The law of nature states, "that which dresses up must eventually dress down", and Micah McCain is taking it all off to prove to the world there’s talent underneath his drag queen alter ego. Micah’s self proclaimed "un-drag" show entitled "Unshaven" hits Chicago's Bailiwick Theatre November 2nd and proves to be an entertaining, tongue in cheek, musical delight. I caught up with Micah while he was in LA to dish about clothes, celebrity clients, and his decision to leave the drag behind.
JB: So how hectic is your schedule when you arrive? Are you making time to see the sights, and live it up Chi-style?
MM: It's a little in and out. I get in Saturday 10/29 in the afternoon and then I have to run to the theater for rehearsals for the Trailblazer Awards. I might stay a little after to play.
JB: Chicago’s a lovely city.
MM: I love Chicago! I usually go like twice a year. Once in the summer and once in the winter. I love the people, the views, the scape, all of it. I think the next time I take a break from LA it will be in Chicago, from March-November haha.
JB: The summers the best. I’d say steer clear of the winter months if you’re not a native.
MM: Yeah I remember this past Christmas we were leaving Big Chicks and we were laughing and talking and all of a sudden it got really quite... and we looked up at the bank sign and it was in the 20's, horrifying, we were so cold we had to stop talking.
JB: Would you say you’re a total west coast boy?
MM: I don't know really. I'm originally from Los Angeles, so maybe that's why I don't get what that means. When I go to NY I totally get it, or Florida; they are so Miami, but what is the west coast? I'm not sure...
JB: There seems to be a different feeling between the coasts and the Midwest.
MM: Well, Chicago has my favorite gays in all the places I've been in the states.
JB: We sure are inviting (wink).
MM: In LA People don't really talk to people and I don't get what that's about. Every time I get to Chicago I always make new friends, can't say the same about LA.
JB: What made you decide to bring your show here or to the Bailiwick?
MM: I'm working on putting a tour together and "Unshaven" was well received here, when I thought about where I would want to do the show and who I would want to perform for and who I'd like to ... well share with, Chicago was the top of the list.
JB: Who were some of your favorite people or jobs you worked on?
MM: Doing wardrobe for the Ty Pennnington’s Sears Commercials, he was very wonderful.
Natalie Rotano, who was on VIP with Pam Anderson, she was also really nice. It's all creative, fun work and you get paid to shop.
JB: So tell me about "Unshaven", your decision to ditch the drag.
MM: I think it all started when I realized I had more women's clothing then I did men’s. I have this walk in closet and it's divided in half and as the gowns would overtake the button downs I realized I was a single gay man who had more pumps then he did sneakers and something had to be done about it.
JB: A roadblock in every gay mans life I’m sure.
MM: There was a time when I only went out in drag and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get a date...drag does that to you. You get all this attention and I didn't realize it was from being in drag I though it was just me...but it wasn't it was the queen, haha. So I decided that if I was gonna ever get a boyfriend or have my closet back I was gonna have to start being me and just start wear bronzer instead of foundation!
JB: Would you ever sport the wig again?
MM: It's freeing. Ever since I was a little boy dressing up in my moms clothes I wanted to be pretty and skinny and when I was in drag I was that. Every now and then I do it for work.
There is a fabulous club out here called Dragstrip 66 and I perform there, say every few months...and I also just booked a role on the TV show Las Vegas where I’ll be in drag. We shoot on Tuesday. I had my fitting today at the studio.
JB: Grab Josh Duhamel’s butt for me.
MM: You bet his sweet ass I will...
JB: Without the persona to sort of stand behind, is it harder to perform? And do you get a little stage fright from it?
MM: Not anymore. At first I was terrified, but then I realized I'm the same person inside even though the exterior sometimes changes....and it (the show, music, writing) all comes from inside.
JB: Are there elements from the show that are inspired by anything?
MM: I do a number from Wicked that was inspired after seeing the show. Is it wrong to relate to a green witch?
JB: Oh, Wicked's a hit here.
MM: I remember hearing her sing about meeting the Wizard and what she expected and that's how I felt about meeting my future husband. Instead of the Wizard and I, I call it My Boyfriend and I.
JB: Still looking for your wizard?
MM: Yes. But one day he'll say to me "Elphaba..."
JB: Hopefully not.
MM: (laughs) Right! Hopefully not.
JB: Are there any trends you absolutely cannot stand?
MM: Did they ever have "arm warmers" out there?
(They were like leg warmers but for the arms....) They had them here and I wanted to pull them off the girl I saw wearing them, and slap her in the face with them, haha. Other than that. It made me cry when Jelly Bracelets came back in.
JB: Yeah thanks Lance Armstrong, so what are some of your favorite things to see people wear...or wear yourself?
MM: Well, God Bless Urban Outfitters, and I’d say Women and Hats. Can someone please bring back hats! I also really love when ladies were high heels with jeans and a tank top with a red bra or something showing from under it. It's very sporty/trendy/feminine/androg. For Men, I love jeans, with a blazer (with elbow pads) and patterned button down under it. I would cum if that outfit had a newsboy cap too...
JB: Ah yes, I have the token gay boy assortment of newsboy caps myself.
MM: Right? Thank you.
JB: Has your show been well received by other audiences?
MM: "Unshaven" has been a hit with the gays, the girls and even the straight guys. The show has everything. Comedy, music, drama and costume changes.
JB: I didn’t know there were costume changes...how fun!
MM: Let's not reveal too much, I wouldn't want to spoil the finale.
JB: Of course, of course, so are you dressing up for Halloween?
MM: I was Elphaba last year and would love to do that again...
JB: That must have been a bitch to get off.
MM: It was tragic. I found green all over everything! I guess you can take the boy out of the drag, but you can't take the drag out of the boy.
JB: So what can we expect from your show sans lipstick and panty hose?
MM: Wow, that's a good question, Honesty, Comedy, a look at a man who didn't know he was hiding behind himself...Set to music.
(“Unshaven” runs through November 13 at the Bailiwick Theatre, 1229 W. Belmont Avenue, 773-883-1090. Show times are Wed/Thur/Fri @ 8pm; Sat 7pm; Sun 5pm. Tickets are $20.)
Interview by Justin Boltz
Justin takes us through the glamorous world of fashion and style with a unique voice that always proves to be provacative. As a contributer for both Gay Chicago Magazine and ChicagoPride.com, nothing's ever off limits with this youngster columnist.