“I’m like everything sprinkled all on top of one chocolate cake, one big old chocolate cake.”
That’s how Philadelphia performer Icon Ebony Fierce describes himself in a new video from the popular “I’m From Driftwood” series. The full film, titled “Defying ‘What’s Blackness and What’s Femininity and What’s Masculinity,'” is below, but we found this line from Icon’s transcript particularly inspiring:
“I don’t have to fit into a standard of gender, I don’t have to fit into a standard of what’s blackness and what’s masculinity and what’s femininity and what’s being gay and what’s being queer. For anybody out there who wants to express themselves as far as performance, if you’re going to do it, just own it. I’m not just gay, I’m not just male.”
If you haven’t seen Gemini Rose or Icon Ebony Fierce perform, you should have your gay and Philly cards taken away. Gemini Rose is like something out of Paris in the 1930s, a showgirl who’s blindingly gorgeous, dripping with sex and ever the provocateur in her risqué, barely clad performances. Icon Ebony Fierce is, like his name suggests, the epitome of an icon. He may be young, but his presence is like that of an African goddess: proud, captivating and ferocious. They’re two of the city’s most dynamic performance artists and when paired together, well, you just know boners something spectacular’s going to happen.
While most of you will be making your way to Rehoboth or some other nearby gay beach mecca over the weekend, there is still plenty to do for those of us holding it down in town—especially if you’re a fan of drag. I round up some of your best options below.
Bev’s Bitchfest is taking place Friday night.
Bev has assembled quite the lineup for her fifth go-round of Bitchfest. Taking the stage will be live-singing drag diva Cleo Phatra, and burlesque stalwarts Sinnamon and Gemini Rose, among others.
If you like your drag a little more campy, Sandy Beach is hosting a cabaret evening of her own. Her monthly La Cage Aux Beach stars Gay Bingo’s Summer Clearance and Thunder Showers, and Liza impersonator extraordinaire Gio Michaels.
Icon Ebony-Fierce is celebrating her big 2-5 at the Superdope South Philly House Party. She just so happens to share her birthday with Michael Jackson, so come ready to dance to some MJ.
Freak Boutique masterminds DJ evil v, Icon Ebony Fierce, and DJ Tay Tay.
We’ve seen a lot of long-running parties and performers take a final bow lately. Rudy Flesher recently announced that he’d be hanging up Notorious OMG’s corset, no longer performing with The Goddess Isis in Thank Goddess It’s OMG, or with the Liberty City Kings. (He is keeping those nails, though). And in May, Mimi Imfurst announced that her long-running drag show Dollhouse Revue would go black after five years.
Now, as summer comes to a slow close, Icon Ebony-Fierce is gearing up to host her last Freak Boutique at Tabu. The event, which was created by local DJs Evelyn Manlove (evil v) and Lars Kallich (Tay Tay) a little over three years ago, claims to be the city’s only no-cover benefit show. The concept is that it takes proceeds from money made at the bar and donates it to local LGBT charities, like the William Way, The Attic Youth Center, and Mazzoni.
There’s a new monthly dance party and its name is Icon’s Werkshop. Led by Philly favorite Icon Ebony-Fierce, this happy hour shindig is breaking the mold and bringing dance to daytime, along with burlesque, vendors, and local artists and performers. But wait, that’s not all. In addition to being a dance party, Icon’s Werkshop also doubles as a fundraiser, specifically for the Phreak N Queer music festival.
Ebony-Fierce had this to say about Werkshop: “I wanted to do a midday event for people who work at night, [people who are] tired of late night drag/burlesque shows, or even people who want to day-drink on a summer day to pre-game for Saturday night.”
In partnership with Philadelphia Black Gay Pride, every day throughout the month of February we will spotlight an influential black mover and shaker in the city.
Fittingly, we end our monthlong series of highlighting local black, gay icons with a literal Icon: Drag artist and rapper Icon Ebony-Fierce. Ms. Ebony-Fierce has been featured numerous times on G Philly. We love her as a game-changing local drag queen with a, well, fierce, social-political mission to promote individuality and equality. One of her most impressive moves, if you ask us, is organizing the Freak Boutique, a party that benefits a different non-profit each month by generating funds through drink sales. She also hosts the monthly, all-inclusive Neon GNDRFCK Ball for the ”afroFuturist, raver, burner, space gal, queer alien” inside all of us.
B-Boy Blues: The award-winning stage adaptation of James Earl Hardy’s novel B-Boy Blues gets its Philly debut at Painted Bride Art Center. The first-of-its-kind gay, hip-hop love story chronicles the lives of queer black men in New York City. The Philly Gay News does a nice writeup about it here. The event — a must-see one-night-only affair — is being produced with the help of Philadelphia Black Gay Pride. Tuesday, February 25, 7 p.m., Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street.
Things will be getting a little freakier than usual at Tabu tonight, when Icon Ebony-Fierce and a host of other gender-fucking club kids take over the space for the Neon GNDRFCK Ball. Ebony-Fierce says the party is for the “afroFuturist, raver, burner, space gal, queer alien” in all of us, a great chance to throw on your sickest threads and dance like a freakazoid. Some of Philly’s scariest drag acts (Pretty Girl, Ann Artist and Luci Rising, to name a few) will perform to set the mood right. A few $2 cups of “Alien Juice” should also do the trick. 9 p.m. $5, Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar, 200 S. 12th St.
On Wednesday night, the First Person Arts Festival presented Dear Sir or Madam at the Christ Church Neighborhood House. The evening featured drag queen Martha Graham Cracker* interviewing the male alter egos of drag queens Brittany Lynn and Icon Ebony-Fierce and the twenty-something female alter ego of septuagenarian drag king Stanley Epps. Below, some photos and revelations from the event. Read more »
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