Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Gender-bending the rules

Culture | April 18th, 2018

Photo by Shane Friesz

“The adrenaline that you get when you first perform is just crazy. I was just shaking the whole night. I couldn’t even make a joke I was so nervous,” Kyle Anderson, also known by his drag persona Tequila Mockingbird, said. Anderson is also the producer of Fargo Moorhead’s newest drag troupe, The Hot Mess Harlots.

Anderson’s foray into drag started two years ago at a show in Grand Forks. Since then he’s followed the wisdom and guidance of FM drag veterans Mia Starr and Raven Knight.

Anderson was always intrigued by the stage but anxiety got the best of him in his younger years. “I loved it but couldn’t get past my own head when I was that young so I didn’t do it a lot. I appreciated it but couldn’t get past my own head when I was that young. As I got older I said screw it. I’m going to do my thing and I’m going to try it and from there I ventured out to do more theatre in college and then went to drag.”

“I was sitting down with Raven Knight at his house in Belcourt one night before Tequila even saw the light of day. I wanted a party girl aesthetic, as a lot of queens think they want when they first start. Tequila is famous for making your clothes come off and making bad life choices,” Anderson continued, “Then Raven's genius little brain suggested Mockingbird. I'm a writer too, so the literary aspect made sense mixed with this confident and sassy name of Tequila.”

The Hot Mess Harlots had their first show in January. “We’re working on building up our own umbrella troupe. We didn’t want to have the same performers for every show --we wanted to keep things fresh. Now we’re kind of rethinking that and having more of a set troupe with guests coming in under our name.” They plan to pull talent from Minneapolis, Bismarck and Minot.

“We want to cultivate more North Dakota queens because Minneapolis queens get a lot of bookings.” He went on to say, “We love them but we want more North Dakota!” Anderson’s vision for Hot Mess Harlots is to pull talent in from not only across the state but to pull from the colleges and to even try to coax some of those who rarely perform out of retirement.

“The thing with our troupe is, we embrace imperfection. We embrace the weirdos, we embrace the ones that aren’t perfect because that’s what makes them unique--the imperfections. We aren’t about being polished, we don’t care about having a crown, or about any of that stuff. We’re happy to perform and do our thing.” He said.

Earlier this month the Harlots had a drag show for kids booked at the Red Raven. The Libertarian website “The Minuteman Blog” caught wind of the event and came out with a post titled, “Sexploitation: Kids Drag Show Planned in Fargo.” 

After Anderson saw the post he immediately got ahold of Cody Severson of FM Rainbow families a community minded organization that provides programming for LGBT families in the area wondering if the show should still go on.

“That article made a lot of the kids pull out of the show. The moms got scared and there was only one kid that would be able to perform. There’s no show with one kid.” The mothers' fear that Anderson mentions wasn’t the fear of glittery high heeled drag queens. It was based on the sensationalism of the post and ill-informed comments on the article’s initial social media post.

“We weren’t going to put the kids in full body or even bras, it was literally little boys in dresses from Goodwill and using makeup provided by us and give them a show in the middle of the show," Anderson said. "Nothing sexual.

“I was just grossed out that they would go to that place. The sexualized place. I was like, 'Who are you to do that?' This is an outlet for the kids. They can get their aggression out in a healthy safe environment.”

Anderson notes that when he was a kid he didn’t play with tools and trucks, he’d raid his mother’s closet and sashay away.

“Theatre in general is gender bending. It’s so sickening that in 2018 that we have those gender roles so ingrained in our brains that they can’t get around that. What’s it going to hurt to put lipstick on a boy? It’s not going to hurt him and maybe you’ll help someone come out earlier so they don’t have to deal with that bullsh*t in high school.”

IF YOU GO:

Drag Wars!

Saturday, April 20, 9pm

The Sanctuary Bar and Bistro, 9816 21st St. N, Moorhead

Recently in:

By Laura Simmonslaurasimmons2025@u.northwestern.eduSummit Carbon Solutions approached North Dakota land owner Kurt Swensonin August 2021, requesting to lease out Swenson’s land to sequester, or store, carbon dioxide underground…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comExhibit recreates and examines the iconic bar’s legacyThere’s something to be said about a good bar. The really good ones serve as a sort of community living room, bringing folks from all walks…

Saturday, December 10, doors 8pm, show at 9pmThe Aquarium, FargoHeavy fuzz rock straight outta Fargo with Hevvy Swetter and Prediction of the Witch.“Closely related to stoner rock, it tends to focus upon downtuned, heavy guitar.…

By HPR Staffsubmit@hpr1.comOur opinion: How can it be 17 years?It’s hard to believe that Ralph’s has been gone for 17 years. I was lucky enough to experience the tail end of its legacy, though technically I wasn’t old enough…

By Ed Raymondfarhogadfly@gmail.com Why Not Pass Black-White Flag Laws to Label Who Lies, Cheats, and Stinks?We have “red flag” laws in 19 states to keep weapons out of the hands of malcontents and the mentally unbalanced who…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.comAs someone who’s written a lot of feature stories and press releases, it’s tempting to write something cheesy as a lead for this month’s column. But, instead, this column will actually feature…

By Martin Beckmanbeckmanniscool@gmail.comSpec is a new hardcore band from the Fargo area featuring Josh on guitar, Ethan on vocals, Austin on guitar, Landon on bass and Robby– drummyboy. Spec has been creating waves with their…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.com“Citizenfour” Oscar-winner Laura Poitras profiles photographer and activist Nan Goldin in “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.” Like its talented subject, the movie cannot be confined to a…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comIf you’ve ever driven down the Enchanted Highway, the 32-mile ribbon of road connecting Regent to Gladstone in western North Dakota, home to the world’s largest salvaged metal sculptures,…

By Jessica M. Hawkesjmhawkes84@gmail.comIt wasn’t long after the founding of the railroad and river town of New Rockford that entertainment venues started to put down their own roots. Its population bolstered by booms of nearby…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comCharlie Berens is a man of many hats. The creator of the “Manitowoc Minute” is a newsman, comedian, writer and musician. We had the opportunity to speak with the Wisconsin native about his new…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comThey sell fentanyl test strips and kits to harm-reduction organizations and…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comPhoto by: Michelle Tait, Memory Makers Old Time PhotographyIn August URL Radio personality Stacy Sturm knew she wanted to do something for Halloween. She tossed around the thought of a Halloween…

By Waylon Hedegaardretiringwithcats@gmail.comFor all those who still decry my departure from the Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christian faith, understand that I will never return. I see the examples you set and want no part of…