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February 26, 2010

Boys just wanna have fun

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia):

When Irwin Keller of the Kinsey Sicks isn't singing in drag, he's teaching at the synagogue, writes Katrina Lobley. By day, he's a highly unconventional lay rabbi. By night, Irwin Keller breaks even more rules, dressing in nerdy drag to sing, rather than lip-sync, everything from sassy doo-wop to stinging satirical songs.

Keller - and the rest of his "dragapella quartet", the Kinsey Sicks - are visiting Australia for the first time to join this year's Mardi Gras line-up. The quartet has taken aim at everything from George Bush and Republican politics - "Obama was definitely bad for the comedy industry," Keller says - to inane television news broadcasters. Their latest show includes original songs and parodies of pop's biggest stars - think Britney Spears and Beyonce.

The quartet came together thanks to Ben Schatz, who plays Rachel in the Kinsey Sicks (a reference to the Kinsey sexuality scale, where six signifies ''exclusively homosexual''). "Ben used to organise these drag excursions - we were all busy young professionals and activists - and to cut loose, he would say: 'OK, Friday night we're all getting in drag and going to San Francisco airport,''' Keller says. ''It's not easy to stun people in drag in San Francisco but we tried really hard.''

It wasn't until they dressed as the Andrews Sisters for a 1993 Bette Midler concert - "We were surprised we were the only drag queens there other than Bette" - that the seed for the Kinsey Sicks was planted. A promoter asked if they'd consider a professional gig, which was when the friends realized they each had great pipes.

"We sat up all night coming up with ideas and harmonizing and we thought: 'Gosh, doing a cappella in drag would be hilarious,'" Keller says. "We spent the next six months putting together our first show and we performed on a street corner but we never starved. ''I was working as a lawyer with the AIDS Legal Referral Panel. Ben was running a national policy program advocating on behalf of lesbian and gay healthcare workers and he was also one of President Clinton's advisers on HIV policy." Read more.

Posted by acapnews at February 26, 2010 12:00 AM

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