2015: A Year In Photographs

2015 A Year in Photographs
Since I started writing my little blog a good few years ago, I have always compiled an end of year blog to summarise my year… and what an impressive and incredible year it turned out to be!

I mean, I can’t pin point it down to one specific thing… but there was that time I won a thousand pounds thanks to the Metro newspaper!
John Metro Minted MorningsThen there was that time I FINALLY got to see Fleetwood Mac live!
img_0072And that time we ended up at Glasgow Pride. And the Peaches gig. And Poland. And booked tickets for Bianca Del Rio in Manchester.
img_0078And when we met Pearl, Michelle Visage, Amanda Lepore, Latrice Royale, Manila Luzon and Adore Delano.
img_0071So many good times were there this year that instead of writing about them, I decided to compile them all together in this little video collage made from my camera roll photos, photo bursts, videos and clips! Set to one of my favourite songs released this year, Little Mix’s Black Magic and featuring friends, family, dogs, gigs, good times, adventures, birthdays, parties and more… this wee video is 2015- my year in photographs!

Here’s hoping 2016 is just as memorable!  

<3

WRITE IT presents Babes In The Wood

WRITEIT pts Babes In the WoodWRITE IT began in 2013 as an idea to give Scottish writers an opportunity to produce new works for non-funded theatre and performance events. Starting off in the Glad Cafe in Glasgow’s South Side, WRITE IT has produced 7 events in Glasgow, including a Comedy night as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, themed events and self-contained shows which have proven popular with writers, performers and audiences.

Following the success of last year’s ‘NewsReview’ and ‘Cinderella’. Write It! returns with their brand new panto, ‘Babes In The Wood’. Follow the trials and tribulations of Jack and Jill as they find themselves stranded in the forest when the evil Sheriff of Hillington discovers they are worth more dead than alive! Come on down to Crossmypollok village and find out what the locals think…

Will Robin Hood (Master of Disguise) and his Merry Men save the day? Will Fairy Onseynuff conjure up a magic spell to save the little ones?

Magical fun and wicked humour for all the grown-up children out there!

BitW cast

As mentioned, following last year’s Cinderella: The Southside Slipper Story, Graeme de Banzie’s trademark absudrist and semi surrealist politically infused take on Babes in the Wood had the Glad Cafe’s audience laughing and participating in a show oozing with satire, slick wit and festive frolicks.

The audience applauded and cheered the strong comedic performances by John Scougall, Ian Macrae, Angie Cassidy, Ali McFarlane, Douglas Russell, Julie Martis & Vari Sylvester who entertained flawlessly throughout the evening.

IMG_9009

Special mention must go to Fraser de Banzie, sound and technical maestro and of course to Graeme de Banzie- writer & producer and master of ceremonies.

IMG_9010

Having attended three WRITE IT performances at the Glad cafe, I look forward to seeing what the future brings in the new year and beyond!

For news and information on WRITE IT and forthcoming events, follow on Twitter or like on Facebook!

The Diva Rules

The Diva Rules Banner

There are lessons to be learned, my children. And Michelle Visage is here to teach them. She’s my friend, my business partner and she is someone I admire very much. I love this woman, and in reading this book, I know that you will fall in love with her too.
– From the foreword by Rupaul

The one and only Michelle Visage returned to Glasgow recently while on the UK promotional tour of her new book, The Diva Rules, which promises to help us all ditch the drama, find our strength and sparkle our way to the top!

IMG_8882

Michelle Visage is not your average diva. Powerful, positive, and polished, this diva’s not only glamorous, she’s a savvy businesswoman with serious credentials who works her tail off. From her days vogueing in the downtown Manhattan clubs in the ’90s to her successful career in radio and her ultimate cult status as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Michelle has achieved her dreams and then some!

With twenty-five “Rules” designed to help you realize your diva potential, from “Be Thankful You’re A Misfit” to “Act Like A Star, Even If No One’s Watching”, The Diva Rules is chock full of Michelle Visage’s signature tough love and razor- sharp insight. Whether you’re a drag queen or work at Dairy Queen, the wisdom in these pages will inspire you, make you laugh, and above all give you what you need to get what you want out of life.

Michelle Visage

In conversation with Mary Mac and speaking to a sell out audience of boys, girls, men, women, drag queens and more, Michelle Visage spoke candidly for over an hour on her inspirations behind the book, her career before Drag Race and after Celebrity Big Brother and her philosophies on life and mindfulness. Hanging on her every word, Michelle Visage answered questions from the packed and dedicated Waterstones audience with the sort of motherly sass that her fans know and love her for. I could listen to this amazing woman all day, every day. It was almost like a live What’s The Tee Podcast, minus RuPaul of course, and Michelle Visage held the room like the true star that she is.

Jack John Diva Rules

Some say never meet your idols, and from experience this is true, but for Michelle Visage, I’ll make the exception! Embracing Jack and I with a hug and a kiss and a smile, we spoke at length about her manic schedule, having already did a book signing in Edinburgh that day, her being an inspiration, Drag Race, meeting Adore Delano the night before, the last time we met, my friends Emma and Brandon, our Twitter conversations, the What’s The Tee podcast, and the confusion of people’s names. I was renamed JIN. Or JIHN. Or just JN. JIHN and JACK. She loves us boys. QUOTE.

John MIchelle Jack

Having conversed with Michelle previously this year about Marianne Williams book, A Return To Love, and the importance of mindfulness, we discussed how The Diva Rules could be the gay version of Williams’ book and how she hopes it inspires everyone to be the best they can be. Making personal appearances must be an exhausting task, but Michelle Visage is the kind of person who lives in the moment and dedicates that moment to whoever she is in conversation with, and I loved that precious time we had with her.

Michelle Autograph

The Diva Rules…
Indeed she does!
<3

J’adore Adore!

J'adore Adore
Adore Delano B&W

Jack and I found ourselves at AXM Glasgow at the Autumn / Winter 2015 collection ‘fashion’ show by Dylan Joel. I’d like to say the collection was inspirational… but we were really there to see the one and only ADORE DELANO LIVE ON STAGE!!!

Adore Smoking

She’s polish remover. She’s ratchet couture. She’s a god damn mermaid. She doesn’t even need to try. She doesn’t give a shit. She’s fucking cool!
Adore Delano… we adore you!

Adore DTF

The one time American Idol contestant and RuPaul’s Drag Race season 6 top 3 alumni has truly propelled herself into a bona fide popstar having seen success with the debut album Till Death Do Us Party and the forthcoming Afterparty in 2016.

Having played live at the O2 Academy in Glasgow just months before, Adore Delano had the AXM audience not just lip syncing, but screaming in adoration to her every word!

A little microphone malfunction wasn’t going to interrupt Adore and her awesome rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody…

A true professional, she led the audience into finishing off the song for her, before changing mic and carrying on with the rest of her show!

John & Adore
Jack & Adore

As vibrant in person as she is on stage, Adore Delano is too fucking cool! A phenomenal drag queen, a brilliant popstar in the making and all round amazing person…
Adore… We Adore You! <3

Adore Sissy That Walk

The Amazing Amanda Lepore

The Amazing Amanda Lepore

Halloween. My favourite time of year!

Halloween 2015 group

Especially when we had the chance to go and see the living legend and Club Kid extraordinaire that is the one and only, Amanda Lepore!

Amanda Lepore Menergy

Amanda Lepore- model, socialite, singer, performance artist, musse of David LaChappelle – performing live with support from the Menergy Girls and Virgin Extravaganza, in October 2015 at AXM was the place to be in Glasgow for the very best in Halloween frockery!

Amanda Posing

We had an absolute blast before the show, during the show and after the show and we met some rather fabulous people over the course of the evening!

Halloween 2015 Collage

Jack and I, in all our Red Devil and Werewolf glory met the lady of the hour and she was the sweetest little thing ever!

Jack Amanda John

She may not know much about clothes…
But her hair looked FIERCE!

What a woman! <3

The Chop!

IMG_6279

MENERGY PRESENTS THE CHOP

Hosted by the ever amazing Lady Munter, Glasgow’s First Lady of Drag, and supported by The Muntorage – Glasgow’s premiere collective of established and emerging drag kings and queens, Menergy at AXM Glasgow is always an evening of decadence and fabulousness! Taking centre stage is always an international superstar of the drag world!

So when not one… but TWO legendary Drag Race stars take to the AXM stage, you just know you’re in for a damn good time!
Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon. Each separately are seasoned queens, fierce performers and RuPaul’s Drag Race fan favourites. Together, they’re an All Star powerhouse of drag royalty!

Having seen Menergy go from strength to strength over the years, through venue changes and everything involved in managing a very successful brand, kudos must be paid to Lady Munter and her team who run the show!

What I admire about Menergy isn’t just the well-known performers we all know and love or the Scottish queens and artists sharing the stage with the likes of Manila, Latrice, Raja, Sharon, Katya, Pearl, Bianca to name but a few… It’s the collective sense of community within the audience, the shared experience, everyone being there for the love of the art of drag. It’s always a good crowd there for a good time!

IMG_6722-0
Meeting your idols is sometimes a daunting experience but I can say hand on heart, Latrice and Manila were two of the nicest queens I have had the chance to meet! Emma and I had quite a long wait to meet them, but when we did both greeted us with a smile and a hug and air kisses (Never kiss a drag queen on the cheek! That’s just rude!) and they chatted to us for a while before we had our photos and our goodbyes! The long wait really was worth it!
And what would a meet and greet be without some autographed merchandise to add to the ever-growing collection I have! And since I am such a good, kind and thoughtful (HA!) person, I even managed to get a personalised set for Jack who couldn’t make it to this Menergy! He’ll be there next time though!

And as one Menergy closes…
Another opens right up!
Amanda Lepore. THE Amanda Lepore.
Club Kid Icon.
At Menergy. On Halloween.

Amanda Leopre GIF

It’s like all my Halloween dreams have come true!
Jack, Emma, Brandon and I alongside some others shall see y’all there!

Flazéda

Hosted by the fabulous Lady Munter at AXM, Menergy Glasgow always knows how to throw a kiki with the best of Queens! I’ve been to quite a few over the past few years and the last time was with RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7 star and top 3 finalist, Pearl!!!

Pearl gif

Meet and greet with Pearl?!
Yup!

Group shot with myself, Pearl, Jack and Ferrol?!
Oh yeah!

A good night with fabulous people?!
Absolutely!

pearl snake gif

Next up for us is Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon both of whom I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live at Menergy in years gone by! It should be a damn fine night! Click on the flyer below for ticket info!

#SelfieFromHell

I’ve taken a break from blogging over the past few months but thought I’d kick start things again with this little short film from the brilliant
YouTube filmmakers Fuck You Zombie called ‘Selfie From Hell’.

It’s less than 2 minutes long so turn your phone landscape, hit play and enjoy!

Check In Time!

ahshotl2

Ding! Ding!
It’s check in time!

AHS Hotel Poster

We lived in the Murder House… escaped the Asylum… protected the Coven and went to the Freak Show… and now it’s time to check in at the Hotel!

And it looks like a right nice place to stay…

ahs-opening-sequence-10115

Maybe…

ahs-opening-sequence-10115-2

Returning for its fifth season, American Horror Story has become one of my favourite TV shows. Seasons past delved into classic story arcs of horror- the haunted house, the deranged mental asylum, witchcraft and in a nod to Tod Browning, carnivals and freak shows. The show has had its ups and downs, as the majority of TV shows do from season to season. American Horror Story has always been all about the surface — paper-thin in terms of ideas and drama but drenched in creepy atmosphere, peekaboo depravity, multiple story arcs, style over substance… sheer escapism for the casual horror fan. Hotel promises to keep the depravity and appears to have dropped the voluptuous melodrama of Freak Show and Coven, (the season of the witch being my FAVOURITE season!) instead favouring burlesque art deco pseudo-horror with hints of David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick and David Fincher stylisation thrown into the septic tank mix.

IMG_6873

“The upcoming season that we’re doing is much more horror-based; it’s much more dark. It’s about a theme and an idea that’s very close to my heart that I’ve always wanted to do that’s a little bloodier and grislier I think than anything that we’ve done before; it’s straight horror this year.” – Ryan Murphy

The creators of the American Horror Story franchise, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, seem to enjoy creating new worlds and shows rather than sticking with them — so sometimes, a good start doesn’t always result in a satisfying ultimate conclusion. But the one-season length of American Horror Story seems to suit them just fine, and it’s impossible to wander through this first hour of Hotel without wondering, with great expectation, just what else is behind some of those doors. For this audaciously designed anthology series, this is the most visually arresting and twisted one yet — and given the history of American Horror Story, that’s both a compliment, and a warning.

For much of this year’s opener, Lady Gaga glides through without speaking, like the shimmering star of a silent horror film. She even watches one, by going to an outdoor movie in a cemetery, where hipster locals picnic near graves while watching Nosferatu. But when the Countess finally does speak, showing a young boy around some of the more hidden parts of her hotel, she makes quite a chilling impact.

AHS LADY GAGA

With Jessica Lange taking a break from the show, only time will tell if Gaga can really take on and pull off the part of leading Lady with the style, glamour and evil charm that will be missing with Lange’s absence. Fans of the show will be delighted to know that the majority of familiar faces are returning alongside some supporting stars stepping up to become season regulars:

IMG_6860
Lady Gaga as The Countess

IMG_6861
Finn Wittrock as Tristan Duffy

IMG_6862
Matt Bomer as Donovan

IMG_6868
Mare Winningham as Miss Evers

IMG_6867
Chloe Sevigny as Alex Lowe

IMG_6869
Denis O’Hare as Liz Taylor

IMG_6871
Cheyenne Jackson as Will Drake

IMG_6870
Wes Bentley as John Lowe

IMG_6866
Evan Peters as Mr March

IMG_6864
Kathy Bates as Iris

IMG_6863
Sarah Paulson as Sally

IMG_6865
Angela Bassett as Ramona

There have been rumours of Lily Rabe returning to play infamous serial killer Aileen Wuronos, alongside an appearance by supermodel Naomi Campbell and also a story arc mirroring the weird and tragic real life death of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. The mysterious real estate agent from season 1, Marcy, played by Christine Estabrook makes her return to the show in a role that will begin to show the mythological link between each season!

I’m really looking forward to seeing how the fifth season of American Horror Story plays out especially since Ryan Murphy’s other TV horror project, Scream Queens, has just hit the screens.

In a time where TV horror has become mainstream, popular, the norm… here’s hoping that Hotel packs enough punch to rise to the top!

The Mogwai In The Cupboard

IMG_2601

I have always LOVED a Mogwai!!!

IMG_1004

And I have always appreciated a hungry Gremlin!!!

Gremlin yum

Last week, I was visiting my Grandparent’s house on my birthday when my Gran had something to share with me. It was a picture of Gizmo that I had drawn and coloured-in when I was a wee boy!

My Gran has had this drawing taped to the back of a cupboard door for all these years! Bearing in mind I’m now 32 and Gremlins was released in 1984, this wee childhood drawing is over 25 years old! It’s really sweet to think that she kept my wee picture for all this time!

I Tweeted the photo to Joe Dante, who wrote and directed Gremlins, amongst some of my favourite horror movies, and he retweeted my wee childhood drawing!
IMG_2522

Long live the Mogwai in the cupboard!

IMG_2519