The sensational drag king and quing troupe The Cake Boys celebrate both their first anniversary and their first GLAM nomination this month… let’s get all the good tea from founding member Geminemesis!
Thotyssey: Hello Geminemesis! Thanks for chatting today! So, uh…. crazy times! How are you holding up?
Geminemesis: Hey Thotyssey! Which of several major historical events are you referring to, lol? Politically things are pretty bananas, but politics in America have always been a shitshow. The USA is built on theft / oppression / enslavement of black, brown and indigenous people. The rise of white supremacy, while terrifying, is not surprising. It seems like more folks are waking up to that, though. I hope movements don’t lose steam because a different white guy will be president. There’s still lots of work we need to do!
Honestly as far as the pandemic / quarantine goes, I’ve been very, very lucky. Loved ones who got Covid were able to fight it; I haven’t lost anyone to the virus. I’m not working as much as I’d like, but I’m super fortunate to be a solo agent–no kids or family depending on me, and I’ve been able to get by. I feel like it’s been such a long time, and there have been pandemic phases. I was definitely not doing so hot at the beginning! Everything felt very hopeless.
I really miss drag shows, mosh pits, parties, all of that… but I’m grateful for what I’ve been able to do with the extra time. The past year has been kind of major. I had top surgery, applied to grad school, recorded a whole album, got a mullet, and somehow kept active in drag, mostly thanks to the amazing Cake Boys.
I guess we can’t say the year has been boring.
Tell me a bit about where you’re from, and how you started as an artist / performer before ultimately becoming a king.
I’m from Connecticut, about an hour from the city. I took the Metro North in a lot as a kid and a teen; I was always really drawn to NYC. I’ve been playing music for a long time, and that’s where my love of performing was born. Gem has been on a journey. I slowly dipped my toes into drag because a few of my friends did performance art at a bar (that will remain nameless) with nightly shows. I had guest spots in their pieces, and started performing solo.
It’s impossible for me to separate my performance from my transness! I started performing very quickly after coming out as trans; it was the first time in my life I had the desire to be seen or perceived. My first ever number was me topless slicing my tits off with a fake knife, while a Pharmakon song blared. Very, very trans. I kept kinda playing around with costumes, makeup, and choreo.
That particular show was really accepting of all different types of performance, and I’m still really grateful lil’ baby trans me was able to find that space. I’m not really “trained” in anything movement-related and haven’t been to art school, but I felt a lot of queer joy with what I was doing, and it kept evolving. Eventually Geminemesis was born!
Do you have an all-time favorite number that you do?
Gem has lots of flavors. There have been so many good numbers (and some amazingly cringey ones) over the years, but my standby is “I’m a Man” by Jobriath. First off, it’s just a fuckin’ bop. It’s got these sexy early 70s vibes, and the track is just so full of drama, making it my versatile little crowdpleaser. Jobriath was one of the first openly gay musicians to be signed to a major label, and was tragically taken from us during the AIDS epidemic. I’m always reminded of all the amazing artists we lost who would still be alive and making art today if any attention had been given to all the death that was happening.
Your performing troupe The Cake Boys is about to turn 1! There are many members, but Richard, Muscles Monty, Sweaty Eddie and yourself are the founding fathers. How did you all come together and form the group?
The Cake Boys! In a year that has seemed like both five years and five minutes, I’m so proud of what this little cake baby has become. I met Richard many years ago, before either of us started doing drag. I really dug their style and sense of humor, even in the pre-Richard days. He continues to be the only person I know who stans Tim & Eric harder than me. We had a little drag time under our belts when we met Sweaty, who catapulted us into another dimension because … Sweaty fucking Eddie. Richard brought another amazing king, Muscles, into the mix.
As vast and gorgeous as the NYC dragscape can be, we all wanted more representation for kings and nonbinary performers. We started brainstorming what would become [our live show concept] “The Bachelorex,” and the rest is gay history!
Covid forced us all into virtual shows, but The Cake Boys have fared better than most thanks to some really amazing and creative programming! Did you ever envision in the beginning that digital shows would be part of the Boys’ signature legacy?
Oh I don’t think any of us could’ve imagined this. From the beginning we had a vision for The Cake Boys to be more than just a drag show. We wanted to do scripted shows with skits as well as traditional numbers. We had to adapt, and Sweaty’s animation chops really make our shows special. We all put a lot of work in behind the scenes, either with our own individual numbers or making the show work as a whole.
Thank you so much! It was such a nice surprise, because it can feel like kings and nonbinary performers are often overlooked. Even if we don’t win, we’ve shown the world what we can do. And there’s plenty more cake where that came from!
“The Cake Night Show” will have a repeat viewing on Friday, January 29th (8pm) on the Cake Boys’ Twitch channel… followed immediately by an all new anniversary special, “The Cake Boys Become Men” (9:30pm)! What can we expect from that?
So unfortunately before Covid hit, we had a bunch of really great shows lined up! We want to honor what would have been while still celebrating what we still have, and what is to be in the future. You’ll see the return of some beloved favorites from shows past!
Have a great show! In conclusion, what’s the first Regular People Thing you wanna do after we’re all vaxxed up?
Make out with a stranger while wearing every cute outfit that didn’t get to see the light of day.