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Monday, June 15, 2015

I AM YOUR QUEEN: Sister Tuna

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 2:00 PM


click to enlarge DUSTI CUNNINGHAM
  • Dusti Cunningham

Welcome to I AM YOUR QUEEN, a Pride month series on the Exhibitionist that stands on the corner of Folsom and 11th and just interviews whoever.


Sister Tuna Noodle Cocktail has been a nun, sworn to uphold her vows of irreverence and hedonism, for nearly a decade. Even by the furry standards of the order, her dense black beard is particularly luxurious. Deeper than the cosmos and full of more secrets than any mean girl's hair, it's a recognizable beacon of decadence at clubs and street fairs.

Since becoming a fully professed nun (sponsored by Sister Hellen Wheels of the Daughters of the Divine Eruption), Sister Tuna has become particularly adept at getting in and out of face quickly. Her trick to looking effortlessly glam?

"Eyeliner and lashes fix everything," she told SF Weekly. "And when it all goes to hell, stage blood works, too. And the oldie but goodie 'It'll be dark, they'll be drunk.'" 

click to enlarge JULES CISEK
  • Jules Cisek
What name(s) do you perform under?

Sister Tuna Noodle Cocktail, Sister Sloppy Second Cumming

Where do you perform?

I don't "perform" per se. I am a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, and serve the community. Sometimes that means getting on a microphone and giving a blessing, or thanking folks, or calling bingo balls. I have done lip sync as a Sister a few times as part of charity events.

How long have you done drag?

I started my process with the Sisters in 2007. But I did "drag" as Liza Minelli at a Warhol-Factory-Studio 54 themed party back in 2002 or 2003. I also dressed as Dolly Parton for Halloween in 1977, if that counts.

Does Sister Tuna have a back story?

Tuna Noodle Cocktail was the spawn of drinking with Sister Mary Ralph, who used to call me "noodle" as a term of endearment. The name doesn't make any sense. Whereas Sister Sloppy Second Cumming is more in the tradition of sexual or religious double-entendre. I guess she has both.

click to enlarge DUSTI CUNNINGHAM
  • Dusti Cunningham

Do you have a theater/performance background?


Not really. I used to do "performance art" in Atlanta with friends at this performance collective warehouse called "800 East."

Is realness important to you? Genderfuck? Something else?

Whatever anyone does is real. It's really good or really bad. But no, I don't care about "realness." When realness clicks, you know it though. I like genderfuck. I like being a stocky, bearish, "masculine" person that will wear a dress or makeup in the face of perceived "masculinity." I always liked challenging a stereotype. Thanks to Annie Lennox, Grace Jones, Adam Ant, Nina Hagen, Phatima Rude, and the lot of them for paving the way.

When you were starting out, what was the biggest hurdle?

Eyelashes. They are a hassle to put on. But so was my first "sister" face. On Pink Saturday 2009, I put on my first Sister face in an 85 degree room and it was miserable from start to finish.

What do you love most about drag?

Beautiful jewelry and cheap dresses. And vice versa. And the actual "empowerment" that it provides. You can clear a path with drag (and a good hand fan).

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

Only years ago, but had more to do with their one-time-only name changing process. My Facebook URL is my SisterTunaNoodle name, but I use my boy name as my profile name. Regardless, I think Facebook should drop it, and get with the times. I get notices to "follow" Mark Zuckerberg's page all the time. I even posted and tagged him and sent his page a message:

"NO Mark Zuckerberg I will not follow you, no matter how many times you pop up in a sidebar ad or appended to a picture I'm looking at. Well, maybe I'll follow you on the condition that you do #drag and #identify yourself as #QUEENCARLOTTA . #mynameis"

He has yet to reply.

What's your day job?

I manage accounts for venues and promoters for a concert ticketing and marketing platform.

Does your mother know?

She does. She's even given me old jewelry and dresses belonging to her or my paternal grandmother — I guess we're the same size. 



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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Bio:
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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