Welcome to the final installment of I AM YOUR QUEEN, a nightmarish pageant of beauty offset with the occasional glimmer of nightmarish spectacle. We conclude this Pride Month series by handing the microphone to a genuine legend, even by the standards of San Francisco drag: Heklina.
On a recent drag cruise to Mexico with Peaches Christ, Heklina took a detour down memory lane (which in this case was a dimly lit alley full of night terrors).
“One of the stops was Cabo, and I took a taxi to visit San Jose Del Cabo, the little town where I got in drag for the hell of it one night, way back in 1996, a few months before I started Trannyshack,” she said. “We — Timmy Spence, Jordan L'Moore, and myself — went out in drag that night, and were subsequently arrested and terrorized by the local police. It was very Priscilla meets Midnight Express. We were strip-searched, had all of our money taken away from us, and the next day fled to the airport and got the fuck out of there. It made the S.F. papers and everything!”
“It was great to go back,” she added. “The little jail is still there, and the town looks so cute in the daylight!”
[jump] What name(s) do you perform under?
Where do you perform?
Wherever, although now that I've opened Oasis I mainly stay put there. But if you have a budget hit me up, even drag legends have to pay the rent.
How long have you done drag?
I began to dabble around 1992, but started doing it for a living 20 years ago.
Does Heklina have a back story?
Not really, it's just “me”, with everything turned up several notches. As a boy, I used to need attention also, but now I let Heklina get it all.
Do you have a theater/performance background?
Just the DIY punk theater background common to many survivors from the '90s: the Sick & Twisted Players, Klubstitute, etc. I don't do nearly as much theater as I used to, although I still tread the boards every December as Dorothy Zbornak.
Is realness important to you? Genderfuck? Something else?
I guess the fine line between being professional at what you do, and not taking yourself too seriously, is important to me. Show up, get up there, and be entertaining — the audience doesn't need to be lectured, but rather entertained. How you look is not important, as long as you have a “look.”
When you were starting out, what was the biggest hurdle?
First, overcoming stage fright. Second, being accepted by the then drag establishment.
What do you love most about drag?
I can get away with sooooo much more when I am drag! I can flirt with every boy, cut in front of every line, you name it.
Assuming she is among us, does your mother know?
Yes, but she never mentions it.
Have you had any trouble with Facebook's “real” names policy?
I was actually highly involved in the whole drama — I had my name taken away, went to the Facebook campus with Sister Roma, was on the news, did the press conference, all that. Eventually, the battle became too tiresome — and I got really distracted of course once Oasis opened — but the bullshit continues from Facebook apparently.
What's your day job?
Mainly, it's me at home in my pajamas and a pot of coffee, handling the Oasis bookings in front of my computer. The glamor never stops! Unlike the nine-to-five world, my job never stops, but at least I get to (mostly) call the shots.