With a beat like a fascinating cave painting and an eccentrically odd-but-funny performing style, Ellipsis (as in, “…”) Queen is not an easily categorized figure in the nightlife community–whether she’s giving you life with a gaggle of sisters at a Brooklyn restaurant or turning it out for a West Village competition. But of course, that makes her all the more captivating! Thotyssey get’s the lowdown from this dot dot dot drag clown.
Thotyssey: Ellipsis, hello! Thanks for talking to us today! Halloween is nearly upon us… yay, nay, or “who cares, Everyday is Halloween?”
Ellipsis Queen: Yay! Halloween is a chance to celebrate the spirits that have passed, and quite possibly are still with us. A chance to let out your inner slutty kitty. A day to put on a mask and frolic. A time of year when adults get to play pretend. As a drag queen, I get to experience that year round, so it’s great to see everyone dress up and let out their inner creatures of the night. Plus, candy. I mean, c’mon sugar! Any chance to let kids of any age express themselves will be a yay from this Queen.
I just learned that during the day you’re a clown for kids’ parties!
Life is so crazy the way it unfolds! If you would have told me I would be a kids’ party clown, I would have said “you crazy.” But I kinda just fell into it, and it truly changed the way I view kids. No matter what the age/ background/ economic upbringing, all kids at the core are the same, and it is what we as adults say and teach them that mold them into the adults they become. I try to always encourage and remind them that they have magic inside them… and who knows if any of it sticks? But if I can encourage one kid to feel like they are special, along with making em’ cotton candy, then I feel like I’m paying it forward and hope they never forget we are all magic.
It’s so great to entertain kids during the day, and by night I can entertain the grown kids. I’m grateful and lucky for it.
It’s funny, we tend to think of clowns as being inherently scary, but really it’s adults who project that scariness onto the image of the clown, right? Kids don’t necessarily find clowns automatically frightening.
Oooooooh, we getting deep! I love it! Most kids don’t get scared. Some do, but I guess it’s to be expected when you have this bright, loud person entering your world in a flash.
Clowns have definitely taken a hit in pop culture via movies like It and TV shows like American Horror Story, but I think when anything is different people can project defense mechanisms via laughter or fear… or they can let go and just revel in the absurdity that is this circus called life.
And of course, clowns and drag queens have a lot of similarities… although not everyone from either group would be happy to admit that!
Yes! Totally, it’s all theater, right?
So, where are you from, and how did you evolve into a drag artist?
I’m a born and raised New Yorker; I grew up in Manhattan. I spent some time in LA where I worked as a bartender at a drag bar. I was fortunate enough to watch drag queens like Vicky Vox, Willam and Detox all work the room prior to Drag Race, and really just fell in love with the art form… but it never crossed my mind to partake.
It wasn’t until I arrived back in NYC that I realized I had a hole in my heart from the lack of drag in my life. Most–if not all–of the gay bars I knew in Manhattan had closed [by then], and I kinda just stumbled into the Brooklyn drag world. Before I had left New York, Brooklyn was seen as a place you only went to if you had family or friends [living there]–it wasn’t a place people had started to cultivate and thrive in its current form. So it was a brilliant experience for me, cuz I felt like I was coming back to a new city.
That’s where I met and formed a relationship with
Untitled Queen, who agreed to be my drag mother… and Ellipsis Queen was born! I took my love of drag along with my years of an improv and standup background and collided them into this premier female illusionist / delusionist.
That’s funny: “Untitled” is the mother of “…!” Now it all makes sense!
Hahaha, yes! What’s so amazing is, I had thought of the name before I ever met her or put on a stitch of makeup. The universe has a funny way of making things happen, and I am so forever grateful for her… and the serendipity of our names is just perfect!
You have this signature look… these severe contours and unblended shapes, and massive brows. Very similar to clown makeup! How did that come about?
It was all very trial and error. I have a very masculine face, and a light beat just never made me feel like I was truly transforming. It wasn’t until I let go of the idea of what a drag queen “should” look like that I really just started to play, and paint with my heart instead of my mind. One day, it just clicked… and instead of seeing Mikey Staring back at me, I saw the manifestation of this creature I had inside me staring back at me… and I’ve never looked back. Ellipsis Queen is the queen I wanted to see when watching drag, and in the words of Dr. Frank-N-Furter: “Don’t dream it… be it!”
Also, sometimes you wear literal collage pieces on your face as a sort of mask, which looks amazing and startling. Is it hard to keep those on? I don’t always see eye and mouth holes on them!
I have some that I use just for pictures and others that I create for public use, but either way I only use magazine paper, glue and tape! Dasssit! I’m working on making it more durable, but it’s a work in progress. I try to keep the eye slots hidden to keep the illusion, but I def won’t be running marathons in them anytime soon!
As to your performing style… how would you describe an Ellipsis stage moment to the uninitiated?
Expect the unexpected! I do songs that speak to my heart. I love to be in the moment, and see where the song takes me. No two performances have ever been the same for me. I like to do music I love, even if that means that most of the audience doesn’t know the song or words. I do it cuz it speaks to me, and nothing thrills me more when I find that one person who is singing along or blown away cuz I’m doing that B-side from 1999 that no other drag queen would even consider for their repertoire. I don’t do it just to be different… I guess I’m just different.
If I’m lucky enough to have a mic, then all bets are off. I love to do comedy and interact with the crowd. I just kinda black out and let this persona I have inside me unleash and unfurl.
You’ve been doing a twice-a-month show in a Williamsburg–Wepa Wednesdays, which is now seeking a new home since the original venue that housed it, La Esquina, is closing. Wepa features yourself and a pretty large cast of guest performers…. like, 7 or 8! What’s this night been like, how did it come about, and how do the not-necessarily-queer audiences register it?
I wanted to create a party that gave a platform to up-and-coming queens who deserved to be seen, and provide a space to experiment with their craft. A lot of opportunities for newer queens are competition-based. And while there is nothing wrong with that, I wanted to eliminate the cloud of “winning” and just create a space for performers to shine and be themselves without the concern of who is “better.”
I have been so blessed to have the performers come through to my party, and make it their party, and the audience becomes the party, and it’s just a joyous explosion of sparkle and creativity. We have such a mixed bag of audiences, and I’m also so thankful for that. It gives an opportunity to someone who might never have gone to a drag show a chance to experience the epicness that is drag, while providing quality content for folk who are more nightlife inclined. Drag is for everyone, and everyone should be exposed to drag. Even if they just wanted a drink or a taco, we stay serving a side of fabulousness.
You’re actually no stranger to the competition shows… you’ve done Shequida’s Drag Wars a number of times. Does that pressure of winning or losing the night take away from the experience of performing for you?
Not for me personally, because my goal doing these shows is just to share my form of art. If I win or lose, it’s not relevant… because at the end of the day, if I can move someone or leave a lasting impression, I have already won. Memories last forever–winning competitions last days. I’m so grateful for shows like Shequida’s Drag Wars that give opportunities to any level of queens who want to get on stage. It’s vital and necessary to the lifeline of drag.
And I see you’re going to partake in another show with a large cast hosted by your frequent Wepa co-star
Vylette Tendency: Queer As in Fuck You at Otto’s Shrunken Head–on Thursday! That’s a drag punk revue.
I live for Vylette; we are cosmic twins! This is my second time at QAIFU and it is such a Ki! I’m so proud of her success, and any chance to play with her I’m there! It’s a great venue and a really great concept… who doesn’t love a little rage with some wigs and glitter!
So onto a serious subject for a moment… trans identity is once again under fire in this country, courtesy of the current regime.
How important is it that drag queens and other nightlife figures take leadership roles in defending queer rights?
It’s is imperative that anyone that has a visible platform speak up on any subject that touch’s home base. We are not in the climate to hope someone else will take the baton. If we don’t have each other’s back, who will? Definitely not the current administration. We owe it to to our past generation, and to the future generation to pave the way, stand our ground and raise our voice. People are looking to us, and we should not shy away from the spotlight; we should use it to show our opinions along side our theatrical prowess.
Beautifully said! Anything to add?
Aliens are real. My Instagram is @ellipsisqueen. And my birthday is coming up soon… December 7th. I will gladly accept Dave & Buster’s cards.
Heard! Thank you, Ellipsis!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for all of Ellipsis Queen’s upcoming gigs, and follow her on Instagram.