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Kings of Joy podcast interview with Katie aka Randy Rootrat: finding community & making art

drag king kings of joy kings of joy all-stars lgbtqia+ podcast the king coach Sep 16, 2022

Danica Lani 0:00
Hello, and welcome everyone. My name is Danica Lani, and I'm known as the King Coach. I'm a choreographer, also known as Mother of Drag Kings and Daddy Joy. And welcome to my podcast. I'm thrilled to introduce to you today, my very special guest, Katie Lambert, aka Randy Rootrat.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 0:22
Hello everybody, nice to be here.

Danica Lani 0:25
Welcome, Randy.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 0:27
Thank you. It's a treat.

Danica Lani 0:29
Yeah, it is. So we've been working together for a while now.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 0:33
About two years, I believe. Maybe a little more.

Danica Lani 0:38
Fantastic. And so do you want to let us know a bit about how we, how did we meet? Have we even start working together?

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 0:47
It was right after the first of the year, like end of January, and I answered an ad that was on the Creative Sydney space on Facebook that said, 'Have you ever thought of being a Drag King?' And then after being a major fan of drag, especially Drag Kings for many years, seeing them everywhere I've ever lived, I was like, 'Yes, I want to be a Drag King!' And I have no background in theatre or dance performance or anything like that. So it was sort of a stretch for me. And I got a call from Chris telling me what it was all about and thinking it was a good fit. And then they were like, okay, you'll be performing in three weeks... What do you mean three weeks?

Danica Lani 1:30
I think you were in group number two.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 1:33
So at the very beginning.

Danica Lani 1:36
We did not give people very much time did we?

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 1:38
Figuring it all out. But it was so perfect, because I think any more time I probably would have backed out of it and gave myself an excuse or something. And once I did it, I was hooked. It was such a great experience. Not only meeting people, which is a wonderful part of it, but just that I knew that I could do something like that all on my own. And just the natural high that you get from doing something like that, and putting yourself out there. And it was a fabulous, fabulous evening. Great experience.

Danica Lani 2:11
Yes. And tell us about the routine and your Drag King buddies that you were in.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 2:17
I did Uptown Funk with the legendary George St. AKA Cara Whitehouse. And Monty, who is a lovely bloke, also, Camilla was great. And we picked Uptown Funk to do it too. And we just had a lot of joy working out the routine with you and getting into the characters. Just kind of getting this camaraderie between the three characters, George, Monty, and Randy and three lads out on the town for the night and getting into a bit of trouble. And going all out. So yeah, it was really fun. And when we redid it for Drag Kingdom a few weeks ago, it was even more fun, because we had some time to sit with the characters and they were all playing back together, which was sort of our theme for the night anyway, originally, the dance for the three buddies getting together for a night out. We hadn't seen each other for a while when we redid it the second time, and I think we all felt more comfortable doing it. And we just really had a laugh, just leaning in, as they say and making the most of it.

Danica Lani 3:25
That's so great. Yeah, there was certainly great chemistry on stage between the three of you.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 3:31
I'm so lucky to have met them and have that experience with them for sure. Lovely people.

Danica Lani 3:37
Yes. Yeah. People talk about that about the bond that you have with your Kings of Joy group.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 3:44
And it's true, it's there. It's like you go through something together, learning about yourself, learning about other people and what they've gone through and just coming all together as a group to do your very best and put it out there for fun. Entertainment.

Danica Lani 4:03
Yeah. A whole lot of fun. And so you didn't just stop there, though did you?

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 4:09
Oh no, once I got that little bug, I was hooked. I wanted to do it again. I kept asking them, When are the boys getting back together? And they're like, No, we're done. So but I wanted to do more. And you know, of course, I've signed up for Kings of Joy Gold Stars, which is the group of the I guess that was the first time with Uptown Funk. And then we did All Stars. I've done All Stars twice, which is really exciting for me because it was a whole new group of people that I would have probably never met and who I really adore, and I'm glad they're in my life. Plus, I got to learn more about the Backstreet Boys and their music because somehow even though I lived through the 90s I missed that genre. So the Backstreet Boys were back.

Danica Lani 4:58
Yes, that's awesome. So take us back... Do you remember your first Drag King performance you ever saw?

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 5:09
It would have been in Denver. I like to use the phrase at the turn of the century. So we're talking maybe, late 90s, early 2000s. And there was a little bar on Broadway 90 or 60 South, I think it was, and they had a drag performance every Wednesday night. And it was usually Queens, but there was one King that would just get up there and rock it. And then I started talking to them more. And they said, Well, you can go to other shows. And so I would see more when they were on. And we didn't have Facebook or Instagram to quickly find out where these shows were. So it was a little bit of a stretch.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 5:51
But then even going to Manchester, England were I lived for a while, I worked for a festival called Queer Up North. And that was really fun, because they had a Drag night. And they were showing a video of the Drag Kings in New York City, I forgot the name of the movie, but it's a really great documentary of one bar there. And we put everyone in drag as they came in. Nothing professional, just eyeliner, and eyeshadow. And my partner and I worked that door with our little goatee and mustache of eyeliner, and welcomed everyone in to see the show. And it was great. Manchester is another lovely queer and drag scene where they just are really into expression. And finding you know, your person you are within and expressing it a little bit more.

Danica Lani 6:44
Wow. Did you ever imagine that you would be up on stage one day?

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 6:48
Well, my friends and I always had this joke like pick up your Drag King name? Or what what kind of Drag King would you be? Would you be the country? Would you be the skater boy, would you know, the businessman or road crew? So we did after we'd seen Drag King shows, often later and they would be talking about if you were what would you be? But that's just a bargain, right? I never thought I'd actually do it. But I'm certainly glad that I have. So I guess part of me kind of thought oh, it'd be fun to do that. But I'm not, that's not me. So turns out I was wrong.

Danica Lani 7:29
Completely wrong.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 7:30
I can admit when I'm wrong.

Danica Lani 7:34
I heard that your friends helped choose your name, I think. Is that right?

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 7:39
Yes. Because as you might be able to tell by my accent, I'm not originally Australian. And I did always want the Randy part because that's just a fun, lovely pun, especially after living in the UK and everything. Randy is a bit randy. And then to add the Rootrat to it was my Australian homage to pay respects to the land on which we are working. I have a Drag Queen friend in town and he's like, 'Oh, you've got to be a root rat if you're randy.' Randy Rootrat. Here we go. He's there.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 8:13
And Randy, you know, he has a little bit of his own personal style, he lays back. He's maybe not the life of the party, but he loves the party. He follows along with what everyone's doing. But he is casual and laid back and he just wants to keep seeking out the next experience and the next moment of joy that he can get. He was all based on these orange sunglasses, because of 70's love of the old 70s look.

Danica Lani 8:48
So tell us a bit more about how Randy developed. You've got the name, you've got the sunglasses...

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 8:55
It really developed around the sunglasses and then the name came next. And I worked with you a little bit when I was doing my Randy solo thing and we really delved into like who is Randy? Because when we're doing the group shows, we're kind of in the character of the performance and everything like that. He still is his own person. But to do the solo show, we really had to kind of drill down and say, who is Randy? What would he do?

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 9:23
And he is someone who grew up out in the country. He's a country boy. A bit of a larrikin and as I hear you might say here. And known around the small town he grew up in for running around with his boys drinking beer and causing trouble on a Friday night. And then he moved to Sydney where he became a bit more metrosexual and liked to be groomed well and have everything, like a nice tie and a nice shirt. And he's still in the party biz being a beverage sales rep. So he's always in the clubs and keeping up with the young kids and just trying to find the next great night. Yeah, that's Randy. He likes a little bit of a boogie. He's got his dad moves on. Rocks the dad bod. So, even though he's not a father.

Danica Lani 10:17
You are a parent.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 10:18
I am.

Danica Lani 10:18
Yeah. So what did your daughter say about Randy?

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 10:26
She's really grown to love Randy. And a lot of the other Drag Kings as well. She knows them by names because we often follow them on Instagram, or meet them out in public and she'll know their real life name and their drag name. After the last big one, she thought that she should also be able to do drag as a kid and that she would be Randy's brother. That sounds great! What would Randy's brother do? And he would wear a dress that looked like a princess dress and have a beard. And I said that would rock. You could do that.

Danica Lani 11:04
Ah, what an angel.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 11:05
Yes, we love to dance.

Danica Lani 11:07
So gorgeous. So great, you can share that. Amazing. And so you've been delving into, you're an artist, right? And you've been delving into a new series of paintings

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 11:20
And a new project. And one reason I was so keen to sign up to do drag originally is because I kind of gotten into a creative, dry space. I've been a Mom for four years. And that kind of sucked up all the energy. And when I did have a few times, I didn't feel like bringing out all the paints, having 20 minutes to paint just to put it all back again. And so I hadn't really been creating anything. And I think I was trying to find a different way to express my creativity. Because I know I'm always happier when I get a chance to do something creative or produce something. And what this is like now is that if I had the courage to do a solo Drag King routine, I have the courage to do a solo art show. So it's going to happen this month at the Tap Gallery in Sydney in Surry Hills and starts on the Monday the 19th and will run through the 27th. And it's going to be a retrospective of my work since I've been in Australia which is 10 years now. And my style is very expressionistic. I'm really keen on the Fauvism area of art and painting emotion and energy. So one thing that I've done for the show is a series of Drag Kings of the local kings in Sydney to just give them a little nod because we need more Drag Kings. We need more Drag King nights and now that we're in the reign of the King it should just be kings all the time in my opinion. So let's make it happen Sydney.

Danica Lani 12:58
Ah brilliant! And are these some of the paintings behind you

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 13:02
Yes a few of them that are finished. In fact, there's Rod, Sexy Galexy over my shoulder who is a great inspiration and cheerleader in this community. Chad Love who's one of the first ones that I've done. And there's gonna be a few other surprises when they all get finished. So you should come along to the Artist's Soiree which will be Friday the 23rd, starting at 6pm. Tap Gallery, Level 1, 259 Riley Street..

Danica Lani 13:32
Okay, in Surry Hills.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 13:33
We will have live performances that night. The community's coming together, they all want to be a part of it. So we're gonna have some Drag Kings, some spoken word poetry, some comedy, some music, all types of creative love on the night.

Danica Lani 13:47
Amazing. A creative hub.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 13:51
I'm really looking forward to it. I think it's it's great to have creative friends. And anytime you can have a creative community put themselves out there and give them space to do that. It's only going to lead to great things.

Danica Lani 14:02
I agree. When we gather together powerful things can happen.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 14:07
Exactly. Right. Absolutely.

Danica Lani 14:11
And you've been someone in the community who brings people together, who participates, who is always showing up. Whether you're showing up as Katie or showing up as Randy, we see you at events on the door or on the merch table or you know, participating and being there.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 14:30
I love it. I mean, I another thing where a few years ago, I was really searching for that community. I realized I'd lived in Sydney for quite a while and didn't really have like, say a group of friends or community to like, just bounce ideas off of and I missed that. And I was looking forward and the drag community really just showed me that they're out there. They're lovely, supportive people and I couldn't imagine my life right now without knowing the people that I do after starting this journey. So it's just goes from strength to strength. It's lovely.

Danica Lani 15:04
Me too. I couldn't imagine that either.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 15:07
I wouldn't want to.

Danica Lani 15:09
No, let's not.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 15:10
Sounds horrible.

Danica Lani 15:10
Reign of the King!

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 15:14
Reign of the Kings, I'm telling you.

Danica Lani 15:16
Awesome. So please come everybody to the Artist's Soiree. It's Friday the 23rd of September. At the Tap Gallery, so you'll be able to see Katie's artwork, and then there'll be some entertainment on the night as well. Free entry. Is it a part of the Sydney (Fringe) Festival?

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 15:36
It is part of the Sydney Fringe as one of their free events through the Tap Gallery. So you can find the information on their website as well. Probably have to search for my name Katie Lambert or the Tap Gallery. Or you can check me out on Insta - @randy_rootrat and @artofkatielambert and all the information will be there as well.

Danica Lani 15:56
Okay, beautiful, amazing. Thank you so much, Katie. Anything else you want to let our community know?

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 16:03
That if you really want to try something new, even if you think that it's not for you, you should probably go for it and try it. And if it's drag, get in contact with Danica, because she knows how to get the Drag King out of anybody. If she's done it for me, she can do it for you.

Danica Lani 16:24
Beautifully said, Katie, thank you. Thanks and have a great exhibition. I'm really proud of you and the work that you're doing and the creativity that you're contributing and I can't wait to see you continuing going from strength to strength and seeing Randy get out there even more.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 16:40
Thank you very much.

Danica Lani 16:42
He's a lovable guy.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 16:43
I'm glad we could do this too, because it's been a lot of fun.

Danica Lani 16:46
Yeah. Awesome. Great. Thank you.

Katie aka Randy Rootrat 16:49
You're welcome. Bye.


Follow Katie and Randy on Insta - @randy_rootrat and @artofkatielambert 

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