Drag Art

4 Reasons You Absolutely Need to See Pepper Pepper's New Show

The Portland drag performer's new solo work dances through uncertainty to some cracking diva tunes.

By Kayla Brock October 25, 2017

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Being fabulous takes practice. Portland drag artist and diva extraordinaire Pepper Pepper is proof. This year alone he’s already clocked more than 100 shows, including the wondrous Critical Mascara swan song at TBA last month.

Pepper has been working on Diva Practice—the show and its underpinning artistic philosophy—for the past three years, touring eight states and completing four residencies thanks in part to an award from Oregon Art Commission. Now he’s back in Portland and ready to debut his “multimedia maelstrom of Pepper Pepper uncovering the psyche and specialness of DIVA” for hometown audiences. Here are four reasons you really should check it out.

  1. It’s a high-tech experience: Anyone who saw Pepper’s Critical Mascara performance got a sneak preview of how technology is informing the artist’s newest work—what he could do with a phone, a big screen, and some of the industry’s most expressive lips was mesmerizing. Expect more in the new show. With help from the software program Isadora, Pepper creates a live visual—think voice-activated color changes, video triggers, and some serious screen time. “I’m surprised about the direction [Diva Practice] turned. Technology as video work is new to me, but is opening worlds of practice and worlds of dance,” says Pepper. “That’s exciting to me.” 
  1. It’s Pepper going solo: His show has evolved from focusing on a relationship between dance partners to a solo show that’s about “engineering a space for the craft (of dancing) practice to be deeper and meaningful.” Says the artist: “It’s not determined by others, but generated by myself and the unknown.” 
  1. The musical score alone will make you channel your own inner diva: Music from legends such as Barbara Streisand, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli and more is heavily featured in the show as a showcase of divas throughout history. It’s gonna be big, bold, and with a heavy dollop of drama. 
  1. There's a Trump mask. Pepper Pepper on politics? Sign us up.

Diva Practice

8 p.m. Oct 26–29 and Nov 2–5, Headwaters Theatre, $20

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