We had the distinct pleasure of sitting down for a question and answer session, with Chitah Daniels Kennedy this week. Chitah is getting ready to host the 4th Annual Drag Out Funny, at The Marc, on February 8th, but she was able to make some time to talk to us.
What do you do, when Boy George is between you and your stage? What three things should every drag queen have in her bag of tricks? Can you ever have too many wigs? Let’s find out!
BPSF: How long have you lived in San Marcos?
CDK: I am a native San Martian. Other than a stint in NYC, I’ve been here since the Balcones fault was active.
BPSF: How has San Marcos changed in that time, from an LGBTQ perspective?
CDK: Because of Rainbow Night, Lambda of Texas State’s Bobcat Ball, and Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund’s Drag Out Funny the LGBTQ community has become more visible in San Marcos. We had our first San Marcos pride event in September & the turnout was great! And now that Stonewall Warehouse is open our community finally has a spot to meet, seven days a week. San Marcos is catching up.
BPSF: What are you looking for next, for San Marcos?
CDK: More progress. San Marcos made great strides last year. But, it’s just the beginning. The fight for equality is ongoing. Texas is still one if the most backward states when it comes to LGBTQ issues. The right to marry, same-sex couple adoption, protection against school bullying, anti-discrimination laws concerning housing & employment; none of this exists in Texas, and this unfortunate fact needs to change. So, get active, my fellow San Martians! Support LGBTQ causes & organizations. Volunteer. Donate. Vote. Demand that our rights become equal.
BPSF: So, you spent some time in New York City. What made you decide to come back here?
CDK: The call of my heart, child. Family, friends, the river. It’s San Marvelous after all. I love NYC. It will always be a second home. Even though it’s changed dramatically since I lived there, I still love the rush of being in the Big Apple. La Gran Manzana! But, Texas suits me just fine. I like the heat.
BPSF: Did you bring any NYC back to Texas, or any Texas to NYC?
CDK: I took an outlaw Texas spirit to NYC. I brought back a take no BS NYC attitude. Charming combo.
BPSF: How did you get started with drag performances?
CDK: I got my start in NYC’s East Village doing theater. I was cast in a good friend’s final NYU directing project. Moliere’s “The Seductive Countess”. I was the seductive countess of course. Shortly thereafter, I got a part in an off-off-off-Broadway play , written by drag legend Linda Simpson, called “The Trannychase”, at P.S. 122.
My first lip-synch drag performance was on the pool table in Dick’s Bar (a notorious East Village dive). It was Valentine’s Day & I did Peggy Lee’s “Fever”. This all happened in quick succession, & child, I’ve been up in drags ever since.
BPSF: Tell me more about the pool table performance. That must have gotten quite a reaction.
CDK: My roommate (at the time) & lifelong best friend, Brian Mitchell, got me the Valentine’s day gig. He had just starting bartending at Dick’s, & I was there every night. I got really worked up about the show & wanted to cancel. Brian encouraged me & said I could do it. He was right.
When I arrived at the party that night, the bar was full of friends & people from the neighborhood. Everyone was so nice & supportive. They just wanted to have fun. Now, the pool table was covered with plywood & the boys at Dick’s made makeshift steps out beer boxes. It was almost a proper stage. There was even lighting, with pink gels!
I was a hit in my vintage black shirt dress (which I still have & wore for the first Drag Out Funny), cheetah print high heels, & Valentine’s Day corsage. I also did “Love will keep us together” by the Captain & Tennille. Everyone loved it & I had a blast, I have been hooked on drag ever since.
Brian now owns a wine bar in Brooklyn. His place, Brookvin, is one of Drag Out Funny’s platinum sponsors. The moral of this story is, supportive lifelong friends are important. And, never throw out a good vintage black shirt dress. You can wear it anywhere.
BPSF: You must have a lot of crazy stories about performing. Do you have a favorite?
CDK: One night I kicked Boy George off of a stage. Not with my high heel shoe mind you. I was the sometime hostess of this Friday night party at FC29 in the East Village. Boy & his entourage came in & took the place over.
At show time I made my entrance through the crowd, mic in hand, welcoming everyone. When I reached the stage Boy was sitting on the stage in my direct path. I said “Boy George you are gonna have to move! This is my show.” He looked a little stunned but he obliged.
During my number, a cover of the Violent Femmes “Add it up”, he tipped me with a £10 note.
After the show I went over to thank him for being a good sport & to gush about how I had always loved him. He didn’t say a word, he held up his finger telling me to wait, opened his bag & pulled out a camera. He took his Philip Treacy hat off & put it on my head, snapped my picture & then gave me a huge hug. I don’t know what he meant by any of it, but I took it as a blessing.
BPSF: When you’re not dancing on pool tables, or stealing the show from Boy George, how do you spend your time? Do you have any guilty pleasures?
CDK: Jet setting, family, friends, pampering myself, & quiet self reflection. I also spend a fair amount of time on trying to save the world by being nice. I’m not always successful, but I keep trying.
My current guilty pleasures are Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos & “Vanderpump Rules”. It’s shameful. I’m deeply flawed.
BPSF: I’ve heard that you can sometimes be spotted at hot yoga. Do you have a Zen side?
CDK: Gee thanks. Now my stalkers know where to find me. I am barely dressed in my hot yoga class. How will they keep the paparazzi away? So much for my Zen side.
BPSF: If you won a million dollars tomorrow, what would you do with the money?
CDK: First, I would make a generous donation to the Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund. Then, I would have to spend the rest on wigs, false eyelashes, & pantyhose.
BPSF: What was your favorite class in school?
CDK: It’s a toss-up between Drama & Psychology.
BPSF: Whenever I see interviews like this, they seem to eventually get around to “Beatles or Rolling Stones?” Let’s change that up a bit: Taylor or Miley?
CDK: Tina Turner… Taylor & Miley, they have both been guilty pleasures. “We run things. Things don’t run we!” Lol! I was just dancing to “Shake It Off” before we started this interview. Bible!
BPSF: Alright then, Beatles or Rolling Stones? Or Elvis?
CDK: This is a terrible question! I can’t choose… I will put them in order. Stones, Elvis, Beatles. But ask me tomorrow & my answer could be different.
BPSF: You always look fabulous. Any pointers for aspiring drag queens?
CDK: Thank you! I do try. It’s work. But it’s fun work. I encourage young queens to have their own perspective. There really are no rules. Drag is a many wondrous thing. So, go for it! Show us what you got child! Have fun. And when in doubt, oversized sunglasses & Chanel lipstick can get you through any situation.
BPSF: Where did the name Chitah Daniels Kennedy come from?
CDK: It was inspired by Chita Rivera, a cheetah, booze, & JFK Jr. CDK sounds like the name of a woman with a past. A past she escaped. Well, almost escaped. Hence the tag line: socialite, superstar, slut. It’s a play on soap opera characters, society mavens, & drag queens with long convoluted names.
BPSF: There are so many great performers across the country and here in Texas, who were your favorites to work with and why?
CDK: Uh, this is going to be a long list. Lady Bunny, Mistress Formika, Sweetie, Linda Simpson, Jayne County, Justin Vivian Bond, Sherry Vine, Candis Cayne, Girlina/Lina Bradford, Miss Guy, Michael Tee, Joey Arias, Jackie Beat, Peppermint Gummybear, Milan, Laverne Cox, Jimmy James… I’m just name-dropping here. The list could go on with all the brilliant artists I’ve been lucky enough to work with. I could never pick a favorite. They are all special & have their own unique magic.
I try to steal material from each & every one of them.
BPSF: Your next big show is Drag Out Funny; what should people expect when they come out to see you?
CDK: Well from me, the people should expect to see flawless, stunning beauty. Lol!!!
Seriously, what everyone should expect to see is a great & fun show. Caroline Bassett & Daniel Rugg Webb are both returning this year. They both received national attention this year for their comedy & activism. We have Pannica Tack, Empress XXI of the United Court of Austin making her Drag Out Funny debut. Up and coming recording artist Chris Skinner is going to make us all swoon.
This year’s lineup is an exciting mix. Drag queens, comics, singers, burlesque, performance art… and I am just talking about Daniel Rugg Webb! Lol! It’s a very talented group of artist. I can’t wait to see the show.
BPSF: Do you perform at many non-profit or charity events and if so, why?
CDK: Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund is my main cause. I also support AIDS Walk Austin & NYC. I love Community Word Project in NYC. They bring literacy & arts education to children in underserved communities. Art will save the world. So will being nice & generous, I am always willing to help a good cause with a donation or a performance.
I am also readily available to work for profit. Message me!
BPSF: What is it about Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund that made you want to donate your time to come and perform for this particular crowd/event?
CDK: The work that Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund does is so important. The scholarships, Camp Pride Leadership Conference, emergency resources all for LGBTQ Texas State students! It was a no brainer child! I jumped at the opportunity to work & be a part of it. In addition to the money raised, Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund brings the community together. Students, faculty, locals all come together to support a LGBTQ cause. The organization makes a positive impact on the future.
It’s an honor & a pleasure to perform at Drag Out Funny every year. I have been the hostess/mc of the 3 previous shows, and I am very excited to back for the 4th Annual Drag Out Funny “Lipstick & ‘Staches” show. I always have blast hosting this wacky hybrid drag/comedy/burlesque/performance art/variety show.
For more information about Drag Out Funny, check out our event page.