As I was working on creating my drag king persona (doing brainstorming and collage), I knew that I wanted to work up some kind of short performance piece. I didn’t have an audience in mind…until the sex/tech conference Arse Elektronika announced its theme for 2014: Trans*.*. Perfect for a little gender play!
What would I, as a guy, say to a bunch of other nerdy guys? See for yourself:
As “Adam James”, I performed an excerpt from Arthur Chu’s amazing essay, “Your Princess is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds.” I had to make a few cuts and rework a reference to Elliot Rodger at the beginning of the passage, but the rest is from the essay verbatim. (Any other deviations were my own mistakes while performing it.)
While I was originally interested in performing with a playboy, ladykiller persona, once I realized I had the opportunity to reach out to this very specific audience, I didn’t want to waste it. Chu’s essay has already reached a huge number of people, but I thought there might still be some nerdy guys at Arse Elektronika who weren’t familiar with it.
That’s how Adam James was born: “Adam” since he is my first guy character; “James” after my father and grandfather. He’s basically a dude version of me, a nerdy guy who’s tried to dress up a bit since he’s talking in front of an audience. Adam is talking about a subject he feels passionately about, since he’s grown up with geek culture (like I have).
Judging from the number of guys shifting awkwardly in their seats during my performance, I’d say I nailed it.