Above represents the beginnings of the House of Gunt as sketched by Rachel Fauxrelle. It’s truly a tale of that time as a little kid you dreamt of being whatever you wanted - which was an amalgamation of all the amazing women in your life - but then shame and toxic masculinity destroyed your dreams.
Our first show as a group was called Noise Complaint on October 4, 2013. We turned six wooden pallets into a stage and our living room into a green room, complete with a backstage curtain. You can see a full album of images here on our Facebook page, but we really don’t recommend it unless you have some morbid fascination with busted queens… Except for Lavender Mist, of course.
The HoG is comprised of a network of over 20 performers. Along with DJs, video artists, set designers, and photographers, the collective’s formation is in constant flux. Tune in tomorrow for the next class of mutants.
Now, let's get to part one of our Roll Call of Gunts.
Monster Cunt is really the progenitor of Gunt. Born out of the frustration of a brief stint as former persona, Miss Terri Dum Dum, she changed her name to Monster Cunt in hopes that no one would book her anymore, at least not the straight and narrow. Drag and entertaining is something that comes naturally to Monster Cunt, which probably came from years of practice dancing in her childhood bedroom as any little gayby would. The name change gave her an edge and a feeling of freedom when it came to being aggressive with her aesthetics and politics; which are pretty much a mixture of Troma films, Valerie Solanas and Babs Johnson from Pink Flamingos.
Monster came to visit me while I was working for Dirty Looks NYC in the summer of 2013. We were very fortunate to happen upon a Chez Deep show while returning a hard drive to a curator at the Ace Hotel. Hosted by the legendary Linda Simpson, Common Visions was a devastating and powerful reminder of the urgency in gender variant performance art and you can watch video documentation of it right here.
At the 9:02 mark, during Hari Nef’s performance, you can see me in the background leaning over to Monster and whispering sweet Bill Murray nothings into her big Scarlet Johansson ears. I’m pretty sure that’s when we decided to follow through with jump starting a performance vehicle in Savannah. Not only to work some ideas and feelings out through performance and caricature, but to also try and cultivate a queer collective that could potentially grow into a community of gender non-conformers and their allies.
When I arrived back in Savannah that Fall, we began recruitment.
Influenza Mueller was invented as a medium to carry out the gospel of Gunt. The name comes from author, activist, and John Waters muse Cookie Mueller, whose son’s name happened to be the same as my boy name, Max. Influenza is there because she’s what? Sickening, of course. Although I’m always eager to perform, my true strengths lie in my ability to organize and produce space for other talented voices. If you never see me wearing nails it’s because I’m plugging and unplugging cables, carrying ladders to hang lights from ceilings, constantly checking my phone to figure out where these damn Gueens are and then biting them in the interim to make sure everything falls into place correctly. They never do, but it almost always seems to work because being in the Gunt also means occupying the space between rehearsal and recital, failure and success and the tension in between these spaces is very cathartic.
Monster Cunt is the Magneto to my Charles Xavier, and the origins and different formations of the HoG are not unlike that of any X-Men series. Some of the mutants we approached ourselves, and others found their way to us on their own.
They’ll take you places... To be honest, I was apprehensive about Toyota joining the group because they had no prior performance experience, but once they realized they didn’t have to lipsynch, it opened a new chapter for this:
Toyota is a Textiles and Fibers grad, so nothing but curated trash for this Gueen. They’re also providing the web designs this week, and you should check out their amazing website at TMBISHICO.com!
Savannah’s self-proclaimed sweetheart. The fact that she wholeheartedly believes she is the fishiest Gueen of the group is what makes her so endearing. Eventually channeling her energy into burlesque routines, she is well-rehearsed and borderline offensive, but she’s our Little Miss Teen USA South Carolina 2007.
Ah, 2007, what a game-changer of a year.
Her performances can be so insanely literal that they’re almost discordant. For our House of Gluten show, she found a sample of a real person named Rachel, who reminds us over and over throughout the mix that she is a “licensed nutritionist and registered dietician.” I’m not sure what any of this had to do with her eventually stripteasing, but there’s something about watching her do it while hearing about the effects of gluten on the digestive system and how it causes “inflammation of the intestines” that just feels sooooo right.
For quite some time in Atlanta, Rachel was known for doing this:
If you read Lavender Mist’s Top 10 Reasons to Follow Lavender Mist on Instagram, then you already know she can turn a look. We were initially surprised she’d want to be associated with Gunt and because of her makeup skills, she was quite intimidating at first which kept us on our toes. Though she’s named after a Jackson Pollock painting, Lavender Mist is really the John Cage of drag. Using her infectious apathy as a convincing tool in her “anti-performances,” you’re never really sure when her numbers begin or end, or if they’ve even begun in the first place.
From getting a tan on stage to the serene sounds of ambient waves, to collecting phone numbers throughout the night and then spending eight minutes texting everyone in the audience a selfie she just took that they were all experiencing in real time—she simply can’t be bothered by showmanship. My favorite performance to date? Her waiting forever in a line of people to enter a voting booth. When she makes it in, and after minutes of waiting, she finally emerges victorious with an “I VOTED” sticker the size of her head hanging on her chest. It really brought the house down.
Princess Shay Shay
Monster, Lavender and I ran into Princess Shay Shay at Club One where she was competing in the monthly Star Search amateur drag contest. Shay Shay is proof that as long as your lip sync is on fucking point, all you need is your aunt’s clothes, a white sheet and a shake n go wig to turn the party -- and she did, every time. Her emerging from the dressing room with all of her things stuffed in a Party City bag was a huge draw, too.
One night after a gig, Monster and I had drunkenly stowed the money box away and completely forgot where it was. Assuming it had been lost or stolen, we were desperately seeking donations to make things even out. Although we were able to pay Shay Shay back, she made it rain $60 on her at the Hang Fire that following night and without question handed it over to Monster Cunt. Humble and sweet, she sadly wasn’t around long enough to fully blossom, but she left a huge hole in our hearts that may never be filled again.
We miss you Shay Shay