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'Rumors' performers create alternative drag playground
by Jess Savage
2024-03-24

This article shared 10894 times since Sun Mar 24, 2024
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At first glance, Dorian's Through The Record Shop (1939 W. North Ave.) looks like a brightly-lit shop with a handful of records on the wall, but there's a secret world behind those unassuming shelves.

Visitors are greeted at the door, pointed through a narrow hallway, and enter a dimly-lit speakeasy bar.

Each month, the bar hosts Rumors, a drag and DJ event that features a mix of residents and special guests, including locally, nationally and internationally known artists.

Many of the residents have been in Chicago's nightlife and music scene for years. Less flashy than other mainstream drag venues, Dorian's offers performers an opportunity to present a more creative show.

Cocktails like the Verdita Applebaum and the Hollywood Lawn have been served up from behind the bar. Prior to the show, many audience members find their seats on round velvet cushions.

No surface goes untouched during the show. Performers move on top of the bar, navigate around drinks on tables, and pluck dollar bills from the audience's hands.

Resident Lynzo the Heartthrob (they/them) was featured in Chicago Reader's 'Best of' Issue last year. Raised in Hyde Park, they are a burlesque dancer, DJ and emcee. Rumors was the first drag show they went to where they felt the drag wasn't abiding by the more polished tradition.

"I felt like I was seeing drag in a queer way," Lynzo said. "It didn't feel just gay."

This monthly event honors drag traditions that reach back into alternative expressions of drag, where parties book DJs and performers as a single act, rather than separate entities.

"Rumors holds onto the underground of the queer performance and the DJ being symbiotic," Lynzo said.

Ale Campos, aka Celeste, became a resident alongside Lynzo. They performed drag for the first time in Chicago at Rumors in the fall of 2021.

"This show and this residency is like my playground," Campos said. "I get to flex and do the things I probably couldn't get away with in other clubs in Chicago."

After the drag sets, DJs set up next to the bar and play the rest of the night out.

Rumors started in 2017 at Exit Club, and then featured a performance by Irregular Girl. Since then, its near-monthly events found homes at East Room and Blind Barber before settling at Dorian's in 2022.

They've also published more than 100 mixes from guest DJs, which can be found on their Soundcloud account.

Rumors has been hosting one-time collaborations with parties that used to call Berlin Nightclub home. They've got one more collaboration left, and then they'll have a run of standalone Rumors events.

Rumors also collaborated with Strapped—a sapphic drag event—in January, and with Black Sheep—an alt punk all-Black drag show—in March.

"There is a stage up there, but there's all that room to play," Campos said. "And I really love expanding drag beyond the formal stage setting. So there's an immersiveness to the drag shows here, and that is rare."

Entrance is free between 8-9 p.m. and the monthly show, which usually takes place mid-month, officially starts between 10-10:30 p.m.

Be sure to bring cash in small bills to tip performers. The audience can also tip through Venmo (@rumorschi), and the total amount from the night will be evenly split between the performers.

The next Rumors show takes place April 18. For more information, see throughtherecordshop.com .


This article shared 10894 times since Sun Mar 24, 2024
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