"events by and for big-brained people" since 1995

It's always interesting to me what gets in an interview in ink and what doesn't. Time and space limitations require writers and editors to do the unthankful and difficult task of clipping out information and details that people have mentioned in their interviews. Most folks don't have a space to share the rest of the text, but i'm fortunate that i do. William Henderson's been doing a great job on these profiles for dragsters in In Newsweekly, but some of what I wrote as answers got cut. It was a good opportunity for me to get to put down some of the history of TraniWreck, Wreckage and Heywood Wakefield so I'm happy to include it here.

photos   media   UtiliTies   Heywood
  TraniWreck   Wreckage:
the contest show
  West Coast Tour!
March 2006
  lisa king
memorial page

1. How did you get your start performing in drag?

I had been reading a lot about gender, queerness, masculinity and performance. And I'd been seeing what drag king performances I could see around that time. This was late 90's. Most of what I was seeing were these hyper-masculine stereotypes and modes being expressed. The construction worker, the sleazy playboy, the boy band pop star, anyone from the Village People and what I wasn't seeing was the kind of masculinity that I saw around me most often. The dad who goes to work every day with a brief case and works at a desk and has a kid or two. He might have soft hands, but he's still a guy. And I started building Heywood's character around these ideas. In February 2000, on Valentine's day Heywood Wakefield made is debut at a contest and won. I did a dance for my then girlfriend to "Love will keep us together" by Neil Sedaka and the rest is history.

2. What do you see as some of the greatest strengths and weaknesses of the greater Boston drag scene?

Boston is tough. There are limited venues where drag shows are easy to put on. Any time you find a place and build an audience and have a good run it's a triumph. I think this leads to some separation in the "scene" where not all the kings and queens hang out or even do shows together. It's even hard to find some the performance that is happening because "the scene" is fractured. On the other hand, there are a lot of schools that focus on art and performance and that floods the area with great and fresh talent. I feel really blessed to have worked with some of the most talented and edgy performers who challenge gender and I look forward to much more of it.

3. Why do you feel that drag performers appeal to such a widely diverse crowd?

There's something for everyone. There's a sense of mystery and sexuality that is appealing to people of all genders and sexualities. And when the performance is challenging and exciting people are drawn to it. The initial "is it a guy? Is it a girl?" impulse is over come by the idea, "this is a great number, I was taken to another place…"

4. Do you have your costumes professionally made, do you do it yourself, are you able to buy off the rack?

Mostly I buy vintage and have them altered. I love thrifting anyway, so I'm buying for Heywood and myself. We hardly ever wear the same clothes. Sometimes I'll add flash to heywood's outfits. But he's pretty understated. His big issue is that he's a guy living in 2006 but he stopped buying clothes in the 70's when he was in his 20's. His lesbian daughter is always trying to help him with that, but her taste isn't that great either.

5. How did TraniWreck get its start and did you predict what it has become?

I couldn't have predicted any of it. TraniWreck and Wreckage have been a blast. We've (me and the folks in the loose thing I call "the cast") put on so many amazing performances and nurtured so many local and international performers, it's really been outstanding. People in the International drag scene check in with me about the shows and what's happening in Boston so word is getting out and I'm really proud of that. Some drag is about impersonation, impressions, and imitation. Our drag is about innovation, invention and irreverent gender(fuck) performance. I'm not interested in kings and queens who look exactly like someone they are emulating. It's an amazing skill, but it's not where my heart is at. I wanted to be challenged on many levels and I'll keep looking for performers and performances that do this for me. This is what people have come to expect from Truth Serum, TraniWreck, and Wreckage and I'm happy to try to keep providing it.

6. How did Wreckage start and how do you explain the jump in interest this year as compared to last?

We ran Wreckage differently this year than last. Last year I let the TraniWreck cast compete in the competition. They were scored on a curve to balance everything more fairly. This year they aren't competing and took over as judges, which worked great until our friends started competing! I think word of mouth and the excitement about the loose community of performers attached to the shows got people out to compete and to see the shows. Then things just built. Our final show last year was huge and this year we decided to take it to a space that could work for us better for this size show. People who've only followed TraniWreck and Wreckage much be surprised about the venue change, but I've been producing shows in clubs all over boston/Cambridge and New England really, since the mid 90's so, it's not that unusal. Great Scott is on the T, it's open until 2am, it's 18+ and they're excited to have us. I'm looking forward to seeing if we can make the show happen there occasionally and at other clubs also. Jacque's was a great home for my shows for a while but now it's time to change it up. We might keep it monthly, or do larger shows less often. I'm still planning. After the 20th, I've got a show at the Midway in JP on the 8th of Dec. which will be a TraniWreck and friends show.

7. Big plans for 2007?

Heywood has a bunch of gigs in the works in other cities including some in Canada. He'll be hitting nyc a couple of times before the end of the year even. (it's a big change from the karaoke bars on route 1 where he got his start!) Truth Serum will continue to produce the kind of shows people have grown to expect from us…edgy, challenging performances, bands and films from locals as well as national and international talents. Personally I'll be finding more ways to support art and culture in Boston and I'll getting back to practicing architecture by day. I've been spending time building Truth Serum and certain shows. Now they are able to continue with less babysitting and it's time to get back to my other love, which is making buildings. So…if there are any folks working at firms out there, drop me a line. I'm great at managing a million people at the same time and meeting deadlines. Plus, I'm great at working with sensitive artist types…it all translates really well.

Monday November 20, 2006
Wreckage: The Final Contest Show

Great Scott
1222 Comm. Ave. Allston
doors: 8pm show: 9pm
18+ $8-10 sliding

"Some drag is about impersonation, impressions, and imitation. Our drag is about innovation, invention and irreverent gender(fuck) performance."

Truth Serum and Heywood Wakefield started TraniWreck, the all gender, all genre cabaret show, in August 2004 and by February 2005 the show had spawned a second show called Wreckage: The Contest Show. At the final round of Wreckage 2005 we crowned Windsor Newton "Boston's Biggest Wreck" and awarded him $500 in cash and prizes. The show was so huge and successful, with 300 people passing through the doors (but not necessarily being able to see the stage!), that this year we decided to take the 2006 final round to a larger club. Great Scott is 18+, open until 2am, has great sight lines and a slammin' sound system. After the contest/show we'll be dancing and celebrating to DJ D'hana's mix of indie/electro/hip hop/punk/soul.

Six preliminary rounds starting in April 2006 and ending in September 2006 yielded 11 contestants for Wreckage: The Final Round. Each contestant will be performing two pieces and will be judged by a panel of celebrity judges based on set criteria as well as audience response. We take trashiness very seriously! The winner will be awarded $500 in cash and prizes. And will be crowned "Boston's Biggest Wreck 2006."

The show will also feature performances by the TraniWreck cast and some of our celebrity judges as well.

Our celebrity judges are: Hilken Mancini of Shepherdess, Dave Geissler of Musk and Varietae, Vice V'ersitile of Varietae, The (former) Haiku King (TraniWreck cast member first season), Frankie Cocktail and Mal from Queer Soup, and our accountant Tibbs.

"...Wreckage, likely the most surreal event Boston has to offer, remains a must see, where creativity and eccentricity rule the night." Bay Windows April 28, 2005

Info about TraniWreck and Wreckage

Results of the preliminary contests and photos of the contestants.

Truth Serum Productions will be producing TraniWreck and Wreckage: The Contest Show at new venues around town after this big Wreckage blow out at Great Scott! We had a great run at Jacque's but the cast and audience have expanded so much that we need to find a new home. We have some options to consider and we'll be making announcements at the show on the 20th. Please visit the website or join our mailing list to get the latest info. Accept no imitations! TraniWreck and Wreckage's brand of all gender, all genre performance cabaret can't be replicated by others elsewhere!

Another related note: The Transgender Day of Remembrance (generally held on November 20th every year) was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the " Remembering Our Dead" web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the event has grown to encompass memorials in dozens of cities across the world. Rita Hester's murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved. Boston's Day or Remembrance will be held on November 19. details can be found at . We will be doing something to commemorate the day at Wreckage.

friday december 8: TraniWreck and friends take over the Midway!!!

...don't tell me you're tired

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