One of Long Island drag’s few reigning kings, the multi-talented Makon Mayhem was actually born through drumming (!) and is now gagging audiences live and virtual with his swagger, stubble and spookiness. Get ready for this Krampus King to stuff your stockings with all the Christmas Creeps!
Makon Mayhem: I appreciate all Pride for youth does; years ago, I used to work with them. It felt good to be included in such a fierce lineup for a good cause near and dear to me. HIV/AIDS is a very important cause, and I was proud and honored to be included in the event.
How do you feel in general about digital drag? Fun, weird, challenging…?
Personally, I find it to be a different form of the art… not better or less than. I have been able to create “music videos” that employ projections and visual arts along with my drag, as well as duets with myself. With that being said, I do miss the thrill of live performance.
Are you a native Long Islander?
Yes, born and raised.
What were your early creative interests, and how did that all evolve into Makon?
I started impersonating my favorite artists in local school lip syncs at a young age. I won often, then relying on my dancing. As I got older I became heavily involved in theater–even starting my own theater company, A Bite of Broadway, whose proceeds all go to charity. I am also a musician and musical director, and played in several theater pits.
Makon was created from playing drums in a pit orchestra that was all male, and I thought, “what if I gender bent onstage, to better ‘blend in?'” A local queen then saw potential in my efforts, and asked if I would be interested in performing as a drag king. I jumped at the opportunity.
Amazing! How do you learn male drag makeup?
Many years ago I was I was introduced to a book by Kevyn Aucoin, who was a brilliant makeup artist. In his book he transformed faces in a way I never thought possible: male into female and female into male, as well as celebrities. This gave me the foundation of basic “male drag.” However, there is a lot of trial and error–from creating stubble, to contouring in to create a “natural” masculine appearance. It’s all highlights, shadows angles and illusion. Basically, it’s reverse drag queen makeup. Instead of slimming a nose, you broaden. While queens create cheekbones, I contour to diminish–creating clefts in my chin and widening my jawline.
You do have some of the best drag stubble I’ve seen! How would you describe your performances and looks, and does anyone or anything specifically inspire them?
I don’t have a specific inspiration. My drag is seductive, sometimes dark and gothic, often androgynous… and fueled by a desire to recreate the posters that hung on my walls as a teenager: the “bad boy” rockers, or the tortured vampires from movies that I appreciated. The dark beauty and mystique of that is what I try and convey through my performance and my looks
There is not a whole ton of drag on LI these days, although that’s been somewhat on the rise (pre-Covid, of course). Still, you must be the only king in town!
When I started, there were no kings on Long Island; I was the only one. It feels good to see more drag artists in general, on the rise.
Have you had any particular favorite performing moment in your career?
Yes! One night while performing at Club Cumming–where I had performed many times in a bi-monthly show called “Production” with Novaczar and Olivia Lux–[owner and Broadway star] Alan Cumming came in and sat down just as I began to sing. I sang a song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and he absolutely loved it; he took me aside to tell me how much he enjoyed the performance. I’m a theatre geek, so I was beyond words that he took time to compliment me… and I deeply appreciated it and him for doing so.
That’s incredible. Also, congrats to Olivia Lux, who was just announced as a cast member for RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13!
There are actually a number of reasons to applaud this upcoming season. Besides the casting of some great New York queens, there will be a trans male drag queen, Los Angeles’ GottMik, in the mix! Considering the recent flack the show has gotten for casting exclusively cis male queens, this is huge breakthrough.
I think it’s amazing! Being all inclusive is very important. I think that the dialogue and vernacular of our daily lives is finally being represented in a small fraction by this breakthrough. However small that may be, right now…it’s definitely a move in the right direction!
You’ve got some holiday virtual shows coming up! First off is “The Slay Before Christmas” on December 22nd, presented by Amanda Massacre and featuring a large, great cast. I’m thinking this is gonna be more Krampus then Rudolph?
I am more Krampus than Rudolph myself, and given the lineup… we are all from the Land of Misfit Toys, I’d say!
That is going to be a fierce night! I personally will be performing as a musical icon, but you have to watch to find out who it is. However, I am singing and not lip syncing. So that is going to be fun. And, I am presenting as a female icon, which is a huge departure for me. I did that only one other time… but I am super excited to tackle it.
Very exciting! Anything else on the horizon?
I plan on producing more digital drag videos, and I’m distance-recording with musicians to create music for my performances. I am looking to do more SFX makeup in my work as well. I am constantly looking to do something fresh and new, to add just a little more to my performances.
Amazing all around! Okay, final question: what’s your favorite holiday song?
Ok, it’s truly corny: “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.” It just gets stuck in your head!
Indeed it does! Thanks. Makon!