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Friday, June 12, 2015

I AM YOUR QUEEN: Grace Towers

Posted By on Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge UEL RENTERIA
  • Uel Renteria

Welcome to I AM YOUR QUEEN, a Pride Month feature on the Exhibitionist that wants to get uncomfortably close to the thick layers of contouring spackled to the faces of the Bay Area's most outrageous drag queens.

Grace Towers hosts more events around town than the average queen, and this Pride is no exception. The lithe, willowy beardo with the thick chest fur is throwing a Pride Eve party at the Empire Room called Phallus in Wonderland that ought to lure a disproportionate number of sexy freaks and little monsters — even on a night when people have way more options than usual. Towers, of the Haus of Towers, was sweet enough to put her compact down for five freaking minutes, to chat with SF Weekly about how she makes the lines of gender as blurry as when you try to wipe lipstick off a mirror.

What name(s) do you perform under?

My name is Grace Towers.

Where do you perform?

I perform and host a couple of weekly events as well as a couple monthly shows. You can catch me every Wednesday night at Moby Dick Bar in the Castro for Dick@Nite, where a fully bearded cast of performers pushes the boundaries of what gender presentation is all about. I also host BULGE, an underwear night every Thursday at Powerhouse in SoMa.

How long have you done drag?

I've been doing drag for almost six years now.

click to enlarge JOE ARENAZ
  • Joe Arenaz
Does Grace Towers have a back story?

Grace towers definitely started as a character and persona, but I find Grace blurring the lines more and more when it comes to distinguishing between being in face and out. Grace has been a vehicle of sorts, to explore, to create, to blur lines, and to accept the person that I am.

Do you have a performance background?

I went to school for theater and dance. I danced professionally with San Diego Dance Theater, Mallashock Dance and California Ballet, to name a few.

Is realness important to you? Genderfuck? Something else?

Genderfuxxx is what I do. I want to make people question what they've been told and taught about gender. I want to create the space for dialogue to happen. The questioning of the normative binary of gender is one of the most debilitating and efficient ways that society uses to treat people unequally. There is a huge gray scale of gender that lies in between the binary that is overlooked. The fluidity of gender is very real and needs to be addressed.

What was the biggest hurdle when you were starting out?

One of the biggest hurdles when I first started drag was overcoming the insecurities that social norms and cultural norms and religious pressures had instilled in me. These pressures created a an added layer of personal struggles that I would have to overcome in my early days of drag.

  • Just Toby
What do you like most about drag?

What I love most about drag is the permission it's allowed me as a creative individual as well as the platform for personal growth. The ability to truly enGrace and follow my own weird and encourage others to do the same. Drag has given me a small spotlight and my focus now has become to use it for good. I've started doing more philanthropic work and am now the creative producer for Queens of the Castro. A definite milestone was reached when I created the Grace Towers Scholarship for the Arts. We do it for the children!

Have you had any trouble with Facebook's "real" names policy?

I have in fact been targeted by Facebook for the 'real name policy'. I have been active in the fight alongside the amazing Sister Roma and Lil Miss Hot Mess, who both helped me with getting my name back.

Do you have a day job?

Performance and events/drag is what I do for a living. I've never worked harder than when I started working for myself, but I've never been happier.

Does your mother know?

My mother knows. It's not something she engages in conversation. Maybe one day. 
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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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