Drag-rooted performance works that question the egotism of the artist and the role of the audience
Another sighting: a makeshift biergarten in Portland last September, during one of the nightly after-parties for that city's Time-Based Art festival. Out of a small huddle by the fence rises VivvyAnne like a gibbous moon, flashlight held firmly to her face and balancing her leggy fishnets on a combination of high heels and patio furniture. After instructing the crowd in a few dance steps, she leads an impromptu off-program all her own, lip-syncing to a boom box that blasted Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA."
Surprisingly, the Long Island native, a longtime theater (and later, club) kid who moved to San Francisco in 2004 and birthed VivvyAnne ForeverMORE! in 2008, says drag was something he grew up admiring but never thought he could do. Maybe that's why he can do so much with it.
"I'll never be a 'lady lady' drag queen," he says. "It just won't happen for me. So I started out saying fuck the illusion, what illusion? I'd wear things where my chest was exposed or a see-through dress or just underwear. There's no illusion here to ruin in the first place. Once we agree that it is an illusion [we're after], then we can make it together."