Music

Queer Talent for Days: Welcome to ’Mo-Wave 2014!

Get to Know This Year’s Phenomenal, Filthy, Groundbreaking Headliners

Queer Talent for Days: Welcome to ’Mo-Wave 2014!

’MO-WAVE Zebra Katz, Justin Bond, CHRISTEENE (clockwise).

Last year, the very first ’Mo-Wave Music and Arts Festival had more than 1,000 attendees—that’s a whole lotta queers (and people who love them)! Charging forth once more to smash tired stereotypes projected by mainstream culture, ’Mo-Wave masterminds Jodi Ecklund, Seth Garrison, and Marcus Wilson (along with visual art curators Steven Miller and Davora Lindner and performance director Matt Drews) have organized five days of events ranging across music, visual art, dance, and performance. The artists, musicians, and performers were chosen because they have a raw and unconventional talent and don’t easily fit into a neat category of “gay”—in fact, “queer” is the preferred term with these ’Mos.

“We appropriate the term ‘queer’ and use it as distinctly different from plain old ‘gay’ because we like the way it connotes weirdness,” say the organizers. “We firmly believe that rejecting the status quo is crucial to the cultural contributions of us deviants, and we seek to highlight that fact at every point. Damn right, we’re different. And that’s what makes us awesome.”

Speaking of awesome, this year’s festival once again showcases more incredible artists in every discipline than we have space for, but let’s learn more about ’Mo-Wave 2014’s three music headliners: CHRISTEENE, Zebra Katz, and Justin Bond!

CHRISTEENE

In a matted black wig, smeary makeup, and uncomfortably blue contact lenses, CHRISTEENE (all caps, yo) is a stank phenomenon from the sewers of pop heaven. The gravelly voiced “terrorist drag” persona of Paul Soileau, an Austin (by way of New Orleans) resident, CHRISTEENE is a singer, songwriter, performance artist, and rapper. Her songs are a whirlwind of hardcore electronic music and filthy, spot-on satirical lyrics; you have to see her sexed-up, debauched stage show to believe it. During a performance, CHRISTEENE might emerge from a cloth vagina, writhe and moan on the ground, or get lifted into the air by her two half-naked backup dancers, T-Baby and C-Gravel, in order to… well… let’s put it this way: You’re going to see some butt.

Check out CHRISTEENE’s debut album, Waste Up, Kneez Down and highly entertaining (and highly NSFAnywhere) music videos for songs such as “Fix My Dick,” “Tears from My Pussy,” and “African Mayonnaise” at christeenemusic.com.

We got to know CHRISTEENE (and the ponies who live in her belly) a little better—and kept her answers “as is,” of course:

Where do you get music and lyrical inspiration? Any bands or music you listen to on the regular to keep you inspired?

I git my inspirationz frum da hawt or cold mess i see around me all da time on screens on streets on phones in da air. I git it frum tha ponies dat live in my belly. I git it frum da smells dat haunt me. My lyrics they just the spirals dat whirl in my mind an bang at my back. I listen too them. I like them. I let dem out. courageous people inspire mee.

Does Austin have a good drag/queer music scene?

Da queer music scene iz getting stanker an stanker over da past couple uh yearz. we got sum hawt messes. BLXPLTN, Mom Jeans, Ben Aqua, Fantasy are alll musicians dat are kickin da dirt up strong.

What five words describe CHRISTEENE?

Please. Shit. Crow. Beast. Puppies.

What’s your favorite thing about Seattle?

I dunno yet, but I bet it’s gunna involve dick.

What are you going to be wearing for your ’Mo-Wave appearance?

I am feelin’ leotards lately… mostly…

Who else are you excited to see at ’Mo-Wave?

Shit. Everybody on diz lineup is sick. I’m stayin’ ferrr da hole fuckin’ mess.

CHRISTEENE plays Chop Suey April 11 at midnight.

ZEBRA KATZ

Sometimes, all you need is that one breakthrough song, and that’s exactly what a 26-year-old multimedia-artist-turned-rapper named Ojay (named after the orange juice!) with the rap moniker Zebra Katz got with his song “Ima Read.” First, influential fashion designer Rick Owens used the song on the catwalk for his 2012 Fall/Winter Womenswear show. Then, the song (released on Diplo’s Mad Decent record label and featuring gorgeous, pint-size female rapper Njena Reddd Foxxx) became the official song of Paris Fashion Week.

Now, the sexy-slow, fake-threatening schoolyard anthem (“Ima read that bitch/Ima school that bitch/Ima take that bitch to college”) has more than a million YouTube views, and Katz is the preeminent “queer rap crossover” star to watch, alongside Le1f, Mykki Blanco, and House of LaDosha. With a background in more formal performance art (and sometimes showing up in a leather fetish “gimp” mask) Zebra Katz offers lots of surprises at every show. This will be his first-ever performance in the Pacific Northwest.

We talked champagne and fashion with Zebra Katz over e-mail:

What’s your favorite food?

My new obsession is Jewish soul food from Kitty’s in the Lower East Side, NYC.

What’s your favorite color?

Champagne is my favorite drink and color.

What’s your favorite thing about Seattle?

This is my first visit to Seattle, so I’m excited to see what my favorite things will be.

What are you going to be wearing for your ’Mo-Wave appearance?

The look I’m giving for the performance is military-goth.

What other queer performers are you excited to see at ’Mo-Wave?

I’m looking forward to seeing my dear friends Justin Bond and CHRISTEENE, alongside all the other brilliant performers doing their thing! I’m also super excited about the gallery show.

What’s the inspiration for the song “Ima Read”? Were there any surprises after releasing that first single?

“Ima Read” was the first song I ever wrote and released as Zebra Katz. I never imagined that the song would change my life the way it has. I wrote the song in college, and it just started to evolve slowly ever since.

Zebra Katz plays Chop Suey April 12 at midnight.

JUSTIN BOND

You may remember cabaret wunderkind Justin Vivian Bond as Tony Award–nominated Kiki DuRane in the Broadway production Kiki & Herb. In addition to being a singer-songwriter, Bond is also a writer, painter, and performance artist whose creds run deeeeeep! Bond is the author of the Lambda Literary Award–winning memoir Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels (published by the Feminist Press) and Susie Says, a collaboration with Gina Garan (Powerhouse Books). Other notable theatrical endeavors include starring as Warhol superstar Jackie Curtis in Scott Wittman’s production of Jukebox Jackie: Snatches of Jackie Curtis, originating the role of Herculine Barbin in Kate Bornstein’s groundbreaking play Hidden: A Gender, and appearing in John Cameron Mitchell’s film Shortbus. Other films include Sunset Stories (2012), Imaginary Heroes (2004), and Fanci’s Persuasion (1995).

Mx. Bond (Bond prefers Mx. in place of Ms./Mr.) is a recipient of the Ethyl Eichelberger Award, the Peter Reed Foundation grant, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant for performance art/theater, an Obie, and a Bessie. In addition to all these formal accolades, Bond has a silly and hilarious series on YouTube called The Drunk News!

We asked Mx. Bond a few crucial pre-’Mo-Wave questions:

What’s your favorite food?

Anything that tastes of roses. And french fries, preferably IN FRANCE, but you have to ask them for “french fries,” not frites, because sometimes it’s fun to be obnoxious—well, so long as no one gets hurt.

What’s your favorite color?

Della Robbia blue, of course!

What’s your favorite thing about Seattle?

The fire pit at Pony. Have they outlawed that yet?

What are you going to be wearing for your ’Mo-Wave appearance?

Something aggressively neutral, brutally beige, or virulently violet.

What other queer performers are you excited to see at ’Mo-Wave?

I LOVE CHRISTEENE! We go to the same dental hygienist. Zebra Katz is my celebrity crush. Belles Bent for Leather because I like best it when my butch tops are rockin’!

What sort of songs will you sing?

I’ll most likely be singing songs you could only perform if you appreciate the necessity of a “zester.”

Justin Bond plays Chop Suey April 13 at 10 p.m.

’Mo-Wave Visual Art: gallery kick-off April 10 (runs through May 3), True Love Art Gallery; ’Mo-Wave Dance and Performance: showcase April 18, Velocity Dance Center, 7:30 pm recommended

PSST! Check out The Stranger's New and Improved THINGS TO DO calendar.
It has a complete calendar of what's happening in Seattle's Music Scene.
 

Comments (10) RSS

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1
Why is there no talent anymore? Just flash in the pan wannabes like Mo Wave and that horrible looking person called Christeen. Why is it that black dudes have to wear huge dark sunglasses? C'mon you "artists" come up with something new.
Posted by longwayhome on April 6, 2014 at 8:11 PM · Report this
fletc3her 2
I'm looking forward to the festival, especially the local bands. The dance performance at Velocity was a lot of fun last year as well.
Posted by fletc3her on April 7, 2014 at 7:15 AM · Report this
3
This is absolutely something "new." Oh, and look, no sunglasses (!!!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oo4Sqt2B…
Posted by Kelly O on April 7, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Emily Nokes 4
@1 - Sounds like you're less interested in talent and more interested in how artists look. I think Katy Perry is coming to the Tacoma Dome in September if lamestream fashion music is more your speed.
Posted by Emily Nokes on April 11, 2014 at 3:51 PM · Report this
5
Dear Emily..... I recognize and acknowledge your comment. But Katy Perry? You're killing me! My post was to point out that an artist shouldn't have to wear stupid flat billed hats and sunglasses and alarm clocks around their necks to stand out from the crowd. Their performance should be their person, unless you're Lady GaGa or Cher and then you have a free pass.
Posted by longwayhome on April 11, 2014 at 9:10 PM · Report this
6
the "guy" with long straight hair on the cover pic looks like the grossest human I have laid eyes on in a long long time. nasty.
Posted by gross on April 12, 2014 at 4:07 PM · Report this
7
@6 Tell that to #4 She will chew your ass for identifying appearance before talent. If a person is trying to become a known performance artist their "looks" are a big factor in how we accept their performance. You wanna be a freak, then you take your chances.
Posted by longwayhome on April 12, 2014 at 8:39 PM · Report this
Emily Nokes 8
@5 - And I recognize and acknowledge yours. Sorry about Katy Perry-ing you, that was harsh. But seriously, whatever about the looks, their performances were incredible! Christeene puts on one of the best live shows I've ever seen, and Zeba Katz brought Chop Suey down last night!

@7 - "Looks are a big factor in how we accept their performance." I agree - that's why I'm not sure what you're saying. Should they wear Gap khakis and let the talent speak for itself (because they could), or should they dress how they feel like dressing and then also be awesome? (P.S. freaks rule!)
Posted by Emily Nokes on April 13, 2014 at 7:52 PM · Report this
9
I liked them better when they came to town with Ringling Bros. Being a freak is not a talent, but it's worth staring at.
Posted by ANationOfFreaksCantHoldUsBack on April 13, 2014 at 8:17 PM · Report this
10
@8 Point well taken. Gap khakis don't cut it for me either, I should be more open minded about the "new" talent. I am an old boofer.
Posted by longwayhome on April 13, 2014 at 9:37 PM · Report this

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