Sissyboy at The Works let the crowd know that tonight would be a wild ride—this night, we were told, was “a gender terrorist revolution.” The opening video was a hilarious montage of five or so Sissyboys, dressed in wigs, miniskirts, and heels, bopping unsuspecting commuters on the head in trans-fairy godmother style, complete with comic book starbursts that read “Fab!” and “Loofah!” which changed the drab—poof!–into more fabulous counterparts. “Tranny pie!” read one graphic as they all piled on someone in front of Pioneer Place. This was a city wide attack, ending with the feather boa-ing of the umbrella man in Pioneer Square.
The girls had a hilarious mix of stage and video, including some hot stage fighting in only short shorts and heels that devolved into bitch slapping. One delivered their manifesto to the cheers of the crowd: “The gender revolution has begun, champagne!” she cried, garnering hoots and whoops from the gay, tranny, and straight (in those percentages, I think) crowd. “We’re here to bend gender roles until they break! It’s time to make way for whatever the fuck we want!”
Whatever the fuck they want turned out to be increasingly political, with the main premise being turning Laura Bush trans through “an acid gender re-programming trip.” There were funny moments and cringe moments. There was the dance number by two of the girls in burkas, singing a Jihad version of the song “We Like the Cars That Go Boom.” This song included the cheeky line “the streetcar is fucking stupid, it don’t get you too far, so plant 3 [bombs] in there.” This progressed into a rendition of the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene acted out between a muslim Rashashan and her Cap-Jew-let love in camo and a soldier’s helmet. Later, a video played reenacting the Sept 11th attacks with a model United Airlines plane hitting Jenka-made towers. During this Laura and a Saudi princess began singing “It’s Raining Men” while body parts rained onto the stage. They stripped down, rolled in the carnage, and played air guitar on leg. Cringe.
Political satire and drag do seem to go well together, and bending gender and mocking cultural icons makes sense if the goal of the humorous deconstruction is to understand why icons, events, and terminology hold such power over us. Well aimed humor (in videos, lounge acts, etc.) undermines the authority and weight of these things, and lets us examine them anew. Kiki and Herb likewise made jabs at Catholics, the President, and other social institutions, but with Sissyboy, I didn’t feel the constructive wit in the criticism. If the performers’ message is fuck it, then what does the audience gain? They did put on an amped performance, and when the girls took a bow and asked, “are you a fucking sissy?!” the crowd whooped and hooted and in response.
–Carissa Wodehouse
Freelance writer, enthusiast