Sustainable Style

Going Drag in Milwaukee

A primer on the drag scene. And vote for your favorite drag queen!

By - Jun 6th, 2014 03:46 pm
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Timothy Westbrook in drag with his natural hair in 2013 Makeup by Brian Firkus aka Trixie Matell Hair by Kari Mudler Styling by Alexis Rose Photo By Alison Barnick photo two

Timothy Westbrook in drag with his natural hair in 2013 Makeup by Brian Firkus aka Trixie Matell Hair by Kari Mudler Styling by Alexis Rose Photo By Alison Barnick photo two

As you may have gathered from my previous articles and media appearances, fashion overall makes me squirm, like a worm on a hook, not a child at Christmas. The idea of mass production and all of the horrors it is responsible for, not to mention the idea of conformity, loss of identity, and societal pressure for a “normal” — it all collides into a ball of unbearable anxiety in my brain.

But I love fashion’s ability to allow individuality, self expression, a window to the soul. I love it when people take advantage of this quality. Out of all fashion shows I have been to, none of the outfits, models, attendees, or designers have looked as happy, proud, and downright fabulous as all of the characters you are going to meet in this article.

Too Wong Foo Movie Still

Too Wong Foo Movie Still

When I was nine I had the opportunity to watch To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar,the beloved drag film featuring your buff, “man’s man” favorites, Patrick Swayze, John Lequizamo, and Wesly Snipes in full drag. Shortly after this my mother’s cousin had permission to share with me Paris Is Burning, an influential documentary about the New York City “Drag Ball” scene in the late 80’s. Neither of them influenced me as far as sexual identity, or even gender identity; I never wanted to BE a girl or a woman, I just wanted to wear dresses. I was inspired by grown men, and masculine men at that, who wore dresses and everything seemed to be fine. They had friends and experienced little adversity. Both of these films greatly celebrated these characters, so their lives seemed very desirable. “What was the big deal?” thought nine-year-old me, “Jesus wore a dress and everyone celebrates him.” It was a confusing time for me. I had been playing dress up and playing with Barbies from a very young age.

For me, drag is a culture I have always been very fascinated by, but have never made the commitment to participate in. I organized a photo shoot with local artists when I still had long hair to transform me in to a drag queen using my natural hair instead of a wig. It was a very powerful experience for me. What excites me is the progressive nature of our social climate today. In the not too distant past this article would have been banned from running and all of the incredible individuals featured would be arrested.

Bjorn Nassett in his early days as BJ Daniels Photo By Shimon and Lindemann

Bjorn Nassett in his early days as BJ Daniels Photo By Shimon and Lindemann

I asked local fashion icon and a veteran of this art form, Bjorn Nassett, to share some of his thoughts on drag culture. Says Nassett: “My influence for drag came from reading Interview Magazine back in the 70‘s. Andy Warhol always included some of his superstars in each issue. It was the first time I realized I could be a performer too. I started my career in drag about 35 years ago when I won my first contest, ‘Miss Gay Madison.’ From there I was brought to Milwaukee to join the cast of the ‘Who’s No Lady Revue’ at the Club 219 on South Second Street, which was directly across from the Black Sheep Bar in the Fifth Ward. I was there for 13 years, until I retired to pursue my professional fashion and styling career.  I also performed for art shows as well as on the legitimate theatrical stage, and was named one of Madison’s most beautiful “women” by a writer for the Capital Times in the early 80’s!”

“People need to understand that ‘drag’ allowed gay people to have their own icons in their own community, and as such, queens and others led the way for the modern LGBT rights movement by not conforming to societal norms,” Nassett continues. “Today there is a diverse drag community that in a sense is its own family within the LGBT Community. I am thrilled that people are still expressing their creativity through this art form, even though they may not be entirely aware of it!”

Milwaukee’s Pride Fest is the first festival at the Summerfest grounds every year. In my shows I have been using an increasing number of drag queens as models. These colliding events inspired the idea to present to you a yearbook of Milwaukee Drag Queens. I would love to involve you, the reader, and have you vote for your favorite queen. The queen with the most votes by the end of Pride weekend will have a full feature at the end of the month. Write a comment below or E-mail MKEdrag@gmail.com with the name of your favorite Milwaukee Queen, all of the names are listed in the photo captions. If there is a queen that wasn’t featured feel free to vote for them! 

Happy pride! Enjoy some incredible and fabulous photos from some of the bravest and most wildly creative souls in town.

Milwaukee Drag Yearbook 2014

A. Love

A. Love

Drag Name: A. Love

Photo: Michael Demond

Years doing drag: “My entire life”

“What I do is not drag, I am a kingstress! I AM A. Love”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amber Alert

Amber Alert

Drag Name: Amber Alert

Photo: Brian Oscar Ouk

Years doing drag: 10 publicly

“Putting the ‘tranny’ back in ‘tyranny’”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BJ Daniels

BJ Daniels

Drag Name: BJ Daniels

Photo: John Grant Photography

Years doing drag: 35

“My influence for drag came from reading “Interview Magazine” back in the 70’s.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Ruthie

Dear Ruthie

Drag Name: Dear Ruthie

Photo: John Grant Photography

Years doing drag: 20

“Maybe a I wanna look cheap!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dixie Kuppe

Dixie Kuppe

Drag Name: Dixie Kuppe

Photo: Michael Damond

Years Doing Drag: 4

“Bigger than Broadway, is Milwaukee’s own Tupperware lady.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dora Diamond

Dora Diamond

Drag Name: Dora Diamond

Photo: Alice Waraxa

Years doing drag: 4

“Milwaukee’s premiere live-singing drag sensation, this voluptuous vixen proves that nothing sparkles like a diamond!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harmony Beeze

Harmony Beeze

Drag Name: Harmony Breeze

Photo: Glitter Stage Productions

Years doing drag: 4

“Wisconsin’s plus size Barbie”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jaymes Mansfield

Jaymes Mansfield

Drag Name: Jaymes Mansfield

Photo: Erniereyy Photography

Years doing drag: 3

“I’m a combination of Marilyn Monroe out of Belleview and Jayne Mansfield on LSD”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karizma Mirage

Karizma Mirage

Drag Name: Karizma Mirage

Photo: Glitter Stage Productions

Years doing drag: 3

“The fresh phish catch of the day!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kiki Kardashian

Kiki Kardashian

Drag Name: Kiki Kardashian

Photo: Glitter Stage Productions

Years doing drag: 4

“I’m the showgirl queen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nadia Andrews

Nadia Andrews

Drag Name Nadia Andrews

Photo: Glitterstage Photography

Years doing drag: 4

“My drag persona is beauty and glamour with a touch of sexy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Offeelyah Bone

Offeelyah Bone

Drag Name: Offeelyah Bone

Photo: Courtesy of Offeelyah

Years doing drag: 5

“A little bit classy a whole lot a trashy wanting to make you laugh and lift your spirits or your package.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trixie Mattel

Trixie Mattel

Drag Name: Trixie Mattel

Photo: Kyle Krueger

Years doing drag: 6

“Can I get a ride home?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scarlet Begonia

Scarlet Begonia

Drag Name: Scarlet Begonia

Photo: Courtesy of Scarlet

Years doing drag: Amateur gender artist

“I fart rainbows and piss fairy dust!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shawna Love

Shawna Love

Drag Name: Shawna Love

Photo: Jeremy E Thew

Years doing drag: 23

“Milwaukee’s zany white trash Barbie”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veruca Voorhees

Veruca Voorhees

Drag Name: Veruca Voorhees

Photo: Che Correa Photography

Years doing drag: 1

“I’m completely ridiculous, but the kiddies love it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windy Breeze

Windy Breeze

Drag Name: Windy Breeze

Photo: Courtesy of Windy

Years doing drag: 10

“I’m sassy yet sweet!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Sustainable Style: Going Drag in Milwaukee”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good point, that in the not-too-distant past this article would have been banned! So I’m glad that you’re writing about drag fashion (and how few people do!).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Trixie Mattel!!!! Forever!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dixie Kuppe !!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Harmony Breeze loooovvvvvveeee her.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Shawna Love is amazing!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Tracy Marte – I mean TRIXIE!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dear Ruthie all the way!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ruthie…Ruthie…Ruthie….

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dixie Kuppe is a riot.

  10. Alena says:

    Do one on Kings! Love all these ladies 🙂

  11. Jason says:

    Kudos, to you ladies. You are all a work of art.

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