One half of a unique and important Jersey drag duo both on and off-stage, Morrigan Von Haunt is also one of the most gorgeous sleep paralysis demons ever conjured in Asbury Park.
Thotyssey: Morrigan, thanks for chatting with us! So, lots of folks are responding positively to the recent Drag Race All Stars 7 premiere. We at Thotyssey Central confess that we haven’t seen it yet, but have been appropriately spoiled. What did you think?
Morrigan Von Haunt: Hello Thotyssey! You definitely missed one hell of a premiere, and highly recommend seeing it ASAP. What I though was, for it being a two episode premiere, it definitely exceeded expectations. These are all such seasoned performers in their own crafts, and seeing what they can do now–especially Jinkx and Raja, a little over a decade of them competing–they are pulling out the stops. The first episode in my opinion was great as an intro, but my heart lies with the second episode, “Snatch Game.” Such a color panel of celebrities they came up with.
Were you surprised about how you received any of the queens in particular? Like, did you wind up rooting for someone you didn’t think you would?
Hmm…. that’s a bit of a tough question. I would have to say Trinity the Tuck. I’m a Jinkx girl, so I knew she was going to excel and then some. But Trinity’s portrayal of Satan had me in absolute tears. And the cherry on top with her characterization of Leslie Jordan… iconic.
New Jersey drag queens have been pretty prolific this past year or so. We had Olivia Lux on Drag Race, and just in general the queens of Asbury Park, Jersey City and everyone in the state seem to be slaying the game! Do you feel that positive drag energy, too?
I definitely feel that positive energy–more so now post-lockdown. It feels like the New Jersey scene is trying to break away from the ideals that have been known forever as a pageant scene; coming from my home town of Asbury Park we definitely have been feeling the positive energy.
More on that in a bit, but now seems like a good time to review your origin story.
Oh boy, the origin story of Morrigan!
Were you born in Jersey, and were fashion, performance and fabulosity always a part of who you were while growing up?
I’m born and raised in the mythical land of central Jersey; I’m the oldest of nine siblings (yeah, I know that’s too many). My aunt and I are pretty close in age, and we would video ourselves in dresses and singing, just taking a piss out of life.
When I reached high school, I wore glam rock makeup and teased hair… that’s when the “scene kid” craze was all the rage, and shopping at Forever 21 and Hot Topic was huge. Although I didn’t have a theater background, I was in my school’s masters choir and won awards.
But drag was always a huge part of my life as a very young queer kid; I came out at 11, and identified with the art of drag since. Morrigan didn’t pop up and become a thing until five years ago. My now fiancé, Tastie, got intrigued by Drag Race and we both kinda just started to do it at the same time.
You both eventually became co-hosts of Thursdays nights at Georgies Bar in Asbury Park.
Yes we did, and that happened by sheer luck, I would say. We both had been performing at Georgies with the then-host and icon, Lady Marisa, for a year and some change… bringing some new flavor into the scene. Marisa–who has been a staple for more than twenty years in AP and hosting the “Glitter and Glam” drag show for ten years–moved to Florida, and it kinda left an open door. We asked, and management said, “sure, we will do it once a month!”
You mentioned before that Jersey was known for it’s pageant drag, but the show you two host at Georgies (“Hottie Oddities” most Thursdays, “Twisted Cabaret” once a month) features drag folks that are creepy, comedic and campy. Were you already aware at the time you started the show that there was such a variety of drag in town?
At the time of starting our show we knew of what felt like two other queens: E.LicksHer who’s a trained magician, and another queen Anita Sigg. But since starting the show, it’s sort of created this vortex that has brought everyone out of hiding. We wanted to create a show that showcased the other varieties of drag like the creepy, macabre, burlesque, and apparently stage magic, that didn’t seem to get the open floor.
Each night was themed, and always packed. Then the pandemic hit, and many cards were reshuffled for a lot of folks. Georgies manager came to us in March of 2021, and asked if we wanted to tackle this weekly challenge. We accepted… and now here we are a year and a few months in, and it feels like a fever dream sometimes.
“Twisted Cabaret” is a newer platform for everyone.
Ah yes… my favorite night, to be honest. So every second Thursday of the month we have a variety game show called Twisted Cabaret. It’s sort of a rebirth of the show that started our career into having our own show. We task the three performers of the night to create a look and performance to the month’s theme. For instance one month was Broadway, another was “That’s So 90’s,” and this month’s was “Halfway to Halloween.” The contestants go through two rounds of beating and sabotaging each other, and then have to perform the numbers we told them to prepare… but now they are all f’d up.
One performer had to juggle balloons and live sing their song–it was pretty funny, but absolutely hilarious because it’s impossible to do! We just want to have the contestants think on their toes (because you never know when something will go wrong with your number outside of this venue), to roll with the punches and to just have fun.
You two are also going to host a Friday night party there at Georgies called “Dark City Disco” on June 3.
The newest child to the world–yes, that is sorta the brainchild of the DJ we work with, Philip James, and ours. Dark City is the underground name for AP from the early years, and it just fits us perfectly. That night in particular, it’ll be our Pride Edition… finally, a Pride after two years! We just want to have a big ol’ gay disco party with everyone, and just live our best lives authentically. We’ll be having some of our Georgies favorites that night. We do our first seating at 11pm; Phillip does a dance party in between to keep the crowd going, and we return for our second seating at 10:20. It’s going to a blast, and I can’t wait!
Before any of that, this Wednesday you and Tastie will both be making a rare New York appearance–Brooklyn specifically–with Zenon TeaVee at her Someday Bar show! Are you both planning on making more appearances this side of the river?
Yes, I sure hope so! As of now I don’t have anything else lined up yet, but that could change! We will be there May 25 and I can’t wait… Someday Bar is so cute and the staff is so sweet, along with Zenon Teavee.
I will be, yes. Project REAL has held a very dear spot in my heart, for it’s through [their drag competition] “Fresh Face” that they put on a few years ago that got me here today. The benefit helps with sexual health advocacy, and also community resources such as housing, HIV and STD testing, therapy, etc.–which is all so very important, especially in today’s political climate.
Oh my goodness, yes! It’s kinda funny: I met Amanda a few years ago at the first NYC DragCon, but I was dressed as Elvira… which was hysterical in its own right. She’s such an amazing person, and someone I’ve looked up to since I was in high school. To be working with her is dream-like, in my opinion. We’ve got a great cast of entertainers that’ll showcase just about every facet of drag and burlesque… it’s gonna be a night to definitely check out.
Anything else coming up for you?
Well, I’m in the midst of creating a burlesque show in Asbury Park with a few NYC, Philly and NJ performers of all types and walks of life. That’s yet to be announced, so you’re the first the first know… shhh! Other than that, it’s the typical business as usual: hosting Hottie Oddities every week with the wife, until they get sick of us!
That brings us to our final question! Drag couples used to be a very rare thing, at least around these parts… but it’s recently become much more common. What do you think the secret is to a happy and healthy relationship in this often crazy business?
That’s a really good question. I would have to say… don’t be jealous. Support each other’s crafts, but don’t be afraid to give critiques to one another. There’s a reason the universe brought you two together: you may balance each other out, or compliment that dance routine. But above all else, have a fun time. We’re only here for so long, and to have someone who does the same profession as you do… that’s the real blessing.
Thank you, Morrigan!