Bruce was nice enough to answer my questions a few days ago in his birthday interview. He requested an interview with me in exchange, so here goes Interview II; this time Bruce is asking the questions:
*Who influenced you the most to try out for drag?
No one really had to talk me into it. It was something that I always wanted to try. I grew up in the 80's and loved going to the drag bars. I looked at the "girls" as celebrities, and felt important just being around them. I was jeaous of the guys that could fix themselves up and look so much like women, and their ability to go out there and entertain the crowds at the risk of making themselves look like a fool. I always felt so much respect for the queens that they would take such a leap into the unkown and get applause, and tips, for it.
*Did you ever dress in drag before you appeared on stage?
Only on Halloween-- when I was about 6 years old I dressed up in my grandmother's dress and my mother's wig. Somewhere there is a picture of me at that age, sitting on a bean bag chair wearing a red, white & blue skirt, a white blouse, and a brunette wig-- crossing my legs like a real woman and even holding a cigarette. It's the gayest picture ever taken of me!
At the age of 10, I went trick-or-treating, dressed as Farrah Fawcett (she was all the rage that year!).
*What are your favorite songs/artists that you like to perform?
I usually do Top 40 kind of songs-- the latest hits. Usually they are fast numbers with some dancing. I've learned that my alter-ego, Keisha, can dance a lot better than I can.
*Is there a song that you are practicing now,that you would like to perform?
I'm not practicing anything right now since there are no shows planned til next Summer. But-- I am thinking about it and collecting possible songs. Last night I heard Blondie's "One Way or Another" on the jukebox and wrote it down on the list as a possible/maybe.
*Did you hate gym class, but love the locker room?
Actually, I don't remember my school having a locker room. I only took one PE class in high school and that was track. I loved to run, and I was pretty fast. But, I don't remember going to the locker room and changing into shorts, or showering afterwards. That was so long ago, or maybe I blocked it out!
*What's in the future for Keisha Lorraine?
At times I feel like letting Keisha go, but I know I can't. I enjoy the spotlight and the crowd too much. I love having an alter-ego that can say what she thinks. She's the total opposite of me. She'll probably be wowing the crowd in a wheelchair someday.
*Tell me about the best present you have ever received?
I've received lots of great presents in my life, but the two that stand out both came from Steve, about 15 years ago. I had just bought a big aquarium and wanted it to be a saltwater tank. I got the tank set up and bought a few cheap fish for it. On the morning of my birthday, I went to feed the fish and found that the aquarium had new residents. I had some seahorses, anenomies, blowfish and a butterfly fish.
The other "best present" was just a note. I was getting ready to put the Christmas tree up one year and among the decorations I found an envelope. I opened it and found the note: "I hope we're still together next Christmas. I love you", dated the previous January when we had taken the tree down. Of course we WERE still together, otherwise it would've been a terrible gift!
*Is there any type of drag you don't like to see or do?
I enjoy all kinds of drag, but I really don't like watching drag queens that have beards. I never understood that one. I can enjoy camp drag, I just don't want to be campy myself.
*Does your family know about Keisha? And if so how do they feel?
Most of my family don't know about Keisha. My older brother does- he's seen pictures of her, but hasn't met her yet. But~~~ I saw him perform in drag as Annie Lennox about 10 years ago! I'm not ashamed of Keisha, but I don't think Keisha would do the same act if my mother and brothers were in the audience.
*When you are going to perform for a show, how many hours of rehersal do you do?
Hours??? More like months! I don't want to make a fool of myself! I learn the words and practice the moves for months, but the dance steps always change as soon as I hit the real stage and the music starts.
*Have you ever gotten stage fright?
Not at all. I always feel quesy and scatter-brained the day of the show, but once I'm in costume, I'm fine.
*When you're Keisha Lorraine do you ever think about Brian Burnett?
Not much. It's hard to explain, but when I put on the wig and make-up, it's like wearing a mask. I become Keisha and I can say or do whatever I want. I don't think about Brian, or worry about unpaid bills, etc. It's like wearing the Mickey Mouse costume at Disneyworld-- you can walk around and shake hands and hug and dance & believe that you are a character; someone else for a short period of time. Keisha doesn't want to think about Brian- she wants the party to continue and the show to go on. It's very liberating and amazing. A forty year old man feels like the queen of the ball- take the costume off and he's back to being a 9 to 5 bookkeeper.