By Laura Latzko, July 2018 Issue.
The art of modern-day storytelling is a careful combination of interpersonal communication and, in most cases, a multimedia platform.
Digital advances, such as YouTube and Facebook Live have allowed content generators to reaching wider audiences more effortlessly and engaging in real time has become the new norm.
While most digital media consumers adapt to such innovations with the intention of staying in closer contact with friends and family, others are using them to connect marginalized or geographically separated like-minded individuals – and the results have been increasingly valuable for advocacy and visibility.
Among the individuals blazing this trail for digital community, is drag king Freddy Prinze Charming and drag queen Felicia Minor who have been documenting their stories and life experiences through their show “Let’s Have a Fefe,” since December 2012.
These co-hosts are no stranger to a stage – Minor is a former Miss Gay Supernova USofA Newcomer and Charming is a former Mister Phoenix Pride and Mister Arizona USofA MI Classic Emeritus – but their show platform is much different.
Co-hosts with the Mostess
Each Wednesday evening, Minor invites the world into her drag room for an intimate conversation with her and Charming. From there, the hosts tackle a wide range of topics, including larger political and social issues, sex and lifestyle tips, happenings in their own lives, offbeat news and local people and events.
“We try to keep it very diversified, so [there’s] not just one thing we’re going after,” Minor said. “It’s for everybody. Even though it’s a drag queen and a drag king posting it, it’s still about everyday issues and conversations.”
For Minor, providing a space for others to engage and have their voices heard was important from the beginning.
“I don’t really do it for the views or the popularity,” she said. “I do it to be a voice in the community and be one of the spokes in the wheel.”
Although the show didn’t start out necessarily intended as a space for LGBTQ advocacy, it has taken on that responsibility over the years, according to Charming, who added that hot-button topics related to politics, civil rights, intersectionality or trans issues tend to spark the most conversation.
“We try find the middle ground where we will talk about [timely political issues], and yes we get heated …but it’s not every episode, and that’s not our end goal,” Charming said, adding that
Beyond politics, Charming said he finds the show to be a useful platform for discussing specifics that may be a little more taboo or uncomfortable for other outlets to cover.
“We’ve brought a lot of awareness, I think, while talking about trans issues, race issues, politics, and such. I think it’s a great way for our audience to not only be entertained, but informed, and maybe even educated,” he said. “Not all drag performers are shallow and vapid, and I think ‘Fefe’ demonstrates that. We don’t just talk about hair, or makeup, or ‘the T,’ We talk about real things that matter.”
Serving up Reali-tea
“We didn’t go into [the show] waving a rainbow flag or anything. But over the years, it’s evolved into a platform where we can talk about things uncensored,” Charming said, whether it’s their day-to-day occurrences, personal accomplishments or a sentiment on a universal issue. “And we encourage our audience … to be able to talk about things as well.”
From the start, Charming and Minor have also used the platform as an outlet for sharing details about their personal lives.
“[Viewers] get to know us better than most performers,” Minor said. “Sometimes, you see [a performer] at the bar, and you go on and you never hear from them, or you see their social media posts … You don’t get to watch them talk about their opinions on day-to-day conversations.”
Among topics discussed, Minor has shared her experiences as her father underwent cancer treatment. Charming has openly discussed his transition, even tuning in remotely post-op surgery.
“For me personally, being able to share my transition with that forum has been beneficial, not just for me but for other folks,” Charming said.
Through the show, Minor said she has also become more educated on issues facing the trans community.
“My best conversations have been about the trans community and the struggles for trans people. I’ve learned so much from [Charming],” she said. “In general, I was a late-bloomer gay. Learning more about the trans community has been a learning process. I’m still learning.”
An Interactive Experience
Although the show is Valley based, many viewers tune in from other parts of the country. For some individuals, watching the show live is a regular part of their Wednesday nights.
“As far as what we do and what we talk about, there’s really nothing in Phoenix that is like that,” Charming said. “We do it because we enjoy it. We do it because we have our regulars that watch us, and we do it because people keep asking us to do it.”
Each episode, viewers are encouraged to ask questions and contribute show ideas. Often, the hosts will mention or joke around with regular viewers.
“Webcasts and vlogs are a great way to feel connected to like-minded folks,” Charming added. “You can often find answers to questions, or even connect with other viewers.”
As part of his “Just the Tip” segment, Charming discusses lifestyle and sex-related topics., including fetishes, adult toys, safety and consent in BDSM and subcultures within and beyond the LGBTQ community.
“Twenty years ago, if you were a queer individual looking for other like-minded queer individuals, you were limited in your options,” he said. “Your identity may not have fit in whatever box your local support group put you in. But, you stuck with it, because it was harder to get out there and find what you were looking for. Now, if you’re looking for other queer, trans, pansexual, leather daddy, bearded queens like yourself, all you have to do is hop online!”
Be Our Guest
In its own way, Charming said the show has become part of the current storytelling movement – in large part due to the wide variety of guests who also serve as storytellers within their respective episodes.
When booking guests, Minor said individuals who can contribute something important and relevant to the conversation is a top consideration.
“I look for people who can offer more than, ‘[I] just want to be on the show,’” she said. “I don’t want to book you just because you’re pretty. I want to book you because you have a reason to be there.”
In the past, the two have hosted special guests such as author Adam Martinez, Mystique Summers from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Aneesh from Live 101.5’s “The Morning Mess,” local body painter Brandon McGill, transgender veteran Carla Lewis and country singer Drake Jensen.
In some cases, guests – including Empress XI Sophia Sinclair – have taken on co-hosting duties when one of the hosts can’t be there.
“We’re always looking for guests,” Charming said. “If you, or someone you know, would make a good guest, shoot us a message.”
The pair wrapped the show’s sixth season May 23 and they’re already crowdsourcing ideas for concepts, topics and guests to fill the season ahead, which will be approximately 30 episodes (weeks) in length.
While drag isn’t at the forefront of many of the episodes, the stage is where the co-hosts met and serves as the foundation of their friendship and their brand.
Through their drag experiences in the local community, Minor and Charming developed a strong friendship and a natural chemistry which makes their on-show banter seamless.
“We always had a pretty good chemistry from go. In my minimal interactions with her at the time, we always had a good rapport, and we always got along really well,” Charming said. “Now, with the chemistry that we have, if one of us does something, it’s almost better if we both do it, in terms of hosting, because we feed off each other.”
They often perform together at local shows and events, and Minor is a regular in Spotlight, Charming’s variety show at The Cash Nightclub and Lounge, which is also where the pair hosts Truth or Dare Drag Bingo together on Thursday nights.