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Thursday, June 23, 2016

I AM YOUR QUEEN: D'Arcy Drollinger

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 2:06 PM

click to enlarge BRYON FRY
  • Bryon Fry
Welcome to I AM YOUR QUEEN, an ill-conceived and constantly regrettable Pride Month spectacular that nonetheless manages to discover fascinating tidbits about the sexiest drag performers in the Bay Area.

D'Arcy Drollinger has legs up to ya-ya, as anyone who's seen her original musical Shit and Champagne knows. She also has a keen business sense, as one of the four principals behind the year-and-a-half-old SoMa drag club Oasis, which has become a major player in S.F. nightlife in spite of a rather inauspicious start.

"The architect was saying, 'No way, not going to happen for at least another month,'" Drollinger told me last year, when I profiled the club for SF Weekly. "And we'd sold out for New Year's! It was that moment when we had to go to friends in higher places for help."

Well, it opened on time and the rest is history. 

What name(s) do you perform under?
D’Arcy

Where do you perform?
Since opening Oasis, that is the stage I’m primarily on, but I do find my way to other stages from time to time. I’m currently playing Samantha Jones in Sex and the City Live at Oasis. I will be performing with my dance troupe Sexitude at City Hall for Pride. In July, I will be the MC for the drag contest at the J-Pop Summit at Forte Mason. In the fall, I’ll be back on the stage at Oasis with the third installment of my original Champagne White series. And then in October and December, I’ll be at the Victoria theater, pretty much back to back, as Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show and Rose in The Golden Girls, while simultaneously directing drag parodies of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek at Oasis. Then our big Oasis New Year's Eve Party. Then a vacation!

How long have you done drag?
Since I was three and begged my mother to buy me a wedding dress and umbrella at a thrift store so I could be Marry Poppins. But on a more serious level, I’d say I started around 1993.


Does D'Arcy have a back story?

For me, drag is primarily theatrical, so it really all depends on the characters I’m playing. I often find myself either playing the dumb blonde ( Chrissy in Three’s Company or Rose in Golden Girls) or the tough-talkin’ sexed-up dame (Champagne White in Shit and Champagne or Samantha Jones in Sex and the City). And when it comes to lip-synching, the performances most often incorporate dance and include members of my dance class Sexitude.

Do you have a theater/performance background?
I was a theater major at SF state. I’ve worked On and Off Broadway. I’ve also written ten original shows. So yes, I have a theater background. :)

click to enlarge JOSE A. GUZMAN-COLON
  • Jose A. Guzman-Colon
Is realness important to you? Genderfuck? Something else?
I wouldn’t say realness, but I strive to give myself over to the character.

When you were starting out, what was the biggest hurdle?
Allowing myself to give in to my feminine side. Once I embraced that, my drag took on a new life.

What do you love most about drag?
Aside from all the fabulous clothes and hair and makeup, I get to express a side of myself that I can’t as a man. I’m able to be the kind of comedian I can’t necessarily be in men’s clothing. My style of theater is a sort of vaudeville 2.0 — lots of slapstick and audience interaction. I firmly believe that there is an artistry in high-camp that harkens back to the roots of the stage — an artistry that is often overlooked as fluff, but I think when done properly is amazing. I also think drag allows an audience to step out of the situation and often laugh at something, that is perhaps a difficult topic. When this happens, I feel like perspectives shift. In that way drag is not only humorous, but it’s political and radical and educational.

Assuming she is among us, does your mother know?
Yes! And she’s amazingly supportive. So is my dad.

Have you had any trouble with Facebook's "real" names policy?
Yes, I got booted for using a “fake” name. But then I’m one of the lucky ones. All I had to do was send a photo of my driver's license. It was still frustrating. And I was obviously turned in my someone who doesn’t even know me.

What's your day job?
I am one of the owners of Oasis. I also write, direct, produce and often star in the shows we put on through-out the year. My other day job is my dance program, Sexitude, which I created five years ago just after moving to S.F. from Manhattan. 


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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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