CoochieCrunch

Bristol's Badass Burlesque Show

Dis Charge’s Top 10 Bitches the Devil Wants to Date

CoochieCrunch are delighted to close out the Spooky Season with a comprehensive list of perfect awfulness from the sticky-gooey Dis Charge.

Spooky shtick is nothing new to the alternative and burlesque scenes. Recently, thanks in part to the success of RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Sharon Needles, the darker side of the counter-culture has experienced a renaissance of sorts. It seems that everywhere we turn a spiked jacket and heavy black shadows are the maquillage du jour for many stalking the streets. And of course, as we approach Goth christmas this phenomenon is certain only to increase.

It is with this in mind that at this time of year, I tend to reflect on the lasting influence of darker subcultures and their icons. The performers who have exemplified the shadowy brilliance of the ‘Everyday is Halloween’ cult, icons of the Gloominati!

These are my references, my heroines and heroes. Figure heads of the underground that have provided me with a great deal of inspiration as they have many others.

And so, here we have it: Dis Charge’s Top 10 Angels of the Abyss or Top 10 Bitches the Devil Wants to Date.

10. Vinsantos DeFonte

Native of New Orleans and a legend of the S.F. drag cabaret circuit, I first became exposed to Vinsantos via the Peaches Christ short, Spin the Bottle. A merciless parody of Madonna’s ‘In Bed with…’ documentary. He was surly and strange, a marionette in drag whose peaked lips and ratted hair allowed him to stand out in a sea of gigantic wigs and blonde brilliance.

Vinsantos DeFonte (c) Austin Young

Vinsantos DeFonte (c) Austin Young

I delved straight into his material, devouring his comedic chanson with great appetite. I watched his short film, ‘33‘ and howled with laughter as he abducted babies from trams and snatched children from their bikes in order to sacrifice them to his cause… a revolutionary anti-ageing treatment that required their blood!

Vinsantos presents an image that is deliciously masculine and feminine all at once, twisting up his presentation into a delirious genderfuck extravaganza. No-one does a Jesus lip synch mock-miracle quite like Vinsantos!

He also makes incredibly creepy, yet strangely beautiful hoodoo inspired dolls sold through his Etsy shop, Kreeture! Buy them, here.

You can read my interview with this legendary legend here

9. Fade-Dra Phey

Legendary Tranimal monster of the L.A. scene, daughter of Squeaky Blonde; Fade-Dra is a feast for the eyes and ears. The image which always comes to mind for me whenever I think of her, lifts directly from the erratic makeup-spattered piece performed to the Vanity 6 classic, ‘MAKE…UP!’

Fade-Dra Phey (c) Austin Young

Fade-Dra Phey (c) Austin Young

Picture it…

A dark bar, crammed with sweating screeching men and women. The opening synth picks up and the blackness is illuminated by a Hollywood makeup bulb frame. Through this, we can see a bearded, stocking mask clad figure who stares intently into the assembled mass.

‘BLUSH… EYELINER….’

scratching hands claw at makeup now crushed into her eyes and cheeks…

‘HUSH… SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!’

The crowd is laughing, entranced… nervous. Foundation flies at her face, powder and paint spray at the crowd and across Fade-Dra as she leers and croons to the words, her beard spilling out like a scar.

‘IF I WEAR A DRESS… HE WILL NEVER CALL…’

The song continues, the list of applied cosmetics grows as does the fury with which Fade-Dra applies it to herself…

‘SMOKE A CIGAR-ETTE… I’M NOT READY YET!’

the final stage, our queen rests against her chair, the lights of the mirror pumping and flickering as she lights her cigarette with a huge flame. Her face is ruined. Covered in cosmetic wreckage.

I AM IN LOVE!

Few queens take the chances that Tranimals do, and that’s why I love them!

8. Elvira

What can I say?! That rack… that hair… that makeup… THAT COMEDY! An irrefutable icon of the underground, Elvira has had women, men and men-women squeezing themselves into tight black dresses, fishnets and killer heels for over a decade in pursuit of attaining her stunning figure. She is one of the ultimate and enduring icons of b-movie cinema, coming to prominence with her TV Show ‘Fright Night’, in which, she provided the colour commentary to a plethora of suitably schlock-stick cinematic gems proving so popular that she inevitably ended up creating and starring in one of my all-time favourite films; ‘Elvira, Mistress of the Dark’.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

Her punk-vamp sex kitten image combined hysterically with valley girl inspired bombastic timing and aided the re-invigoration of alternative culture, particularly that of the Goth scene who seized upon her image as a standard bearer of kooky cool in a media age filled with soap stars, conservative moralistic drama and bland pop tripe.

Elvira is a GODDESS, and, no stranger to drag, she also whole-heartedly supports my next legend of the underground… PEACHES CHRIST!

7. Peaches Christ

She’s a film-maker, singer, performer and cult-leader with an empire that has rapidly expanded beyond her native San Francisco. Her tireless dedication to B-Movie culture and aesthetic does not only qualify her for the drag hall of fame but has earned her a special place in the heart of many. Peaches has made myself and sister-baby-girl, Tini Von Doom howl with laughter for many hours, not least for her ‘Tranilogy of Terror’ short film collection. Seriously, watch ‘Nightmare on Castro Street’, I DARE you not to crack a rib let alone a smile!

Peaches Christ

Peaches Christ

Representing a darker side of show-girl glamour, I have always been a fan of Peaches Christ’s image as well as her razor sharp wit and hysterical Midnight Mass performances. I am dying to get to her infamous ‘Night of 1000 Showgirls’ movie celebrations promoting the dire classic of ham-acting; ‘Showgirls’.

Peaches is an exemplary performer and her presence on the underground as well as her perpetual bolstering of local talent provides us with a valuable insight into how well the outsider can do and of course, just how interesting life is with a little bit of glitter, a fuck-ton of blood and slatherings of poisonous wit.

Here’s a link to her essential, ‘Tranilogy…’ films.

6. Kembra Pfahler and The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black

“My mother told me, If you show your vagina on-stage – your career will be over!’ so that day I shot ‘Sewing Circle’ with Richard Kern’ and launched my career.”

Incase you’re wondering… ‘Sewing Circle’ was the embodiment of Pfahlers frustration with partners, performers and parents who had been telling the young goddess of punk performance art how to conduct herself for far too long. The film itself graphically depicts a smiling Kembra sewing her lips together (not those lips…) as she stares unflinchingly into the camera, laughing and oozing camp sexuality. It is an image notorious amongst the Cinema of Transgression, and it helped to turn her and her band; The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black into legends of NYC counter culture.

Kembra Pfahler

Kembra Pfahler

Splicing punk-rock ‘Beautalism’ with Kali-goddess brilliance, Kembra became the leader of a performance troupe whose colourful originality and surrealist aesthetic established them as one of the greatest (and most under-rated) American punk rock groups of all-time. Kembra even coined her own art-movement known as, Availabalism and according to former club-kid, BOOB art rocker and visual artist, Walt Paper, taught him ‘Everything he knows about how to survive as an artist’.

Subversive, stunning and (possibly) completely insane, Kembra Pfahler has made a huge impact on of a generation of performers and artists including myself!

I demand that you listen to her seminal recording, ‘Neighborachie’ or perhaps, the more timely ‘I Believe in Halloween’, immediately!

5. BOOB

A consistent reference for myself, I love BOOB! Art-Punk shockers hailing from NYC and boasting a stage show that many alt. rock performers have shamelessly stolen from, BOOB rocked the Giuliani era American city that never sleeps with furious performances of gender dysphoric glam and spit!

BOOB

BOOB

Surviving records document this vivacious flash of colour which included Walt Paper, Loxanna and Desi-Monster and had as it’s poster-girl, burlesque super vixen; the world-famous BOB! with such vigor it’s amazing that very few people know of them.

Scary Monsters‘, displays perfectly their damaged acidic visual extravaganza and sonic assault. Each show was a spectacle themed and co-ordinated to perfection. BOOB remain one of my all-time favourite multi-media, genre bending performance troupes. PERIOD.

4. The Wasp Women

You may not know this… but I have a bit of an obsession with… THE WASP WOMEN!

The Wasp Women

The Wasp Women

Former members of legendary San Francisco drag troupe, the Angels of Light (no, not the Swans side project) – themselves a splinter group of the infamous Cockettes, the Wasp Women are known for their performance in the Marc Huestis feature; ‘Whatever Happened to Susan Jane’ and one surviving single re-issued by Dark Entries records entitled, ‘KILL ME!’ Recently, I was able to interview one of the few surviving members of the core outfit, Teena. I couldn’t believe my luck with that one!

Trashy, loud, lewd and seriously spooky, the Wasp Women were freaked out drag and faux queens with a sick sense of humour and they wrapped that up in towering white wigs, film noir and punk bon viveur! They are the epitome of cool and were described recently by David Weissman (dir. of the Cockettes documentary) to me as ‘TERRIFYING’ proving that way before many contemporary queens had even donned a frock, that being part of the alternative scene and the gay scenes were not only compatible, but when joined in unison, a force of dynamic black humour to be reckoned with!

Read my interview with Teena, here.

Watch them perform ‘Kill Me’ and ‘I Don’t Need Your Attitude’.

3. Lydia Lunch

The undisputed heavy weight champion of brutalism. A FUCKING PIONEER PEOPLE!!! Lydia is actually one of the BEST performers of any genre AND she created one of my favourite pieces of music EVER, ‘Pass Like Night’. I was lucky enough to catch her aggressive dark blues rock band BIG SEXY NOISE a few months back in the Fleece. Seriously. I could have died when she stroked my face and gave me a kiss on the cheek later that evening.

Lydia Lunch

Lydia Lunch

Completely unrestrained, confrontational, unique and ultimately inspiring; Lunch is a gem in the crown of the underground Punk and Goth movements. Her contributions are numerous and almost impossible to catalogue. She has defied individual classification and boasts a career that encompasses dramatic prose, spoken word, gothic, industrial, no-wave, noise rock, jazz, blues and mixed media installation.

No-one does it quite like Lydia. Lady Scarface is the epitome of subcultural cool.

2. Squeaky Blonde

Where do I begin?! Blood bitch from L.A. and the very reason I began performing drag. Squeaky is the outsider Tranimal queen that birthed bitches like me all over America and the UK. She truly is the grand high witch and to not include her would have been INSANE!

Squeaky Blone (c) Austin Young

Squeaky Blone (c) Austin Young

Brutal, hysterical, disgusting, disturbed and totally addictive, Squeaky is one of the most unique contemporary drag performers and has become the representative of an entirely bizarre sub-genre of drag, Tranimal, along with modern luminaries such as Jer Ber Jones, Fade-Dra and Jackie Hell.

Performances test the limits of comedy, decency and aural possibility as she attacks her audiences with orgiastic washes of colour, fierce visuals and haunting noise. I’ve never heard a version of ‘Walk on By’ quite like Squeakys! Her performance in the Peaches Christ short mentioned earlier, ‘Nightmare on Castro Street’ was drop-dead funny! Oh my god watch it now!!!!

Quite simply, the undisputed WITCH QUEEN of Los Angeles!

1. Diamanda Galas

It’s hard to know where to begin with Galas, she’s an opera singer, blues performer, performance artist, AIDS and genocidal awareness activist, multi-media-multi-dimensional institution!
Following performances that led to her forever being banned from Vatican City, ACT UP demonstrations that led to warrants for her arrest, tireless efforts to classify and research the AIDS virus in both its early stages and continuing development AND a repertoire that not only distinguishes herself as one of contemporary classical/blues/rock performers most distinguished talents but to also be in possession of a voice of such incredible tonality and experimental force that it defies classification. NO ONE does it like Galas.
Diamanda Galas

Diamanda Galas

To me, she represents all of the most important aspects of contemporary performance and art (mutually inclusive of course). She wages an ageless war that spans varying disciplines and is wholly unique, dredging darkness and depravity, hopelessness and despair fresh from the soil in a method that is so totally her own that she has long held her position as not only one of the most controversial but most RADICAL of modern voices. After all, who the hell else could pull off a line such as…

‘GIVE ME SODOMY, OR GIVE ME DEATH!”

Without it sounding contrived.

If ever I look to anyone within the canon of artists whose position within the darker edge of performance is held in such a lofty state, it is almost always Galas. She is an inspiration.

The ultimate. The indescribable (my words fall terribly short). The MAGNIFICENT:

DIMANDA GALAS

Happy Halloween

Bile and Bruises

Dis Charge

x

2 comments on “Dis Charge’s Top 10 Bitches the Devil Wants to Date

  1. artwankevents
    November 6, 2013

    An excellent roll call of influences! Love it!

    • coochiecrunch
      November 7, 2013

      I know right?! Kembra Pfahler has been a personal favourite and influence of mine for years.

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This entry was posted on October 31, 2013 by in Coochie Crunch Blog and tagged , .
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