Witnessing a performance by Christeene is a bit like taking acid and stepping into a fighter jet. She is not for the moderate.
The Austin-based drag queen, performance artist, and rapper is booked to perform in Seattle on Saint Patrick's Day. Clock-Out Lounge, a brand-new Beacon Hill live-music venue helmed by former Chop Suey talent buyer Jodi Ecklund and ex-Showbox general manager Denise Burnside, is bringing the Texas "drag terrorist" to the Emerald City for Clock-Out's inaugural performance.
You read that correctly: Beacon Hill is getting a new live-music venue/bar/restaurant. It opens this week. It will serve Chicago pan-style deep-dish pizza.
In case you don't spend time with young queer punks, Christeene is a drag persona from experimental performer Paul Solieau. She's known for singles such as "Fix My Dick" and "Tears from My Pussy." If it wasn't clear from the titles, her performances are nasty and exciting, but most of all bewildering. Like weapons used in terrorism, Christeene's songs are designed to detonate a room. But unlike terrorism, they're enjoyable. And no one dies.
Emily Nokes, former Stranger music editor and current Tacocat member/celebrity, once described Christeene in this paper as a "stank-terror-drag phenomenon in a sweat-matted fright wig and uncomfortably blue contacts." I will add that I once saw Christeene perform while a dude rimmed her. Mid-rim she yelled, "Fuck safe spaces! This is war!"
But that was in New Orleans. I'm sure she'll be upright and virtuous for Seattle.
"I expect to see many repeat Christeene offenders," says Ecklund. "Christeene is an electrifying performer. The fully choreographed pieces, backup dancers... It's hard to look away from. She puts on one hell of a show."
Christeene's fans are devout. Her performances sometimes feel more like cult gatherings than drag shows. Ecklund says she booked Christeene for the first big show at Clock-Out Lounge partly because Seattle queers lack spaces where they can see shows.
"I think Seattle needs more places that support local acts," says Ecklund, who also booked Seattle-based acts the Loungettes and Ononos to open for Christeene. These acts are fittingly queer and weird: The Loungettes are a dark and dreamy, David Lynchian torch-song band, and Ononos are a spooky electro-punk three-piece who claim they've been making music together for several centuries.
Garrett Vance, a performer in the Loungettes who originally received his drag name (Mae Flood) from Christeene, says Seattle is lucky that Ecklund is "bringing her singular vision to a new spot in town." He says Ecklund, who was also behind Seattle's queer music and arts festival 'Mo-Wave, "was the person who made Chop Suey a vital hub for Capitol Hill culture for at least a decade."
Now Ecklund, Burnside, and their team bring their experience to Beacon Hill. It will be one of the only live-music venues in the area, and if Christeene is any indication, the place is going to be a nasty good time.