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Lawnya Vawnya 12 Weird and Wired
SURPRISE! End of Festival Special Edition
Thank you to everyone who came out and followed along here! Enjoy some final pieces from our amazing Writers-in-Residence: Charlotte, Mollie, and Violet!
Phlegm Fatales x Violet Drake
Violet: It wouldn't be Lawnya Vawnya without our residents of ridiculousness, The Phlegm Fatales! Please share with our readers the special and slimey origin story of how your drag collective came to be.
Madame Daddy: I was fascinated by the Phlegm’s work with the Drag Race screenings at Treble and found my footing in drag through Secret Shows. It was there, during the All Stars 4 finale, where Irma and the rest of her sticky crew invited this goblin into the Phlegm Fatales!
Eda Kumquat: We love Lawnya Vawnya! Irma organized RuPaul’s Drag Race screenings in St. John’s for years and in 2018, most of us performed in drag for the first time courtesy of Irma’s open stage. Later in the year, the Phlegm Fatales were born!
Liezel Hues: I think the origin really is friendship. We all met each other doing drag at Irma's Drag Race screenings, but the real reason why we stuck together and have continued our working relationship is because we all love and appreciate each other and what each of us bring to the table as a team. We all like each other so much, its a no brainer as to why we keep working together.
Violet: Without a doubt your wacky drag family is one of the most diverse found across our province in terms of discipline and personal style. Each of you identify as non-binary, are multi-talented across many disciplines, and embolden everything you do with humour, horror, and glamour. What have been the challenges and gifts of blending so many genres and genders together throughout your work?
Madame Daddy: Having such a wild collective imagination and diverse skill set amongst us, from visual arts to dance to theatre to aerial arts, it makes for some of the most unique shows St. John’s has seen - and a LOT of editing down from our brainstorm sessions!
Eda Kumquat: Oh gosh, you’re so kind! I think there’s a level of openness in our group that allows for each of us to express ourselves with total abandon so that when we put our thoughts and ideas together in a big glob, we’re able to create some really special art.
Liezel Hues: I don't think there has been much of a challenge. I didn't expect all of us to end up being non-binary. When we first got together it was just nice to meet other local non-binary drag artists at all. Eventually as more and more of us have come out, now all of us identify as non-binary. As far as merging all of our styles and gender inclinations together, I don't think we have much of a problem with doing this since like I said before we all love each other very much and are very great at delegating work to each other based on skill set. Some of us have spent a considerable amount of time doing a certain thing, and we all let each other shine individually at different points during our productions. We all get along so well and are always excited to do what we love, so there aren't many difficulties that emerge.
/garbagefile: I think that our different strengths and expertise allow us to get so much more excited about our productions because we can take on so much more than the average artist or artist collective. We have a wide range of skill sets to draw from so its really fun to celebrate each other and develop our family practice as we mentor each other back and forth through every production. Its constantly exciting for everyone all the time, so it oils the machine quite well.
Violet: Your recent work has been almost larger-than-life interactive installations that transport any and all who enter into the wild world of Phlegm. Has immersive theatre been your long time goal? What has this world-making been like, and how has its ongoing success impacted each of your practices?
Madame Daddy: the immersive drag experiences have been SUCH a dream that we’ve kind of fallen into! We’ve really enjoyed taking our political slant we typically have in our bar shows and infusing it into the strange worlds we create.
Eda Kumquat: We’ve always had aspirations of doing elaborate drag shows on traditional theatre stages, but The Labourinth was an off-the-wall idea presented to Hold Fast Contemporary Arts Festival and when they asked us to be one of their Artists in Residence for Hold Fast 2021, we went IN! Go hard or go gnome!
Liezel Hues: I wouldn't say its been a long term goal, but more so a continuation of what we've always been doing. Drag is an art form that is very reciprocal depending on the audience, and its core is a symbiotic relationship with whoever is engaged with us. Audience interaction and the give and take between us is an inherent part of drag that our recent work is definitely an ode to. We want our audiences to always be excited for whatever we have in store for them.
Violet: As an all non-binary drag collective, you folks make local queer and cultural history on the regular. The social and political commentary that teases throughout and underpins your work is not lost at all. How on purpose is this? Do you consider yourselves activists? Why or why not?
Madame Daddy: Drag, inherently, is very political. In our work, it’s important to us as a collective with the platform we have to be as visible as non-humanly possible in rebellion against the conservative lawmakers and unjust systems that create barriers for marginalized communities.
Eda Kumquat: Daddy, could you say that again for the people in the back?
Liezel Hues: In being non-binary its not what we do, but who we are. The political aspects of our drag comes from the planning that goes into our projects. We always tackle any of our larger scale experiences with the question of how much of myself do I want to share into a project, and we always give each other the chance to play characters that we haven't had a chance to yet. In that freedom for each other, we try to make as many of eachothers dreams come true which includes a political message often. None of us believe that to be political inherently means being solemn. Drag is inherently political, and we lean into the political undertones of whatever we do, because its an important part of who we are as artists as well as what we are trying to put out into the world as a collective. Insofar as how I personally identify, I don't call myself an activist because to me activism is about what you do and not really who you are. I don't think its my place to call myself an activist, I'd rather let people who are moved by my art speak to its effectiveness rather than get ahead of myself at all.
/garbagefile: Something that is very important to me is celebrating queer joy. The act of us coming together as a community to witness art is about solidarity building and love and being together. Love and joy are the reasons we fight oppressive forces that seek to limit our agency as queer people. As Audre Lorde once said "self love is a political act". I think that community love and community joy in queer and trans community is a political act as well. Joy should not be understood as frivolous, it is integral to our survival as a community.
Violet Drake: Besides blessing Lawnya Vawnya with your presence, what else do you have in store for us this 2022? Where would you like to see your work head in the future?
Madame Daddy: Plenty of things have been bubbling up in our neon cauldron… Stay tuned!
Eda Kumquat: We’ve got multiple show ideas brewing, but finding the right date and available venue can be challenging. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay in the gloop!
Liezel Hues: I started doing drag when I was 18 and it was the summer of my gap year between highschool and university. Years and a full degree later, I am entering another gap year as a post-grad. Whenever people ask me what my post-grad plans are, I always tell them my plans are to lie down. Because I have the privilege and opportunity to do so, I anticipate fully blossoming my drag career and character in the next year or so since I can really dive into drag head first now.
Violet: Alas, our meeting must end for now. Leave us with a final word from each of you!
Madame Daddy: Keep being weird, and text me when you get home safe!
Eda Kumquat: If you’re not watching Untucked, you’re only getting half the story!
Liezel Hues: There is no perfect times or worst times, there is just now. Don't wait around to do or be whatever you want to, make your dreams a reality right away!
- Violet Drake
- Mollie Cronin
Headers, print borders, and stickers have been by the wonderful Charlotte Genest!
See you next year!