Our first show was a success and you really saw people start to come out of the woodwork in Savannah. Like, where was that hot trade or that cute femme or that rando cis-punk that offered to protect us if we ever needed anything this whole time? We really started to see a shift in Savannah’s underground scene. Of course, on some level, when we were invited to do gigs it was either because A: we could pull in a crowd, or B: we were “ballsy” enough to show up in drag and therefore more “punk” than any of the other bands in the city, which is sadly the dominating genre in Savannah’s music scene.
To be visible is to be identifiable. Only certain “forms” of queer visibility have been granted visibility in public space. These forms, in particularly redder states, are what we consider homonormative. For our third show, we were booked at a friend’s house for a Halloween party. A group of good ol’ gay boys in khakis and polos snickered as we stormed through the front door with wigs and dresses and leg hair. “Here come the real gays,” one said into the air, directed at his pals but obviously loud enough for anyone to hear, us in particular. Comments like these are when you feel like you’re on the frontlines.
It’s very apparent that the gaystream protects masculine identifying, middle/upper class, cisgender, white bros. This is why “tolerant” and “neutral” places are oppressive; don’t disrupt the status quo and you might make it through the night alive. No one likes being an accessory, so that type of booking didn’t last much longer than a month or two. A number of our fans veered into that Iggy Pop/Bowie set of heteros who found solace in our stage personas as “freaks,” but other than a few issues here and there (usually with non consensual touching at the following dance party), these folks were willing to stick up for us. Well, at least until the gig was over.
We needed to expand, and if you showed up in drags on your own volition to a show, you were basically in. Again, it may be hard to understand, but at this point, the only drag queens and gender benders in Savannah were locked up real tight at Club One - like for real, they’re on a contract - and so you never really saw queens partying or being visible at any other spaces in the city. Until the end of 2013.
(joined Oct. 2013)
I mean, the name itself does wonders for the imagination. Dionne is a straight up performer (classically trained!) and, I’m not sure she’ll agree with me here, but one of the most sober minds to be in the HoG. Much like ATL’s Brigitte Bidet, she mixes classic show tunes with modern R&B/hip hop hits - enabling her to reach a wide demographic with her numbers. She straight up ditched us for Boston to pursue a PhD in Performing Arts, but you can tell this Yank desires to be back with his Southern gays as evidenced by this article she wrote here… You’ve always gotta admire a queen that can kill a number while sitting down:
(joined Oct. 2013)
My favorite thing about Budonna Christ is that Violet Chachki was desperate to know, “who IS that fishy ass queen?” Budonna didn’t last long, but she’ll always be the first “bio-queen.”
(joined Oct. 2013)
Mona Monet was Budonna’s sister, and where one went, the other tended to follow, right out the door of the HoG. Let’s just say she was way too pretty for us.
On January 10, 2014, universes collided when the Legendary Children ATL came to Savannah to party with the HoG at the Hang Fire Bar for an event called “Platonic Friends.” Needless to say, we were intimidated by the EAV queens, but I think being around us art school, baby queens they were able to let their hair down a bit, smoke a joint and keep it real. They’ve become one of the biggest inspirations for us to continue challenging our craft. Since then we’ve hosted the likes of Violet Chachki, Cayenne Rouge, Hydrangea Heath, Kryean Kally, Lavonia Elberton and Brigitte Bidet, forming a network of satellite sisters, helping each other find gigs when visiting our respective cities.
In reality, the LC and EAV queens really propelled us to the next level in Savannah. We were all of a sudden “in demand” and gained four new members from the gig.
(joined Jan. 2014)
For a lot of you, I highly doubt Biqtch Puddin needs any introduction. BP is one of the hungriest queens I’ve ever met and therefore one of the most tragicomic. She has so much passion and love for the craft of performance that at one point it outweighed her physical ability to to do so, and we wondered if she would ever be able to perform again.
I can never imagine the immense pain Nancy Kerrigan was going through that fateful day at the Olympics, but if somehow she managed to miraculously get up and do her routine with flawless victory, that, my friends, is Biqtch Puddin.
Sharp Cheddar/Camp Counselor Craig
(joined Jan. 2014)
Sharp Cheddar is another talented Gueen who didn’t last long, but for good reason - they run a local business. However, in their short period of time with the Gunts, Cheddar emceed, sang, played original songs on the keyboard, made a dress out of CDs, and contemplated changing their name to Baked Brie. Their performance as Camp Counselor Craig, the creepy and campy, camp counselor who hoarded all the kids’ letters and read them aloud in song, will go down in the books.
(joined Feb. 2014)
What is there really to say about Anita Shave? Raised on a farm in Southern, GA, and given rifles as birthday presents, Anita is hands down the Southern Belle of the group and maybe even the most Gunty... She is always down to get drive thru after the show and in a time of glitter beards, she arguably has the most genuine. She’s also really cute and if you don’t believe me, below is a video of me spraying bubbles all over her cute smiling face.
Catch her this Saturday at Just Toby’s Glitterball at Heretic!
Rainé is proof of not only what the Gunt can do for you, but what you can do for the Gunt. When not exploring and exploiting their insecurities and frustrations on the stage, they’re politically agitating and activating the sleepy and comfortable community of Savannah. Rainé co-operates the only queer safe(r) venue in Savannah, QuoLab, keeps me on my toes as an organizer of a queer performance collective, and gets booked up and down the Eastern USA.
Currently they’re on tour with gross punk band EW - hitting Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery this Friday.
(joined Feb. 2014)
I don’t know who deserves more of an award: Dax for asking to join the House of Gunt, or us for putting up with Dax ;-) It was really an unspoken, tit-for-tat type of agreement where they got a space to perform and we got a new calling card. When you have a queen like Dax in a group like this, one of the best things they can do is read you or offer condescending advice. Because like any mom, they’re usually right even when yacked out on cocaine and about 5 free drinks over the limit. But over-hearing Dax stick up for the HoG to pageant queens can really melt your cold, jaded heart. Dax was a tremendous help in making sure we got paid, especially when helping us whip up 43 custom HoG wigs for Vivienne Westwood’s Dress Up Story at SCAD MoA.
Dax! even laid down a track about us with EmmoLei Sankofa on her House of Gunt album!
That wraps it up for Round 2. ICYMI, check out Part One of our Roll Call HERE
Tune in next time for The House of Gunt’s New Mutants!