A GoPride Interview

Prince Poppycock

Prince Poppycock: The cost of the costumes vary, but one thing remains constant....they keep getting more expensive!

Wed. August 10, 2011  by Mark Nagel

The cost of the costumes vary, but one thing remains constant....they keep getting more expensive!
Prince Poppycock

Grab Magazine's Mark Nagel interviews Prince Poppycock, appearing at Market Days on Saturday

Prince Poppycock came to national attention in 2010 when he competed on the fifth season of America's Got Talent.

MN: (Mark Nagel:/Grab Magazine) America first got to know you on America's Got Talent, are talent shows like this a good experience?

PP: (Prince Poppycock) Good or bad they are proven themselves here to stay. The powers that be, and the channels of access have become redefined in a new way over the past decade. The Music Studio system is currently crashing in the same manner the Film industry collapsed decades ago. No longer will an artist be coddled or developed. They must develop themselves, and then show up and prove themselves consistently to the gate keepers. A lot of those gate keepers these days take the form of reality television talent competitions. That doesn't seem to be changing either, if anything it's becoming more accepted as the way things are done.

MN: I have some friends who made it a few rounds and they don't have the best things to say about America's Got Talent...how were you treated?

PP: It's not for the meek. You must steel yourself and develop a thick skin. You also have to be crafty about having to take off unpaid time from work. The production staff of AGT (my personal producer Brian Updyke, hair and make up, staging and choreography, the wardrobe department, and we can't forget special effects and sound and lighting) are all there to make you look like a star. They sincerely want to put on the best show possible. The judges are simply fulfilling roles and you can't judge them for doing that. I will speak out however and say that AFTRA rules should be changed like they were on American Idol. It's unfair for a talent that has proven themselves to be valuable to the success of that season of the show (say the top 24 or 15 contestants), should not be operating under AFTRA contestant contracts, and should be given the full rights and privileges of a performer under AFTRA rules.

MN: What is Sharon Osbourne like?

PP: She is absolutely lovely, I feel without her advocacy I would have never made it to the finals. On the finale night she gave me a beautiful Chanel silk scarf, which I wore for my performance with Donna Summer. I asked for her contact information but I was never able to thank her properly. THANKS SHARON!

MN: Growing up what singers/ performers inspired you?

PP: It's obvious to anyone that I am a severely Bowie damaged individual. His impression on me from a young age is indelible. My experience in choirs, and other musical groups from a young age inspired my love for classical and traditional music. I will out myself as an Anglophile and also say that Morrissey, and Peter Gabriel were equally inspiring in my formative years.

MN: When was the first time you performed as Prince Poppycock?

PP: I was very taken by the philosophy of the French existentialists in my early twenties, especially "The Myth of Sisyphus" by Albert Camus. He discusses the absurd nature of life as the main problem that we as humans face in life. As a result I embraced absurdity, and came to the realization that instead of bemoaning our fate, the only logical conclusion was to celebrate and enjoy the nonsensical nature of reality. In 2005 I was seriously considering starting a nightclub called 'Poppycock' as an homage to that celebratory feeling I longed to cultivate in the world. As fate would have it, a friend asked me to perform at her club instead. I performed "Largo al Factotum" as John Quale, but dressed as a baroque dandy. Unexpectedly it was a runaway hit. I was then asked to repeat the performance at clubs and venues all over town, and began performing under the name ‘Prince Poppycock'. The rest is history.

MN: Personality wise what is the difference between Prince Poppycock and John?

PP: John is quite reserved and a bit dissociative in his approach to life. He's content being on the sidelines having a nice conceptual conversation about film, art or fashion. The Prince on the other hand won't be satisfied until he is the center of attention wearing something fabulous and putting on a show!

MN: You have amazing costumes, who designs and makes them?

PP: In the beginning of the journey (2006) I was stitching them all myself (and they looked it!). Over the years I've gotten the help of some amazingly talented individuals. Right now my main team is Venus DeMille (aka Sharon McGunigle) Steve LaNasa, and Anthony Garcia My milliner is Kim Brown Dye for Topsy Turvy. It's collaborative process that never seems to be the same way twice.

MN: I have to be tacky and ask ....how much do you spend on each costume?

PP: The cost of the costumes vary, but one thing remains constant....they keep getting more expensive! You can't blame me for having good taste!

MN: Do you design your make up?

PP: I don't believe in make up. I think it's a denial of who you are and tantamount to cheating in the cutthroat world of competitive beauty. Accusing me of using make up is like accusing Lance Armstrong of doping! The unmitigated gall of you sir!

MN: When you bring a new number in your show does the song or the costume come first?

PP: Every experience tends to be different. The one constant that remains true is my love of learning about fascinating things. There never seems to be a lack of inspiration to draw from. The world is so very full of things!

MN: You are going to be performing at the 2011 Market Days, what can

your Chicago fans expect to see?

PP: I have an adorable new summer ensemble that I'm hoping to keep me cool. If not then all the Chicago Poppies can expect to see my face MELT OFF! LOL! So place your bets now on that one folks. Other then that I'm picking my favorite song vignettes and putting them together for my funnest show yet!

MN: What's next for Prince Poppycock?

PP: I'm currently working on my theatrical debut in my own show: "Prince Poppycock in 'His Royal Nonsense.'" It's a short history of royalty that will take the audience from the beginning of civilization, to present day and beyond through song, dance and laughter. It's an attempt to show us all that absurdity (or Poppycock) has always been with us, and that royalty is not simply something to be worshiped from afar, but something to be cultivated within ourselves. I've also been working on my debut record, which is currently being self- produced - it's a combination of opera and rock. I'm excited to work with my long time friend and mentor Kristian Hoffman - known for his incredible work with Klaus Nomi and punk band The Mumps - as well as other talented musicians and producers. We're creating something accessible, esoteric, and insane....with a beat that you can dance to.

MN: Best way to keep up with Prince Poppycock?

PP: www.princepoppycock.com as well as www.facebook.com/princepoppycock official and @princepoppycock digital reality is the only real reality........ everything else is just a hallucination.

Interview by Mark Nagel for Grab magazine

Prince Poppycock will be performing on the North Stage at Market Days Saturday August 13th at 7pm.

Interviewed by Mark Nagel


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