Gógó Starr and the drag-performance group Drag-Súgur will be putting on a show at bar Gaukurinn tonight, downtown Reykjavík, impersonating animation characters, in an eclectic queer Parade.
”I used to have a big crush on Peter Pan because he’s a wild boy snatching people away in a dream world”, says Sigurður, bursting in laughter. I had asked him to pick out an animation character he loved, and I could already sense some kind of family resemblance between him and his childhood hero. Down to the tights.
Sigurður Heimir Guðjónsson is better known as Gógó Starr, the reigning drag queen of Iceland. His drag performance group, Drag-Súgur, throws its monthly show this Friday night at Gaukurinn and tonight, each performer, drag queens and kings alike, will be impersonating animation characters, in an eclectic queer Parade. An opportunity for us to capture his light-hearted perspective on the ambivalent, ever-evolving links between drag and animation.
”I feel that the villains have it all and I tend to gravitate more towards them when it comes to drag.”
The connection between animation and drag
Drag queens have inspired animation characters for a long time. Take Ursula the Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid (1989) for example, she is based on a real-life drag queen, the ineffable Divine. And also HIM, in The Powerpuff Girls (1998-2014), ”one of the most iconic, queer things to be in animation as of yet”, according to Sigurður. Or Yzma, in The Emperor’s New Groove (2000), who looks like a campy caricature of an aging diva (she also happens to be one of Sigurður’s favorite animation characters: a coincidence?).
But does animation inspire drag queens? At the very least it inspired Sigurður when he started doing drag. Jessica Rabbit in particular ”her impossible proportions, insane looks, magnetism and charisma” helped him shape Gógó Starr, says Sigurður. Today, animation continues to fuel his creativity as he draws from multiple characters and blends some of their traits in a potent, queer brew. Sigurður says that he is not the only one, as most of performers in Drag-Súgur are also animation fans.
However, while drag queens do inspire animation characters, the before-mentioned characters happen to be villains more often than not. What makes drag queens-looking characters evil figures of choice in animation? ”Well, the hero and main protagonists are meant to be relatable, and fit the norm, or least deviate so superficially that a vast majority of people can connect with them nevertheless. So if heroes tend to fit the norm, villains, on the other hand, tend to be unsurprisingly depicted as abnormal. And as drag queens happen to embody otherness in the collective psyche, then drawing from them can feel almost intuitive,” says Sigurður.
This is why he, presumably like most of those who blur the lines of gender and sexuality, feels more attracted to villains. ”I feel that the villains have it all”, he says, ”and I tend to gravitate more towards them when it comes to drag.” Between Cinderella and her evil stepmother, Lady Trémaine, he would rather sip tea along with the latter. ”Because the resemblance goes beyond appearance, as drag queens and villains share the tendency to throw shade all over,” Sigurður says and laughs. And the public loves it.
If you prefer princesses, you won’t be disappointed either
However, those who prefer princesses won’t be disappointed either at the show tonight, Sigurður reassures, as most of the performers will play more than one act and express the different facets of their persona. And although Gógó’s ”evil side will show its pretty face”, says Sigurður, ”she also has more than one”. After all, she happens to be the (self-proclaimed) ”Miss Congeniality of Iceland”. ”At least when interviewed”, says Sigurður and laughs.
”Evil side will show its pretty face, but she also has more than one.”
So either you’re into Evil or Super Drags, make sure to show up at Gaukurinn this Friday-night before 9pm to see your favorite animation characters at their queerest and support the local drag scene because, as Sigurður puts it so elegantly: ”We are so good in Iceland goddammit!”