After fifty years as a New York queen and dominatrix, Alexis Flame has been there and done that–and few can rival her status as a drag legend. Whether she’s serving vampiric naughtiness onstage or is serving a higher calling thanks to her longtime good work with the Imperial Court, Alexis is one of the greatest Good Time Gals you will ever know.
Thotyssey: Hello Alexis, Happy Easter Weekend! Are you hiding your eggs?
Alexis Flame: I haven’t had EGGS in centuries, Jim, lol! And Happy Easter weekend to you as well.
I know you’re mostly Italian and one quarter Puerto Rican… so I’m guessing there may be a lot of cooking this weekend?
I’m cooking as we speak! I’m having a small dinner party this evening.
Fun! You recently livestreamed the latest installment of your virtual chat show co-hosted by Toni Homeperm. I’ll talk more about that show in a bit, but what do you prefer: on-screen drag, or in-your-face, “real life” drag?
Well, after five decades in drag, the whole online thing serves a purpose… but I miss the live interaction of an audience. And truth be known, the only real difference between the online shows and working in the clubs is that after an online show, our feet don’t hurt because we’re not wearing heels!
Speaking of your long, storied career in NYC: do you have any reactions to the sad news that The Pyramid Club will not be reopening? That was a very important venue for queer folks in the 80s and 90s. And, did you ever perform there?
It seems like a hundred years ago, but a few times, yes. And a Lady never speaks of her age! But the closing of the Pyramid is another legend laid to rest… it’s sad.
Yes indeed! So, you’re a native… what were you like as a kid?
Indeed, I am a Native New Yorker (cues song). And I guess I was a smaller version of what you see today!
At what point did drag enter your life?
I think I was 14 or 15 when I first performed… then I picked it up again a few years later.
Wow, that’s young! What venues did you enjoy working in the most over the years?
That must’ve been super fun back in the days of those huge clubs… you probably saw everything!
Indeed I have! That’s when the rich and famous used to come from far and wide to party and shop in NYC on the weekends. It was a magical era.
Your aesthetic as a queen is sultry horror and vampy / campy–fangs and all–like Vampira or Elvira. Was that always your look, or did it evolve over time?
I’d say [it’s been that way for] the last ten or fifteen years, lol!
Back in the early 90s, you were a guest on The Joan Rivers Show discussing your life as a dominatrix to a very receptive audience! Daytime talk shows back then were an important platform for queer people, drag queens and sex workers… even though hosts and audiences could be hostile to the guests. What was life like as a dominatrix for you, and how did you enjoy your time with Joan?
Joan was a great lady, as well as an entertainer–and I was fortunate that never did I encounter a hostile audience. And I still enjoy the life of a dominatrix!
Amazing! Have you had the same clients for decades?
Yes! I on rare occasion take on a new client, but I have a stable of regulars that keep me in comfort.
I bet you’re a source of comfort for them in these crazy times!
As far as drag goes, would you say you’ve always been, like, a “host” queen as well as a stage performing queen, or have you been more of one than the other over the years?
I’ve always had times when I’ve hosted, but I was usually more of a feature. These days I really do enjoy hosting, because I love interacting with the audience and building up my fellow performers.
I’m always happy to see a sister do well, but it had no direct impact on me. And further opinion would surely cause drama!
Well first off, I do not have a House or Haus… I’m the matriarch of the Crypt of Flame! And your question is a very good one; I honestly can’t recall held many children I have, but I would have to say it’s upwards of 20.
When did you become a part of the Imperial Court of New York, and what’s your current title with them?
The court is an amazing organization! I joined with my best friend in 2014, and my current title is HRH Princess Royal–which is the highest title to be elevated to. The only title higher is to run for and be elected Empress.
Would you ever want to be Empress? That’s a big responsibility!
Yes and yes… but I’m not thinking of running at this time.
Someday! Of course the ICNY produces and hosts events that benefit so many organizations which do a lot of good for people, but this past year the Court’s body of programming has been largely virtual events due to Covid. On Saturday you’ll be part of their virtual “Ballads From the Boudoir“–the penultimate ICNY event of the current regime–which benefits Hudson Pride!
It’s going to be a lot of fun! Some numbers will be sultry and others a bit bawdy, and a few fun raffle prizes!
Also, “Naughty or Niiiiiice” is-the prior-mentioned bi-weekly digital chat show you co-host with fellow Court queen Toni Homeperm… hmm, I wonder which of you might be the naughty one? Well, that returns to Facebook on April 8 with yet another Court queen, Madison Mansfield, as your guest!
Toni and I have a great chemistry on stage, and now on screen. We both really enjoy what we do, and her husband Frank Baccari (The Wig Wizard) keeps us looking our best. The show with Madison is going to be a kiki for the books! And Toni is the naughty one, lol. Just kidding! I’m the naughty one… and Madison is naughty too, lol!
And of course, the “Night of a Thousand Gowns” coronation ceremony is the Court’s annual major gala, which will be virtual for the second (and hopefully last!) year in a row on April 10th. Are you looking forward to the re-elected Emperor Tree & Empress Sugar B. Real returning to their thrones?
Indeed I am! They were fun the first time around, so we know we’re in for a good time.
Anything else to make the children aware of?
I am now creating my own rhinestone jewelry. The line will be called Crystal Fire by Alexis Flame!
We shall keep a lookout for that! Okay, last question: what’s one number you can’t wait to perform-again or for the first time-in front of a live audience?
Wow, my mind just went blank! I think I’d return to doing Diana Ross now that I’m losing weight… and the song would be “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” or “Chain Reaction.”
Thank you, Alexis! And once again, Happy Easter!