Drag performer Michael Gray
In my latest Downtown Abbey, I checked out Wall Street Night Club's Illusions Cabaret. Have you ever wondered how guys transform themselves into insanely gorgeous, over-the-top performers? I do. All the time.
To help explain the process for glamifying, I talked to newly minted member of The Glamazons Drag crew, Michael "Mr. Pottymouth" Gray.
Mr. Pottymouth in full effect. Photo courtesy of Michael Gray.
"I don't like to think of myself as a "diva" type drag performer, I think of myself as a genderf--- performer," Gray said. "I want my Mr. Pottymouth character to be beautifully androgynous space alien. That's why I like performing with The Glamazons, they are sort of on the fringe of drag and it's very freeing."
We started out the evening on High Street. I walked into The Garden to find Gray perusing foundation. Even in his normal garb, he is fabulous. After deciding on the perfect shade of stage makeup, we went to The Chamber to check out some leather pieces. Because leather!
"I like doing more fetish-forward costumes. It toughens up the look I'm going for. I don't want to be too feminine or too masculine," Gray said. "I want to bend the rules of drag, and I hope people get that it isn't just bad drag; it's performance art. It's an expression of who I am."
On the heels he got from The Chamber: "Sacrifices must be made, girl. I've lost a couple toenails to some heels before."
We then went to Flower Child (989 N. High St.) where he tore through the racks like a man possessed.
"This is the debutante ball rack."
"I find a lot of props, like vintage hats and boas here," Gray said.
Or, in this case... Some killer pink gloves.
Gray says he finds some bitchin' duds too, when they aren't in "toothpick, skinny b----" sizes.
This was the "Steel Magnolias" bridesmaid dress... He looks better in it than anyone I've ever seen in pink lace.
And sometimes, you luck out and find velvet unicorn artwork!
"Whaaaat? Shut up."
He also found some celebrity sportswear!
"Girl, this looks like Bjork's tennis whites."
Most of Gray's costumes he makes himself. His understanding of costuming make for out-of-this-world stage shows. Though he works on a tight budget, and the results are pure insanity:
Even with all the preparation and planning for performances, Gray said the real transformation happened before he put on the heels.
"I knew I wanted to take a risk. But it can be hard to be gay and weird. I had to become ok with who I was first," he said. "Once I decided to go for my vision, I was totally humbled by the warm response and support I received. I didn't think anyone would get it, but people have thanked me for representing the androgynous demographic. I guess you can do drag without being a 'queen.'"
Check out Mr. Pottymouth and the rest of The Glamazons at Wall Street Night Club!