By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly
With the pending closure of Red Cap Garage, Peep Show (the monthly queer cabaret hosted by drag king Little Tommy Bang Bang) is preparing for an all-star final show on Aug. 17, the day before the bar closes up.
Tommy says that while this may not be the forever end of Peep Show, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to find a new home for the night before the end of the year. It’s been quite a run for Tommy, who took over the event after Artemis Chase moved on:
Hailing from Milwaukie, Wisconsin — helping balance out some of that Scott Walker stuff —Schneider performed regularly with a troupe there called the Miltown Kings and, at the very beginning of her time here, struggled to find a place as a performer in Portland.
“Peep Show became my most regular venue,” Schneider recalled. “I performed there monthly for a while; a group of us ended up performing together a lot. Eventually we made it official and gave ourselves a name: Drag Mansion.” When Peep Show’s mastermind, Artemis Chase, moved on — reigns were eventually passed to Little Tommy Bang Bang.
Nighttime duties alone obviously don’t make ends meet. Outside that realm, Schneider works as a property manager and ceramics class teacher. “Wearing my drag performer hat doesn’t pay the bills. I do it because I love it. I host Peep Show because I want all the other wonderful, talented queer performers in this town to have a stage to express themselves and show off their talents. I also sell my artwork, whore my drag persona, and shop exclusively at thrift stores.”
And, as is the case for many a transplant, there’s plenty of love for the Rose City. “What I love about queer Portland is the sheer volume,” she said. “There’s something for everyone, and I love going to events and not knowing half the people there even after living here for four years.”
Peep Show has played host to a number of Portland’s best loved queer performance artists, from drag and dance to music and comedy. Frequent performers have included Carla Rossi, Georgia Ray Babycakes, Fannie Mae Darling, Drag Mansion, Pidgeon Von Tramp, Burlesquire, and Compound/Swagger (my dance group).
Whether you’ve already stuffed more singles than you can count down Tommy’s pants or you’ve just now learned that it isn’t that kind of peep show, come out Aug. 17 and help Red Cap, and Peep Show, go out with a Bang Bang.