The 5th Queer Punk Drag night is just a week-ish away and it’s the biggest one yet says Tanya Pearson, the curator of these unique shows. I went to the first show back in February and it was one of the most satisfying shows I’ve been to in a while.
“For me,” Pearson began, “it was about starting a scene that we all wanted to be a part of and bridging the gap between the drag, punk, and queer scene in Western Mass.” Pearson said she’s always been a fan of salons and purposefully curated shows rather than a regular show you may show up to at the last minute.
The lineups for each show have been fun and energetic and have been housed at venues across the Valley. It returns to Hawks and Reed in Greenfield for this latest one. Pearson’s drag-infused punk band, Feminine Aggression have been on the bill for each of the shows and they continue with this upcoming show as well. The positive response from these shows have been so amazing that more of them have been produced than intended. “It’s a lot of work but it’s so rewarding,” Pearson said.
Also performing on the bill are: Kurt Fowl and the Fashion Bugchasers with an extremely entertaining set of punk-pop mixed with fashion. Crickets, a minimalist noise punk band that houses music greats: JD Samson (Le Tigre, MEN), Roddy Bottom (Faith No More) and Michael O’Neill (MEN). Northampton/Boston-based DUMP Him who describe themselves as “really gay, kinda good, queercore then, queercore now and queercore forever.” Nemesister who describe themselves so fucking amazing, “goth-witch, lo-fi weirdo sorcery.” DJ Odiosa who also have a unique and intriguing description “curator of zonas de liberacion using cumbia, reggeaton, y mas to cut thru white heteropatriarchal fuckshit.” And added last minute is AquaShade — Erica Dawn Lyle of the original riot grrl band Bikini Kill’s latest project.
In honor of my favorite holiday, and the publication date of this issue — Halloween — I was able to catch up with a few members of some of the performers and asked some tricky, treaty questions.
Valley Show Girl: Favorite Halloween movie?
Tanya Pearson: Castaway.
JD Samson: I am not a major Halloween fan because I hate drunk people in sexy versions of regular outfits running around screaming, and don’t know the difference between a regular horror movie and a Halloween movie, buuuuutttttt I think that The Hunger is my favorite scary movie.
Kurt Fowl: I celebrate Halloween with the movie The Crow. It’s dark, beautiful, and although a major theme is a supernatural coming back to life it deals with something that’s real for everyone, loss. It also takes place on DEVILS night. So what better to get you in the mood??
Sean Donovan (Feminine Aggression): My initial answer: Return of the Living Dead — so many great scenes and soundtrack — but longstanding favorite: Hocus Pocus — a movie that spoke to a young gay me.
Crystal Ford (Feminine Aggression): The Witches, early Simpson’s Treehouse of Horrors.
VSG: Halloween candy you can’t get enough of?
Tanya: I don’t eat candy! I’m a lot of fun!
JD: I love candy corn. There is something so satisfying about eating corn syrup that feels just like wax in the shape of a cone.
Kurt: Candy corn. Yup. That’s right. I think it’s delicious and fun to eat. A Halloween tradition that is not to be missed and I don’t care what anyone says!
Sean: I DO have a sweet tooth but no favorite.
Crystal: Sour Patch Kids.
VSG: Best costume — to date — you’ve had?
Tanya: I went to a 5th grade Halloween dance as a punk rocker and now look what happened.
JD: A few years ago I was “the sun coming up over Santa Monica Blvd.” and it was genius. I am so proud of it.
Kurt: Halloween started my career. It all started with Halloween and then to a human statue to a drag queen to a stage performer. It was the night that gave me the outlet to try makeup and costumes. My most elaborate costume was a cricket with legs coming out of my waist longer than four feet.
Sean: Hmmm, my mom handmade some great ones as a kid but very proud of my Santa Klaus Nomi from a few years back (which I made all by myself).
Crystal: My costume this year: Glenn Danzig carrying cat litter.
VSG: Any Halloween traditions you wanna share?
Tanya: I pretty much just watch Hocus Pocus and that’s it. I love Halloween but I’m always unprepared by the time it rolls around, and I’m old and tired. I’m going to watch Sean perform a cover set at the Majestic Saloon [Halloween night in Northampton] this year and I might wear a brown suit and be an “out and proud” Kathryn Hepburn or something but that’s honestly the best I can do at this age.
JD: Generally… I stay home and give candy to children if I don’t have to DJ at the club.
Kurt: It is my tradition to go out on October 30 (devils night). I’m something very dark and demonic. Another tradition that I am looking forward to picking back up now that I’ve moved back to New England is the New York Village Halloween parade. The largest pedestrian parade. It’s an amazing chance to show off creativity to the crowd and fellow costume pals.
Sean: No consistent ones — but exploring marking Samhain this year, a significant pagan holiday marking a change into the dark and dreaming times of the year: maybe some moonlight cemetery time.
Crystal: Pumpkin carving and making spooky playlists.
Make sure to stock up on 90 percent off candy corn and bring it to the show on November 8 at 8 p.m. All ages, $10 adv/$15 door. Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center, 289 Main St., Greenfield.
Jennifer Levesque writes the twice-monthly column, Valley Show Girl. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.