In the late 1980's and early 1990's my partner Franco Palazolo and I edited and published HYPE Magazine in New Yorks East Village
. A money losing labour of love, we are am now putting all of the articles from issues one to twelve nto the public domain. This interview was originally published in HYPE NYC
, issue number one, April 1990.
An interview with Musicians and Nightlife socialites Ru Paul Charles and FFLLOYYDD
By Allison Ritch
ALLISON: Do you live your life according to your cerebral values or your sexual values? Are they compatible?
RU: I'm Scorpio and they are ruled by their genitals; I have a hard time making them work together; Last night I had a one night stand; I hadn't in a long time and I was really drunk. Its like, you know how, afterwards you're like: Who are you? Get out of here!
FFLLOYYDD: All my relationships started off with a one night stand.
R: I must have a problem with it. I've never been friends with anyone after I've had a sexual relationship with them. I don't think I have a healthy sex attitude.
F: I go overboard.
R: I can do without it. In fact, I don't even like it. I do love intimacy, thats what I really want, but I don't like one night stands and I realize right smack in the middle of it. I try and convince myself that I like it.
F: Well for me its different because I have a boyfriend and I have been to sexaholics anonymous.
A: Why was that?
F: Sometimes I just want some cheap sex. I get tired of intimacy, I don't want to know your name.
A: You told me a story about going downstairs and jerking two guys off at once and you were interested in one of them; you seemed upset that he ran out the door after it was over. I asked if you could expect an intimate relationship at a sex place in Times Square, and you seemed to think it was possible.
F: I was unrealistic, obviously. I try to tell Tennessee that you cannot find the man of your dreams at the Adonis.
A: And in the park?
F: In San Francisco, I met a guy in a bookstore, and we are still in contact so it is possible but rare. I've been to the park lots of times and it'll be the exact same trolls everytime.
R: You're one of them!
F: In fact, its very hard to be secretive about having public sex in New York. Everywhere you go there's going to be the same old trolls.
A: You've procured phone numbers from people and tried to call them?
F: Very rare. In Central Park, its very casual. No one's acting as if they're gonna fall in love. They're jerkoff buddies. If you're looking for a permanent relationship you shouldn't have sex first. I try and hold out for as long as I can. I fuck but I don't believe in it.
A: Another instance where you don't live up to your philosophy. What body modifications are you interested in? What do you think about Cher's Jack Lalanne advertising where she preaches do it naturally when we all know that she'd had major surgery in may areas including having her bottom ribs removed.
F: Michael Jackson: We loved you before the operation!
R: I liked him after the first.
A: When he was with the Jackson Five he had a puffy nose and by the time he appeared by himself, it was much more defined.
R: Actually I love him now. I think he's gorgeous. I hate and love myself. I hate and love my body. I would like to have a stronger jaw and electrolysis. I do think that I'm taking this body and working it for what its worth now that I'm in it. I do wonder why I chose this body as a spirit. For what I want to do on the planet this time, this is the body that I need. I do spend so much time in the mirror. I put on make-up painstakingly, so I do see little cracks and crevices. It freaks me out, but also I have to realize the metaphysical aspect of it. The fact that I'm more than just a body. Its holding my spirit right now but I shouldn't get too attached to it.
F: With that attitude its easier to have a face lift!
R: I saw Roy Schnieder on the plane recently, and I didn't know that he had had one. It looks great on camera, but in real life it looks hideous. Any kind of plastic surgery does when you see it in person. I saw Leona Horn on 57th street, and the rumor was that she had gone all this time without one. When you see her in person you go "Honey! Has she ever had one!"
F: I'm happy with my body and nose. Michael Jackson paid millions for a nose like this. All of us do unnatural things, bleach our hair, shave our heads, pluck our eyebrows.
A: What about your clothing, the ultimate performing Ru.
R: To have fun is it. It takes me three hours to do it and my look in two words is "black pussy". When I go out in hooker drag I want sexy attention. I'm feeling sassy and it says to the world look at me I can have fun with my person and I can change my appearance and its fun and that's the main thing!
A: What is the sex emphasis?
R: Its power. Last night I had my new heels and hair and I was feeling really sassy and this hot guy at 6 Bond Street said "Whats your name honey?" I said, "Cupcake, whats your name daddy?" He said "Pecan". I want the attention. Hot black hooker. Normal clothes and FFLLOYYDD drag are the three that I
do. FFLLOYYDD is boy drag, I'll have on foundation, I may wear a mustache or something off.
F: Last night I was doing girl drag. What I feel most comfortable in is some kind of freak. I love surrealism and dada. I'm also inspired by Leigh Bowery. But I was doing weird shit before I ever saw Leigh Bowery. Now I like to do Space Alien. When I go out in that kind of mess, its not sex at all.
A: Whats the power?
F: I guess being completely different than anyone else. I really feel like I'm from another planet, like...
A: With ants stuck to your chest and a bird cage on your head...
F: The power is individuality and ...
R: And a beautiful work of art.. People going, Look ma - look at that!
F: When I was younger I dressed punky and I had green hair and stuff and I got used to the attention, getting yelled at on the street. People are always saying to me "The freaks come out at night!" or "Is It Halloween?" When you're in drag you have girl benefits. They call you a fag and threaten to beat you up but they're not gonna hit a girl. Last time I danced at Love Machine someone kept throwing potato chips at me. You lose respect when you're an animal in a zoo. I want people to laugh at me. Sometimes I try to look uglier and uglier. I've done so much monster drag. One time Howie Montaug would not let me into the Palladium. He said you are just too ugly!
A: What rituals are you involved in?
F: As much as I want to think that I'm a space creature, I try to connect myself to a human existence at times by washing the dishes, taking showers, eating an avocado. Those are my rituals. As an artist, I feel that I want to brush my teeth when I'm inspired to brush my teeth.
A: I'm personally frustrated with body maintenance, laundry or washing my hair. I've already done it 5000 times. Do you think its wrong to rule your life by desires and how does desire fit into 24 hours?
F: Desire is the only voice of the soul. You have to compromise right and left. Its an investment question: Do you want your teeth when you're 60?