Drag stars: connecting the dots

Local shock dragsters Sissyboy have been entertaining us squeezed into Holocene or other venues for 2 years now but it looks like the local art-erati have finally noticed the less than clean-shaven ladies. Not only will they be performing Tuesday in PICA’s annual Time Based Art Festival (TBA) but they have a feature in The Oregonian’s special Sunday O! It was a somewhat bizarre little portrait that seemed to go in several directions. Too many, perhaps, for a piece this short. But some of the tidbits were interesting and I perked a bit with the human interest angle of Devon McGrath. The article talks about his mother and then goes on to recount some early performances with his sister and it occurred to me that I’d heard this tale before. He and his sibling performed together as adults as well in a mixed drag troupe called Ubergay Caberet. And while this group may not have had the same level of headline-grabbing raunch or drug references they were even funnier and more original than Sissyboy. And I love the boys, but they can’t beat a crack the Atkins craze featuring a DQ running from a drag king dressed as toast with an enourmous pad of yellow butter. And while UC is now defunct McGrath’s sibling does indeed still perform but you’d be hard-pressed to find her under the name they gave. I hesitate to use ot here because I have never heard it in reference to the performer Max Voltage in any context. (I’d love to know if use of this name was on purpose). And Max is very much still on the Portland drag stage (even if this website is astoundingly out of date). If they were going into the family angle anyhow I would have thought they could give a sibling every bit as talented some ink. And I lament that it does sometimes seem that it is only the most brash, and not necessarily the most talented, that do get the press. But I cannot wholly blame the media. Why have some of my favorite ideas ended such as Ubergay Caberet, or oddly enough, Max Voltage’s collaboration with another Sissyboy, Splendora, Wildcard. Drag talent shows…now that’s more innovative than stubble on a drag queen, isn’t it? But Sissyboy has nabbed our hearts with their cocaine references and their adorable trilogies and I wholeheartedly recommend catching Tuesday’s performance in the big TBA stage.

Sissyboy performs at the Time-Based Art Festival’s The Works, 10 p.m. Tuesday, 226 S.E. Madison St.

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