[Local Haunts] Paradox Rei the voice of alternative drag

[Local Haunts] Paradox Rei the voice of alternative drag

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Paradox has been the primary voice for the alternative drag of artists. Say artists in the sense that Paradox focuses more on the creativity and idea of drag being for expression and the sound the artists deserve.

Shawn Benet may have created a home for alternative drag, but Paradox Rei has been the parental unit or the voice for others who deserve it. Truth be told I am glad to see somebody saying something. Growing up being queer or anything out of the norm was almost comical? Which was sad because performers of race and gender were often pushed aside as if they were the monster children, the unmentionables of society when they deserve the same treatment and respect as others. Paradox has always been my hero in the art of drag.

Remember seeing them perform to “Hooked on a feeling” at a small club dressed as Groot. Yup, Groot from Guardians of the galaxy. It was then that I fell in love with the artistry of Paradox. Drag was always one way for me and again not pointing fingers or blame, but there was little to no voice for other performers such as drag kings, or even CIS females who wanted to do drag as well. Paradox stepped in and became their voice.

It is hard to get proper representation in movies, TV, and even drag. Not talking about manager wise, but actual credit where one can say, yes this is who I am but judge me by work, not by the color of my skin, sexual identity, or gender. The topic has become taboo and even controversial to the point it is swept under the rug. Under that carpet, those secrets have become known for embracing their pure form. The Paradox is just that voice to be heard. As loud as their outfits may be, their sound is even louder for every single person who wanted to be heard.

Not only Paradox has been the center of this story, but also their show Omnipotence where shows are free showcasing all the talent that not only San Antonio, but so many other performers have graced the stage at Web House. Even Dragula alumni XOCHI MOCHI to competitions (Dragrantula) to having their show, Paradox has been an angry voice and will continue to be the voice for others who deserve to be heard.

Paradox has an upcoming show this Saturday night along with a show at Six Flags for Out in the park.

House of Tortured Souls sits down with Ms. Langanja Estranja

House of Tortured Souls sits down with Ms. Langanja Estranja

I got to sit down with the amazing, talented and beautiful Ms. Laganja Estranja! We talk about everything So sit back relax, light up your favorite recreational treat, grab those heels, pause that horror movie and let’s break down what’s on Laganja’s mind! 

  • HOTS:I’m Jai Alexis here for House of Tortured Souls here with Laganja Estranja!
  • HOTS:So, I saw the show and it was really good. It was so fun. It felt very natural for you. I know you wanted to do this last year, but for whatever reason it didn’t go through. It was heart breaking we didn’t see it, but we finally have! How did it feel going on stage as FrankenFurter?
  • LE:Thank you! Last year was the anniversary, but the rights weren’t available. It felt really nerve racking. I’ll be honest as a drag queen I’m very rarely nervous. As a drag queen I’m so used to that you know, I lip sync, death drop, say a couple catch phrases and hit it! Tonight, was a big night for me I had to remember lines, act and sing. It was very natural it’s what I grew up doing. I felt honored to showcase my talents in other ways.
  • HOTS:I know you did Ru Paul drag race, So you can think you can dance to Rocky Horror picture show. Do you think you’ll find yourself venturing into acting?
  • LE:Absolutely I think the best queens. Not so much drag queens but queens in general they’re all about reinvention. I’m actually going through a big re-invention myself. I was recently in Miami this year I was in a dance residency where I was director, choreography, set designer, costume designer. I did it all. It was a spiritual journey for me. It made me realize I have so many gifts. I was able to be multifaced and to show different skills I gained all these years in this world.
  • HOTS:You come a long way in the years in your career from the beginning to now and as stated you were on, So you can think can dance? Was this your idea, or did your fans or friends encourage you to go forward for an audition?
  • LE:It was a little from column A and column B. I tweeted out to my supporters who I call my “Buds” I asked them, “do you think I should go in as a boy or in drag?” They were extremely supportive and said I should audition in drag. I think normally I wouldn’t have gone in drag, but I’m so glad I did, my story was one of the first which was seen especially on FOX. To represent my community in a different light that show is really all about your talent. Not to say that Drag race isn’t about talent but it’s a tv show there’s drama there’s a certain way thing work where SYTYCD you have 30 seconds to show your talent with what you bring in that solo. It was going back to my roots. I plan on returning next year I have a strong feeling I’ll make it to the live show. I made it to top 33 this year which was a big deal for me something I wanted my whole life I grown up watching it since season 1. I definitely want to go back next year make top 20, top 10 and I want to win. My plan is going back to the studio take some time off to focus on my technique which is where I was failing if you will working from Nov to Feb working on my technique and in Feb I’m going to go kill that audition!
  • HOTS:I heard your latest song “LOOK AT ME” from your newest album “Exhibit A” what I love is with the music, the outfits your message on expressing your love for Cannabis where you state numerous facts that it’s proven to be a medical drug that helps so many as well as drug arrests for very minor items involving cannabis can you tell us what we expect to hear from the album?
  • LE:Yes, so my next single which is called Smoke Break will be coming out this Nov. I’m very vulnerable and open on this album where I express the separation from Jay to Laganja about my life with the difficulties that come with. There’re some fun tracks on it as well. As an artist it was important to focus on a message. Like “Look at me” I focused on the racial injustice that people go through more specifically through marijuana and the jail system and I feel because I’m a white man making rap music dealing with things that come from an African American culture it’s very important I use my platform thanks to Ru Paul drag race I can give a message to people. I represent a lot more than just death drops and tongue pops. It’s my duty as an entertainer and as an artist to be an activist.
  • HOTS:Are you finding more fans from cannabis, drag or dance?
  • LE:Most of my fans have been Drag race, with that being said my work in the lgbtq community to the cannabis community separate from drag and dance. I have accumulated a group of wonderful weirdos and beautiful people I love so much it’s growing and changing every day as I am rebranding moving into dance, acting where I’m adyrongus not necessarily Laganja with the wig and without a beard where people are used to seeing my horizons are broadening and that’s my goal.
  • HOTS:In the past you considered yourself being Non-binary. Do you still feel that way?
  • LE:I do. Absolutely. I present male, but I feel female. So that’s why Non-Binary works for me it’s about being one or the other but a beautiful blend of both. For Rocky horror I chose to keep my beard. Usually Frankenfurter doesn’t have a beard.
  • HOTS:I thought it worked. A lot of performers when playing Dr. Frankenfurter go for his look where as you brought your own look to it.
  • LE:It’s important for me to bring something new to the table. I was inspired by Tim Curry I did several moves he’s known to do. I brought my own flair the dance elements to it. My voice isn’t as low so theirs softer moments. As an artist we have this opportunity to take a character like Frankenfurter and make it into our own.
  • HOTS:Do you feel yourself doing more horror after this performance?
  • LE:Yes, I love horror it’s my favorite genre! I love Halloween, haunted houses, I’m a big horror fan! I would love to continue more in the genre. It’s a lot of fun with horror there’s a message behind it too for me it’ll be a natural transition. I would love to bring horror to my dance. In college I was known around campus to have these dark dances being inspired by Macbeth, Vampires, Witches. Horror has always had a big influence on me. I was a vampire for seven years as a kid for Halloween!
  • HOTS:Would you try to be Non-Binary in the role of a horror movie or just be male for a horror movie?
  • LE:Well I would be whatever the role and money called for! I would love to see horror continue to expand in the lgbtq scene the non-binary scene there’s plenty of gay horror movies. I would love to see more of that I think the generation is ready for it.
  • HOTS:For your love of Horror and drag. Do you see yourself being a judge for Draugla?
  • LE:I would LOVE to be a judge on Dragula! I feel like a shoe in for it! I wanted to be on season 2 but it was a conflict of interest since I’m best friends with Biqtch Pudding and they didn’t want it to be unfair, but I’m hoping to get a seat on season 3!
  • HOTS:I’ve seen you perform a few times already where Rey Lopez (Rey Lopez Entertainment) brings you for either a small headlining event or a bigger event bringing down the show with an amazing performances from his showgirls to you . Do you enjoy your times here regardless the event in San Antonio whether it’s a small or big event?
  • LE:I love San Antonio! You guys have the best queso in the world! For me San Antonio reminds me of being a child coming here for choir competions this was one of the big hubs we would come to. I always have a place for San Antonio in my heart. I would say I have enjoyed playing Dr. Frankenfurter this role than my club roles. I’m looking to push myself and challenge myself.
  • HOTS:Well thank you so much for giving me your time and patience for this interview!
  • LE:Of course, my pleasure!

Posted by Jai Alexis in Categories, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED ARTISTS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Monikke Shame from Dragula Season 2 live in San Antonio

Monikke Shame from Dragula Season 2 live in San Antonio


I just got off work and headed down to the Webhouse to see a drag show. Not just any drag show, but Shawn Benet’s Madhouse. This was an event that I couldn’t afford to miss, Monikke Shame was headlining from Dragula season 2 and even though I missed the first part of the show from what I hear the first half amazing with the cast including Monikke using a stapler to staple tips to her body I told myself, “At least don’t miss the second half.” I do regret missing Miss Taint and Paradox Rei’s first half act. The neighborhood was quiet and dark it looked like something out of a horror movie no sounds or people. As I parked my car there were patrons coming in and out of the club. Smell of amazing food in the air provided by Webhouse which from what I been told have the best ribs in town as the song Bad Reputation by Joan Jett is playing. How appropriate. Walking into the club it was right when the first half ended D.J. Mr. Grim who is also the husband to Shawn Benet a power duo that has been working effortlessly together in the alternative drag scene together as I made my way in I was greeted by friendly faces and familiar performers I’ve seen numerous times c

hatting about or getting ready for the next performance. I immediately felt at home like all of Shawn’s shows. As stated Shawn has worked very hard to get where he is today from his very first performance to now hosting shows working with huge talent from Dragula season 1 and 2 and even working with his Haus being the first to bring Disasterina, Felony Dodger, and Monikkie Shame to Texas. Haus of Coven featuring Shawn Benet, Paradox Rei, The Lady Mystere Lopez, Nova Cain to newest member Miss Vanta Black. Shawn has made sure that every show is filled with something different, something cool and something for everyone. The vision his Haus has is: All drag is valid and that everyone should be themselves and

perform how they want to perform. I met him briefly as he was getting ready and he was able to say something quick: “My goal is to provide opportunites for performers who would normally be rejected from our cities drag community and to alter the perceptions of what drag is in this town” The second half began. Shawn came out doing a Zodiac killer theme. The theme for the evening was Masquerade as stated this isn’t your typical drag show. Imagine Gwar doing theater art showcases, but not so much blood or fake body parts flying around. Well that depends on who’s performing the night. The performers each bring something different to the stage showing off amazing make up, outfit and performances. The house was packed with some many people which is always best to show up early to make sure you get a good seat but with the venue itself it may not be huge but no matter where you are you’ll always see the show. Shawn does a great job not only bringing local talent but so many talented performers from around Texas showcasing their talents and making them feel at home especially the main events. Who Shawn and her husband treat as best friends showing them around the city and hanging out. There isn’t one person who stole the show but more so that everyone was amazing on stage whether it was (Britni Lebosabitch) doing their rendition of Closer by Nine Inch Nails with an assistant that the act became versatile of pain and pleasure to Twiggy Belladonna doing aerobatic splits where they’re fluid with their dance moves. Some performers I was watching for the first time such as Tessa Flowers from Houston who felt more like a headliner with their performance which got everyone hyped up for the headliner. Monikke Shame came out dancing, lip syncing to Lady Gaga throwing out fake pills of Xanax to the crowd. Coming out wearing one of her iconic mask. Imagine Leatherface doing drag performing to pop music. The crowd was cheering and hollering in support to this form of drag. Dragula may believe in horror/filth/glam but Shawn Benet believes in all drag is valid and if you’re looking to perform

with any look any style then try out. If you missed this show don’t miss their upcoming show with Erika Klash as well as their house shows and Voodoo.