Dancer, Choreographer, Actor, Activist, Poultry-centric drag queen and Bona Fide Bar Babe: Taylor of Flaming Saddles!
Bar that I work at: The best gay country bar in America, Flaming Saddles Saloon!
How long I’ve worked there: too long! (Just kidding)
What are my shifts: Saturday Night, Sunday Night, and Monday Happy Hour.
What makes this bar great: The dancing. Jacqui Squatriglia (the original Coyote Ugly choreographer and owner of Flaming Saddles) is a bar choreography genius. I’ve performed our dance to “White Trash Wedding” by the Dixie Chicks AT LEAST a thousand times, and it still never gets old. Our regulars feel the same way. There’s just nothing like our bar anywhere else in the world… where else can you watch four guys stomp down a bar in perfect unison to the Zac Brown Band, do knee slides/ cartwheels/ handstands/ splits to your favorite Taylor Swift song, and pour tequila down your throat to Pat Benetar? It’s complete chaos sometimes and it is beautiful. I’m so lucky to work with people who are not only great bartenders and kindhearted humans, but also some of the best performers I know.
Best drink I make: Bud Light. Drink your juice, Shelby!
I love it when customers: Watch me dance.
I hate it when customers: Watch me dance and don’t buy drinks. (Bitch, I’m not doing this for my health.)
Craziest thing I’ve seen here: Saddles attracts A LOT of crazy. Where do I begin? A few weeks ago, a girl grabbed me while I was dancing and told me she knew who I was and said she was fucking my best friend’s man (they broke up over two years ago). She got up on the bar, took off her shirt, and started screaming “I’m fucking her man!”. She got carried out by the bouncer. I love drunk straight women…
Other places I’ve worked: I’m an actor and choreographer outside of Saddles, and I’m so lucky to work for Jacqui and Chris Barnes who understand this gypsy lifestyle and allow me to leave for shows and come back. I’ve performed as an actor at North Shore Music Theater, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, San Diego Musical Theater, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Phoenix Theatre, and in various workshops/ readings in NYC. I’ve choreographed workshops in California and New York including The Other Mirror Theatre’s production of Gods and Kings at The Sheen Center downtown, and have spent multiple seasons choreographing at the country’s longest running stock theatre, The Barnstormers Theatre, in New Hampshire.
My hometown: Calabasas, CA.
Stuff I do when I’m not bartending: If you follow me on social media, you know I’m very politically involved and post about it frequently (follow at your own risk. Lol). I spent a significant amount of time volunteering for Hillary Clinton in New York and Iowa during the 2016 election, and when she lost I felt a calling be more involved locally. I’m an executive board member of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, a member of the West Harlem Democrats, a County Committee member uptown, and will be on the ballot again this fall as a candidate for Alternate Judicial Delegate. Change starts on the local level through person to person conversation. Each one of us (yes you!) needs to step up and knock on some doors in a competitive district. It’s fun and makes a difference. It is so important this midterm election, more than ever before, to elect Democrats and take back the country we love.
Single or Taken: I’m single tonight, baby! wink but I’ve got an amazing boyfriend of 8 years who is my much better half. He has orchestrated musicals on and off Broadway, organized for Democrats in Iowa, and is currently a communications director for a State Senator in Harlem. He’s sexy, smart, remarkably talented, and is the most compassionate person I know. He does it all and inspires me to do the same. I won’t let him get a pet, though (he typed that… it’s true).
Who/what turns me on: Intellect. Talent. Hard work. People who exercise their bodies, but also their brains.
Favorite music: I have grown to love country music after working at Saddles for 4 years. It’s really appealed to me at a time when I find so much top 40 pop music to be lyrically and melodically boring (great to G out to on a dance floor though, I bet). I’d say I listen to as much country as pop. But speaking of pop, Alice Merton’s “No Roots” is the song of the summer. Sorry, Kim Petras.
Favorite movie or TV show: The Good Wife (and now, its spin off The Good Fight). Julianna Margulies and Christine Boranski are the best actresses on TV. Homeland is also a guilty pleasure. Claire Danes is insane… I’m exhausted just watching her each episode.
Favorite drag queen: Drag queens are like Skittles, and you’re a weirdo if you only like one. My favorite Ru girl is Bianca Del Rio. I think Pixie Aventura is the best drag queen in America. I will always and forever be team Holly Box-Springs. Boudoir LeFleur put a spell on me this summer at Cherry’s. Stephanie’s Child (Rosé, Lagoona Bloo, JanSport) is going to take over the world. And my favorite newcomer is Aria Derci… go see their shows and tip them well!
My drag name (is): Chicken Ceviche! David Garton once told me my uncooked clown drag was serving more chicken than fish, and that’s how Chicken Ceviche was born. You can find her every Fourth of July for the Invasion on Fire Island (sporting Red, White, and Blue, duh) and at Kris Coughlin’s infamous drag birthday. And while we’re on the topic, my workroom entrance would probably be “I know why y’all gagging. She brings it to you raw!” That or “Eat me!”
Favorite gogo boy: Johnny Di Sciascio. Have you seen his “Out Tonight”?
Other stuff you need to know about me: I’ll try anything twice!