Adam put aside his alter ego Frostie Flakes as a full-time career several months ago. But on the eve of the closure of XES, the Chelsea lounge where Ms. Flakes and her show partner Bob the Drag Queen made their debut, both Adam AND Frostie have returned there to pay their final respects. Adam speaks to Thotyssey about the emotional roller coaster of working XES’s last days, seeing Bob on Drag Race and life after Frostie.
Thotyssey: Hi Adam! So, you’re back in New York after taking a few months to recharge your batteries in your home state of Ohio. Is it good to be back?
Adam (Frostie Flakes): Extremely happy to be back. Ohio was nice, but after awhile it gets too quiet.
I bet. Do you kinda still feel like you have to find out who “New York Adam” is without full-time Frostie Flakes in your life, or is that being too dramatic?
Not too dramatic at all! Not only do I have to figure out NYC Adam without Frostie, but also figure out adult life in general (Not to say you can’t be an adult and choose drag as a career).
We’re all still working on that! You’ve been working behind the bar at XES in Chelsea since you’ve gotten back. XES is where Frostie got her big break, right?
It is indeed. My first show ever starred Bob The Drag Queen & myself. It was called “Sisters?” & ran every Monday for a little over two years [2010-2013].
What was doing Sisters? like? How far along were you and Bob in your careers at that time?
Before we even began doing “Sisters?” Bob and I were great friends. We knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That helped a lot on stage. What we did have to learn on the fly was not how to read each other, but how to read the crowd. I’m not talking shade-read, but read if they’re into what your doing in the moment. If not, smoothly make a transition into something else. It’s always different with each audience.
Reading the crowd is probably the toughest but most important thing for a live performer to learn, right? And to balance that need with the energy of the person you’re performing with must be a great skill.
Ying and yang are extremely important. I’ve seen several drag shows where the co-hosts don’t mesh well, and its awkward to watch. Even worse, when there’s no Ying and Yang with the performer and audience. Who wants to be performed AT?
Totally. Do you have any specific memory that really stands out about those 2+ years… a crazy customer, a great bit, a terrible bit, a weird thing that happened… or does it all just kinda blend together in a big happy ball?
In any and every show I’ve done, there’s always a crazy who thinks they’re a part of the entertainment (and most times I do turn them into entertainment). However, with “Sisters?” I think my greatest memories are when I was on stage with Bob and we would hysterically laugh at each others jokes, even if the audience wasn’t in on it, or didn’t get it for whatever reason. Sometimes you just have to make yourself or your best friend laugh.
Other than that, our grand finale was pretty epic. We did an hour-and-a-half on loop of “This is the song that doesn’t end”. The bar cleared out after 15 mins. We didn’t care, we kept going till the track was over.
That is pretty damn epic, I must say.
And now it’s a bittersweet time, because XES closes its doors for good on March 31st. Is there a lot of sadness with the staff there now, or is everybody ready for it?
Right now everyone has kinda just been working their asses off. Ensuring that the family (patrons) that have, and continue to, walk through the door of XES have nothing but great memories up to the very end.
However, now entering our final week, I definitely sense some major tear-jerking moments. The final time the DJ plays “that song”. Last time serving your regular for 12 years. Or the last shift you and your chosen “big brother” work a shift together…
That can be heavy stuff. Back to Frostie for a minute:
One reason the city loved her was because she/you were so politically active, leading rallies, getting arrested on the picket line, etc. It’s kind of a shame that more drag queens aren’t doing that, isn’t?
*Sigh*… yes. Of course, I don’t expect everyone with a platform to go to the extremes I did. I just wish there was more of an interest in what is our rights or lack there of.
I can’t discredit the community as a whole because I know a lot of girls out there that do take some interest, which is great.
Bernie or Hilary?
Yes. Regardless of who I want to win the nomination, the important thing is that we band together after the fact to make sure Trump doesn’t take office.
I’ll drink to that. So, when and why exactly did you decide to quit being full-time Frostie?
Doing drag full time was never a thought in my head. It just happened. Once I was fed up with my diner job of three years, I quit with no plan. Drag was a trade that people just happened to be paying good money to do. So with no other income or plan, I just figured I would do it as often as I needed to pay the bills. Eventually I was full time and doing it not for the money, but for the love of it.
What do you miss the most about full-time drag?
I truly miss being on the mic. Anyone can lip sync. But learning the craft of holding an audience with your wit and tongue isn’t for everyone. Being an introvert myself, there was something magical about the idea that I could have this two-hour conversation on stage, where the only reply you [the audience] can have is to laugh, tip, me, or simply walk away. Some might find that statement conceited, but in the words of Judy Garland, “I don’t care.”
So, is it totally surreal to be back in XES while having viewing parties of Bob on RuPaul’s Drag Race?
I cried proud tears when he walked in the work room for the first time.
You know him better than most people, is this “On” Bob or “Real” Bob that we’re seeing on TV? Or is there a difference?
That’s the real Bob. I mean he does have a side to him that is chill and not “on”. But even if he’s in line at a Duane Reade, he will put on a show for those around. That’s just who he is, an entertainer.
By the way, your post-drag beard was very fetching!
Did it suck to have to shave it again when you pulled Frostie out of the closet to fill in for Chelsea Piers recently?
Extremely bittersweet. After 6 years I finally had a chance to see what my facial hair can do. But after a few months it was also nice to feel the wind on my face again. Lol.
I bet. And now a clean-shaven Frostie will be entertaining us at XES one last time on 3/31. Is there anything else we should know about that night? I heard Bob will show, anyone else on the lineup?
Our last day will also be a fundraiser for Bob The Drag Queen’s “Charity 4 the people”. She’ll be there, I’ll be there, Kareem, Chelsea Piers, Tina Burner etc. While it may be rough, have no doubt it’ll be a party til the very end.
Thanks so much for talking to us, Adam. Good luck on closing night and beyond!
Adam has been working behind the bar at XES several nights a week, and will perform alongside other queens as Frostie Flakes when the venue closes on March 31st. Frostie, who will make occasional reappearances in other venues, can be followed on Facebook and Instagram.