Localized: SLUG’s All-Ages LGBTQ+ Variety Show
SLUG’s June Localized showcase is a one-of-a-kind, all-ages variety show featuring up-and-coming young’uns in Utah’s LGBTQ+ community. The show is hosted by Tara Lipsyncki at Kilby Court on Thursday, June 15. Doors open at 7 p.m. and performances start at 8 p.m. Don’t forget to bring cash to tip your performers! SLUG Localized is sponsored by Riso-Geist
Tara Lipsyncki is our host for the evening and an incredibly talented performer in her own right. Tara has been making waves in the SLC LGBTQ+ arts and drag communities over the last few years, primarily drawing attention (both positive and, unfortunately, reactionary) for her staunch, outspoken activism in the community and her support of drag as an all-ages activity for both participants and attendees through her Bes-TEAS events at Tea Zaanti. Her support and assistance in establishing this lineup of all-ages performers was crucial. Throughout June, Tara will host and participate in a number of other events, including the RIOT! Pride Street Fair (June 2–4), an alternative Pride weekend festival centered on accessibility, inclusivity and radical queer activism. Read more about Lipsyncki in her full Bold & Beautiful feature, published on SLUGMag.com in April.
20-year-old Varrie Warm has been performing since they were 16. In 2021, the Utah Arts Alliance approached them for a show and launched their now-blooming drag career. Uniquely, Varrie is one of only a few performers in SLC who does ASL interpretations along with their lip syncing. “Growing up, I was ignored/excluded from a lot of things,” they say. “With my drag, I like to make sure no one in the crowd ever feels excluded.” Depending on the show, Varrie can be found sporting a wide variety of different looks—glamorous, provocative, regal or esoteric. “Drag is a spectrum, and I love it for that,” they say. “You don’t have to strictly be a beauty queen, a comedy queen [or] even a horror queen,” though they do note being more of a “Dragula” than they are a “RuPaul.” Varrie has performed alongside Tara Lipsycnki at Bes-TEAs shows and will be reviving their paranormal/supernatural drag YouTube channel this summer.
“For as long as I remember, I’ve always been obsessed with three things,” says White Chocolate: “makeup and it’s transformative abilities, music and performance art, and the women in my life that have inspired me.” Drag opened an avenue to explore and honor all three of these things. She’s been performing since 17 but really hit the scene when she won Miss Gay Utah Youth in January. Of her performance style, White Chocolate says that, “My female role models greatly influence what I perform on stage,” citing Madonna and Lady Gaga as especially prominent influences. “A lot of my drag consists of looks that I’ve replicated from iconic world tours, award show performances” and more, she says. A lifelong, classically trained singer, she also enjoys live singing on stage. In addition to performing at June’s Bes-TEAS event, White Chocolate will appear at some events with the Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire.
Another of Tara Lipsyncki’s recurring BES-Teas collaborators, Lavender Couture is a fiery and poised performer coming up in the scene. Having been experimenting with drag presentation and performance since she was a teenager, Lavender found solace, confidence and a community through her art. “Drag really means a lot to me,” she says. “It saved my life.” As a performer still outlining her own unique stage persona, Lavender embraces the versatility of the art form. “I don’t really like to stick to one thing,” she says. Within this wide range, though, a few characteristics recur in her looks—high-femme glamor, horror aesthetics, audacious hairstyles and more. Keep an eye out for Lavender at future BES-Teas events and, assuredly, a host of other drag shows. For further insight into their surreal and humorous persona, follow the artist on TikTok at the handle listed above.
Shapes Named Soap
The trio of Shapes Named Soap—Finn providing guitar and vocals, Annukka on bass and Tree playing drums—describe themselves as “16 year olds singing songs about gender identity and the human condition.” Led by siblings Finn and Annukka, the group creates folk-driven indie rock with lyrics that dive into their experiences living outside of the gender binary. Their first performance occurred during SLCPL’s 12 Minutes Max series and found the group accompanied by aspiring filmmaker Annukka’s visuals and drums by their father, renowned SLC music figure Dave Payne (Jazz Jaguars, Red Bennies, etc.). Finn is also a member of the Spy Hop–sponsored outfit The Dayside, who made their debut pair of performances throughout April and May. Later this summer, Shapes Named Soap will perform at the 15th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival, and The Dayside (@the_dayside) will continue to perform throughout the city.
June Rose is one of the most exciting young voices on the SLC folk scene. In the past few years, they’ve shared the stage with the likes of P.S. Destroy This, Lit’l Grim, Who Killed Candace and more. The diversity of these artists speaks to a universal quality in Rose’s music—though sonically existent in the stripped-back and instrumentally bare realm of indie folk, Rose’s powerful voice and biting lyrics can find analogues in genres as varied and punk, jazz and more. Much of their music remains unrecorded and unreleased, but a treasure trove of videos on their Instagram and TikTok provides insight into their unique brand of emotive crooning. A recent post with a song titled “Nothing Stays” illustrates this poetic persona well: “In the back lot / With the shit cars / And the old stars / I’m running away with a time bomb / That’s about to go off.”