7 Deities

Occult-Based Original Cosplay & Media Production

Original Cosplay Character and Media Production 

Featured Artist Interview: An Afternoon with Sissy Spastik and Friends

Walking into the dimly lit orange glow that hovers inside Francesca’s Forno, I am greeted with a whiff of some of the best Italian in Wicker Park, the trendiest neighborhood in this city.  It doesn’t take me long to spot them—a long slender porcelain figure cloaked in slim-fitting black, and a tanned rotund figure with cascading braided pig-tails and an abundance of colorful ink—Robert Brady aka Sissy Spastik and Jojo Baby.

I wave to them and they return the gesture as I approach their table.  Sitting next to Sissy after greetings of hugs and kisses, I notice Jojo’s eyes constantly wandering about the six corners. We are in perfect view of foot traffic and all of the stylish bodies wandering about.

“My god, is it a ginger day.” Jojo Baby says, nearly salivating.  I agree with him as I look around to see all of the well dressed red-headed men in their Red Wings, plaid, and well-tailored coats.

“Do you like gingers?” he asks me to which I respond, “I like ginger snaps,” erupting a symphony of laughter from all of us. After ordering an afternoon Syrah, I focus my attention on my beautiful androgynous infatuation, Sissy Spastik. Asking how life’s rat race has been treating him, and what he’s been up to as of late, he perks up and starts glowing as he speaks about his recent endeavors.

Photo by Adam Ouahmane

Photo by Adam Ouahmane

“Any performances lined up that I should know about?” I ask.

“No performances as of yet”, he says nonchalantly, “But I’m hosting at Boom Boom Room at Dolphin every Sunday night, and every 2nd Friday of each Month I host at Neo.” I’m ecstatic to hear the news, as Boom Boom Room has been one of my favorite house music go-to’s for 8 of it’s 21 years of incredible existence, and Neo is always where I go to get my New Wave and Industrial fix. How far the epicene beauty has come amazes me, reminiscing on our first encounter 4 years prior, but where did it all start?

SS: “Well I first started to dabble in drag when I lived in New York in 2007. There was an annual event called the Bowie Ball at a club called Don Hill’s that I would attend and that’s kind of where it all started for me. I didn’t actually start performing until I moved back here to Chicago in 2008 at House of Santana at Berlin Nightclub. That’s where I learned more about the history of drag.“

CC:  “So you never performed in New York?

SS: “No, it was more of just going out in makeup, kind of like a club kid, gender-fuck kind of thing. That’s still what inspires me to this day, that’s always been my taste and what I’ve been attracted to. The whole androgynous look is what I’ve always loved. Like David Bowie, Grace Jones and Tilda Swinton, where there’s a bit of a different take on things. “

I smile at his remarks, as his influences are obvious; he exudes androgyny like no other I’ve seen whether in or out of drag.

Photo by Ross Images 2013

Photo by Ross Images 2013

CC:  “Did you ever dabble in drag unprofessionally before New York?”

SS: “Well as an adult [New York] was the first time that I ever went out in makeup and heels. But as a kid I would always play in my mom’s makeup. She never wore the makeup so I took it upon myself to wear it.”

CC: “How did she respond to that? Was she like ‘Oh how cute!’”

I get lost in the idea of how I would react to having a son, bound to be a future drag star. My eyes must be sparkling.

SS: “Yeah she was actually. It was okay. She’s always been very supportive, thank god. She always knew that I was different. I just didn’t know it was the word ‘gay’ until I was 16. That’s when I came out.”

CC:  “So you didn’t know what gay was when you were a kid?”

SS: “No, I always knew that I was different. Living in a small town, [people] were always like ‘You freak’ or ‘You weirdo’. So I never had any friends growing up. I never trusted anyone because I always thought they were out to get me. It took me awhile as an adult to realize that, no every isn’t out to get me, there are good people in the world.”

“No there aren’t,” I remark with a sinister laugh.

“You are sadly mistaken,” JoJo Baby pipes in, and the laughter dances out of us again. “They are out to get you,” he says, now with a humorless tinge, and I gulp considering the array of true colors he’s undeniably seen throughout his epic history.

 

 

CC: “Tell me about the first time that you did drag and how it’s different from how you do drag now.”

SS: “Oh wow…god. Well, I did more of like a gender-fuck kind of thing. Like doing my makeup and not caring about the silhouette of the body because I was always thin to begin with.  So I would always wear like, skinny jeans and stiletto heels, but I would always make sure that my makeup was on point. I would always make sure that I had a head piece, like a hat or something. I’ve always been obsessed with hats, ever since I was a kid.”

CC:  “So it’s just been a change of how you look, not how you feel?”

SS: “ Oh I feel…drag has made me a lot more confident as a guy, actually. “

CC: "So you feel that drag has improved you as a person, as whole?”

SS: “Yeah. It’s so complex.”

Jojo Baby speaks up about appearance and his experience being a visual artist and a club kid. “See, it’s different. I can’t go out without being dressed up, because I’ve built up a persona. I don’t think this is interesting,” he says waving his hands in front of his body, bringing attention to his casual dress.

Jojo continues with, “Somebody told me once that that’s how girls feel. They think of it as their armor. That’s how I think of makeup, as armor. I call it putting on the Goddess.”

The waiter arrives and asks if we want dessert, and it feels as if things here are coming to an end

CC: “Do you have any long-term goals for doing drag?“

SS: “Well I really like what’s happening now.  I’m having so much fun modeling in drag. It’s been a humbling experience to be photographed by such cool artists that I look up to like Casey Vange and Kyle LaMere.  I feel fortunate to host [at Boom Boom Room] with an Icon and someone that I call my friend.

Sissy motions to Jojo as he continues to speak about him.

Jojo Baby and Sissy at Boom Boom Room

Jojo Baby and Sissy at Boom Boom Room

SS: He’s a good friend of mine. He’s an artist first and foremost. I get territorial of Jojo when people call him a drag queen because that’s not what he is. He’s 

a club kid.  He’s an artist foremost, and he has a heart of gold, I always brag about that. He’s never chCC:  “Did you ever dabble in drag unprofessionally before New York?”

SS: “Well as an adult [New York] was the first time that I ever went out in makeup and heels. But as a kid I would always play in my mom’s makeup. She never wore the makeup so I took it upon myself to wear it.”

CC: “How did she respond to that? Was she like ‘Oh how cute!’”

I get lost in the idea of how I would react to having a son, bound to be a future drag star. My eyes must be sparkling.

SS: “Yeah she was actually. It was okay. She’s always been very supportive, thank god. She always knew that I was different. I just didn’t know it was the word ‘gay’ until I was 16. That’s when I came out.”

CC:  “So you didn’t know what gay was when you were a kid?”

SS: “No, I always knew that I was different. Living in a small town, [people] were always like ‘You freak’ or ‘You weirdo’. So I never had any friends growing up. I never trusted anyone because I always thought they were out to get me. It took me awhile as an adult to realize that, no every isn’t out to get me, there are good people in the world.”

“No there aren’t,” I remark with a sinister laugh.

“You are sadly mistaken,” JoJo Baby pipes in, and the laughter dances out of us again. “They are out to get you,” he says, now with a humorless tinge, and I gulp considering the array of true colors he’s undeniably seen throughout his epic history.

CC: “Tell me about the first time that you did drag and how it’s different from how you do drag now.”

SS: “Oh wow…god. Well, I did more of like a gender-fuck kind of thing. Like doing my makeup and not caring about the silhouette of the body because I was always thin to begin with.  So I would always wear like, skinny jeans and stiletto heels, but I would always make sure that my makeup was on point. I would always make sure that I had a head piece, like a hat or something. I’ve always been obsessed with hats, ever since I was a kid.”

CC:  “So it’s just been a change of how you look, not how you feel?”

SS: “ Oh I feel…drag has made me a lot more confident as a guy, actually. “

CC: "So you feel that drag has improved you as a person, as whole?”

SS: “Yeah. It’s so complex.”

Jojo Baby speaks up about appearance and his experience being a visual artist and a club kid. “See, it’s different. I can’t go out without being dressed up, because I’ve built up a persona. I don’t think this is interesting,” he says waving his hands in front of his body, bringing attention to his casual dress.

Jojo continues with, “Somebody told me once that that’s how girls feel. They think of it as their armor. That’s how I think of makeup, as armor. I call it putting on the Goddess.”

The waiter arrives and asks if we want dessert, and it feels as if things here are coming to an end

CC: “Do you have any long-term goals for doing drag?“

SS: “Well I really like what’s happening now.  I’m having so much fun modeling in drag. It’s been a humbling experience to be photographed by such cool artists that I look up to like Casey Vange and Kyle LaMere.  I feel fortunate to host [at Boom Boom Room] with an Icon and someone that I call my friend.

Sissy motions to Jojo as he continues to speak about him.

anged, he’s always been what he is. I consider you my mentor actually.”

Jojo says in response, ”I think of my characters as monsters, some are just prettier than others.”

SS: “Well they’re all interesting. Even if you do, for example, something that’s Star Wars inspired, you still make it your own…that’s what a true artist does. I don’t know if I would do drag though, if Jojo wasn’t here in the city. I don’t know it’s just not the same. I don’t wanna get all emotional on you.”

Giggling, I am touched by the raw honesty in the exchange, and am delighted to have had the chance to spend my afternoon with such talent and good souls.