Perpetual Change: Wigmaker Joie Starr & Part 2 of Ike Allen

| Aug 24, 2015

This month’s offering will be a bit different. Okay, so I’ve used that line before, but this installment truly is different. Last month, we post the first part of an interview with Ike Allen, the producer of Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour The Movie. Due to length, it was decided to run the interview in two parts.

Well, in keeping with the Rev. Yolanda theme, Perpetual Change/TGForum would like to introduce you to Joie Starr. She is a multi-talented individual who not only makes the wigs that Rev. Yolanda wears, but is also a performer in her own right. I first heard about her when I reviewed the Abbalicious CD a few years back. Joie covered the ABBA song S.O.S. She has also released a single cover of the tune Kiss You All Over. While she doesn’t perform as much as she used to, she still is well known in the NYC scene and her wigs are incredible. So, sit back and enjoy some truly insightful and talented folks whose contributions to our community are getting out into the forefront.

Ike Allen, Part 2

TGForum: With all the films and other projects that you’re involved with, I’m curious how you manage to finance everything.

Ike Allen

Ike Allen

Ike Allen: We finance everything ourselves. (Although, we did do a small crowdfunding campaign for Yolanda to test Kickstarter.) I learned a long time ago to have enough F&%K YOU MONEY! By being self funded, I never need to compromise my integrity because I have to open someone else’s purse for change.

TGF: Was working with a musical act such as Yolanda different for you? Were there any unique challenges, such as recording live music?

IA: It was my first musical documentary and I chose the perfect person to work with. I tell Yolanda she should use the tag line “I’m a drag queen, not a drama queen,” because it’s true. The whole process was effortless.

TGF: This is more a comment than a question, but in seeing the books that you’ve published, I have to wonder how extensively you’ve read in topics such as history, philosophy and spirituality. Care to comment?

IA: I’m not a big history reader, but I have certainly read a plethora of books on spirituality and philosophy. We receive books in the mail all the time from authors and publishers asking us for a review. At the end of the day, though, no book or no person can guide us to our truth. That’s an inside job!.

TGF: You’d never heard Rev. Yolanda’s music prior to meeting her, right?

IA: It is hard to imagine, but no. Now, I couldn’t imagine a day without seeing what she’s up to on Facebook or Twitter.

TGF: Musically, what do you listen to for your own enjoyment?

IA: Trance! Many people say I’m the most peaceful person they know. I have low blood pressure and I don’t let much bother me. I live my life like a man in the middle of a tornado. Chaos swirls around me, but I stand peacefully in the middle of it. The music of my life is trance. I hear it in nature, with my daughters and even now, while I’m responding to your questions.

TGF: What is your ultimate goal for the Rev. Yolanda movie?

IA: For me as an entrepreneur, I want the film to be one of many cogs in securing my daughters and my own financial future. For me as a person, I want this film to be a cog in giving people the space to just be who they are without fear of repercussions. For Yolanda, I want this film to be a cog in her becoming a household name, financially secure, happy and filled with possibility for her life.

TGF: Why a book release before the movie?

IA: That’s simply part of my Artist/Inspiration side. Christiana had finished the book, so we released it to share with the world.

TGF: In closing, any final thoughts?

IA: In life, there are critics and creators. It’s easy to sit in the bleachers and criticize others while you watch them play on the field, create art, raise families, etc. We practice law, we practice medicine and we practice life. Imagine a world where we all took chances and explored all aspects  of who we could be. Imagine a world where we supported others in doing the same. If we can imagine this world, we can create it. Near the end of our lives, the only person we’ll judge is ourselves. Now is the time to live life full out so when the day comes that we look back on our lives, we smile instead of frown.

For more information on Ike Allen and his work, please check out www.avaiya.com, also on Facebook Twitter, YouTube and his books are available also on amazon.com. For information on the Rev. Yolanda movie, please check out www.GoYolanda.com, as well as Yolanda’s site at www.yolanda.net. Yolanda’s CDs, as well as a soundtrack from the movie, are all available through her site, as well as sites such as Amazon.com 

Joie Starr

Joie Starr

Joie Starr

And now, as previously mentioned, Perpetual Change/TGForum is pleased to introduce our readers to Joie Starr, singers, drag artist, wig maker and entrepreneur.

TGForum: I couldn’t find any basic background material on you. Mind sharing a bit?

Joie Starr: I am originally from North Carolina. I moved to New York City in 1986. I have three degrees in Pharmacy Technology, Cosmetology and applied Science in Information Technology. The last degree  I received in 2011. I began working in theater when I was a young person.

TGF: What type of music did you listen to growing up and what do you listen to now?

JS: I listen to most every genre of music except I am not too crazy about country music.

TGF: When did you first start performing in drag?

JS: My drag career began in 1981 in North Carolina.

TGF: Is your single Kiss You All Over your only recorded release besides the S.O.S. track on Abbalicious?

sosremixcoverartJS: Kiss You All Over was released in 2012. S.O.S. and Mama Mia we all sang. There are many music videos out there. I have my own vocal booth at home so I most likely will record more some day.

TGF: How often do you perform?

JS: I really do not perform that much these days unless I want to and something is very interesting. I do get many inquiries about performing at Gay Pride events.

TGF: I checked out your wig page. You have some beautiful creations. How long have you been making wigs?

JS: I’ve been working with wigs in some way since the ‘80s.

TGF: Here’s a quote that I found on your Facebook page that I like, “If you are aspiring to be a drag performer, you should know it’s not a cheap profession. All the things you need on a continuing basis are not cheap.” That’s a great quote, and so true, even for the crossdressing community. This makes me wonder, is this one of the reasons you started your own wig business?

JS: No, I started doing wigs for friends and it just grew from there. I always did my own.

TGF: The wigs on the FB page are all customer ordered creations, correct? (By the way, I really like Rev. Yolanda’s wigs.)

JS: Thank you. They are all custom styled and cut. No tow will ever be the same. I call them “sculpture that you wear.”

TGF: On average, how long does it take you to create a wig once you get an order?

JS: It depends on what is being asked of me. Some take a week, some like the Ursula from the Broadway play took about two weeks.

TGF: In the last couple of years, drag has been a lot more visible on TV and in film. Overall, do you feel acceptance for drag performers such as yourself, and  for the LGBT community in general, has changed?

JS: No, I don’t. I think people still tend to forget TV does not erase hate. I always say there is big country out there between New York and L.A. Visibility does not always change what people think. I have never lived my life being concerned about what others thought or think of me.

TGF: I mentioned the quote about the expense of being a drag entertainer. What other advice would you offer to young, aspiring drag performers?

JS: If you aspire to be a stage performer, you must first be a performer. Putting on a dress and a wig does not make you a performer. Work hard and stay focused and keep your eye on the prize, whatever it may be. Learn from those who came before you and for God’s sake, children, have some respect.

Please check out Joie Starr’s web site at www.joiestarr.com. Also on Facebook, Twitter and music available through cdbaby.com.

ALSO THIS MONTH

The very ladylike Miss Coco Peru.

The very ladylike Miss Coco Peru.

Coco Peru

Miss Coco Peru has several upcoming shows that fans of hers in the Northeast will want to know about. On August 28, 29, she will be at Mainstreet in Ogunquit, Maine; Aug. 31 through Sept. 7., at The Crown And Anchor in Provincetown, MA; and on Sept. 25, she’ll be part of the Pride Weekend in Raleigh, NC. (For more information, check out www.misscocoperu.com; also on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and instagram.)

NEW MUSIC

All For You by Emily West

emily_westEmily West started her music career as a very serious country performer. However, her recent project, All for You, takes her in an entirely different direction. Produced by Michael Mangini and Dustin Ransom, the album is highly orchestrated and West’s voice seems to fit this style of arrangement perfectly.

What’s interesting is that West chooses to include several cover tunes, and equally interesting is her choice of material. She gives the Moody Blues Nights In White Satin a very laid back, almost soulful approach. Equally laid back is the 1959 hit Sea Of Love, originally by Phil Phillips. She also covers Chandelier by Sia.

One of the truly standout tracks is West’s duet with Cyndi Lauper on True Colors. Once again, in keeping with the overall orchestral quality of the project, this version is somewhat more laid back and very fully arranged. The other standout track is one of the tunes that West co-wrote, the project’s first single, Bitter, which is one of the better vocal moments for West. It’s a very powerful, dynamic tune.

West shares writing credits on only three other tunes on the project. For full writer and musician credits, please check out the CD insert.

Overall, Emily West seems incredibly well suited to very well produced, orchestrated material. Granted, I’ve not heard her country material, but if what she offers up here with All For You, she won’t have to be switching genre’s again any time soon.

(For more information, please check out www.emilywestofficial.com; also on Facebook, Twitter, instagram,a nd YouTuTube.)

Need To Know by Priory

prioryPriory is the multi-instrumental duo of Brandon Rush and Kyle Sears. The entire project is techno/dance and practically never lets up. Having said that, there’s only a couple of tunes that really stand out. Put ‘Em Up is a tune aimed at the struggle that anyone in the LGBT community will understand when it comes to gaining acceptance from people you though you knew. The other stand out is Friends And Demons, which is pretty much right in-your-face material. All in all, a very danceable CD with some darker moments.

Rush and Sears also produced the project. For other musician credits, please check out the CD insert. (For more information, also check out www.prioryband.com; also on instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.)

Love Is Free by Robyn and La Bagatelle Magique

Love-Is-FreeRobyn and La Bagatella Magique is actually vocalist Robyn teamed with Markus Jagersteadt and (the late) Christian Falk. Their just released 5 song EP project is pure techno dance material. Not much variation, but it’s the kind of material that’s meant for the dance floor. Robyn’s voice, while in a higher range, works well with the songs. All three musicians contributed to the writing and producing of the project. (For more information, please check out www.labagatellemagique.com; also on Facebook, Twitter, and instagram.)

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Category: 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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