Salome Blood & Gold << A Rock Opera and Costume Party w/ Two Queens 6/25

Salome Blood & Gold << A Rock Opera and Costume Party w/ Two Queens 6/25

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Salome The Prophet

It's a one-woman rock opera about Biblical bad girl Salome. It's also a costume ball, a showcase of local performers, a dance party, and an all-night bacchanal. And it's all happening at the Grey Eagle this coming Saturday, 6/25. Salome, Dance For Me is trixxie carr's tour de force show, which sold out multiple times during its month-long run in San Francisco, and Two Queens Productions, party planners, social activists, and world-changers extraordinaire, are bringing it to Asheville, followed by a full night of partying that will go until 4 am. Things get started at 8 pm with the performance, and tickets are available now for this unmissable event.

The evening opens with Salome, a 70-minute performance that will include an intermission. Afterwards, the night continues with "All That Glitters is Blood and Gold," the themed party Two Queens has organized around the show. After the horrors of Orlando last week and the disgrace that is HB2 still sending its aftershocks through our community, this night is vitally important. At least 10% of the proceeds from the show will be donated directly to Tranzmission, a local organization helping to ensure the safety and well-being of transgender and non-binary people.

The Two Queens tribe, which includes members Veris Meyer-Wilde, Ahnika Meyer-WildeLexi Albreath, and honorary member Taluli Meyer-Wilde (the cutest kid with the best name ever, btw) are up to big things. A fabulous group of creatives, activists, and party planners, they're also becoming vital members of the Asheville networks. Salome is genuine proof of this. According to Veris, one of the main goals for putting on the event is to bring together the queer and burner communities in order to facilitate lasting relationships. 

I spoke at length with Veris about the show, how Two Queens was born, and all of the amazing sounding stuff they have on their plates. Read on, dear ones. This is exciting stuff.

Asheville Grit (AG): Tell me a little bit about the show. Where did you first see it? 

Veris Meyer-Wilde (VMW): Last year I went out to California for Burning Man and saw trixxie carr and Salome. She's the star of the play part of the evening. She's been my friend since probably 2008. We met at Burning Man through our mutual friend group from my community there.
 
She's wonderful, she's been such an inspiration to me. I was very femme identified and she is a faux queen, so she is a drag queen and is recognized as such in the community, but she was born with a vagina. I was very "sit at the computer and make my design work" and had dreams of performing but I was too turned in on myself. So she was just such a powerhouse of amazing and I saw so much of what I wanted to be in her over the years.
Salome, Dance for Me 
 
This last year when I went out the Burn I got to see the last night of this show, Salome, Dance for Me, and it was just incredible. She got the grant to write Salome right when I got pregnant with Taluli, so we both were gestating our babies in completely different ways over that time period. She wrote it with Robert Mollicone who helped with the music, but it was mostly her and some him. The New Conservatory Theatre Center gave her an Emerging Artist Grant.
 
The show was selling out by the end of its run. It ran over a month in San Francisco, which is kind of amazing because there's so much happening there. To really be successful there the show's gotta be amazing. But it pulled from the theatre community and the drag community, and there were a lot of people that didn't get to see it but wanted to. She plays four characters, it's really funny and really moving. 
 
AG: Is it the biblical story of Salome?
 
VMW: Yeah. And there are so many human emotions in it. The characters are so human and so faulted. She really touches that. Plus, it's a rock opera, which is wild! She's an amazing singer and actress and she's so over the top. She makes the moving dark parts of it work by contrasting the darkness with humor. 
 
Every other moment she's so funny in this queeny ridiculous way with her facial expressions and characterizations. She plays King Herod, this 300 lb lustful, gross guy who is lasciviously hitting on his daughter-in-law all the time. To watch her play him and completely embody that character is wonderful. 
trixie carr as Herod in Salome, Dance for Me 
 
AG: What are the details of the show?
 
VMW: It's a one woman show that runs at 70 minutes. We put an intermission in because it's intense singing, a lot of singing. It's pretty bare set-wise but she's all you need to look at.
 
I was really inspired by this piece, and I cried at the end of it. I've been on testosterone for a year, and so crying at anything is not gonna happen for me most of the time. So I was like "Yes! This must have been really good!" My next thought was that this would be so amazing to bring to Asheville. 
 
I've never produced anything this big before. I produced plays in high school. I was an assistant director and director, and I really liked it. I produced plays with kids at Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston during summer camp, and I taught Shakespeare, so I have background in making stuff happen theatrically. I've been throwing costume and photoshoot parties with Two Queens here for the last two years. So after coming back from Burning Man, I immediately started looking for venues and thinking through how we could do a run in Asheville.
 
I had a lot of trouble finding a venue because I didn't realize that you can't just get a theatre when you want one. You can't get a run at a theatre without requesting a year or a year and a half in advance. So I was still searching in February. She's booked out a long time in advance, but finally we figured out Grey Eagle.
 
In order to make it happen and fly her here and be able to pay her, I thought we should just do one show and make it a giant party, and the party will pay for the show, and will pay her what she deserves for her work.
 
This is an amazing piece that should tour, and I want this to be the beginning of that possibility. I'd love for someone with a lot of money to pick it up and tour this thing. It's so financially reasonable compared to a lot of things art-wise, because it's just one person. You can just fly her around with her costumes and sets.
 
The timing is actually perfect. It's the week of Stonewall Commemoration and the big riots that happened in '69 in NY, and it's a huge week for Gay Rights Awareness. It's perfect because here we have this faux queen who has been working for more than a decade to try to join the drag queen community to the burner community that she's a part of. And she's crossing that line, that gender barrier, because faux queening was really not accepted at first. But hey, if you're born female you should be able to do female impersonation if you want.

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In the last three years or so there's been a lot more community acceptance and coming together over trans issues, and I think that's wonderful and beautiful. I really want to see more overlap between the burner community, which means so much to me, and the queer community. The Burn is my yearly New Year. It's where my real life started, in this make-believe world--that's when my actual life began. But it's kind of notoriously straight and white and I would love for it to be more queer- and people of color-friendly, so that was the idea too with the timing. It's pre-Transformus
 
We've been talking about doing a Unicorn Ball, and throwing a big party with dance music. But then I realized that it would be perfect to do this, and it's during Stonewall, so I thought, "Let's join all these things together, get Tranzmission involved, and do something really timely," and that timeliness will pay for bringing a show that I really care about here.
 
AG: What else is in the works for the evening? 
 
VMW: I'm really excited that we have a bunch of local performers who will be playing every half hour. There will be dance music and four DJs. One is Nex Millen, this awesome person that I think Lexi found through LEAF. He does teaching arts and music activism with children and he seems really cool, so I'm excited to have him on board. He's the first person of color we'll have performing. I really want to join our communities and this is how we start, by getting involved through working together. I'm excited to meet him.
 
And we have Iggy Ingler, who's an awesome kind of David Bowie meets Ziggy Stardust meets alien performer. He's doing a piece from Hedwig and Angry Inch. And Karin Webb, a performer from Boston who just moved here a year ago, an amazing performance artist/professional, really dynamic, queer. Also Lucy Luke and Meridy, who are a circusy/vaudevillian team, Lucy's an insane juggler who just came out as trans, and I'm so excited for her to be doing her first show as a she, it's perfect timing. Meridy is this Amazon woman who plays the accordion and the harmonium. So she plays weird circusy stuff and Lucy does incredible juggling, some of the best I've ever seen--and I'm coming out of the circus community in Oakland. And she's dressed as a teddy bear!
 
AG: It gets better and better!
 
VMW: And Ancient Moon Bellydance, which is my friend Ani Oakley's class. It's their first time performing and they're super excited. Tranzmission recently moved the event they were going to have to a different date to accommodate us because we're donating 10% to them once we break even.
 
One of the most exciting things we're trying to make happen with Tranzmission is an art installation in the space called the Trans Bathroom that has bathroom stall walls, a toilet, and Sharpie markers. You can go in and write notes of inspiration and reflection about what you want to say to your trans friends who are in the trans bathroom, this non-existent, crappy place where you can't be anywhere because of HB2. I had the idea to take the pieces of it and install them in various public places as an HB2 awareness thing. I'm excited that Tranzmission is on board and willing to make it happen, I'm going to ask Restore to donate a toilet. [Update: This is definitely happening!]
 
I'm hoping for more than that because I'm hoping for people to match donations. People can donate when they get there and we'll donate from the ticket sales. I'd love for some people to match what we get after the fact. We're hoping to be able to compensate ourselves a little because it's an insane amount of work, but it's also a labor of love. I realized partway through this that this is my first time doing something this big, so I'm going to make it awesome. 
 
AG: Tell me more about the Unicorn Ball coming up in August.
 
VMW: The Unicorn Ball is August 5th at the Grey Eagle. It's the decompression party, and it's a little less work for us because it doesn't have a full-length play at the beginning of it. But it is going to have a glitter wrestling pool competition and a really pro panel of judges to do the costume competition. There will be cuddle puddle area and a photobooth too. 
 
Grey Eagle has been so great to work with. There will be some fire spinning outside, and some games and ridiculousness and a good number of DJs, at least 4 because it's until 4 am. They'll be serving drinks until they can't anymore and then the taqueria is open, which should keep people relatively sane.
 
AG: What else is Two Queens up to?Two Queens. Source: Facebook
 
VMW: Lexi [Albreath] and I started it when we got to Asheville. We started throwing parties and we thought maybe we should make it into a little company. We started with Sovereign Remedies because Lexi knows the owner Charlie from back when she was an unhappy dude living in Portland, drinking fancy cocktails with Charlie because he's so good at that. We got here and Lexi had recently become Lexi, and they ran into each other when Lexi saw the bar. She thought it was beautiful and discovered it was her old friend from Portland.
 
And I had this idea: Wouldn't it be dreamy to make handmade sets every week and throw costume parties where people get all dressed up, because we love dressing up. When I was pregnant I would get dressed up to go somewhere, and I would be so tired by the time I got there I just wanted to go home. But I loved the dress-up part. I was like, "It would be great to just have proof that I looked this awesome," so we started doing parties called Proof, where the main point is to get dressed up and look awesome and then have professional photographers take pictures at the party. 
 
I studied photography when I was in school for graphic design so I took the photos, most of them, and I split the time with Ani Oakley, who's a wonderful photographer. Lexi and I would build the sets together and we'd make up a theme and build a set around that. We had a Future Primitive theme, and the whole set was made out of tinfoil and patterned on the walls perfectly. We did an Alexander McQueen night and the whole back wall of the upstairs room at Sovereign Remedies was covered in crumpled wax paper and lit with colored lights. Lexi's quite good with sculptural stuff and I'm good with design and concept.
 
We did about 20 parties between Sovereign Remedies and the Crow and Quill. We did some bigger monthly parties at Crow and Quill. One was "Pirates and Booty." We spray painted everything gold and put it amongst the beautiful Crow and Quill furniture. We did a "Unicorns Vs. Hobos" party, and only two people dressed up as hobos! So we realized that we need to throw a unicorn ball, because Asheville just wants to be unicorns. We were so disappointed! [laughs] We were like "This is going to be so cute, everyone' s gonna be unicorn hobos," but no, just all unicorns. 
 
AG: So are you guys for hire? Do you do private parties? 
 
VMW: We haven't really done any private parties, mostly parties at bars, the last we did Ahnika helped with -- it was a photography opening for Steve Homer, a really cool photographer that does beautiful black and white stuff, so we threw a party for that, "Moustache de la Fleur." It was spring-y and there was some andro gender play. We made a giant wreath for the background that was a centerpiece. 
 
Our goals are to get more involved in the community here and make a living. I'm interested in doing really alternative weddings. Ahnika and I have helped with weddings before.
 
Ahnika Meyer-Wilde (AMW): I did a lot of production work in NYC. I hosted events in my home there.
 
VMW: She has an amazing ex-home, The House of Collection. It's an amazing loft/warehouse space in Williamsburg that is filled floor to ceiling with gorgeous antique objects. 
 
AMW: It's been there over 20 years and I came in eight years ago. We hosted events and an Amanda Palmer film, and we got written up in the New York Times. It's a nexus point for underground performance and activism culture in Brooklyn, and I want to bring that energy here. 
 
VMW: Half of that place in in storage here, so we're going to have to make a new House of Collection here, some version of it.
 
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Join Two Queens and a whole lot of other fantastic performers on Saturday for Blood and Gold. The full lineup for the evening is on the Facebook event page
 

A statement released by Veris after the tragic events in Orlando offers a beautiful testament to why, exactly, this show must go on in the face of such terrible events: 

Hey folx. It has not missed our radar that our theme (Blood & Gold) may hit a tender spot in the LGBTQ community considering the terrible gay-bar shooting in Orlando just a few days ago. We are talking about it. The purposes of the evening in our mind are the following:

1. To build deeper connections between the queer community and the burner community. 
2. To support queer working artists. 
3. To raise money for Tranzmission, and thereby help bring an end to HB2. 
4. To celebrate each other in our most radical expressions of self.

To this end, we believe that staying with the theme (which was drawn from key elements in the story of Salome) is a bit of a smack in the face to terror and those who wish to keep us at home, hiding and ashamed. Fuck them. We will party together, represent ourselves however we like and love proudly whoever the fuck we want.

This evening, we will be sacredly adorned in gold, and joined by the Blood between us. The Blood of our faemily lost, and that Blood which exists only in the ether, tying us in love.