The Icelandic drag scene is enjoying a boom these days, with a record number of shows available to fans of the saucy arts. A new group, House of Strike, has started putting on shows at bar Gaukurinn, downtown Reykjavík, looking to further shake things up. We talked to performer Jackie Moon about the group and their upcoming show this Friday January 12, 9pm at Gaukurinn.
What’s the idea behind House of Strike?
“The idea was to have a relatively closed group of drag queens who were all best friends, and who weren’t scared of pushing boundaries when it comes to drag. As such, House of Strike is by no means good and clean family entertainment. It is sexy, funny and lewd with occasional shock value.
The group arguably formed as an offshoot of the drag collective Drag-Súgur. We wanted to do shows with fewer performers doing more acts. As such, we are five queens in the group and we each do two acts per show (as opposed to having 10 performances doing 1 act each).
This way we gain experience faster, provide the audience with a better understanding of the scope of talent for each performer, and we are also able to pay ourselves just a little bit of the money back we spend on drag (you’d be amazed at how expensive it is to look like a group of road whores).”
How did the group come about?
“The group was formed while we were hanging out at Gaukurinn – the place we do our shows. Pixy Strike, our drag momma, has always taken care of us and provided us with support, discipline and shade we needed it. And she suggested that it would be amazing to just have a group of tightly knit people doing what they loved most.
But it was actually me and James the Creature who came up with the name House of Strike. Pixy didn’t wanna name the group after herself, but we thought it was only right to honor our momma in this way.”
“As such, House of Strike is by no means good and clean family entertainment. It is sexy, funny and lewd with occasional shock value.”
Who are the members of the group?
“House of Strike is currently made up of Pixy Strike, James the Creature, Wonda Starr, Jackie Moon, Tiffany with a C and our host Kat McDougal. Wonda Starr will unfortunately be leaving us in February as she is moving abroad, so after that we will either adopt a new queen or maybe just have a new guest performer each show to fill her slot.”
You say Pixy Strike is your drag momma. What does that role entail?
“A drag mother is a mentor for a drag daughter, who is in an apprenticeship to become a better drag queen. Pixy Strike has been doing drag for over 20 years and as such she is probably one of the most experienced drag queens in Iceland. We all feel very lucky to have her. She is the kind of mother who indoctrinates her offspring with tough love. I’ve personally never known her to sugarcoat anything, which means that if you’re doing well, she will tell you, and if she thinks you’re ugly and can’t perform to save your life, she will tell you as well.”
How have your shows been received so far?
“Our first two shows were very well received. The audience is there to experience some lewd drag and we sure as hell know how to serve and infect them with our sexiness.”
What can people expect at your show this Friday?
“I don’t wanna spoil any surprises for the next show, but if you like pussy pop from the early 2000s, think hips don’t lie, enjoy comedy and lipsync assassination, striptease and devil horns, then you’re in for a treat.”
The local drag scene seems to be in a real upswing these days. Why do you think that is?
“The reason that the Icelandic drag scene is so active is no doubt thanks to the popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race. That being said, I think the Icelandic drag scene has developed its own flavor of drag. Whereas Drag Race is very runway and costume oriented, Icelandic drag is characterized by a focus on performance value.
A few years ago, it was the Icelandic music scene that was all the rage, with events like Airwaves, Secret Solstice and Sónar being the highlights of everyone’s entertainment calendar. Then drag and cabaret began happening in Iceland and audiences are now also treated to a form of art that doesn’t take itself very seriously and thrives on spontaneity and laughter.
“I don’t wanna spoil any surprises for the next show, but if you … think hips don’t lie, enjoy comedy and lipsync assassination, striptease and devil horns, then you’re in for a treat.”
Perhaps people will go to a concert, an art exhibition, a poetry reading, etc in their free time, only to find that they have mistaken a sort of intellectual satisfaction for the real dose of lewd entertainment for which they crave. The drag and cabaret scene in Iceland provides that in spades.”
What’s next for House of Strike?
“In 2018 we’re gonna try and have a show each month, with our next show coming Friday, January 12 at bar Gaukurinn at 21.”
Main photo: Sæþór Benjamín Randalsson