LAID low by a knee injury and surgery in 2018, drag king performer Wolf.Steel is making a comeback on Freedom Day, April 27, with self-produced variety show titled WTF Showcase at Grounded Espresso Bar & Bistro in Green Point.
We’re all familiar with drag queens by now, but kings? “Let’s just call it drag, because I can be a king, a queen – or even a dinosaur,” says Wolf. “Drag, in general is, being something different than what you are in everyday life, and it’s an expressive art form; that is what it is for me – an expression of what you can’t do during the day as your ‘average self’. It’s about pushing boundaries, and even breaking them a little bit.
“For me personally it’s about expressing me, my feelings, my emotions, and giving an understanding of my inner self. My acts will tell a story, and if you get to know me, you will understand that story even better.”
Since beginning this path in 2012, people have asked Wolf if it’s political or misogynistic. The simple answer is, it’s not. “There’s no political agenda. I respect any gender.”
That said, Wolf was once Freddie based on the legendary Freddie Mercury. “Then I grew into who I am today, keeping my own look, leaving my hair as it is…I wanted to combine the daytime person accepted by society and bring it out at night as well,” explains Wolf. “I also wanted to broaden the character, and don’t want to be classified as just a drag king. So I decided on an animal. A wolf is one of my favourite animals, my spirit animal. You can Google that for more information – there are two sides, good and bad, and I bring that into my act on stage.”
The comeback as an independent performer was something Wolf considered carefully for a long time. “I needed to get back on stage and wiggle my body, but had to decide upon which stage, and with whom. There are so many amazing shows happening all over Cape Town, but I couldn’t decide.
“It needs to be a celebration and for me that means fun. Having produced shows and events before, I thought ‘why not have my own show?’. It might have been an intoxicating evening,” laughs Wolf, taking another sip of whisky.
Wolf chose Grounded Espresso Bar & Bistro in De Waterkant, gay-owned and gay-friendly, saying: “It’s small and intimate, and open to everyone and everything.”
WTF Showcase is intended to be something new and different. “I wanted it to be a variety show – that was my big thing. I do not want to have an event that is the same as any others,” says Wolf. “So we have a burlesque performer, a drag queen, a poet, a joker (not a clown, people are scared of clowns), a dancer. And maybe it will also leave you with the sense of ‘what the f**k did I just watch?’ But in an awesome way. You will leave afterwards asking questions about certain art forms. Each one has a personal reason for doing what they do.”
Annie Razzle Dazzle is the Raunchy Joker for the evening. “Sexuality is a funny thing, and yet we are so often shy to mix the sexy with the silly. Annie Razzle Dazzle is a clown whose dream is to become a stripper,” she says.
Red Baroness is the burlesque performer for the evening. “I found myself in burlesque when going through a very traumatic time in my life in 2014. I was nervous and afraid to be me or let the world see me as vulnerable. Burlesque taught me to overcome my body issues and personal demons. I love that burlesque is not about shape, size, colour, gender or race. It’s about being all you were created to be!”
Bonita Hill is the dancing sensation jazzing it up. “Dance is my life, if I am not dancing I am not living. I am going back to my old school roots of Cape Flats jazz ladies solo style dancing and mixing in some sexy Salsa and Latino flavour into it.”
Terri Dunbar-Curran will be the Written Art Mistress for the evening. “There’s a fantastic quote attributed to no fewer than five authors: ‘Writing is easy, all you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein’. No matter who said it originally, it struck a chord. For me, writing is a way of channelling… well, everything. Without my words, I am nothing,” says Terri.
Queen for the night is Morticia LaValle, who says: “Apart from being asked when I started, people tend to ask why I started doing drag and I would always give them the same answer: it’s a character that represents the femininity of my being. Drag is an escape, a drug and something simply amazing that, like the remnants of glitter, never goes away!”
The show will be emceed by Gentleman Dre, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary.
“I’ve never been there but when they started about two years ago, and when they became visible on social media and I was ‘oh my word, there are wolves in South Africa!’. We found each other on Instagram so we started following and shared each other’s posts. It will be amazing for me to help my fellow wolves.”
When: April 27, 2019. Venue opens at 6pm, show begins at 8pm
Where: Grounded Espresso Bar & Bistro
Tickets: R100 (limited) through Quicket.
Follow the Facebook event here for more details, and to learn more about each performer.