INTRODUCING: LANDON CIDER
Words Crystal Lubrikunt
Tell us about yourself, how did Landon Cider become noticed within the drag community?
Well, I'm just your typical cross-dressing lesbian who performs to other people’s music for a living. I was attracted to the Drag scene for it's theatricality, so that’s always been my focus. Then pair that with a lifelong affair with visual arts that lent itself to makeup and I had myself a place to funnel my masculine energy. My big tits got me noticed though.
What inspires you and your style of drag?
What and Who inspires my Drag has changed throughout the years, but what has stayed consistent is trying to remain as diverse as possible. From campy/comedy, heartbreak ballads, avant-garde/androgyny fierceness, show tunes, celebrity impersonations, and even occasional live singing. Inspiration can literally come from anywhere at any moment but most of mine comes from being bored with one style and needing to try new things.
Drag kings have been around for decades but its only relatively recently you’ve been getting more attention in the mainstream, such as the celebrated transformation piece on Buzzfeed, and having a Drag King as the male protagonist in Broadway’s Hedwig & The Angry Inch. Why do you think it’s got people’s attention more than ever before?
Many people aren't aware that Kings have been around for CENTURIES, and we've had many moments to shine throughout our history. The Music hall scene made stars of the Male Impersonators, some of them toured the World and many female Film Stars have taken on male-impersonating roles to critics praise! I could go on, but with every new generation comes new Artists and new Role Models. I think we are noticing the blossom of Kings in today’s world with the same reason we are seeing more Queens: TV & Social Media. RPDR has been an undeniable force for the Queens that have come out of the woodwork, but there are just as many little boys finding inspiration in the show as there are little girls. Boys have a 100 contestants to look up to for guidance while little girls have to do more work, and research, but nowadays, typing "drag king" into a Instagram search will fill your feed with Kings from all over the world showing off their progress and inspiring new baby kings everywhere!
From the late George Michael, PitBull, Disney’s Hades, Edgar Allan Poe, and you also do a mean Donald Trump. You’re kind of set for the next four years impersonating your new idiotic President, but have you got any other characters under your belt?
Ha! I'm still too hurt and pissed off, so Trump is taking some time off my stages for a while. Pitbull is my man, though! He's taken me on some fantastic travel gigs, and he's so high energy and fun to perform! I have a lengthy list of celebrities/cosplay characters but some of my favorites are: Ricky Ricardo, Adam Lambert, Rob Zombie, Grandpa Munster, Beetlejuice, Johnny Depp’s "Wolf" and even Jesus!
2016 was quite the turbulent year for all of us, but lets reflect on some more positive aspects of the year. What would you say were your highlights as a drag king?
Tums tweeted me and what beats that?! But I do have plenty to be grateful for from 2016! Working with World of Wonder on various video projects was exciting as well as hosting the first King Panel at DragCon. But I'd have to say my travel opportunities are what fill my 2016 highlights. My first international gig of my career took me to Canada this year, walked in NY Fashion Week and made a vacation with my Wife out of a Pride gig in Juneau, Alaska where we had never felt so welcome from our queer community!
And what’s 2017 looking like for you?
2017 is already looking great! I have a few characters I'm working on, and with hope some projects that I filmed in '16 will finally make it to our TV sets this year! I LOVE performing on new stages so I hope to travel more and I plan on continuing my goal to becoming a tattoo artist.
Now we have a few questions from a few fans!...
Do you think that drag king makeup has to be similarly glamorous or spectacular to the makeup of drag queens in order for kings to be accepted in the mainstream? - Calvin Decline, U.S/U.K
In short: Yes.
In long(and in theory): A lot of Kings go for the "realistic look", wearing (if any) contour with a goatee and are proud when bar patrons confuse them for a guy even close-up. Giving them reason NOT to use a more dramatic stage makeup approach, which in essence, is what Queen makeup is. Club/bar attendees have learned throughout the years within our community to appreciate the intricacies of the Art form, but Mainstream (as mainstream does) wants a quick fix, and have the Art simplified and made obvious to them. A camera may pan from head to toe, but will zoom in on the face to allow the viewer to learn more of the personality of that Entertainer, and to appreciate the makeup artistry that went into creating their character. Mainstream wants to see an entire face painted as part of the fantasy AND as part of the appreciation of the full transformative process.
Do you think drag king competitions can corrupt the sense of community we have, implying one type of King is better than another?” - Chiyo Gomes, U.K
I don’t think King competition disrupt our community any more than queen competitions do. Competition is healthy, and challenges artists to think outside their box. Often, you get feedback from judges, and accepting critiques are essential for the growth of any Entertainer!
Why do you think Drag Kings aren't as 'mainstream' as Queens and do you think it has anything to do with the subtle misogyny of today's society?” - Chloe Harvey, U.K
"Subtle"?! Ha! Anyway, people actually believe that the irony that makes Queens successful, doesn't apply to Kings, which baffles me. A woman (who is the "bottom" of the misogyny ladder) taking a poke at the male archetype (the TOP of the misogyny ladder) ISN’T ironic?! WHAT?!
Queens are mostly parodies of Women while Kings are usually impersonations...and Mainstream wants parody. Plus, you know what stands out in a crowd? A 6 ft tall person in 6 inch heels, wearing a face full of colorful, glittery makeup and an equally colorful wig, waving around their long arms tipped with shiny fake nails. You know what DOESN’T stand out in a crowd? A 5ft.6 person, with a face that looks like the rest of the gents in the club, wearing their real hair, and a suit..even if there are rhinestones on his outfit (we're at a gay club after all, and a LOT of men have rhinestones on their outfits!) So Queens literally STANDOUT and a King that wants the same admiration, respect, and following (from a mainstream audience) needs to do the same! Plenty of Kings all around the world have created a niche for themselves and enjoy plenty of success from their communities who appreciate their hard work. No way do I feel ALL KINGS need to wear glamour makeup, or "become Art" in order to perform for their fans, either. As long as you're consistently entertaining, you are an entertainer… but if you want to make it in the Mainstream, you got to put some other efforts in… perhaps even taking a page from the book the Queens have written.