October 1, 2022

INTERVIEW: L!PSTICK | NARC. | Reliably informed

Image: Leah Roberts and the Monarchy by Francis Fitzgerald

“Call me what you want! I’m a guy in a dress. He/she/he/queen…” So begins my acquaintance with Monarchy, ‘creature of clubland’, drag artist and co-host of the brand new Base Camp monthly Queer cabaret night, L!PSTICK.

The monarchy speaks frankly of youhego journey, both in terms of youhego sexuality and youhego drag the character. “My character started out in secret, I would do my makeup occasionally at my best friend’s house when I was 15, while still presenting myself as hyper masculine to the outside world, often scratching my crotch in anot Adidas tracksuit and spitting on local park playground.

Having discovered legendary club Middlesbrough Tiny, and finally found the confidence to express tthemselves in drag, Monarchy met fine arts student Leah Roberts, and a kinship was formed on their shared experiences. “Dance floors and drag dungeons are places where people hang out and can escape the reality of life for a night.” The monarchy is enthusiastic.

Leah talks about how difficult she found it to be seen as a woman of color in the art industry. “SSetting up this experience with the monarchy gave me the chance to spread my wings and express who I am as an individual! Being part of the LGBTQ+ community has opened my eyes to feeling supported on the inside and finally having my own chosen family!”

After bonding over a shared passion for diverse nightlife, the duo decided to launch their own event, and L!PSTICK was born. “L!PSTICK is a big fat fucking Queer party for everyone. Not just middle-aged white gay men and definitely not for straight singles who just want to gape at drag queens and make comfort-seeking women in Queer uncomfortable spaces.

L!PSTICK is a big fat fucking Queer party for everyone

In L!PSTICKMonarchy and Leah have created an alternative and diverse Queer rave in the heart of Middlesbrough, which will not only see drag performances but also live singers, spoken word poetry and the like.I kindlys of other art, with an open mic element to encourage everyone to try.

Revelation of the monarchys learn more about the programming of the first event: “Everybody loves Penni Treatment, She is a Drag Idol judge and will be our DJ and co-host of the main show, by my side. Celeste St Claire ‘The Queen of Hartlepool’ is one of the funniest girls, she is a fabulous performer and is renowned for her drops of death. We too have Loren Heatley – youhey, he’s not a drag performer, they REALLY can sing – Loren’s voice is amazing. We’he have a spoken word of Leah, her poetry is DEEP and emotional. I feel like every show has room for words and poetry, it’s a chance for people to feel moved and reflect on life. And there’s drag performer Jester Mess – Jester is what we all are at L!PSTICK, a trans man and drag performer is not a daily occurrence for many in the city, and that’s unheard of in our region ; inclusiveness is what we want, and displaying all types of drag rather than just a fat blonde bitch.

MOnarchy and Leah’s passion for the event goes far beyond fun, and Monarchy describes the vital importance of access to spaces like this for the Queer community. “I have yet to meet a gay person who has not been aaffected or discriminated against versus sort of for their sexuality, and places like this give us freedom. MFriends are so much more than the people I see day to day, they’re like family, and that’s what we want L!PSTICK to be – not just a family, a tribe.

L!PSTICK take place at Base Camp, Middlesbrough on Saturday 10e September.