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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I AM YOUR QUEEN: Laundra Tyme

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2016 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge img_3609.jpg
Welcome to I AM YOUR QUEEN, a periodically reoccurring swamp of discarded beauty products from which mermaids, naiads, and sea-vixens of the night occasionally emerge. 

Laundra Tyme dated a guy she met on Grindr the year before she started doing drag, and on their first date, he took her to Trannyshack's Starsearch pageant. Beforehand, they went to Roxy-Cotten Candy's house, where she saw the incredible amount of time and labor that drag requires.

"I remember staring at her nails, mesmerized, for way too long, and making her feel uncomfortable," Laundra says. "This guy seemed to know everyone in and around the show, so we got to see the whole pageant standing right behind the judges. I can still remember every number from that night: Grace Towers and her Vogue extravaganza, Sue Casa and her donkey show, Roxy’s deck-of cards-dress — everything was spectacular and grandiose and political in a weird way, and the whole experience sparked an intense fascination with drag."

A year later, she and the guy had long since stopped dating, and she was already an accomplished drag performer.

"I didn’t see him for over a year until I started performing at The Monster Show with Cookie Dough. The guy was at the show every time I performed, sitting in the same spot — and we avoided each other because things had not ended on a good note. After my third time at the show, he finally came up to me and said, 'Hey, so… can I be your drag dad since I kind of started you in all of this?'"

"He explained that he was Cookie’s son Crafty Dough," Laundra adds, "and from there on out, I was Cookie’s granddaughter. She put me in her show almost every week and brought me all over to perform with her, which gave me the opportunities and connections that have lead me to be able to do what I do now. The moral of the story is, Grindr hookups bring families together!"


What name(s) do you perform under?

Laundra Tyme, and sometimes Luandra Times because people don’t always know how to spell it right.

Where do you perform?
All over! I perform at my show The Broni Mitchell Show, which is every first Thursday at Lookout with my fellow Haus of Tips’ers Scarlett Letters and Guido Candito, my quarterly rock concert-slash-drag show called BYOD, which happens at lots of different venues, and I play an acoustic set at BONE every Wednesday night at Powerhouse. I’m also very excited to be performing in Peaches Christ’s next show, She-Devil, which is happening next month.

I also perform a lot at Club Some Thing, The Monster Show, Mahogany Mondays, Dick at Night, Mother, Big Top, Meow Mix, Polesexual, and I’m sure there are lots of others that I’m forgetting.

How long have you done drag?
I started in September of 2013. So that makes it three years!


Does Laundra Tyme have a back story?

Laundra is a 35-year-old folk singer and single mom. She lives in a suspended extension of the late 1960s and is a whole lot of fun. I’ve never written out a concrete backstory for her because she’s always felt like an integrated part of my personality that I have access to sometimes, and I don’t like thinking of her as an un-embodied isolated character that existed long before I thought her up, if that makes sense.

Do you have a theater/performance background?
I started doing drag very young. My mother always encouraged it and made sure I had the appropriate costumes and wigs growing up. I was in two school plays in middle school, but it never went past that in regards to theater. In high school, I did a lot of public speaking, but didn’t start performing again until I started writing music and performing at open mic nights around the city. I started doing drag from there, and the rest is herstory.

Is realness important to you? Genderfuck? Something else?
Sometimes, to an extent. I call my personal style “Power Beige: aggressively fading into the background,” which I explain as wearing a ton of makeup to make it look like I’m not wearing any at all. In that regard realness is important to me because the illusion I’m trying to create is dependent on replicating visual cues that inform the audience what they’re looking at.

But as far as my drag philosophy and personal taste go, I find genderfuck and aggressive drag paramount to the S.F. drag scene and is my personal favorite type of drag to consume. Two of my favorite queens are Phatima Rude and Raya Light, because they never seem to have limits on what they’re willing to do on stage and to their bodies to make the performance they want. That's realness.


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

I think my biggest hurdle when I first started was losing friends (and a boyfriend at the time). My friends were fine with drag queens (and loved going to shows) but found it hard to be friends with one in and out of face, because I became almost nocturnal. I had just graduated from SFSU, and drag had changed me a lot. I only have one or two friends from my pre-drag life that I still talk to.

What do you love most about drag?
Wigs! It’s a kind of soft sculpture that I have a ton of fun with. From the very start I always knew I loved hair and now it’s all I do with my free time.


Assuming she is among us, does your mother know?
Yes! She has a framed picture of Laundra in her office, and she gets a whole paragraph in the Christmas card. My mom loves being able to say her son is a drag queen. My stepmom has also been amazingly supportive. She gives me her gorgeous hand-me-down jewelry pieces and makeup and (with my dad) has come to more of my events than anyone else in my family.

Have you had any trouble with Facebook's "real" names policy?
Yes, I was hit with the first wave of name changes. I had to change my name on facebook to my “boy name” for about two months until Roma and Lil’ Miss Hot Mess helped me get my name back. The two of them (as well as many others) have done a great job creating resources for queens who get targeted by that stupid identity policing policy.

What's your day job?
I have a lil’ wig business with Scarlett Letters that I operate out of my house called Wigs by Tips
that pays for a lot of my drag, and I also work at a cafe on the weekends to pay the bills. Although the majority of my time is dedicated to drag in one of its many forms


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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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