The Austin Chronicle

Slow Clap of the Soul

By Andy Campbell, September 20, 2009, 2:33pm, Qmmunity

The attendees at Saturday night's showing of Kings N Things latest venture, Drag Kings: The Musical 3, were the usual ragtag genderqueers and young hipsters alongside a sprinkling of proud parents. Everyone came ready for a show – so when the sound blew out in the third number of the evening, I wondered how the rest of the evening would play out…

Because, as everyone knows, drag kings are severely crippled without the songs to which they lip sync (which, by the way KnT disproved, as they sung a Newsies medley).

Avery Austin, in the middle of his number, suddenly had no audio backup. What emerged from the crowd was slightly akin to a slow clap of the soul… one by one hecklers raised their voices and good-naturedly jeered, teased, loved-on a beleaguered drag king. The evening's hosts Stanley Roy Williamson and Suburbia Sprawl quickly came out to do a little damage control and stallin'. Roy on his uke with Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" and Suburbia Sprawl with her cloying wits. It wasn't long before an impromptu version of the Queertastics joined the fray, assembling pyramids, cheering about safe sex and queer politics. They brought the house down. In spite of the non-sound system, and by the time the troupe admitted (temporary) defeat and called an intermission, the audience had been entertained for a full 40 minutes. I mean N-Trr-Taynd.

How does the story end? Well, some enterprising members of KnT rushed home to bring their own sound systems to the theater during intermission. Avery Austin finished his number and the show went on as planned. There were good numbers, there were shaky numbers, but overall enjoyable as a performance.

Kings N Things probably thought the show last night was a complete disaster, I know this is how I would feel as a performer – but they couldn't be more wrong.

That "technical difficulty" brought life into a troupe and audience already excited to commune with one another, and it forced improvisation, compassion, and support. When the audience left the Blue Theater a full two-and-a-half hours after the show started, they must have been aware that something more than a string of drag musical numbers took place on Saturday. The innards and guts of a community were exposed and devoured. A tasty, if not messy, treat.

Please catch the last performance of Drag Kings: The Musical 3 at 6pm at the Blue Theater TONIGHT. I can't promise a non-functioning sound system, but either way, it should be a good show.

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