Blacklips Performance Cult: An intimate revue featuring theatrical drag queens and mutants. Plays Mondays at the Pyramid, 101 Avenue A, NYC. Portraying their comedy dramas at midnight are: Antony, Johanna Constantine, Psychotic Eve, Hattie, Flloyd, Lily of the Valley, Sissy Fitt, Love Forever, Ebony Jet, Kabuki Starshine, Lulu, and James F. Murphy. Mrs. Clark Render hosts and D.J.'s.

Kabuki and Sissy spoke with me recently about life and their part in Blacklips.

Robert O'Haire: You guys have been doing the show for about a year and you've been with it from the start?

Kabuki Starshine: I think the first show that I was in was the second one that was at the Pyramid... was it The Revenge of Blacklips?

Sissy Fitt: Maybe that or the Genet thing.

Kabuki Starshine: There was a show at Crowbar and the first time I saw that I think it was Michael T. and James F. Murphy and Psychotic Eve doing Kate Bush numbers... Eve did the Wedding List in a wedding dress with a gun and it was really crazy

Sissy Fitt: Antony and Johanna and Eve worked their way into getting a night there

Robert O'Haire: And that's who brought it over to the Pyramid?

Sissy Fitt: No. Hattie lured them to Pyramid

Kabuki Starshine: Antony said that he wanted to put on some sort of plays and would I be in it and then he called me up and invited me to come to the Crowbar

Robert O'Haire: But was Blacklips the name at that time at the Crowbar?

Kabuki Starshine: That came from The Cripple and the Starfish, the play that Antony did when he was at school... there was a scene in it called the Black Lips bar...

Sissy Fitt: Blacklips having to do with silent movies where they painted the lips black so they looked red on black and white film

Kabuki Starshine: There really wasn't that much thinking about it... it was just a name...

Robert O'Haire: But it's called a performance cult

Kabuki Starshine: Flloyd started saying cult... but that's really sort of just a joke... calling ourselves a cult is kind of like trying to sound like Hell's Angels... I mean we're all a bunch of faggots you know but... when you call yourselves a cult it makes you sound like you're dangerous... we're a cult of personality

Sissy Fitt: We worship eachother in a lot of ways

Kabuki Starshine: We're all going to go out to Texas and kill ourselves... a cult makes me think of blind followers... it expresses a degree of feeling that we have...

Sissy Fitt: Reject the outside world... we have everything that we need right here... I feel like I 'm going back to being a child in a way... the things I do on stage are all the things I did in front of my mirror... all the conversations I've had with people who weren't there... like when I did that space show and I had lily operate the thrusters... when I was a child I used to set it up all around me, the whole space ship, and I'd have my partners and my flying commander and everything there

Robert O'Haire: I talk to myself too but there's a difference between playing with your train and having an imaginary partner

Kabuki Starshine: Everyone has a different way of playing

Sissy Fitt: My childhood creativity... I'm realizing right now it was very valuable and I feel like I'm getting that back

Kabuki Starshine: A lot of adults who have high paying jobs are trapped by it... They're not free to grow and express as a person... that's why all these men sneak off and get beaten up by dominatrixes... they're less human than we are... they look at a drag queen and think of us as fake but we're not fake... art is about being fake but art is a lie that tells a truth.

Sissy Fitt: I don't understand... are you saying it's never the truth 'cause it's only a metaphor?

Kabuki Starshine: What I'm saying is art is a lie... I'm not trying to be a real woman but some people who look at me and say oh it's a boy trying to be a girl... but I'm being myself... it's my femininity.... as far as make-up goes I'm not inspired by real girls... I'm inspired by drag queens and girls that look like drag queens like Nina Hagen... and oriental make-up too... I love that mask-like make-up

Robert O'Haire: Does the group edit the show as far as which performers can do numbers?

Kabuki Starshine: It goes against the spirit of Blacklips to tell someone they can't do a number... but people that are in Blacklips we trust... You really can't tell anyone in Blacklips what to do because they won't listen to you

Sissy Fitt: If someone's not doing enough in the show he can just go over to the cabaret... it's really great.... so what we've really been doing is writing two shows

Kabuki Starshine: It's skimming the scum off the soup and putting in in the cabaret

Robert O'Haire: Do you plan on taking it on the road?

Kabuki Starshine: We want to play Broadway

Sissy Fitt: Right... I want to make a movie

Robert O'Haire: Which shows do you feel worked better?

Kabuki Starshine: Seven was a great one... a Lily of the Valley script... Marti's scripts are all really good... like Frankenstein and Jack the Ripper

Sissy Fitt: Marti's a brilliant playwright

Robert O'Haire: (to Sissy) You seem to play lots of different characters portrayed through dialogue...(to Kabuki)... and your characters seem to be more visual

Kabuki Starshine: I did a vocal characterization as a tree... which was really different... sometimes I do really weird voices

Sissy Fitt: Kabuki's becoming a really great actor... I always knew he would be... for a while he wouldn't do it and was afraid

Kabuki Starshine: Well I have a very hard life... I make my living from drag exclusively... go-go dancing, being places in drag, serving drinks to rich assholes, doing all kinds of weird things... drag queens have replaced clowns now.

Sissy Fitt: (laughing loudly) No... they've replaced waitresses

Kabuki Starshine: It's four hours with the wigs, make-up and costumes to get ready... and then it's four hours of go-go dancing... so it takes like a whole day when I have a drag job... When I do Blacklips it takes me out of my rut... it gives me a crisis I have to deal with

Sissy Fitt: All my go-go boyfriends... what do they do... they throw a G-string in a bag... they throw on their leather jacket and pants... they go to the club and they take it off and they dance... they go home...

Kabuki Starshine: It's a ceremony for me, by the time I put my make-up on... there's been so much time gone by that I feel like a different person... I go through a change... It's like a baptism of fire...

Robert O'Haire: What's it like downstairs before a show when you're preparing?

Kabuki Starshine: Oh James is singing...

Sissy Fitt: Lily's running around acting really silly... Marti usually shows up already beautiful...

Kabuki Starshine: Lulu takes photos of everyone

Sissy Fitt: ...Eve gets dressed there... I usually get dressed there... Flloyd gets dressed there...

Kabuki Starshine: I'm really bad before a show

Sissy Fitt: Then Kabuki breezes in... and these ones breeze in... and we're always bitching at them for coming late... but their costumes are usually so extensive... him and Johanna...

Robert O'Haire: They're ready once they get there?

Sissy Fitt: They live in the same apartment... stand out of the way... she wears antennas on her head... and things and spikes and sometimes you're getting scratched in the face

Kabuki Starshine: One time she was a crucifix... she had a whole tree tied to her

Sissy Fitt: She also played Godzilla with huge green hair

Kabuki Starshine: Of course the branches stayed in our apartment for three months

Sissy Fitt: But I think that's why we're a little bit successful because I feel we perform for eachother

Kabuki Starshine: We perform for ourselves... it's funny the audience we get... we have drag queens... and then we have the ex-prime minister of Poland... we treat rich people, poor people the same... we still don't know our lines

Robert O'Haire: Do you think it would be a good thing if you got a bigger following?

Kabuki Starshine: They'll find us

Robert O'Haire: How have the shows changed since the beginning... have they evolved in any way?

Kabuki Starshine: I don't think it has changed really... the audience has gotten bigger and we are more confident now because we've got that history

Robert O'Haire: So you didn't just develop these characters or roles?

Kabuki Starshine: I've been dressing in drag since I was fourteen...

Robert O'Haire: How old are you now?

Kabuki Starshine: I'm twenty-three now... The shows have allowed me to escape my daily troubles and Blacklippers are plagued with troubles and the demons inside others... I walk to the Pyramid in drag and people scream at me in the street... so when I get in front of a paying audience it feels like I'm taking a bubble bath... but we all have our separate moments to cleanse ourselves in the spotlight

Robert O'Haire: Don't you feel like you get any level of acceptance?

Kabuki Starshine: I'm not hurt if strangers yell at me... I know they're fascinated

Sissy Fitt: I'm really different... I seem to have an ability to know how to deal with males

Kabuki Starshine: Well you seem like a male

Sissy Fitt: I guess I know how to deal with males... maybe that comes from having sex with them all the time when I was really young... not really young, you know what I mean... from being a fag

Kabuki Starshine: You mean I haven't had as much sex as you've had?

Sissy Fitt: I don't know Kabuki... I'm not saying how much sex you've had

Kabuki Starshine: I just don't talk about it like you

Robert O'Haire: Do you have any role models or mentors?

Kabuki Starshine: Do you have a mirror?

Sissy Fitt: Yeah girl! My roommate Glen is really cool

Robert O'Haire: (laughing) Your roommate Glen is your role model... there's no one in particular that you look up to?

Kabuki Starshine: ...Erte's costume designs made an impression on me at a young age and influenced my drag look... but we look up to lots of people... it's better to appreciate someone's art than to look at them personally... it's better to admire the art than the artist... you can always find something wrong with a person

Sissy Fitt: People that I looked up to that helped me was... when I first saw Flloyd performing... he really brought me out.... I thought wow... I can't believe people are doing this... He was doing numbers from This Mortal Coil and all kinds of great music... radio play conversations... weird demented women... I said I wanted to do that too

Kabuki Starshine: Flloyd takes it so far... he takes it as far as it can go... I hate it when people do things half way

Robert O'Haire: It's funny or unfortunate when the mic goes out on someone during a show

Kabuki Starshine: It makes the actors more likable when they're embarrassed... remember the scene in Starvation when we had all those raw livers on stage and people were being hit with raw liver... people were slipping on the livers...

Sissy Fitt: We're not as bloody as we used to be... we used to have body parts every week... and there were so many murders every week

Kabuki Starshine: There used to be a lot of intestines... once we had the Swiss Family Donner Party where Johanna ate the whole cast

Robert O'Haire: A lot of the shows seem like fractured fairy tales to me

Kabuki Starshine: Being a drag queen in New York City is a fairy tale

 

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