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Art: Sina Grace
Art: Sina Grace

Homo Superior: An X-Men Themed Queer Dance Party & Drag Show at The Get Down, May 20th - Preview

By MATT HANSEN //  Dance party blending the worlds of drag culture and comic book mutants is happening in Portland

It’s a sad and tragic fact that lately, across our nation, drag culture has been blatantly under attack. As an emerging art form that sits outside all things heteronormative, drag events are an easy target for some conservatives. Here in Portland, we benefit from a political climate which allows for drag shows to exist freely and unfettered from those seeking to forward an agenda of intolerance. Let’s never take that for granted.

It’s also a fact that, more than most comic books, X-Men embraces the struggles of finding a home for yourself in an unaccepting world. With an ever-ballooning cast of characters – including Northstar, the first queer Marvel character ever – X-Men struck out at prejudice with mutant characters who reflected the human condition, despite not being fully human. And while the devotion to the core characters has grown over decades of issues, X-Men remains mutable and capable of creating new characters that amplify the underrepresented.

Sina Grace, a queer comics writer and illustrator, debuted the character of Shade in 2018, the first-ever mutant drag queen. Shade (aka Darkveil) was partially inspired by several real-life drag queens, including Dax ExclamationPoint, who will be performing in Portland on May 20th at The Get Down. Dax! will headline the event Homo Superior, which will blur the lines between cosplay and drag in a salute to many of the storied X-Men characters.

But if you think Portland suffers from a lack of heroes, you would be mistaken. They are the people who have built an LGTBQ+ community so that events like this are possible: Katya, Birthdaygurl, Atlas, Airick Redwolf, and DJ Orso, are among them. “(They) have been working for years creating the spaces and parties in Portland they want to see, and we all benefit from their efforts,” says organizer Evan Stewart.

Like joining a family of supportive individuals who share your struggles, Stewart knows all too well the special place the X-Men have within the LGTBQ+ community. “The X-Men were pivotal in my little self-acceptance journey,” explains Stewart, “I respond to them so strongly because they're a really apt metaphor for the queer experience.” That same metaphor doesn’t stop at the costumes though, as the night’s soundtrack will also embrace the spirit of fostering diverse music tastes.   

“I think disco is the most appropriate genre for an event like this because it, too, was a genre that was intentionally suppressed and destroyed by the same regressive forces that fight to keep mutants down in the X-Men comics,” tells Stewart. “Disco was the music of Black people, queer people, people of color, etc. in the late 70's and early 80's, and it became a political target for that reason.”

With local DJs LéMix, Sappho, and Emoji Heap on hand, the night’s music offerings will be just as eclectic as the lineup of performers, spinning everything from house to hyperpop. Think of it like this: what if RuPaul’s Drag Race had aired after the X-Men cartoon during your childhood Saturday mornings? You wouldn’t have dared to change the channel.

At The Get Down on Saturday, May 20th, 2023. Show 8:00PM. (Tickets)

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