The road from Wisconsin to the nightclubs of NYC was a long one for this fashion maverick, but these days it’s hard to imagine what a Bartsch or Ladyfag party would look like without her beautifully monstrous looks. Linux (aka “Linux the Robot,” but not really) is a scene queen (anything’s better than “club kid”) and a recording artist, and Thotyssey explores how she got here and where she’s going.
Thotyssey: Linux, thanks for talking to us. How was the party at the Blond on Tuesday night, which you hosted?
Linux: Blond was really fun! It’s more of a chic moment rather than a club kid rager, which is nice sometimes. My really good friend Ty Sunderland is a DJ there!
What’s your process generally for creating a club look?
Nowadays, my looks are greatly based on nostalgia from my childhood. As a child, our view of the world is colorful, massive, and not too detail oriented. So if I’m going to do a party in Miami….I’ll literally dress up as a giant palm tree, the way a child would imagine a palm tree to be! All my ideas come super naturally and in the moment, and usually take about 1-2 hours MAX to do. Although FIDM taught me how to sew, hot glue is God.
By the way, are you purposefully just billed as “Linux”nowadays instead of “Linux the Robot” on the flyers for events that you’re a part of?
“The Robot” actually came because I needed a last name for Facebook! I prefer just Linux. But, yes, as of now my government name is still Linux The Robot.
“Linux” is an open source software operating system. Are you a tech-minded person?
I was really into tech in early high school. I chose the name Linux because Linux OS is the best for open source processing. Basically what that means is, Linux thinks outside of the box and isn’t bounded by rules within its OS. That’s how I wanted my drag to be.
You’re from Wisconsin, you went to school for design in LA, and then you kiki’d in Chicago for a spell before winding up in NYC. How do all the scenes compare to each other?
LA nightlife is very underground/niche fashion-based, with not as much drag. Chicago is very dark and industrial, which I LOVE, and the queens there are a huge family. NYC, on the other hand, is all about disco and innovations in downtown, which obviously takes the cake!
I read a recent interview where you discuss how you started going out in the scariest looks possible when you were underage, because security would be so scared of you they’d just let you in. What was the “scariest” look you ever pulled off?
I wore a dress of brown-stained toilet paper, a dirty plunger on my head, and corn glued around my mouth. Next question!
If somebody completely unfamiliar with your world asked you what do you do at your job, how would you describe hosting to them?
I usually just shout “I’M A CLOWN!” as I hand them a bottle of vodka, and they usually stop asking.
Were you immediately embraced by the established NYC club kids when you first arrived here?
Definitely not. Everyone wore four inch heels and tiny, tiny headpieces when I moved here. I showed up large, loud, and over-the-top, and it scared a lot of the kids that were going out at the time. I probably finally felt at home in this scene a full year and a half after moving to the city.
Some club kids make the leap to full on drag performance (and others like MILK just jump right to Drag Race). Where do you stand with being identified as a drag queen?
I call myself a drag queen all the time, just because I hate saying the word “club kid” out loud! My followers call me a size queen, but you can call me anything as long as it has kind intentions.
Have you and another scene queen ever shown up to a party in weirdly similar looks as each other?
I’ve never showed up in the same things, but there’s a lot of times on traveling trips when we will all show up to the gig accidentally in the same color!
And on that note, has anyone ever flat out ripped off a look you served?
I’ve been shown photos of people copying me or my vibe a lot, and it doesn’t bother me at all. Life is too short to get caught up in all of that, when at the end of the day none of us are hurting anybody.
When you see how much work and effort people like Susanne Bartsch and Ladyfag – not to mention yourself and other scene queens – put into a night, does it annoy you when bitches who come out are cheap: won’t pay door fees, want all the drink tickets, won’t tip, etc? Or has that always just been part of the nightlifestyle?
Nightlife to me is all about eating the rich and feeding the poor. Things cost money and things are free. If people want comps and come at me with a kind attitude, I always go out of my way to help… regardless if their look is shit!
I’ve seen pictures of you in some costumes that look so bulky and cumbersome, I can’t imagine how you can even move. Have you ever gotten, like, stuck somewhere because of limited mobility?
These costumes are hard work! Luckily I have my friends by my side to help Linux when she gets stuck in a doorway. Honestly, there’s something so glamorous about being handicapped by your fashion. I get stuck in Ubers every god damn time, though!
I enjoy your 2016 album Everybody Hates Linux! Funny bitch tracks, wacky esoteric stuff, fun super gay dance grooves. How long did it take you to conceive and record that?
I wrote the first half of the album while in LA and Chicago…super-casually, with no intent on doing a 10 track album. Once I moved to NYC and the other kids began hazing me, it hurt me a lot. As a child, I always knew I’d belong here, and now that I was here I still didn’t fit in. I took those feelings and put it into the other 4 tracks in Everybody Hates Linux. It was really therapeutic.
In November, you performed one of these songs at Metropolitan Bar’s party “Metrosensual!”
Yes! I performed the infamous “Party and Play!” The crowd loved it, even though I forgot my words!
How’s the experience of live performing for you?
Whenever I perform, it’s always really fun!
Is being a full time recording artist and performer (who looks fabulous) an ultimate goal of yours?
I don’t know what I want in the long run, but I do know that I’m having a blast just being Linux for right now.
This weekend is going to be killer! I’m so excited to start off on Friday with Ladyfag’s new VERSUS! It’s at an amazing venue, and I think it’s going to be something monumental for nightlife right now.
And then on actual New Year’s Eve: Aquaria, CT Hedden and yourself will be the featured hosts at Rebar’s “Scarlet Ball!” I imagine that’s gonna be a really different scene then what we might normally experience with you.
I’m so excited to end 2017 at The Scarlet Ball! It’s going to be a more intimate carry, and I think it’s going to be the best thing happening in the city!
Should be an epic weekend! Okay, last question: what’s your New Year’s resolution?
I don’t have a resolution. But in 2018, I just want to continue being 100% organically me. I’m going to try my hardest not to overthink my place too hard, but rather freely move about in my little Linux bubble.
And what a fabulous bubble it is! Thanks, Linux!