The Rabbit, DoN Brewer at The Plastic Club

The Rabbit: Myths, Legends and Fairies at The Plastic Club

I have a song ear-worming in my head, The Twinkle Song by Miley Cyrus. The annual costume party held at The Plastic Club has afforded me the opportunities to overcome stage fright in the past through public speaking, reading poetry and acting in skits. As a Beat Poet I read Lawrence Ferlinghetti aloud, and I had a role as the God of War in last season’s play by Tracey Landsmann – with costume changes. For the revival of The Rabbit a few years ago, after a 50 year hiatus, I dressed as Bill the Lizard from Alice in Wonderland, the theme of the costume party revival. Transforming into Bill I was a lounge lizard crashing the party, the Mad Hatter’s were pissed that I won first place, a treasured copy of the classic book as the award. I love wearing makeup, being unrecognizable feels powerful. Watching drag queen make-up tutorials on YouTube gave guidance with step by step lessons on using cosmetics to create a character.

Tracey wanted me to be in her play this year, Don’t Patronize the Ferryman but I knew I wanted to challenge myself to overcome another performing fear, singing. As a kid I was in a choir, I was into musicals but whenever I sing in public, like at church, I can’t find my singing voice. Performance is about practice and I have been singing the same song in the shower since Miley released it on-line to Sound Cloud for free last September. The Twinkle Song starts out, “I had a dream David Bowie taught us how to skateboard but he was shaped like Gumby…”, the day Bowie died I sang this song so hard, while sobbing on the shower floor, grief encompassing me as I mourned along with the rest of the world and I understood what it meant to sing with passion. ‘I had a dream…’

For research I Googled the term ‘gay icon faerie’, and Saint Sebastian was at the top of the search. The tortured character performing a Miley song as the original gay icon felt like just the right amount of sacrilege and sarcasm. Saint Sebastian was a beautiful man, so handsome and masculine that images of him pierced with arrows became known as one of the first homoerotic art icons. As a member of the Philadelphia Radical Faeries, I have experienced live performances by The Weird Beard Review at L’Etage, my friend, artist and performer, Tasker Morris does as a wonderful gender-fuck burlesque act that usually ends with him nearly naked on stage. I was invited to a big Philly Faerie party last Fall, they said there would be men, beer and music: a piano, violins, woodwinds, and a chorus of singers performed medieval motets. The Faeries are real, magic happens.

I knew that I knew the words to the song but could I sing them live? Setting a beat with GarageBand Loops was really fun, I practiced the song in different formats from rock to hip hop but the ‘chill’ loops have a good mix of beats and instruments, using the preset sounds I created my own back up track. I practiced so much I scared the dog, she had no idea why I was talking and singing at the top of my voice. ‘I had a dream…’ over and over with a small boom box. I practiced and practiced until I could sing the whole song without messing up. The night of the performance Cynthia, dressed as a Rabbit, asked if I wanted to run my music through the sound system instead of the boom box?!? I panicked somewhat, but when I hooked up the phone to the stereo system the sound was big and loud. Suddenly the performance meant I had to really sing out, I had planned to be close to the audience with the boom box on a stool, now I was tethered to the sound system making music. I sang, ‘I had a dream…’ The look on the audience’s faces was something I’ll never forget, pure astonishment. You had to be there.

Thank you to The Plastic Club for providing a safe haven for artist’s like me, you put the TQ in LGBTQ.

Written by DoN Brewer.

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