I could have strapped to my feet. If I were to come across them now I wouldn’t buy if they were free, but I will always think of them fondly .