Kings N Things, Austin's Premier Drag King Troupe, is a performance troupe that consciously performs gender in the spirit of non-conformity. Our shows provide a forum for a mixture of fun entertainment and serious activism on gender-related subjects, as well as many other socio-political issues. Past performances have tackled subjects such as restroom access, violence against women, capitalism, and "Resident' Bush. Sometimes satirical, sometimes straight forward, sometimes just silly - the shows tend to invoke a wide range of emotions. The troupe regularly uses its performances as a platform to contribute to the greater community. Over the past nine years, Kings N Things has raised over $10,000 for various charitable organizations in the Austin Community.KNT History
Kings N Things began in the Summer of 2001, when local filmmakers and gender theory wonks K Bradford and Mocha Jean Herrup ran into each other at the late, great Gaby 'N Mo's cafe. The two held a mutual dissatisfaction with the lack of alternative culture in Austin, and expressed a desire to create a more genderqueer, sex positive culture in their Texas hamlet. Herrup had just returned from San Francisco, where she had been enthralled by a drag king performance at the annual Dyke March celebration in Dolores Park. She had begun developing her own drag king chops earlier that year in a performance she gave as Billy Idol at the MonsterPansy Ball, a film and performance extravaganza she co-organized. Herrup threw out the idea of starting a drag king troupe in Austin to Bradford who was delighted. She, too, had been thinking about starting a troupe and spent the past two years performing as Johnny T. at various genderbending events across the country.
Using fabulous stick figure iconography, Bradford and Herrup produced a flier calling for "drag kings, performers, queer grrls and bois" to try out for the A-Town Boyz, "Austin's only impromptu king performance troupe." The tryouts showcased the kind of originality that the troupe would soon be known for, with acts ranging from a break dancing Michael Jackson to a Slavic Boys Choir member's first recital. Austin Chronicle writer extraordinaire Kate Messer attended the tryouts as a judge and consultant and advised the co-creators to expand their original vision of a boy band stylized troupe to include a range of talents, with both group and solo acts.
The troupe's first appearance at Le Privilege was just a teaser-a short warm up number for the well known New York drag king Mo B Dick's Club Cassanova tour. Bradford and Herrup, joined by Kristen Gerhard, Joanna Ingalls, and Heather Baade, danced to The Backstreet Boys "Larger Than Life," electrifying the audience. Intoxicated with the joy of performance, the five hyped up their first official show to be held at another Red River venue, The 710 Club later that March.
While preparing for their premiere show, Bradford expressed a dislike for the name, "A-Town Boys," preferring instead something with Kings in the title that would better reflect the diversity of acts she envisioned. While driving around considering different options, the two found inspiration from the familiar consumer outlet, Linens 'N Things, thus infusing the troupe with fagilicious aspirations from the very beginning.
On March 21st, 2002, the newly named Kings N Things rocked the house with a variety of acts ranging from the endearing "Quit Playing Games with My Heart," to the campy "Glory of Love," to the show stopping "Beat It." Fans in Austin had never seen anything like it (and were willing to overlook the troupe's inexperienced stage operations in exchange for a blissful evening of genderfucking fun.)
KNT steadily improved and grew bigger over the next 10 months, performing regularly at such venues as The Rainbow Cattle Company, their familiar 710 Club, and the east side's Victory Grill. A core group developed, including Oxford, Fredmundo (Joanna Ingalls), and Dresdan Pounani (Verushka Gray), and the twelve that would soon become known as the Dirty Dozen: Johnny T (K Bradford), The Lancebian (Mocha Jean Herrup), Trevor (Kristen Gerhard), Jack King Off, Randes Vous (Jen Wruck), deBoneair, Bobby Jo Handsome (Sherri Hetrick), Woody B. Goode (Tiffany Hill), Hank Yanks Jr. (Juliet Johnson), Cooper Perry, J.R. Stranger (Jessica Weida), and Kit T Pink (Lynne Kirby).
KNT found itself at a threshold in the spring of 2003. The troupe was in need of better organization and several of the Dirty Dozen had left or would be leaving the troupe. Hank Yanks headed to the northwest, Johnny T and JR Stranger headed to Chicago, and Randes Vous opted not to perform any longer. At this time the troupe gathered with an eye for the future. After much discussion, the troupe voted to adopt a coordinating committee structure to facilitate the operations of the troupe.
KNT's inaugural Coordinating Committee (CoCo) ushered in a new era for the Kings. Producer Kit T Pink (Lynne Kirby) established a level of professionalism and organization unseen before at a King show. [Imagine-dress rehearsals! Shows that last less than 5 hours!] Troupe by-laws were written and adopted and much was discussed and accomplished at regular troupe meetings thanks to the efforts of troupe Facilitator The Lancebian (Mocha Jean Herrup). Under the direction of the Financial Officer, aka Mr. Bling Bling Jack King Off, the troupe consistently stayed in the black and began to lay plans for a prosperous financial future to include resources for troupe travel, capital expenses, and performance fees. Media Stud Cooper Perry worked hard to develop a new logo for the troupe and produce fine publicity materials and merchandise for each and every show. Conflicts and membership issues were adeptly addressed by Troupe Affairs person King Family Julz (Julie Moss) throughout the year, creating a newfound sense of peace and organization for the troupe. While every King most wants to be onstage, focusing his energies on creative performance, members of KNT work hard to take care of "all the other crap," creating the space and place for them to shine. Though certainly no "damn lesbian collective," being a part of KNT does involve its share of group dynamics and collective work. OK, well, we are women after all. Some of us. Well, at some point...
Today, KNT is one of the biggest acts in Austin, consistently drawing audiences of over 400 people to their shows. KNT's hot combination of outstanding choreography, campiness, humor and stunning sex appeal, combined with their willingness to address complex political and gender related issues keeps them booked throughout the year. Gender identification in the troupe runs the gamut from woman to boi to trans man to femme and the wide range of acts on stage truly lives up to the inclusive promise of their beloved moniker, Kings N Things. Everyone is welcome at a King show, from the straight man to the punk dyke. KNT consistently draws all kinds and loves, loves, loves it when their fans come outrageously dressed and made up to their shows.
KNT continues to create a national profile for themselves with their magnetic, above and beyond crowd pleasing performances at events like the annual International Drag King Extravaganza and GenderPac in Washington DC. Using their art to achieve progressive results, the troupe donates a portion of the box to worthy causes such as The Lilith Fund, and have graciously done benefit shows for ailing members of the genderqueer community and organizations such as the YWCA and the OutYouth youth center.
The current members of KNT are: Beau Toxic, Jimmie D. Sparklefingers, Rhythm Method Sparklefingers, Tad Bitter, Eli Swither, Herculise, Danil Dahlia, Chola Magnolia, James Bondage, and Jessie Dress (hiatus).KNT Accomplishments