When you were a child, what was your favourite thing to create?
JB: I mostly stuck to drawing pictures and writing little plays that I forced family and friends to perform.
How has Edmonton influenced your craft?
JB: The sense of community in Edmonton has influenced me a great deal. Most audiences here seem to walk into shows of any kind with an open mind and are open to the challenge of embracing whatever sort of weirdness is thrown at them. I think it’s largely due to a shared sense of curiosity over the different sorts of creativity that take place in their city and also a willingness to validate with their attention.
[Drag] allowed me to experiment with many elements of the craft with visuals, storytelling and new concepts – to step outside the typical formulas and trust that it will at some point connect with people.
What is something most people don’t know about drag culture in Edmonton?
JB: Its frigging HUGE! I can easily name fifty queens without needing to consult an online source to remind me. There’s also a great space on YouTube called Dragging Our Heels which posts many of the performances that go on in the city. And not to mention there are shows happening everywhere all the time.
Who or what is your creative inspiration?
JB: I have a lot of those – too many to name. A few are Sandra Bernhard, Robert Altman, Madonna, David Lynch, of course Rupaul and the countless queens from Drag Race.
How has your craft changed over the years?
JB: I depend less on needing to buy things for drag and love to try to find a way to make things myself, or at least reconstruct things so they can be perceived as original. This goes for a lot my drag look, obviously, but also appropriating music and spoken dialogue tracks into the mixes for my performances.
I’ve found that making my own stuff, whatever it might be, offers many opportunities to recognize an individual sense of creativity.
What surfaces are all of these unseen goals, priorities, limitations, challenges etc, and they tell me a lot about myself and my relationship to the community with whom I get to share the work.
All images courtesy of Jonathan Busch.
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