Nestled in the shadowy recesses of The Stud Bar, lit by a few colored bulbs dancing off of disco balls and gold, sparkly curtains, an unforgettable variety show owns Tuesday nights. Meow Mix is the drag show that most drag performers are still learning about. It’s not polished or highly produced. It’s avant-garde, free-form sur-realness, and while drag is a major part of it, other talents are also welcomed. There is everything from lip synching to interpretive dance, to roller skating with puppets. It’s a variety show on crack. Or from the smell of the room, weed. You never know what is going to happen here, but things are going to get weird. And wonderful. Count on it.
For starters, this show isn’t even necessarily men dressed as women or women dressed as men. There is every variation in between and the gender fluidity welcomes all types of performers and performances. Hollow Eve, a fierce and friendly performer with a mohawk, who does variations of gender performance art, says that it breaks down narrow concepts of gender binary, which also stands against misogyny.
That environment is incredibly supportive to performers, and very friendly to everyone in the crowd. Mama Dora, who has done drag for 15 years, even going so far as to perform in a burqa, points out that because no performers get paid other than split tips, it’s not cliquish and everyone is free to naturally explore drag how they want to.
So what does that mean you are going to see here? The question is: What are you not going to see?
On my first visit, I watched a drag queen in a lovely gown shave her hairy legs to song, which crescendoed to cutting her wig and manically pulling out handfuls of hair; shaving cream went flying everywhere like spackle. Alabama Slamma performed a workout routine as Richard Simmons, the resemblance and mannerisms being uncanny.
On my last visit, even the DJ got up and lip synched to Olivia Newton-John’s “Magic” in a Statue of Liberty inspired outfit and there was an impromptu performance from an audience member. As the pinnacle of weirdness, Manwelli, who resembled a skeevy circus ringmaster, performed to Cadillac Don & J-Money’s “Peanut Butter and Jelly,” wearing only a jock strap and hat. Assisted by two others who placed handfuls of peanut butter and jelly into each of his hands, he ended up on the floor, legs over his head and ass to the crowd, spreading the handfuls of stickiness into his nether regions, peanut butter raining like dollar bills off the stage. Every subsequent sight of a PB&J sandwich has required therapy. It was glorious.
Imagine a Sonny and Cher show on a drug bender in a back ally Vegas lounge, with Hunter S. Thompson sitting in the front row. Meow Mix kind of feels like that.
Part of what inspires such insanity are the off the wall themes created by hostess, Ferosha Titties, who had buckets of water dumped over her during her interpretive dance. A theme can be anything from from “Buddha Windmill” to “Dolphins, Whales & Fish, Oh My!”, and involve bizarre holidays or plays on the names of performers on their birthdays. It may even be as random of Haus of Bausch, inspired by German modern dancer and choreographer, Pina Bausch. Because … why not?
Anything goes here. There are no rules. There are no “types”. Meow Mix is experimental. It’s cacophony. It’s wild, messy, and stoned. As one spectator said, it’s the Jackson Pollack of drag. It’s unanticipated greatness at every turn. You may never know what to expect, but you won’t want to look away, because it’s sure to leave you gagging… for better or for worse.
Meow Mix – Every Tuesday, 11pm -ish, The Stud Bar, 399 9th St, San Francisco, $5-$7 donation