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Fashion is Such a Drag: Three RI drag queens discuss what drag fashion is and what it means to them

While it has gained some more notoriety in recent decades, the culture of drag is still a mystery to many. Despite what some might think, drag is far more than a man putting on a dress and makeup: There are many layers to each outfit, and each carries a different meaning.

I sat down with three RI drag queens: Avery Goodlay, Claire Annette, and LaDiva Jonz. Each of these queens brought a different perspective to what drag fashion is all about, and some of their answers were surprising.

Claire Annette

Who are some current fashion inspirations for you?

Claire: It’s a combination of Squidward, Ms. Piggy, Fran Drescher’s Nanny from the ‘90s sitcom and Patrick Nagel, who was a painter in the ‘80s. He painted the Rio album cover. I always love anything that tells a story. 

To be honest, I’m not a fashion guru, but I feel that I’m good at putting things together that look good and I know what I like. I stick to ‘80s – ’90s era looks, and I try to stay consistent with my aesthetic and style, my outward vibes and appearance, whatever you’d call it. If you want to have a viable brand, you have to stick with something. 

How do you decide what to wear for each event? What is your process? 

Avery: I tend to grab inspiration from different things. Sometimes, I’ll google runways for different designers and base it off of that. My outfits often consist of lots of recycled things that other people have used. That’s really what drag is: pulling from things that already exist and making it your own. Rhinestones are a common feature in drag, especially when people perform at night, and I wear a lot of those.

What are some of your favorite drag events to take part in?

Claire: I would say drag shows! I love a good brunch, and on any Saturday there’s always going to be shows going on- though if you wanted to go out every day, you could. Some weeks I’m out every single day. Being relatively new to the Providence drag scene, I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of bookings in town at various venues (Dark Lady, Alley Cat, The Stable, EGO, Mirabar). I think as far as the drag community goes in Providence, there is a strong sense of togetherness, and there is always a place to perform if you want to get involved. 

Avery Goodlay

I’ve started to think about doing my own karaoke or trivia show within the next few months. I just beta-tested my first karaoke show where I would play my clarinet along to a backing track. There’s a bar opening in Riverside called Union Bar, which is where I will be hosting trivia and karaoke. The goal is to get things up and running by September.

Where are your favorite places to shop for outfits?

Avery: If I’m not having something made for me, I’ll try to find stuff that’s really cheap and kind of pizzazz it a bit and make it more elevated. With rhinestones, I find $6-10 ones on sites such as Shein, as well as different crystal things online. That way, it’s not just a plain dress or swimsuit. At the end of the day, however, it depends on people’s budgets. Drag is expensive.

What is the easiest part of assembling a drag outfit and what is the hardest?

LaDiva: What is the easiest? I think in general with women’s clothing, there’s a lot more freedom of expression than with men’s clothing, so there are a lot more options than with men. If you’re a man going to a formal event, you’re going to wear a tuxedo or a suit. So picking the women’s clothing is the easiest. But fit can definitely be challenging. You need to have a good seamstress in your back pocket because women are all shapes and sizes. Women are big where men are small and women are small where men are big. This is also where custom pieces come in handy.

Do you show your outfits to a small group before showing them to everyone?

Claire: I don’t usually workshop my outfits with other people. I’m not the kind of person who’s going to show their cards. It’s going to be very strategic in all areas. If anyone’s going to see my outfit, it’s going to be my partner, who I live with, and my cats. My partner’s very good about giving honest advice, and I usually trust them with the final word. People typically like what I wear; I usually get good feedback.

LaDiva Jonz

How would you say drag fashion has changed since you started taking part?

LaDiva: It’s changed tremendously. Even when I started, it was in the process of changing tremendously. I’ve just seen an evolution over time. As I traveled through the South and the Southwest, pageantry was very big and influenced what people wore. It was never as big here, but it was still an influence. When I started, I had a group and we performed together. We wore club clothing, which was very new, though now I feel like it’s more common. Pop culture informs people a lot more now as well, whereas back then, fashion was more informed by Hollywood. There is also a lot more freedom now; people can dress how they see themselves in their mind’s eye.

For people who are trying to become drag queens or kings, what is your advice to them about how to get started?

Avery: Definitely save your money and experiment a lot. Don’t spend a ton of money just because something looks grand. It doesn’t always cost a lot of money to make something shine. Also, take the time to figure out what you like. Try a lot of things while spending the least amount of money.

Claire: Know yourself. The best thing you can do is know who you are and what you want to communicate – not only to yourself but to those around you. No two people are the same, and it doesn’t do any good to try to copy someone else. If you want to stand out, take some time to really understand the things that make you happy creatively, and maybe some things that you don’t like either. The most fun I have watching someone is when they do something different. Knowing yourself is the best thing you can do.LaDiva: Just get out there and do it. Get out of your bedroom, get out of your basement, just get out and show the world who you are. You have to be bold. At the end of the day, drag is still very subversive, so you have to be creative. Not everyone does this. Drag is weird. We’re men in dresses driving around town. On Sunday morning at 10 AM, there aren’t a lot of people who are doing that (laughs). If you’re just starting out, you have to find out what appeals to you. You have to let your own voice speak.




A Night of Good Spirits: The 2022 Motif Bartender’s Ball celebrated unsung heroes of happy hour*

The 2022 Motif Bartender’s Ball was truly an event to behold. Taking place at R1 Indoor Karting on August 1, the ceremony was a lively and colorful affair that highlighted the best of the alcoholic arts.

Immediately upon entering, guests were wowed by an unusual sight: aerialists, working with Arielle Extreme, gracefully danced and swung through the air, suspended by hoops and white cloth. It was a show-stopping sight, as the awards soon commenced.

With the room packed to the gills, some attendees socialized or took part in games while others waited in anticipation for each award to be revealed. Some awards were more serious, while many were just for fun, like “Best Social Media Presence,” “Best Bartender as Therapist” and “Best Hair.” Each nominee was loudly applauded by the crowd, whose support for every bartender in the room was palpable. MCs Paul Garcia, disguised as the Mad Hatter ringmaster and Bettysioux Tailor, dressed as … something different every 5 minutes … presided over the festivities while presenters Thea Engst, Tammy Laforest, Mike Delehanty, Crimson Al-Khemia and Corinne Southern kept things rolling along with grace and humor. The big winner of the evening, taking the mantle of “favorite bartender” was Danielle Tellier, primarily of Dusk Providence. Congrats, and thanks to all 1,531 local voters!

In addition to the online voted awards, there were awards for the winners of a series of challenges.

All three challenges showcased enthusiasm, energy and passion for the craft of bartending. The first contest was the Guinness pour. Each contestant stepped up to the tap and painstakingly poured Guinness into the glass, trying to get the level of foam just right. If you’ve seen Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, remember the scene where Indiana Jones has to replace the idol with a bag of sand, but he has to make sure the weight is just right? It was similar to that, though the stakes were arguably lower (and more fun!). The elimination bracket competition ended with a heavyweight pouring bout between Sasquatch of the Galactic Theater in Warren and Steve Sharp of PVD bars like The Sports Tap and Kimi’s Bar. We’d had a few Guinness by then, but we’re pretty Sasquatch took the cup with a quality pour and presentation.

Meanwhile, twenty feet away under the colored lights of R1’s Dart Bar, contestants poured a bottle of wine into eight glasses as quickly and evenly as possible while making the smallest mess. Some were very poised about it, while others attacked the job with reckless abandon, completing the task quickly but drenching the table in wine. No matter how it played out, each attempt was a spectacle. Dominique Laren ultimately outpoured the field, passing Kyara Vargas and Bill Laliberty by just a few drops.

The third and final contest of the night was the gin fizz shake competition. The goal of this challenge was to shake up (not stir) the best drink, with taste and, mostly, performance ratings decided by a panel of judges. Each cocktail, using locally distilled Rhodium gin, was shaken with gusto by everyone who stepped up to try it out, and the fun they were having was fully visible on their faces. First place in the shaking went to Max Prussner of Kimi’s Bar, a crowd favorite for coming in second place in online category after online category, but waiting until the very end of the night to actually take home a trophy cup.

Music added another dimension to the good vibes: The Providence Drum Troupe jammed with the ascending and descending aerialists, while the Dust Ruffles and the extraterrestrials at Big Nazo all brought the noise in the best way possible. And to top everything off, there were snacks by Burrito Bowl and cupcakes from Cakes by Eboni!

The event was sponsored by R1 Indoor Karting, Smoke Lab Vodka, Guinness, High Spirits Liquors, RI Spirits, Mancini Beverage and more

Overall, the Bartender’s Ball was a heart-warming and gullet-warming event that proved that original ideas can thrive, alcohol brings people together, and great  bartenders can truly make a night special.

You can see all the winners here and a video of the event here.

*Note that the phrase “Happy Hour” is actually illegal in RI. But you know what we mean.




On the Cover: July 2022

Gracing the midsummer edition of our magazine is a cover designed by our very own creative director, Francie Eannarino. Due to this being our annual music issue, the cover portrays a euphoric depiction of a woman listening to music, with the vibe of what she’s hearing radiating all around her. Its eye-catching composition goes deeper than aesthetics, however.

The idea for the cover comes from “the concept of music and what it means to people,” as well as her own love of music, says Eannarino. “It can be anything from something that you listen to for pleasure to a transformative experience.” On top of this, she wanted to echo the transformation sequence seen in the anime Sailor Moon, as she is a big fan of the show. After looking up the scene ourselves, we can agree that she captured its essence.

Naturally, the conversation shifted to what genres of music Eannarino listens to. She mentioned rock and alt rock, although ultimately most of what she listens to falls into the category of “stuff that can’t be classified as a single genre.” Eannarino also gave her two cents on concerts, saying shows where the artist or band interacts extensively with the audience are the best kind. We couldn’t agree more, Francie. 

As for the tranquil woman on the cover, Eannarino says she could be anyone, and that she is a woman because women are her favorite subject to draw. When asked what this woman was listening to, Eannarino smiled and simply replied “something that is changing her life.”




Motif’s 2022 Music Awards Nominees: Who will take home the trophy?

With local music beginning to blossom once more following two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Motif is pleased to present our annual Music Awards! These awards compile nominees put forward by local venues, record labels, music writers and radio stations.

For being the smallest state, RI certainly has a never ending supply of fantastic music spanning all genres. This year, our list of nominees is especially exciting, featuring a blend of scene veterans and brand new talent. Every single band, singer, venue and album listed here represents the absolute best that RI music has to offer.

Along with the awards ceremony, which will be hosted at the legendary venue Fete Music Hall, there will be food, drinks and live music provided by Stefan Couture, returning performers School of Rock, and other acts.

No matter who you select in each category, it is important to recognize and appreciate just how much creativity, vitality and talent is present in RI music. Many of these acts have promising futures ahead, and it is always a joy to see how music from this state evolves and captivates ears and hearts worldwide. To all the musicians, venues, labels and audiophiles in RI, we salute you.

DETAILS: 

What: The Motif 2022 RI Music Awards 

Where: Fete Music Hall, 203 Dike St in PVD

When: July 18, 6:30 – 9:30 pm. 

Vote now through July 10 at: motifri.com/musicawards2022

And now, the nominees!

Americana:

Best Act:

Allysen Callery

Atwater-Donnelly

Dan Blakeslee 

The Huntress and Holder of Hands

The Low Cards

Man and Wife

Best R&B Act:

Boo City

Empress

Julie Rhodes

NiLa 78

Steve Smith & The Nakeds

Best Live Act:

The Co-Eds

Consuelo’s Revenge

High Planes

Julie Rhodes and the Electric Co

Museum Legs

Sharks Come Cruisin’

Steve Smith & The Nakeds

Vudu Sister

Best Country Act:

Charlie Marie

Lauren King

Nick Bosse and the Northern Roots 

Ward Hayden & the Outliers

Best Open Mic:

Askew

Hill’s Tavern & Grill

Musical Chairs with Al Keith at Java Madness

The Parlour

Sunday Series at the Updike in East Greenwich 

Best Singer/Songwriter:

Brian Shovelton

Jodie Treloar Sampson

Lauren King

Lee Zangari 

NiLa 78 

Sarah Kenyon

Stefan Couture

Best Vocalist:

Alexus Lee

Alison Rose

Amanda Salemi

Avi Jacob

Beth Barron

Christian Calderone 

J. Michael Graham

Jodie Treloar Sampson 

Lauren King

Tammy Laforest

Tara Hansen

Best Bluegrass Band: 

Four Bridges

Greystone Rail

High Planes

Ocean State Ramblers

Rock Hearts

Sinner’s Pie

Best Jazz Act: 

Ben Shaw

Birt and Harley

Chase Ceglie Quartet

Evening Sky

Greg Abate

John Allmark Band

Leland Baker Trio

Mutter

Best Concert Photographer:

Emily Gardner 

James Lastovski

Kerry Quinn

Lisa Gourley

Richard McCaffery 

Rick Farrell

Small Frye

Best Blues Act:

Adapter Adapter

Cannibal Ramblers

Duke Robillard Band

F & Blues Band

Helen and the Trash Pandas

Jake Wasson

Jonathan Grice

The Low Cards

Neal and the Vipers

Best Folk Act: 

Allysen Callery

Dan Blakeslee

High Planes

Jillian Kay

Laden Valley

Lee Zangari

Tammy Laforest

Best Street Band/Marching Band/Brassband:

Coyote Brass

Extraordinary Rendition Band 

Providence Drum Troupe

Undertow Brass Band

Best Festival:

Rhythm and Roots

RI Blues Fest

RI Folk Fest

Warren Folks Fest

Best Album (Americana):

Adapter Adapter – No Comfort

Ben Shaw – Seven Songs

GrandEvolution – Glow

High Planes – Ghost Town

Best Music Video:

Big Nazo – Space Transformation Station

Los Duderinos – Something Else

Glenn Thomas – Reassure Me There’s a Window (live)

Never Coming Home – South Station

Olivia Charlotte – Diagnostics

Toad and the Stooligans and Friends – Bless the Table (LIVE CYPHER)

Alternative:

Best Rock Band: 

Julie Rhodes and the Electric Co

Ravi Shavi

SEXCoffee

Sgt. Baker & The Clones

The Smoke Breaks

Sugar Cones

Best Act:

The Benjis

Bochek

The Quahogs

Ravi Shavi

The Silks

Viking Jesus

Best Jam Band:

Eclipse

Electro Politics

Future Phase

Guess Method

Best Indie Rock Band: 

Beauquet

The Benji’s

Heather Rose in Clover

Jets Can’t Land

Leiko

NOVA ONE

Ski Bunny

StarBath

Best Live Act:

Chance Emerson

David Tessier’s All-Star Stars

Israel Wusu

Jets Can’t Land

Ski Bunny 

The Z-Boys

Best Reggae Act:

Dudemanbro

Natural Element

Professor Roots

SoulShot

Best Ska Band:

The Agents

The Brunt of it

The Copacetics

Sweet Babylon

They Were Robots

Best Garage Band:

123 Astronauts

Andy Lampert

David Tessier’s All-Star Stars

PonyBoy

Shirley Drive 

Song Birds

Tony Jones & The Cretin 3

Best Noise Band:

Baylies Band

Department of Teleportation 

Loud Neighbors

Minibeast

Psychic Graveyard

Best Pop Punk Act:

Bubblegum Punk

The Callouts

Electric Paisan

FINE.

Never Coming Home

so over it

Stubborn Hearts

Best Post Punk/Gothic Act:

DIGITAL

Hope Anchor

Leiko

Vudu Sister

Best Punk Act:

GNARNIA

The Knightsville Butchers

The McGunks

Midnight Creeps

The Paraplegics

Vague Perception

We Own Land

Best Hardcore Act:

Anxious Wave

Blasphemaddicts 

Bullet Proof Backpack

Hammer Party

Reason to Fight

Best Metal Act:

Amitié

Churchburn

RHODE KILL

Shape of Rage

She Rides

Best Prog/Emo Act:

Bent Knee

Hemlok

Indelego

Leiko

Sleep Mode

Best Vocalist:

Bob Kadlec

Chris Smith

Craig Ferris

Dan St Jacques

Jess Moroney

Muggs Fogarty

Paul Everett

Rafay Rashid

Stev Delmonico

Viana Valentine 

Breakthrough Act:

Beauquet

Degenerates of Punk

Grip Bite

The Keegan Turner Band 

The Knightsville Butchers

Best Album:

Beauquet – Beauquet

Corinne Southern and The Constellations – Celestial Bodies

Darklands – Forgive Yourself

Grip Bite – GTFO

Nick Politelli – Examiner

Pavid Vermin – Cutting Corners

SEXCoffee – Devilish Kiss

The Paraplegics – Ramp it up

Triangle Forest – Triangle Forest

Viking Jesus – Before the Mutation

Best Cover Band:

The Carson Daily Project

Country Wild Heart

Don’t Tell Lisa

Loose Screws

RugBurn

Take it to The Bridge 

Wicked Rhode

Best Tribute Band:

Dirty Deeds – ACDC

Green Sabbath – Black Sabbath

Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan

Violin River – Grateful Dead

Wicked Petty – Tom Petty

Best Karaoke Night:

The Ave

Boombox

Chan’s

Hill’s Tavern

Hot Club

JW’s Pub

The Parlour

Sports Tap

Union Station Brewery

Best Alt Festival:

Pride 

PVDfest

Revival Fest

Scurvy Dog Mega Show

Favorite Sound Person:

Brian Cabral

Dan Baldwin

DJ Psycho Eddie

Glenn Alexander

Greg Rourke

Jerome O’Neal 

Mike Arruda

Tayte Street

Vinnie Bellows

Favorite promoter:

Amber Lynn

Greg Chihoski

Michael Panico

Mike Carp

PVD World Music

Rob Duguay

The Hammer Collective

Tom Weyman

Best Festival:

Scurvy Dog Mega Show

Revival Fest

PVDfest

Pride

Electronica:

Best Hip Hop Act:

Chachi Carvalho

DirtyDurdie

Israel Wusu

Jesse the Tree

John Hope

Spocka Summa

Toad & The Stooligans

Best DJ:

Caloric

Desi Renegade

DJ Coroking

DJ Pauly Danger

DJ Psycho Eddie

Sex on Decks

Best Dance Night:

Discotech

FReQ

Island Saturdays

Kink Night

Nokturnal 

Soul Power

Vertebrae

Best Electronic Act:

Artist Jackie

Baby: Baby: Explores the Reasons Why that Gum Is Still on the Sidewalk

Ceres

Droplets

Dvalor

KiSSiNG KONTEST

Muggs Fogarty

Triangle Forest