The Many Wigs of Daisy Bucket
May 24, 2012
by John Long
Spencer Brown is on a roll. One might wonder how he keeps his schedule together these days without a personal assistant, but then again, for all we know, he may have an alter ego by another name who does that for him.
Brown is known to many as the Kansas City drag queen Daisy Buckët (pronounced, of course, bouquet). But he also wears the beehive wig and the character of Trampolina in the San Francisco-based revue group called The Kinsey Sicks. The group performed in Kansas City at the Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ in Brookside in October 2009. They have a new music CD of parodies, called Electile Dysfunction, that has just been released (see the “Musicality” review in this issue).
Brown said his role of Trampolina is going well since he joined the group in October 2008.
“In February when we were premiering our Electile Dysfunction show in D.C., after four years, they decided to make me a partner in the business. So now I have even more side tasks, when I’m not dressed up, where I am furiously typing away on computers, trying to get us booked in other places. I’ve been talking to Michael Lintecum about getting us here in December as part of their World AIDS Day 25th anniversary of AIDS Walk.”
His latest incarnation of his famed Daisy Buckët persona is a new one-woman show called Balls of Brass that Buckët performs once a month at Hamburger Mary’s, usually on the fourth Friday of the month (but sometimes on the third Friday, depending on Brown’s traveling schedule). The next performance will be June 15.
“It’s a 9 p.m. show, and there’s no cover,” said Brown. “
… I was inspired by a Canadian drag queen that I met in Mexico, when I was there with The Kinsey Sicks. And she did this 90-minute one-woman show, all these costume changes, celebrity impersonations, raunchy jokes, songs, singing and dancing. And I thought, ‘Why don’t I try something like that?” I wanted to kind of showcase myself and what I’m capable of doing. So I talked to Jeff Edmondson at Mary’s, and he said, ‘I don’t know why you haven’t approached me about this sooner.”
Brown said that there have been three monthly performances of Balls of Brass and the packed-house crowds have been very receptive. It’s a 90-minute show with about 16 songs. Brown said he tried the show initially with a brief intermission, but he now prefers to do the show in one continuous stretch.
“That turned out to be the most successful. When it’s just me, it works,” he said with a laugh. “I kind of feel like I’m hosting a party.”
Brown also is now working with other performers in The Girlie Show at their new venue of Californo’s in Westport on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. The group consists of four men who sing in their own voices in the characters of Loretta Martin, Christa Collins, Tajma Stetson and Buckët. Brown originated The Girlie Show at the former bar Natasha, and it has also played at Missie B’s.
“It’s nice to have a venue that isn’t necessarily a club. It feels like an intimate cabaret setting, which the original Girlie Show at bar Natasha was based on. Loretta Martin is in it, Christa Collins is in it and she sings her Whitney Houston and her Donna Summer songs in the original key, which drives me nuts because she is so good at it. And Tajma hosts, and if she’s not hosting, she’ll sing a few songs and whip out her clarinet and play it during the show.”
Brown attended the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York on a scholarship for the two-year program, but said he really didn’t consider a career on Broadway and returned to Kansas City. He worked with the classic Late Night Theatre in three productions, Disaster ’74, Come Back to the 9 to 5 Dolly Parton, and A Scarrie Carrie Christmas Carol. He has also worked with Eubank Productions. He developed the persona of Daisy Buckët after returning from New York to Kansas City.
Brown’s production of The Rose: The 30th Anniversary Musical ran at the La Esquina theatre in Kansas City in July and August of 2009. Brown said that his good friend Chadwick Brooks proposed it to Ron Megee, who directed the project. The show starred another Late Night Theatre alum, David Wayne Reed.
A tireless fundraiser for AIDS Walk, Brown’s Team Buckët raised nearly $30,000 – an all-time record for them – in the April 2012 AIDS Walk. He’s also now working on casting drag queens for their annual AIDS Walk wall calendar, for which production will soon get underway.
Buckët hosts the weekly Sunday drag brunch at Hamburger Mary’s, among other events in town, and will be a big part of Hamburger Mary’s KC Pride weekend events this year.
“Dirty Dorothy and I are doing one of our old cabaret shows from bar Natasha,” she said. A show that starts at 9 on Friday, June 1, “is what we’re essentially calling the Rainbow Riot, in honor of the Stonewall riots. And there is dance music happening and drag queens will come out and do show-stopping songs. We’ve got Melinda, L’oreal, De De, myself, the list goes on, Monique, girls old and new from all over the scene that do drag.”
Brown said he never planned to make drag a full-time job, although that’s how it’s working out.
“It’s exhausting but it’s really fun.”
When I asked him whether he ever added up all the hours he puts in per week, he laughed and said, “And you know what, when I have time I will.”