Berlin’s Contemporary C**t Collective shine a light on Drag Syndrome in the latest issue of King Kong Garçon
Meet Gymma Black, George the Lord, Frozita Honkong, Gaia Callas, Lady Francesca, Justin Bond, Nikita Golde and Horror Shebang: the artists of Drag Syndrome.
- Jyni Ong
- 28 May 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
On a warm afternoon in September last year, the Berlin-based female collective Contemporary Cunt Collective, otherwise known as CCC, met a unique group of drag queens. These drag queens have performed all around the world for the past two years, from the main stage at RuPaul’s Drag Con to clubs up and down the UK and across Europe. While the drag scene used to be predominantly available to cis-gendered men, its popularity as an art form has made it more inclusive. Drag Syndrome, for example, is the first drag troupe with Down's syndrome.
The troupe currently consists of seven drag queens including Gymma Black, George the Lord, Frozita Honkong, Gaia Callas, Lady Francesca, Justin Bond and Horror Shebang – three of which are the subject of a new feature for King Kong Garçon, a counterpart to the acclaimed King Kong Magazine. “I think it was important to position Drag Syndrome in a magazine like Garçon that celebrates all kinds of men,” says Mikel Benhaim the magazine’s co-founder. Its 14th issue looks at the way we conduct ourselves and how we, as a society, deal with the multiplicity of “con”-words. Delving into themes which “pull us apart and bring us together,” the issue in general explores the duality of confusion and consolation, as well as the concern for freedom.
“One thing we can confirm is that King Kong Garçon will never be conventional, we will confront the status quo and we will continue contributing to the debate about how masculinity is shown and lived in, in a world full of contrasts and contradictions,” adds Mike. In turn, the publication highlighted the feature by CCC on Drag Syndrome, where the female collective’s current city of Berlin combines their backgrounds in fashion and journalism to tell real stories in an aesthetic way. For the feature, CCC hang out with the group in the lead up to a performance at the club SO36.
They discuss the palpable energy emanating from the performers, an enigmatic rendition of Lady Marmalade and rife audience participation. During their time together, CCC get to know the individual performers and their interests. Otto is one of them, the birth name of Horrora Shebang and a multi-disciplinary artist and award-winning actor who works in film outside a drag career. Part of Drag Syndrome since the troupe started two years ago, he first became interested in drag after visiting a gay club, later trying it out and falling in love with the art form.
When CCC next meet the group, this time, it’s in north London where three members of the group are set to be photographed by the collective for the upcoming issue. Ruby and Otto are amongst the three drag queens as well as the troupe’s latest recruit, Nick McKerrow. Nick, on the other hand has worked with dance companies from a young age, and drag has become an extension of this expression for him. After seeing the group perform, he felt an overwhelming emotion to join the group. And with that in mind, Nikita Golde was borne, “a jazz-loving, sophisticated diva,” in the words of CCC.
The seven performers identify with different sexualities and gender identities, and each drag persona marks a unique expression of the artist. While George the Lord is “a fierce kind who likes his studies,” Gymma Black does black magic and Froztita Honkong is “graceful in nature” and is “very kind but can bite hard if someone shouts too loud in her presence.” In King Kong Garçon’s feature, Ruby goes on to say: “The drag scene needs more power, more will and of course, more energetic minds! Drag Syndrome is extra special – extra chromosome!”
GalleryKing Kong Garçon: Drag Syndrome, photography by CCC
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.