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British Eleganza Part 3: Conversations with UK drag artists Dax and Vinegar Strokes

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Welcome to British Eleganza, a series of article showcasing the talents and stories of UK drag queens, kings, and artists. In our previous instalment, I discussed drag names, the role of social media and what’s on trend in the UK drag scene with Bruise, Cooke Monstar and LoUis CYfer.

In Part 3, the conversation continues with drag king Dax and the vivacious Vinegar Strokes. Daxi s an up-and-coming drag king on the London scene who describes himself as ‘a massive idiot who doesn’t take himself too seriously’. Vinegar is a self-proclaimed working-class diva queen who, when she isn’t giving you stitches during her stand-up, is gracing the stage on the West End.

We discussed personalities out of drag, the highs and lows of being a performer, and the political importance of drag:

How long have you been doing drag and how did you start?

Dax: I started doing drag after Dragworld last year, so around 8 months. I wanted to explore my gender and drag seemed like a great way to do so.

Vinegar: I started pursuing drag properly in March 2015, but I am really a Halloween Queen. I started doing stand-up comedy as my boy self and I was asked to perform at a Halloween show but in drag as a witch. I refused at first but then the promoter offered me £75, so I instantly accepted the gig. That was the night Vinegar Strokes was born and I haven’t looked back since.

 

                      Vinegar Strokes

What are the differences between yourself and your persona in drag? 

 Dax: My drag persona is confident and can be a bit wild, whereas out of drag I’m quite quiet and shy.

 Vinegar: We are very similar, but Vinegar is a lot more glam and confident. She is the life and soul of the party. 

  

 What is the most difficult or frustrating part about being a drag performer?

 Dax: As a drag king, I find it’s harder to get booked. A lot of people only want to book queens sadly. I’ve met many people who didn’t even know kings were a thing, I myself didn’t know they were until last year. 

 Vinegar: Honestly, luggage! It can be a hassle dragging around lots of costumes over London to get to a gig.

 

                               Dax

Conversely, what is the most rewarding part?

Dax: I get contacted by a lot of people asking for advice or saying I’ve helped them in some way. That’s more than I ever expected and I’m so grateful to everyone who’s supported me.

Vinegar: Performing and being creative!

 

How do you see the UK drag scene evolving in the next few years?

Dax: The drag scene has been evolving massively over the last few years thanks to shows like Drag Race and Dragula. I’m hoping soon kings and all other forms of drag will be included in these big shows and tours.

Vinegar: I think the UK drag scene will evolve into an inclusive space for all genders and sexualities. I think it will also enter more spaces, LGBTQ and otherwise. Drag will be another tool to push opinions, views and ideas in positive ways much like theatre and art is supposed to do.

 

                        Vinegar Strokes

What do you think is the importance of drag in the current cultural/political climate right now?

Dax: It’s a great way to express gender and to break gender binaries. I’m hoping it will open up the discussion of gender to more people. 

Vinegar: I think drag is very important as a way to digest current situations. We need ways to make culture and politics light, through performance art, literature, comedy, art. Drag is an extension of that and a great addition to lighten and break down the serious.

Where can people come see you perform and/or what projects are you working on right now?

Dax: I may have a few gigs lined up soon which I’ll announce on Twitter and Instagram, but for now I’m just preparing for Drag World in August!

Vinegar: I’m currently playing the role of Sandra Bollock in the hit musical ‘Everybody’s Talking about Jamie’ at the Apollo Theatre. I can also be found at ‘Her Upstairs’ on the last Sunday of each month with my All Male Cabaret Strip Show, ‘Vinegar’s Filthy Animals’. You can follow me on Instagram and on my website: www.thevinegarstrokes.com

 

 

 

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