The go-to drag and burlesque sexy/spooky performer for this Halloween season has got some major skull-fuckery in store for us all. Prepare to get lost in the shadow of Nyx Nocturne!
Thotyssey: Thanks for talking to us today, Nyx!
Nyx Nocturne: Hey There! I’m so excited to have a chance to chat.
So, DagCon has come and gone… did you partake at all?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend this time around. I’ve been working on a creative project that’s taken over my spare time and my wallet recently, so the timing just didn’t work out. Definitely been making sure to stalk everyone’s looks on social media, though!
A creative project! That sounds exciting. Is it normal for you to put that much planning and expense into a concept, or is this for a special occasion?
This is definitely something special. In my life outside of drag, I make high-concept jewelry and accessories, and this project (which is called The Temple of False Idols) will be the first time I’ve merged this type of work with my performance identity. It’s going to be extravagant, immersive, and completely irreverent!
That sounds pretty epic; we’ll have to get back to that! Well, it’s practically Halloween time already… as a Child of Darkness, I’m guessing you probably have a hell of a lot of Hellish looks in store?
Absolutely! Spooky season is my time to shine, and I love to bask in the darkness. This year I’m especially focused on updating some of my most popular looks to make them bigger and badder than ever.
Extraordinary! Now, how would you classify yourself these days? Do you consider yourself entirely a burlesque performer, or are you also kind of a drag performer as well?
Honestly, it’s hard to say at this point. I’ve settled into this really interesting place between burlesque and drag where I can enjoy a lot of fluidity. I started performing in the burlesque world, but my very first act was basically in king drag, so gender play had always been bouncing around in the back of my mind.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I did my first lip-sync drag act, and started really swinging between the two. Now I do drag acts that include elements of striptease, or burlesque acts that include elements of gender play. There’s so much potential for each art form to enhance the other, and I thoroughly enjoy keeping people a bit unsure of what’s about to happen when I get onstage.
Drag and burlesque have probably never been more in synergy then they are today.
Oh absolutely, this crossover happening right now is so exciting!
So where’s your hometown, and what were you like and into when you were growing up?
I’m originally from Central New Jersey, the part with little suburban towns, farmlands, and pickup trucks. Definitely the kind of place I never quite fit in. As a kid I was always in love with art, and would tell people I wanted to be a starving artist when I grew up (be careful what you wish for, kid!).
Into high school, I was that angry goth kid who spent as much time as humanly possible in the art room. I also had a very active imagination, which lead to crazy epic nightmares for most of my youth – many of which have inspired a lot of my art and looks.
Sounds like the evil seeds to a promising career!
So when did you discover performing, and how did you ultimately become Brooklyn’s Nyx Nocturne?
I saw my first burlesque show several years ago for one of my birthdays, and was absolutely blown away with how powerful the people onstage were. I was at a point in my life where I was really self-conscious, and had terrible body image. Growing up where I did, I wasn’t exactly the ideal beauty standard, and seeing so many different sizes, colors, and bodies in burlesque made me realize that I could be that powerful and beautiful, too.
Not too long after that, I started taking classes. It was kind of like jumping in the deep end of the pool. I figured if I was having trouble with my body, then getting naked in front of a room full of strangers would help. And it did! I told myself it would be just once to prove that I could, but got completely hooked!
Moving into drag took all of that even further. It gave me the freedom to settle into my queerness and gender. It let me play with identity in a way I never thought possible, and discover the Dazzling Queerdo Monster that is Nyx Nocturne.
How long did it take you to evolve and refine your performance looks?
Hmm, It’s difficult to say because the looks are constantly evolving. I’m always adding or changing something to see if the look can get just that little bit better. Usually the first time I do a new act, I’m pretty rushed in getting a look together, so after that it’s just playing with what looks and functions well and replacing anything that doesn’t.
You’re a relatively new member of drag king burlesque collective Switch n’ Play.
Yeah, I’ve been a member for about a year and half now!
How did that come about?
When I came up with my first drag act, I did it for a benefit show to see how it would go over in front of an audience. Crimson Kitty, who was a member at the time, was also in the show. I knew she’d tell it like it is if my drag sucked, but she loved it!
After the show, she put me in contact with the rest of the folks at Switch n’ Play. I did a couple guest spots with them, and was eventually invited to join the collective permanently. Working with them has been incredible because I have total freedom to swing from kinging to burlesque, and anything in between.
Congrats on Switch n’ Play’s Brooklyn Night Award win this summer! And I really enjoyed your performance that night at the ceremony.
Thanks! I was so happy to be able to perform that night. And the SnP win felt great! You always go into something like that hopeful, but It’s hard to predict – especially up against some other great shows.
I’m having a brain fart: did you win something else that night?
I actually haven’t won a solo category yet, although I’ve been nominated for Best Burlesque the past two years. The nomination has been a great surprise both times, and even better for seeing the names I’ve been put up against. It’s reassuring to know people are paying attention and interested in what I’m doing.
And you’re certainly doing a lot!
I love to be busy like this, and I have two amazing shows to look forward to this week.
I’m happy to see you’ll be performing for MiscAllaneous DomTop’s burlesque headlining debut at Bizarre Bar on Thursday night, for a show aptly called Hardcore. MiscAllaneous is such a terrifying yet fascinating performer! Do you know what number you’re gonna turn for that one yet?
I absolutely love MiscAllaneous DomTop, and their style really resonates with me – like my dark sister soulmate. This is going to be such a fun night! I’m planning to bring an old favorite with a new twist. I do a dental fetish act (which is one of my favorites); it’s creepy and sexy and makes people feel a bit uncomfortable, which I always love. I’m planning to make it just a little more extreme than normal, as a special treat for the show.
The other show this week is Saturday, an opening weekend party at Club Cumming! I’m so interested about what this new venue at the site of the old Easternbloc is going to be, exactly. What are your observations so far?
Absolutely, so excited for this one, too! It’s great to see the venue continue on as a queer space, since too often they just disappear. I honestly have no idea what to expect, but when Daphne Sumtimez asked if I was free and interested, there was no way I’d turn it down!
I will, and I’ll be on the mic for the first time to preach a little blasphemy with Lee. BEEF is another one of those spaces that’s doing a lot of blending between burlesque and drag. It’s something people are really hungry for right now, and gives folks space to play.
Where else will we be seeing you coming up, with Switch n’ Play or solo?
I won’t be able to perform with SnP again until their Halloween show on October 28th, but I can’t wait to serve up something spooky with them!
Upcoming for me, definitely a huge focus on this project. Temple of False Idols is a performance art abomination, a fashion cult in the most literal sense. I’m taking all the beautiful and terrifying things people love about my stage persona and distilling them into an accessories brand that comes complete with a full mythos to buy into, as a way of challenging how dedicated people are to branding. First looks will be coming out in October, and I’m planning to have a wild, hedonistic, ritual presentation in early 2018. Definitely keep an eye out for announcements, there’s all manner of insanity on the way!
Intriguing! Okay, last question: what’s something the world may not know about Nyx Nocturne, but should?
Ooh, that’s a good question! I perform and do this type of art because I love challenging people. I get to throw my big, brown, queer body, which isn’t supposed to be “traditionally attractive,” in their faces. I terrify them, entice them, make them question what gets them excited, and hopefully help them open their minds just a little bit more.
That, and I used to be a tournament martial artist… so don’t fuck with me!
Heard! Thank you, Nyx!