Four years ago, Drag-Súgur sprouted out of the minds of the newly crowned Drag Queen of Iceland, Gógó Starr, and a couple of other performers and flowered on the stage of Gaukurinn, where it has been thriving ever since. Tonight at 9.30, same place, Gógó and many other performers will be at it again in the strangest birthday show, hosted by comedian Jono Duffy, to celebrate four years of crazy antics and shenanigans. Sigurður Starr Guðjónsson, aka Gógó Starr, patron saint of it all, tells us more about tonight’s show and his journey as a performer in Drag-Súgur.
“This birthday show is going to be something! We have so many performers taking part in it, each one coming in with their own act, their own voice and just proudly sharing their art with the loving audience. We will also have some special gifts in our audience participation game, including gifts from the recent Shane Dawson x Jeffree Star cosmetics collaboration. I’m very excited!”
The trailer is quite openly referencing Stranger Things: does that hint at the content of the performance?
“We’ve wanted to do an opening video type thing for a while, and Bóbó, the genius behind this intro is a big Stranger Things fan, so naturally we put this flashy title video together. The theme of the show has nothing to do with Stranger Things, but you can expect some strange things to appear on stage during the show.”
“We have so many performers taking part in it, each one coming in with their own act, their own voice and just proudly sharing their art with the loving audience.”
The birthday show is subtitled Ammælis – meaning?
“Ammælis is just a fun and silly casual way to spell Afmælis-, the Icelandic word for birthday. I guess we might be hinting at the non seriousness of the show and just want things to be whimsical and entertaining.”
Can you tell us how Drag-Súgur originally came to life?
“Back in 2015, I had just won the title “Drag Queen of Iceland” and me and a couple of other amazing people were inspired to create a drag show in Reykjavík, since there was no real drag-related event happening apart from the annual drag competition. We looked around for venues and Gaukurinn quickly became the place of our birth. We rounded together the fiercest Drag performers we could find and got special help from our cabaret expert and hostess extraordinaire Jono Duffy, who is our regular host today. Then before we knew it, it was showtime!”
Do you remember the very first show?
“Absolutely! It was really fun and quite the experience. Producing the show was the biggest production project me and Ragna Rök had taken on, but we had great people to help us along the way, and the biggest moment was when Páll Óskar, the Icelandic pop diva, accepted to be the finale number in our little drag show.”
Can you pinpoint a few decisive milestones in the history of the show?
“I think the first milestone was when we were booked for Pink Iceland’s Pink Party, early 2016. It was the first time we had a booking for an act.
Another moment was when we sold out our first Reykjavík Pride show in Iðnó. Our first birthday. Creating our second show; Drag-Lab. There are so many moments in our glorious journey so far, and we’re going to keep on going!”
What makes you the proudest in this journey?
“Growing the drag scene from practically nothing to a point where there are drag events every week! We have created something amazing in the last few years alone, and that is what makes me the proudest.”
Looking back, is there something you regret or would do differently today?
“If I could change one thing from the very beginning, I would not have charged a mere 1000 ISK for the first few shows, but at least 2000 ISK. Value your art and know your worth! Plus drag is very expensive.”
Can you share the craziest anecdote that happened to you on – or backstage during a performance?
“The craziest thing that happened to me personally was almost exactly a year ago, during the last birthday show, when my fiancé proposed to me on stage. I don’t know how to top that emotional rollercoaster.”
Say I want to join in: what does it take to perform in Drag-Súgur?
“Anyone interested can join us! You can find our group “Ísland í Drag” on Facebook and find further information there on how to sign up for Drag-Lab, get on the stage, let loose and get some experience.
I book performers for the Drag-Súgur shows, and I like to book performers that I’ve seen, that I find entertaining and have a certain sense of professionalism.
Drag is really fun, freeing and wonderful. I absolutely recommend that people try it, and remember that it does not matter what’s in between your legs for you to categorize yourself as a drag king or a drag queen. Be what you want to be, get out there and have a great time.”
“The craziest thing that happened to me personally was almost exactly a year ago, during the last birthday show, when my fiancé proposed to me on stage.”
Can you share your wildest dream or ambition for the show in the years to come?
“I want to be able to let someone else take over Drag-Súgur while I chase more dreams elsewhere. Then when I come back and sit proudly in the audience, I just want to enjoy seeing how this amazing show will grow.
Photos / Lovísa Sigurjónsdóttir @icelandic_photo
So come witness our fourth birthday – you’re in for a treat!”