Author: Evan Tribelhorn
Hi everyone! Welcome back to Drag Me, a monthly column in which I explore all things drag. This month I’ve decided to talk about some of my favorite drag kings, which is a type of drag I haven’t particularly focused on yet. Drag kings are very frequently glossed over in talking about drag, especially when it comes to drag as an aspect of mainstream society and it’s honestly so tragic. Drag kings put on some of the most fun and dynamic drag performances I’ve ever seen, and I’m really excited to share some of my favorites with you.
Landon Cider is not only one of my favorite drag kings, he is also one of the best and most creative makeup artists in the industry. He doesn’t particularly have a standard beat, and each look is unique and constantly evolving. Cider also does incredible character work within his looks; some of my favorites include Pitbull, Hades from the animated film Hercules, and Beetlejuice. Not only are all the looks for these characters spot on, but on stage they truly come to life. I’ve been following Landon Cider since I first saw this BuzzFeed video, and since then I have admired him for being such an advocate for kings within the drag community. After RuPaul’s controversial interview with The Advocate in 2016, Cider wrote an op-ed about the inclusion of kings within the context of Drag Race. The way Cider is able to openly talk about the particular obstacles drag kings face is what has made me continue to follow and support his work.
Tenderoni is a performer based out of Chicago, and he is my absolute favorite drag king because he is just so fun to watch. All of his looks are amazingly over-the-top campy, and he brings such a unique energy to the stage. He doesn’t entirely do songs and numbers by men, but that’s a large part of why I love him so much. There’s a fun kind of energy that comes from a masculine presence performing a song sung by a woman. As long as the number has a certain amount of energy, he’ll perform it and deliver one of the most eccentric and vibrant performances you’ve ever seen. Check out his YouTube channel or Instagram (@tenderoni88) for more!
Our next performer is based in London and does a fantastic job of mixing genuine entertainment with empowerment. Adam All is Jen Powell’s drag persona and has been a tool that they have used to embrace and express their identity as a non-binary individual. One of the biggest reasons I appreciate Adam All is that he is someone that is unequivocally masculine, but Powell presents him in a way in which he never participates in toxic expressions of masculinity. He has also been instrumental in promoting the visibility of drag kings in London, and hosts his own show, with his girlfriend Apple (Adam’s Apple, get it?), called BOiBOX that provides an open mic space for up-and-coming drag kings in the area.
EVAN TRIBELHORN | haw yee | KXSU arts reporter