Shits & Giggles: Pop Rocks – Interview with Seth Dodson & A.J. Durand

Shits & Giggles: POP ROCKS!

curated & hosted by Trandroid

no cover – treats, tits & good times on the house!

Shits & Giggles is back – the queer cabaret and dance party created by Trandroid (A.J. Durand) is returning for a second helping at the Whistler. Following up their ruckus Seasonal Affective Dance Party from January, get ready for the sensations of “POP ROCKS!”- celebrity looks encouraged!

Canoodling begins at 8:00 pm, followed by the S&G Cabaret at 9:30 pm, featuring performances by:

Trandroid
Jyldo
Holly Deck
Jackie “Vajaqueque” Brown
Sherri Stein
Joebot
Rocco Granite
KStud

FEATURING

Seth Dodson as Pepper LaRoo

BoyWonder sweetens the deal with some artificially flavored jams!

Remember space is limited at The Whistler so arrive early!

Check out the interview with Seth Dodson below!

AJ: Hey Seth! So we just finished a fun and frolicky video for Shits & Giggles on May 10th at the Whistler. I had so much fun! How was the spaghetti?

Seth: Wonderful! My complements to the chef. My only complaint is that I ate too fast, but, I’ll suffer through anything for my art, y’know?

AJ: This is the debut solo performance for Pepper – they first appeared in Annoyance Theater’s “Glitter in the Gutter” and now their branching out on their own. Do you feel like Beyonce and Destiny’s Child or Justin Timberlake and N’Sync?

Seth: If anything I feel like Kelly Rowland or Lance Bass because “Glitter in the Gutter” was an amazing collaboration with high-voltage superstars Wes Perry and Kellen Alexander. So, I’m a little second-tier (is that expression about cakes?) which is perfect because I’ll do better if the audience has low expectations! It’s super exciting and I feel really proud to have the chance to perform! It also gives me butterflies in my stomach to do something so outside of what is my usual creative outlet.

AJ: May I ask if Pepper has a pronoun preference?

Seth: She’s a bitch.

AJ: Perfect! We did talk a little bit about the recent trend in Chicago’s Queer Scene doing free cabaret nights. I love what you said about gender non-conformity and trans-ness having a more visible presence in the community at large. You said that it is “important”. Could you elaborate on that?

Seth: I think these cabarets are important because not only are they a safe space for all individuals and genders to meet and party down but these ideas on genderfucking and sexuality are explored by the performance artists, dancers, drag queens/kings and elevated to a rock n roll attitude. I can imagine being a younger person and coming to these events and just eat it up. It’s thought provoking while being fun. It’s important!

AJ: So what about Pepper? How does Pepper identify on the spectrum. In the show Pepper was portrayed as a “drag queen” but how does that translate to Pepper’s solo work? Would you say that Pepper is pansexual or asexual for instance? a drag queen? gender non-conforming?

Seth: As of today, I’d say she is a drag queen, but we’ll see where she goes. More than anything she’ll be an outlet for me that differs from my comedy work because I own every aspect of her. Pepper will be used as a voice (albeit a lip syncing one) to express what I’m thinking about that week or what I find funny or sad or beautiful. It’s just the beginning of this journey with her, so I’m very excited to dive in and play around (with eyshadow mostly).

AJ: You mentioned that Pepper is kind of “nerdy”, talk nerdy to me…

Seth: Well, I’m currently working on building “Green-White Aggro Magic: the Gathering” deck but I spent my fun money this month on a Coastal Grooves 88-color eye shadow palette so I’m going to have to wait a bit until I can afford to get some Honor of the Pure’s and Qasali Pridemages to make that baby sing.

AJ: I wish I coud “like” that answer on Facebook! LOL you’re so funny- etc et cetera!

Seth: All that was true! Let me ask you a few questions about Trandroid…

AJ: Lay it on me.

Seth: Okay, you’re about to get laid. What has been the most rewarding part of producing and performing in Shits & Giggles for you?

AJ: Honestly, seeing people from the community who want to perform. Hands down. I’ve seen folks over the last year who have no theatre background or performance experience ask me if they can do something at S&G. By the very nature of them wanting to perform for their own community they have never disappointed and they are doing exactly what I hoped S&G would do for us. JTeddy for instance, sent me a Facebook message one day, and since – JTeddy has become somebody with something to say with their body. It’s about expression and the desire to entertain. It’s mind blowing how much we want each other as Queers. Chicago is the best place to live in my opinion. We are doing something right now in real time that no other city is doing.

Seth: And how! You’re an amazing yoga teacher and one can tell that you have a deep spiritual life. How does that play into your performances as Trandroid?

AJ: Oh wow. Thank you! I think my personal path with spirituality and my yoga practice really helped me own my identity. As a gender non-conforming person, as someone who has and will continue to explore polyamory, I’m curious about life. I try to remain open and available. So Trandroid has helped give me a voice to express these elements. My yoga has taught me to, at the utmost, embrace the spirit of “not-knowing”. When it comes to performance, I just try my best to tell the truth and have fun. I don’t know everything. I just know that that I love being queer and I love knowing that my community loves being queer and we can do whatever we want. Like angry teenagers. Like brilliant idiot savants, sexual deviants, gender warriors – whatever. We are here for each other.

Seth: That’s definitely the feeling one gets at your event or at a Chances or Northern Lights. I feel that our community is so tight right now, it’s very powerful. Trandroid is gender-ambivalent. What do you mean by that? Should we be ambivalent about our gender?

AJ: Trandroid is first and foremost a pleasure model. Robots have been, and continue to be, designed to serve the needs of humans. So yes, Trandroid is designed to explore sex with said humans. Trandroid, however, possesses the ability to “switch hardware”. This was something I wrote into the inception of Trandroid because of the body politic surrounding Trans-ness and about sexual preference. I want to raise the question, in relationship to gender as it relates to “desireability”, does it matter what sort of “hardware” someone has? Personally, I find all sex organs and all bodies desirable and I want to be somebody that can possess them all. Until then, I have Trandroid. Somebody who can’t identify, someone who is artificially intelligent, someone who just tries their best to give the other something that they want. With all the options available in a premium package for roughly $13,000. Want one? Take it or leave it. Get it?

Seth: I already told you, between eyeshadow and Magic cards I’m low on funds, but I’m going to start saving. Talk to me about some of the performers that you’ve worked with. Any powerful performances that stand out to you?

AJ: D’Juana Cyber is one of the most important performers on the globe. Recently, TimeOut Chicago coined her as America’s bearded lady and I’d like to nominate her for Earth’s Bearded Lady. I’m so inspired by Steve. There is something so truth telling and ruckus-making about D’Juana Cyber. The kind of thing that would never fly on RuPaul’s drag race. The kind of thing that is truly Steve’s. That is why D’Juana is S&G royalty. She was the first to own a tradition all her own. We meet on common ground when it comes to subverting “burlesque” but Steve’s work is utterly original. Not everyone can put their ass on a cake quite like that.

A special shout out to Holly Deck! Holly performed at S&G the first time at the same cabaret that you and Kellen did the zodiac piece. She did Klingon burlesque. Since then, she has been the only performer who has performed at every single cabaret with a new piece. I’ve even told her that she can repeat her performances but every time she wants to make something new. Just for Shits & Giggles. She’s someone to watch.

Seth: You’re super cute!

AJ: You stop! You are 6 feet tall and have a quiet voice. You are blond. I’m just a fag in Trandroid clothing. Is this the part where we compliment each other and kill the interview?

*crickets*

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