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Spreading the holiday queer

By |2010-12-16T09:00:00-05:00December 16th, 2010|Entertainment|

Nervous But Excited will perform “silly” takes on holiday classics for “Happy HoliGAYs” show in Ann Arbor.

The most wonderful time of the year – if you believe that song – is about to be the gayest, too, as a few local bands unwrap the holiday cheer for the queers on Dec. 18 at the Blind Pig.
For “Happy HoliGAYs Extravaganza,” Nervous But Excited, along with Drag King Rebellion, Jess Klein and DJ Jamie Register, will festivize the Ann Arbor club with ugly holly-jolly sweaters and silly seasonal songs. ‘Tis the reason: “We felt a large lack of options for the queer community during the holidays,” says Kate Peterson, half of Ann Arbor folk duo Nervous But Excited. “Unfortunately, for a lot of queer folks, the holidays can represent awkward or uncomfortable family times where they don’t necessarily feel comfortable or safe.
“This is a time of year for folks to relax and celebrate and be with the people they love, to be themselves and feel safe and welcome. Not to mention, give us all an opportunity to partake in some ridiculous debauchery that may involve multiple mistletoe.”
The event promises “the gayest yuletide ever,” and gender performance troupe Drag King Rebellion takes that allegiance seriously, rolling in what they call the three G’s: glitter, Gaga and gayness.
“We suspect no Grinch will be able to resist us at our campy, silly, charming best – especially not if we are decked out in our finest holiday sweaters,” they say. “And, if all that fails, troupe member James Queen has promised that he will personally see to it that everyone gets a kiss under the mistletoe, even if he has to kiss them himself.”
Ho-ho-ho, indeed – but from the sound of it, even without the smoochy-smoochy agreement, the merry music should be enough to make everyone jollier than a gay guy sitting on Santa’s lap.
“We can’t give it all away,” says Peterson, “but let’s just say we’ve put a holiday spin on some favorite rap classics – the second annual rendition of something we like to call ‘The 12 Gays of Christmas’ – and some spiced-up favorites.”
Klein, who’s part of local group The Mylo Fix, plans to play some of the band’s material, her own songs and then a few surprises. “Perhaps a Hanukkah song?” she says. “I’m Jewish, so it’s only appropriate!”
The Ypsilanti singer-songwriter, known for her rootsy folk-rock, prefers putting a spin on traditional tunes from artists that are never heard from around the holidays. So we probably shouldn’t count on a stripped version of Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
“I am so sick of the classics,” Klein says. “We hear them every year, over and over.”
You’ll have a better chance at getting those annual staples from Drag King Rebellion – just gayed up. “We are constantly on the lookout for ways to put a queer spin on things,” they say. “Holiday songs? We suspect they’re made for that purpose.”
Nervous But Excited won’t stray too far from them either, but mostly because the classics are the ones that really boost the spirit: “There is something great about performing songs that everyone knows,” Peterson says. “Holiday songs also offer an option to get a little silly – and you know we are always down for that.”
But Happy HoliGAYs isn’t just meant for donning gay apparel and partaking in Sugar Plum Fairy dances (but please don’t let us stop you). Like a family huddled around a ham on Christmas Day, the event’s first priority is to create a community within a community. “In the wake of the events of the past year for our community – both its triumphs and its losses – our hope is that this show is effective in bringing together our community in celebration, especially before people head off to what may be less LGBTQ-visible or friendly spaces for the holidays.”
And it doesn’t get much gayer than this.

Happy HoliGAYs Extravaganza
Doors 8:30 p.m. Dec. 18
Blind Pig
208 S. First St., Ann Arbor

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.