On April 29, the Center on Halsted presented the first installment of The Tea, a panel discussion in a talk-show format. Lucky Stiff and Trannika Rex moderated the event, which featured guests Bambi Banks and Alexis Bevels.
The show kicked off with panel members discussing how long they had been doing drag performance as a profession and the differing experiences each had had in their careers. A big part of the show involved each member taking questions from the audience.
There were many surprising points between the panelists, with a major one being that they all came from theater backgrounds. Banks said, "As much as I liked theater, I found I could make five times as much doing drag and that made all the difference," with Bevels adding, "Drag is like one-person theater." When asked what the worst part of doing drag is, the answers were divided between nails and eyelashes. Still, there were more challenging questions from the audience like, "Do you find that dating is more difficult as a non-binary individual?"
One part of the show that proved to be more illuminating was how some of the panelists evolved toward drag performance. Lucky Stiff, for example, was, at one point, married to a morman until Stiff explored her pansexuality ( which played a large part to the end of that marriage ), which translated that into performance.
One of the questions from the audience mildly ruffled some feathers involved the issue of trans women on the TV show RuPaul's Drag Race. The opinion of the panel was that it was mostly hot air, with Banks saying, "They need to get over that, because the world is changing and it will change without you."
Trey Sheek and Tamale Sepp produced The Tea. The next installment of The Tea is set for Sunday, May 20. For more information, visit CenterOnHalsted.org .