Make it twerk: The Big Freedia interview

BigFreedia1A lot of folks never heard the work “twerk” until last month, when Miley Cyrus’ embarrassing jiggling at the MTV Music Awards went viral. But the dance move has been around for decades, and no one knows it more than NOLA gal Big Freedia. Our celeb stalker Chris Azzopardi sat down with the Queen of Bounce to discuss the controversy, her very special gender identity and her new reality series.

Big Freedia likes big butts and she cannot lie — but, for the purpose of the dirty dance du jour known as twerking, size ain’t no thang.

“You just gotta know how to work it,” says the New Orleans-cultured bounce-music trailblazer, who asserts that even a little pancake fanny can do the job. “They have lots of flat asses in New Orleans, and they definitely know how to work ‘em.”

Expect those rumps to work and twerk on Big Freedia’s new reality show, Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce, now airing for an eight-episode run on the cable music channel Fuse. For its kick-off last week, the network hosted a throng of ass-shakers in the Big Apple. Drawing 350-plus twerkers, the first event of its kind broke into the Guinness World Records. Why now?

“Everything has its time and season,” Freedia says, “and right now is the time and season of the twerking.”

And for proof, look no further than this year’s MTV Video Music Awards last month, where Miley Cyrus generated a flurry of bad buzz for twerking up on Robin Thicke. Even Freedia wasn’t impressed.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Stop what you’re doing now to play Booty Battle

If I can’t shake my ass like Big Freedia and many of his fans in the audience, then doggone it, I’m gonna shake it online. Our favorite queer sissy-bounce artist has teamed up with Vice to present Booty Battle, the game where you have to defeat your opponent’s booty shakes to unlock a free download. And of course, master booty shaking domination. I caught some of that action when Big Freedia played The Loft in 2010.

OK, but enough of that. I gotta go werq it now and unlock that download.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: Big Freedia’s new vid, George Michael hospitalized, new album by Lambert

Spinner posted this new video by rapper Big Freedia. He told the site, “I recorded the song in response to all the people getting mad at my success. You watch that video, feel that beat and see those dancers coming hard, and I’m like ‘Na Who Mad’?” I love seeing the fringe rapper grow his profile and the video is hella fun, even with the ladies dry humping the street. Yaka yaka yaka.

The song is from the his upcoming mixtape, God Save the Queen Diva. You can download this track for free though by clicking here.

Read more Queer Music News after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: George Michael to go way gay on new album, but with whom?

The word is out that our favorite former sometimes-Dallasite George Michael is working on an album collaborating with a specific group of musicians. NME reported that “The singer, who is due to tour the UK in the winter with a 41 piece symphonic orchestra, had previously revealed that his next studio album would be made with a collective of gay artists, in an effort to ‘correct the damage’ his recent behavior had caused in ‘letting young gay kids down.’”

Now I’m a fan of Michael, but you know, I was let down too by his behavior and I KNOW his music. Our 19 year-old intern didn’t know much about Michael post-Faith. Come on, George. Us older fans want some of your attention, too.

ANYWAY, with his new vow to work with “either gay or gay friendly artists – possibly unknown ones,” I wondered who would be a good match. Minus bigger queer stars, I went from mid-range down:

  • Uh Huh Her — Sort of like the Pet Shop Boys of the lesbian crowd, this duo has cool pop chops and bring their own brand of sexy to match Michael’s. Vocally, he’d probably own them, but altogether, I’d predict a hit.
  • Big Freedia — I’m not sure if Michael could handle Freedia’s big booty bounce, but it would be fun to see him try to keep up. Michael may be the veteran, but Freedia would shine more.
  • Adam Lambert — This might be an easy call, but I think these two could be phenomenal together. There are enough similarities and differences and each would boost each other to different levels. Lambert’s big but still not huge so I think he’d fit in fine.
  • Diamond Rings — I think Michael could win with Diamond Rings writing his songs. It would bring him to an edgier level. Michael could use that without going overboard and Diamond Rings would know how to do that.
  • Sia — As much as I’d want to say yes to this, I think any collab between them would be a little odd. He’s too polished, she’s too eclectic, but vocally, they could be nice together.

That’s just what I think. Who would you pick?

—  Rich Lopez

Music Monday: Big Freedia drops free EP & video

Homo-hopper Big Freedia clearly knows how to burn the cardio as he teaches this aerobics class how to bounce the pounds away in his new video for “Excuse.” The queer rapper released this vid recently and also teamed up with Scion A/V to release a free five-song EP download on Soundcloud. Score!

He’s back on tour according to his website. These tour dates don’t include Dallas, yet, but how can we ever forget his show at The Loft here in December last year? Or his appearance at NX35 this spring? Here’s hoping he brings some of that “Azz Everywhere” back.

Scion A/V Presents: Big Freedia – Excuse from Scion A/V on Vimeo.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Big Freedia at NX35 Conferette

Big Freedia

So you might think Lady Gaga’s mini-gig Sunday night at Round-Up and S4 was the gayest show of the weekend, but sissy bounce superstar Big Freedia likely gives her a run for her money, albeit with bearded hipsters instead of club-going gays. The Denton conferette is North Texas’ answer to SXSW and they outdid themselves this year with a packed lineup including the likes of higher profile names like Mavis Staples, !!! and, yes, Big Freedia. And a few locals as well.

After the jump are three vids posted of Big Freedia’s performance, which isn’t much different than the vid I took of his show back in December.

—  Rich Lopez

NX35 Music Conferette ends today in Denton

Denton deals a pair of queens

The NX35 Music Conferette gets underway for a four-day music conference in little ol’ Denton. Little D’s answer to SXSW, NX35 gets way impressive with some pretty familiar names on the roster. The fest begins with legendary soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples and continues with outrageous sissy bouncer Big Freedia, pictured, on Saturday.

Visit here for Sunday’s schedule.

DEETS: NX35 event grounds, 110 W. Hickory St., Denton. Through March 13. 35Conferette.com

—  Rich Lopez

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 03.04

A true international male
Nikolai Alekseev has become the face of Russia’s LGBT community. He comes to Dallas to discuss the plight and triumphs of gays worldwide and how today’s community can work toward equality everywhere. Gay Liberation Network’s Andy Thayer from Chicago joins Alekseev talking about his experiences in Russia.
DEETS: Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. InterfaithPeaceChapel.org.

Saturday 03.05

Let’s try this again, shall we?
Caven celebrates Mardi Gras across its clubs with Carnivale VI. With Ricky Sinz at TMC: The Mining Company and aerial artist Amber Monson at Sue’s, the night is highlighted by the return of Cazwell at Station 4. We’re not expecting the same Super Bowl party debacle that canceled his last show here. We are expecting a major crowd, if it’s anything like his last S4 gig.
DEETS: Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. $15–$20. PartyatTheBlock.com

Thursday 03.10

Denton deals a pair of queens
The NX35 Music Conferette gets underway for a four-day music conference in little ol’ Denton. Little D’s answer to SXSW, NX35 gets way impressive with some pretty familiar names on the roster. The fest begins with legendary soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples and ends with outrageous sissy bouncer Big Freedia on Saturday.
DEETS: NX35 event grounds, 110 W. Hickory St., Denton. 35Conferette.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

If ‘Easy A’ is up for best pic, that means the GLAAD Award nominees are here

I would have mentioned Burlesque, but the Golden Globes beat GLAAD to the punch. Anyhow, those are just two of the nominees GLAAD has announced for this year’s media awards. Unfortunately the Dallas Voice missed out on all the journalism nominations, but you know, the Atlanta Journal Constitution does a great job on LGBT issues?! Congrats are in order. GLAAD’s fetish of pissing on the gay press continues, but really, who are we compared to nominee People Magazine in regards to covering the gay stuff? And hey, what about Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives?

But seriously, I am pretty stoked about the music nominations. The nominees for outstanding music artist (LGBT music artists who released an original album in 2010) are:

_________________________________________________________________________________

Antony and the Johnsons
Swanlights (Secretly Canadian)
Big Freedia
Big Freedia Hitz Vol. 1 (Big Freedia Records)
Chely Wright
Lifted Off the Ground (Vanguard Records)
Kele Okereke
The Boxer (Glassnote Records)
Scissor Sisters
Night Work (Downtown Record

I’ll go out on a limb and predict Chely Wright as the clear winner, but wouldn’t mind a Big Freedia upset. Nothing against Wright, but Freedia’s was definitely the most exciting of this bunch and took us to places many haven’t been to much before.

GLAAD also announced its Spanish-language nominees.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Big Freedia at The Loft on Saturday

Walking into The Loft at a little after 11 p.m., I was stunned how empty the place was. With the DJ at full throttle onstage playing some nice high-energy hip-hop, I had high hopes that Big Freedia had more of a following outside New Orleans. The crowd dug the DJ and bounced to the tunes and it was pretty much just a night at a dance club. Before Freedia was about to go on, the place began to fill up. Although I’m not sure all were totally Freedia fans, it was definitely a hip-hop crowd.

The gay contingent was hard to decipher. I loved how JW Richard of the new Groove Loves Melody music blog described some of the hard-to-read peeps as “undercover candy.” So true. But otherwise, a mixture of gay and straight, white, black, Latino, old and young — although definitely more young.

With just a handful of songs, Freedia threw down one pretty sweet party. Despite the fans being outnumbered by non-fans (because fans knew the words and responses),  his music is infectious and the crowd didn’t care about his frankness of being the Queen Diva of Bounce (they applauded, actually) among other things. Freedia had energy to spare and worked his dancehall calls to no end. But really, I learned a Freedia show is about that ass shaking and when the boys were besting the girls up there, it was a sight to behold. Some of the straight peeps had the “what the hell?” look, while everyone just went with the party flow and whooped and hollered.

It’s funny, because there wasn’t anything overly spectacular about the show. Freedia showed up, rapped, dance and that was it. But it was him and his music’s pumped up vibe that just flung its energy across the small venue and everyone caught it. I would dare to say that he probably won a few new fans that night who, like me, had no idea what to expect.

Here’s a glimpse of the show.

—  Rich Lopez