January is National Drag Month and it’s coming to a close, but isn’t Drag History Month every month? Seattle Gay Scene has the down and dirty from two Seattle Queens that are the host of the RuPaul Drag Race Season Three viewing parties at The Lobby Bar as well as many other events around town including Rock Lobster at Neighbours.
Where are you gals from?
GLAMAZONIA: Originally, I’m from the whitest, and preppiest part of Connecticut. Even when I was out of drag, I had to duck in certain parts of the gay bars because the roof sagged. That’s where they put the pool table. I guess they figured people were hunched over anyway… I’ve been in Seattle for 16 years now, and needless to say, I enjoy the high ceilings out here.
LILY ARMANI: Born and raised in south central Kentucky: Redneck City, USA.
Aside from performing in drag, what other creative attributes and abilities do you want the world to know?
GLAMAZONIA: My drag actually evolved as a creative outlet after touring as a clown with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I learned a lot about make-up application while in Clown College, and during my three years (over 1,500 shows) on the road. I like to make people laugh; Drag and clowning are very similar; make-up and big shoes. Besides the performing aspect, I really like the make-up process with trying different techniques, colors, products, and I am always excited to learn. I’d say even in the past year, my technique and look has improved dramatically. I’ve recently been sharing some of my skills with other queens in the city; I held a make-up workshop that was well received and I look forward to the next one. I also have been challenging my sewing skills by creating most of my costumes.
LILY ARMANI: I’m constantly writing and sometimes it makes it on paper. I do keep a journal – since seventh grade.
Mae West once said, “If you keep a journal, one day it will keep you.”
She didn’t have an Oprah Winfrey in her life! I am a huge pop culture fan, and have an insatiable appetite for ‘Old Hollywood’ history. I miss Hollywood’s Golden Age, and fantasy television.
What does National Drag Month mean to you?
GLAMAZONIA: Well, I think anything that can draw attention to the art is a positive thing. Drag has been around forever, and it is always evolving. Each generation has its idols and influences, and that’s good. But I encourage everyone to spend some time on the internet and check out some of the ‘old girls’.
You might be surprised at how much is the same all over again and how the craft has changed.
LILY ARMANI: I find it interesting there is now a whole month dedicated to it.
I wonder who will be on the first Drag Queen Stamp – Jodie Foster or Barbara Walters?!?!
Who was your drag influence or drag idol when starting out in drag?
GLAMAZONIA: I remember seeing Jim Bailey and Charles Pierce on various variety shows when I was really young. I was mesmerized by their illusions, glitz and pure entertainment. I also remember liking drag as a comic devise in the Bugs Bunny cartoons or on the Flip Wilson Show. They and many others weren’t trying to be women. They were still men – just using women’s clothes as a disguise to go for a laugh. When I first started out, I didn’t really try to emulate any particular queen or impersonate any celebrity. With my height (and before the internet) it was difficult finding clothes, (size 14 shoes!) so I just had to do my best. I knew that, while I wanted to be funny and I wasn’t about to pass as real women, that I didn’t want to go completely ‘camp’ either. I try (with my makeup) to be as glamorous as possible and let my size and stature provide the wow factor. I now do Cher, but I don’t call myself a Cher impersonator, per se. Again, I’m not gonna fool anyone. But when you see a 7’6″ Cher hit the stage.
Well, you won’t forget that!
LILY ARMANI: I’d have to say that my influences and idols are real biological women. I idolize and pull inspiration from Joan Rivers, Dixie Carter, Totie Fields, Bette Davis. You know, big-shouldered BROADS!
We’re a dying breed!
When was the first time you knew you wanted to be a drag queen?
GLAMAZONIA: Before I moved to Seattle, I had done drag a few times. Mostly for Halloween and theater parties, such as Rocky Horror Picture Show, that kind of thing.
The drag scene in Seattle was thriving in 1994 and you couldn’t go to any bar on any night and not see some queens. Neighbours and The Brass Connection (where The War Room is now) each had lip-syncing contests.
It was exciting, and after being a spectator for awhile I thought, “I can do that..”
LILY ARMANI: I was a little over four years old and my mammy had a National Enquirer on the kitchen table (July 1986), on the cover was as story and picture about Joan Rivers suing a Las Vegas drag queen. I looked up and told Mammy that is what I want to be: sued! At the age of 19, I found that I could be away with a lot more on a microphone as a girl than as a boy, and I have never looked back.
What music are you listening to right now? What are your top ten tracks on your IPOD?
GLAMAZONIA: I’ve been listening to my numbers for this week, both for the RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing party at Lobby on Monday, and my weekly show at Neighbours: Rock Lobster. I have a couple different playlists going at any given time. Some numbers I plan way in advance if it’s going to involve complex costumes or props, or if it’s a brand new song and I need to get all the words down. Other numbers are standards. Obviously, most of those are female vocals, but I don’t limit myself to that. If I want to do a number and can’t find a male version, or just like the male version better, I’ll just do it.
Aerosmith’s ‘PINK’ comes to mind and that’s where the AMAZON part of GLAMAZONIA comes in handy.
LILY ARMANI: Right at this moment, I’m listening to Patti LuPone singing, “I Wanna Be Around“. I’ve also revived my love for Dottie West; she was a red-headed hellcat country singer from yester-year.
Is there a celebrity or person who you would love to meet someday?
GLAMAZONIA: I don’t get star-struck around celebrities at all. So I’d like a real sit-down, one-on-one rather than a stage-door meet-and greet. I would have loved to talk to Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Buster Keaton, and Jimmy Stewart. Now, I’d guess I’d have to say Cher, Joan Rivers, Amy Sedaris, and Barack Obama.
LILY ARMANI: Living: I’d give my right eyelash (it is the bigger one) to have a sleep over with Oprah Winfrey. Dead: Bette Davis, without a doubt.
I’d love to personally deliver a message from her to Snooki!
What is something that no one knows about you?
GLAMAZONIA: That – if there’s something someone wants to know about me – they should just ask.
LILY ARMANI: If I tell you that, then there will be no reason for you to buy the memoir!