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PHOTOGRAPHY BY CYLE SUESZ

Earl’s Pussy Faggot

Producer and nightlife curator Earl Dax have been throwing his party Pussy Faggot! since 2009. It’s been a place where many artists and performers have the opportunity to showcase their art and express themselves freely. We’ve been fans of Earl’s drag personas for a while. As we learned Earl believes in the more the merrier when it comes to performers, he doesn’t have one drag persona, he has two, meet Enya Buttox and Indigo Earl.

 

Why did you decide to create a party called Pussy Faggot? How did you come up with the name? It was 2009, and I was looking for a venue to throw a benefit for the HOT! Festival. The Delancey turned out to be the best available option, but I hadn’t set foot in the place since the demise of UNISEX Salon, a weekly party I had thrown there in 2006/07. That party infamously came to an abrupt end during a contretemps with my co-promoter that ended with me in a fetal position on the floor of the bar where I was kicked three times, spat upon and called — you guessed it — a “pussy faggot!” Going back two years later was strange and surreal, and I wanted to acknowledge what had happened there.


How did people respond to the name Pussy Faggot? I was completely surprised by the response to the name. People loved it. I knew that it was provocative, but I didn’t fully understand that there are actually a lot of people who embrace the term, “pussy faggot.” I think it speaks to a post-Ellen generation for whom sexuality and gender identity are much more fluid.


What do you look for in an artist to perform at PF? I think of PUSSY FAGGOT! as a quarterly mini-festival of queer performance, so I look for a broad spectrum of artists from different scenes and subcultures within the larger LGBT community. I like strange bedfellows; the more eclectic and diverse the programming is, the better. Over the past four years we’ve featured slam poetry; play readings, contemporary dance, stand up comedy, performance art, cabaret, drag, video screenings, electronic dance bands, hip-hop bands, Mexican-American death metal, and live piercing installations!


Do you find the word faggot to be negative? I don’t find faggot to be negative or positive. It all depends on the context. Certainly PUSSY FAGGOT! is part of a long history of minority groups reclaiming words that have been used to disparage and demean them, and in this context I think the word ‘faggot’ is extremely positive. I really understood this about a year ago when I was waiting in line to get a cannoli at Veniero‘s. I was by myself and I heard someone say “pussy faggot.” Without hesitation I turned toward them and waved! Turns out the guy had been to the party, and he was telling his friend about it. That was a really powerful moment for me. A term that was used as an epithet toward me in a violent situation had become a term that I responded to affirmatively, a term that now has very positive associations based on the experience of this party.


What do you enjoy the most about doing this party? The event itself is the thing I most enjoy… the payoff for a couple months of planning and preparation. The mix of artists and friends and strangers. The barely controlled chaos. The unexpected moments of brilliance. The narrowly averted train wreck. The train wreck that wasn’t averted and is nonetheless spectacular. It’s a pop-up community, a little queer performance art utopia.


 

 

Now lets talk about your drag personas Enya Buttox and Indigo Earl…

 

When were they born? My first full-tilt experience in drag was, appropriately enough, in San Francisco. I was visiting three friends who all did drag and shared a one room apartment in the Tenderloin, and they put me in a cotton candy wig with a bedazzled pink cape, and I saw the sun come up on the patio of the End Up. Enya Buttox came later, when I was living in Philadelphia. I was involved with a queer direct action group called Grassroot Queers, and many of us would go to Thursday night drag shows at a dive bar on South Street called Bob & Barbara’s. I started performing there as Enya Buttox: the Drag Queen for Social and Economic Justice. It was a fledgling effort to combine my interests in politics, performance, activism and drag. Indigo Earl, my faux king character, is much more recent. — although it feels like a natural extension of my inner lesbian. Plus, I was mentored by Murray Hill when I moved to New York, so I learnt about being a drag king from the best!

 

Earl as Indigo Earl, “this look was inspired by a tourist in NYC. A Hawaiian shirt and 35mm camera.”


Another Indigo Earl look, “this is the same thing I wore to the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards… Murray Hill’s younger cousin.”

 

Earl as the wild and slutty Enya Buttox. “For Enya  it was one look, zebra print dress and cowboy boots…”

Do you have a favorite? I wouldn’t say that I prefer one persona over the other. It all depends on my mood.


Who gets you in the most trouble? Enya is definitely more of a wild child. She likes to get into trouble, cause a ruckus. Indigo Earl is more mellow… a 70′s used car salesman who aspires to be Tom Jones.


Who’s hornier? Enya is definitely hornier… She gets a lot more action that Indigo

Has your PF influenced your drag personas? Enya preceded PUSSY FAGGOT! by several years, and the influences for Indigo Girl are drag kings like Murray Hill, Dred and Mo B. Dick. So, no there isn’t a direct influence.

When you become any of these drag personas do you feel different? Yes, I always feel different when I’m in drag, and each character allows me to express different facets of myself. Indigo Earl allows me to simultaneously express a lesbian/dyke identity and permits me to perform masculinity in a way that I don’t generally do as a gay man. Enya Buttox allows for the expression of a feral femininitiy, rebellion and rage which makes her more dangerous.

 
The glamour never ends… Enya next to a pile of trash.

For this week’s Pussy Faggot (the 4-year anniversary) you brought a guest curator, tell us about that Yes, Quito Ziegler, my guest co-curator for the evening. Quito was the force behind The Forest of the Future, a month-long installation and event space located in a riverfront loft building in Greenpoint. A photographer, visual artist and activist, Quito brings a complimentary vision to PUSSY FAGGOT! and gives the evening it’s “future feminist” theme. They have brought in a brilliant constellation of artists, many of whom are new to me, and thus expanded the range of programming and added a new, exciting voice to the proceedings. It has been a very rewarding, collaborative process, and I’m very excited for this sprawling 4-year anniversary edition of the party!

Enya gets into all sorts of trouble…

Don’t miss the 4-year anniversary of PUSSY FAGGOT! Thursday May 16 at 8PM at The Delancey, 168 Delancey St. NY, NY.  

Click here for a reduced admission. Check the Facebook event page for more details.