Perpetual Change — Moon Baby

| Feb 9, 2015

moon-babyIn all the years of doing this column, I’ve noticed a couple of trends. There are musicians and singers who focus entirely on their music, and then there are those who take the occasional foray outside of music into performance art. It used to be that videos took a lot of effort and expense and weren’t that common. Not any more, not with YouTube and the availability of high quality yet inexpensive video gear. So, therefore, videos really aren’t considered performance art any more. True performance art is exploring the boundaries and fringes of your music and taking your live performances to levels you never thought possible.

This month’s featured artist, Moon Baby, is such an artist. While music is definitely her main focus (she has 3 EPs and one CD out), she has also been involved with a band called Massage Parlour that did a horror movie music video that corresponded to their first six track EP Fool Fantasy (2012). They have two other releases, Drag Queen Music and an EP entitled Bea Ghost’s Revenge. Along with all this, Moon Baby does drag shows without the band and pretty much stays in character as Moon Baby throughout all her performances.

TGForum/Perpetual Change is proud to introduce this incredibly interesting artist to our readers. Oh, and by the way, she answered all her interview questions “in character”.

TGForum: Where are you from originally? (I got the impression from what I’ve read that it might be Florida…)

moon_baby01Moon Baby: I came to earth after a brief affair with Neil Armstrong. I settled in Pittsburgh, but am currently on sabbatical in St. Augustine, FL, bathing in the fountain of youth.

TGF: What were your musical influences growing up and what do you listen to now?

MB: In the childhood of my earth body, I listened to Sade, the B-52s, Led Zeppelin, Aqua, and contemporary Christian rock like Reliant K. Now, I mostly listen to Perfume Genius, Mandy Moore, and  Azealia Banks.

TGF: Any formal musical training or theatrical training?

MB: I played jazz trumpet and concert tuba until the twelfth grade. As a sophomore in college, I earned a “C” in a general guitar course.

TGF: You attended Grove City College. Is this where you started performing and what did you study?

MB: I studied Communication Studies at Grove City. I wrote a short musical with my friend David about the struggles of being left handed that we performed once.

TGF: When did you first start doing drag? What came first, drag or performing as a musician/singer?

MB: I have always been a singer, so when I started doing drag I saw it as a fitting challenge to commingle. My first time in drag was at a residency I had at Waffle Shop in Pittsburgh, where I lip synched Watch The Throne.

TGF: Let’s talk specifically about your music. Your current project is urallpoor.us, with Wise Blood. To what extent did he work on this?

MB: Wise Blood was the producer of four of the six tracks and he and I talked a lot about visuals and the sort to make sure it was something we both are proud of.

TGF: You’ve also worked with Taylor Knight of Slowdanger, correct?

moon_baby02MB: Taylor produced my albums Drag Queen Music and Beau Ghost’s Revenge.

TGF: Will you continue to work with these same producers?

MB: Absolutely. Wise and Taylor both have unreleased collaborations with me and I’m always texting them voice memos of song ideas. I’m also working with (producers) Poppinjay and Solpersona. Collaboration is super.

TGF: I’ve also read that you have plans for an opera. Anything you can share about this project at this time?

MB: The opera will probably be done in 5 years. I have been workshopping it at Assemble in Pittsburgh for 3 years now and in August, will be presenting the costumes there as part of a visual art show.

TGF: You’re also an author, with one novel entitled Hypnotramp. Talk about this a bit, if you don’t mind.

MB: Hypnotramp is a novel I penned this year for national novel writing month. It is the final piece of my holy scripture/farce, Twin Fawns, which is currently being edited.

TGF: Do you listen/pay attention to some of the other drag artists out there who are also musicians/singers?

MB: Of course! Alaska Thunderf**k, Christeene, Jer Ber Jones, Adore, NY Lounge Lizard, Macy Rodman. My current fave is Ssion. I am saving myself for Ssion.

TGF: Here’s a great quote of yours that I found in the article I read about you. (Care to comment or expand upon it?): “I want to elevate my drag through music, and I want to elevate my music through drag.”

MB: Drag and performing are such a catharsis. Performing my own works elevates that catharsis for me and hopefully others.

TGF: How often do you perform and at what kind of venues?

MB: I perform once a month at drag, concert, or gallery venues. The Blue Moon Bar in Pittsburg is my fave place to perform. I typically do not perform with musicians because I’m really annoying to be around.

TGF: I’m curious about the name Moon Baby. How did you come up with it and what does it mean to you?

MB: When I came to earth I was waiting for my male body I got born into to realize who I was. One day he was experiencing his first heartbreak and his boss at Tazza D’Orro offered him a kitten. He named this kitten Moon Baby. When he got home from work, he ran to his roommates proclaiming this new source of his joy. When his roommates revealed their cat allergies, the boy stood on his coffee table and screamed, “If I can’t have the Moon Baby, I’ll be the Moon Baby!”

TGF: In closing, what advice would you offer to any young musician/singer/entertainer just starting out?

MB: Only do it for the love of the act itself. You might win the gay lottery of getting on a reality TV game show, but if that’s what you’re waiting around for, no one is going to wait around for you.

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Moon Baby can be contacted through Twitter; at instagram@themoonbaby.com ; and Facebook.com/iamthemoonbaby; and YouTube. Music available through Soundcloud. For further information, itinerary, booking, etc., please check out Moon Baby’s website.

ALSO THIS MONTH

Georgie Jessup

Georgie Jessup has a new film and book, both as yet to be released. I’m looking forward to a chance to get an “advance” copy of the film for review soon. (For more information, check out Georgie’s website; also check out Edith May’s Paradise on Facebook for information about upcoming shows that Georgie is involved with.)

Coco Peru

Coco Peru

Coco Peru

Coco has announced several upcoming shows and events. One of the more interesting events that’s a slight departure from her normal gig is her Conversation With Coco interview series.  Her next Conversation event will be at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, March 7th. Coco’s guest is Allison Janney.

Upcoming Coco Peru shows include:

The Palm Cabaret, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, through Feb. 15th.

Martinis Above Fourth, San Diego, 2/25-26.

The Purple Room, Palm Springs, 2/27-28.

Benefit for Jerusalem House at LIPS!, Atlanta, March 3.

Rev. Yolanda

Rev. Yolanda

Rev. Yolanda

As anyone who actually reads this column on a semi-regular basis knows, Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes, a.k.a. Rev. Yolanda, is an ordained minister. Yolanda is looking at the possibility of performing weddings in the state of Alabama, now that the Alabama gay marriage restrictions have been struck down in the courts. Granted, this is just an idea that would probably coincide with a Rev. Yolanda concert, but it’s a neat idea at that. We’ll definitely keep you posted on this, as well as any news relating to Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour, The Movie.

Rev. Yolanda will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame on Feb. 11th at B.B, Kings in New York City. “No kidding, friends,” she said. “The first and only drag queen ever to be given this honor. I am beyond moved and I hope you can join me if you are in NYC on Feb. 11th.”

This is the local New York Blues Hall of Fame that strives to honor local blues artists from New York State. They have formally inducted such well known national artists such as John Hammond, Levon Helm and Johnny Winter, but the focus primarily is “…on local, in the trenches musicians.”

Congratulations to Rev. Yolanda on this honor.

NEW MUSIC

Celloverse by 2Cellos

2cellos_celloverse-japan-versionIf you’ve not heard of 2Cellos, it’s exactly what the title implies: two incredible musicians whose instrument of choice happens to be the cello.  The “2” are Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser. Granted, this is not the usual material that I feature in this column, but I would be remiss if I didn’t promote it. Celloverse has better music and musicianship than most of what is out there. Besides, I’m a big fan of instrumental music and this is some of the best I’ve heard in long time.

Celloverse is produced by Sulic and Hauser and the project showcases a wide variety of genres. The project starts off with The Trooper Overture, which is a hybrid of Rossini’s William Tell Overture and the Iron Maiden hit. Other covers include Thunderstruck by AC/DC; I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons, and Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Care About Us.

While everything on this project is incredibly well played and definitely holds your attention throughout, the one outstanding track (and my personal favorite) is Paul McCartney’s Live And Let Die. Sulic and Hauser are accompanied by pianist Lang Lang on this one tune. It’s hard to believe, but this version has all the intensity of the original fully orchestrated version.

Celloverse is 2Cellos third album.  There is also a deluxe version of the album that features live videos of several of the songs. They will be on tour in the U.S. starting on Feb. 19th in Minneapolis and ending in Fort Lauderdale on May 10th. For more information, please check out their website; also on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Category: Fun & Entertainment, Music

About Pam Degroff: Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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