This weekend, East London drag royalty, Jonny Woo, takes over the resplendent Hackney Empire and fills it with a whole heap of disruptive, queer performers for his Un-Royal Variety Show!
In anticipation, he’s been taking to the pages of QX to talk to some of the night’s acts. Two weeks ago, it was provocative comedian Lucy McCormick and now it’s the turn of mad-eyed Texan CHRISTEENE! Take it away, Jonny.
I catch up with Christeene in the dressing room at The Glory and ask how she feels about being in our ‘sacred’ space. She mishears.
“I don’t believe in safe spaces, so I appreciate being bought into this dirty old back room. Safe spaces are the most unreliable spaces there are and I think that if you are trying to accomplish a safe space, then you are basically hiding from everything.”
How old are you?
I don’t follow people’s scale of age or time. I’m like a dog that’s 20 but really five. I’m perhaps 9 years old. I’ve been in your faces for about 9 years.
How do you identify?
I got a hole. I identify as an equal to all of y’all, even animals most of them, because we all have a thing in common with a butt hole. I can identify with everyone with a butt hole. Most animals I know have a butt hole, most people I know have a butt hole, I do believe the one without the butt hole will be my life partner, cause that’s exciting. This talk of identity… I don’t like it because it’s becoming so specific and there are so many rules and you get in trouble and slapping the hand, like the nun and the ruler. Why are we not saying, “look what we have discovered, let me share it with you and it’s ok if you don’t understand it, if you say something wrong, I will show you how I feel.”
How did you start performing?
When I started, I was doing live things before I had a song. Like in Austin Texas, where I’m from, they have fucked up dykes and faggots and whackos who were doing all sorts of things in a back yard. Silky who dances with me now, she had an open mic night and I would just go and show up and I would play a song like a Pizzicato 5 song and would moan into the microphone and then just leave. It was like getting born’.
My first song was ‘Fix my Dick’. It’s about a need for intimacy and ruff and gruff contact with another being, a soul, a life, and exchange of fluids.
How important is sex?
I think it should be celebrated, like our identities! Encouraged and celebrated, but not bragged about. There is a strange kind of culture of folk who show off about how much sex they’re having. Sometimes I think people need to be a little understanding of that and that people are scared of sex and need a little help to understand it more. So it’s nice to understand that it’s an animal need, it’s healthy (if it’s healthy). I don’t mean like chemicals no-good, like that sort of shit, like bring in the toys and bring in the straps. It’s healthy if you’re hanging upside down for a while in a dark room.
How is America?
You know it’s hard for the people in America. Its like fatigue. A lot of my friends, they talk about being tired and that’s what the shit bags wanted; for everyone to get tired and hit them with so many things at once. Everyone who doesn’t live in America knows what’s underneath that big lovely gold blanket of America. All that has happened is that the blanket has been removed and now you can see what’s left. Its sad. America maybe used to have a beauty, or a charm, or hopefulness. Now it’s just this butt naked thing that is getting seen for what it is.
What do you think of the Queen and the royals?
You got all this weird shit going on over here. She lives in that big old place with all that money. It’s a machine. They have that Kate woman and she’s pumped all those babies out. I wouldn’t have wanted to sign the contract that she signed up for. Maybe she’s happy, but that’s a lot of kids in very little time that just came out of that woman’s tutu.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve got an album coming out in February. I’ve got 13 songs and I haven’t really announced it yet. I raised money for it and everyone helped me do it and I’ve been working real hard and so excited to share it with everybody. We’ve been singing it a lot in the road, I’ll sing one or two songs at your show, depends what the mood is; some of the new songs are very fitting.
How would you describe your shows?
Expect nothing but bring everything you got. People say what can I expect? What am I getting into? I say don’t’ expect shit. Just show up and bring me everything you got. Good, bad, whatever your country has done to you, whether you are getting laid, if you got a lover, anything. Bring it in the room. Plug it onto me and I will process it for you right in front of your eyes. Instant gratification.
Jonny Woo’s Un-Royal Variety is Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th November at The Hackney Empire. Tickets at hackneyempire.co.uk