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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I AM YOUR QUEEN: Daft-nee Gesuntheit

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge DAFT-NEE GESUNDHEIT
  • Daft-nee Gesundheit

Welcome to I AM YOUR QUEEN, a Pride Month series on the Exhibitionist that looks at every last cranny of the drag rainbow, especially the ones who look really good in infrared and ultraviolet.

The versatile Daft-nee Gesuntheit is a classic female impersonator (it helps to be thin) who is currently starring as the uptight Charlotte York in Sex and the City: LIVE! at Oasis. Unfortunately, she doesn't get to smooch Kyle MacLachlan like the Kristin Davis did, but she nonetheless took time out of her hectic schedule to chat with SF Weekly about the realness continuum, her history of female roles, and what her boss' mouse pad looks like.

click to enlarge MICHELLE YODER
  • Michelle Yoder
What name(s) do you perform under?

Daft-nee Gesuntheit!

Where do you perform?

I perform wherever anyone asks. Well, almost anywhere. Lately, I’ve been at Oasis a lot. I recently finished playing Jo Polniaczek in The Facts of Life: Live and now I’m performing as Charlotte York in Sex And The City: Live!. I have been a guest at Sunday’s A Drag at the Starlight Room and regularly appear at The Monster Show at The Edge Bar. And it’s summertime, which means Tora Hymen and Her Backwoods Barbies perform at the R3 in Guerneville — always a good time!

How long have you done drag?

I started in Galilea’s Follies show at Marlena’s five years ago and haven’t stopped since.

Does Daft-nee have a back story?

I fell into drag by accident. My partner and I would go to Marlena’s to see Galilea’s Follies almost weekly. I got to know Galilea and the rest of the queens. I decided to surprise them one night and show up in drag, painted with the help of my partner. I needed a name, though. I thought I was going to be a silly-looking queen with purple hair and curly shoes, and carrying a chicken purse. So I thought what’s a silly name, a “daft” name? Hence, Daft-nee. And “Gesuntheit!” — you know, German for “bless you” — is a funny word too. So I have a funny name, but discovered I like pretty dresses, and went the glam route instead.

click to enlarge CREAMYCOCONUT.ORG
Do you have a theater or performance background?

I started performing when I was in junior high, but was never as good playing male roles as I am playing female roles. And I found I like doing impersonations, which is what makes me good at playing Dorothy Zbornak (which I got to do in Puerto Vallarta last January), Jo, and now Charlotte. I like to channel Barbra, Judy, Liza, Lucille Ball, and Cher when I perform. And if I can be funny, I love that!

Is realness important to you? Genderfuck? Something else?

I appreciate the continuum — well, most of it — of drag. But for me, if I’m doing Barbra, I paint like Barbra and want to approximate her gestures and moves. As Liza, I want to give you Liza and capture Fosse in my steps. And I’m a skinny bitch and look good in a tight dress or a vintage '40s gown, so I’m gonna rock it till I decide it’s out of tune.

What was the biggest hurdle when you were starting out?

No hurdles. I do this as a hobby, so I avoid the bitchy queens and the drama. As long as I can perform, I’m happy.

What do you love the most about drag?

I really love performing. I like to make people believe the illusion I create is real, three minutes at a time on that stage. Or however long someone allows. Daft-nee’s at her best when she’s on stage performing. I’m not a queen who dresses just to dress or hang out at a bar in face. I put on a face to perform.

What's your day job?

I’m a producer and director’s assistant at an animation film studio. My boss loves what I do. His mouse pad is a photo of me as Lucille Ball holding his dog, Link.

Did your mother know?

My mother loves my drag. She’s a great support. My whole family is supportive. I’m lucky that way. 

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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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