Published by Lonely Arts Club
April 19, 2019
Apparently, there’s some solid evidence to support the possibility of parallel universes. I can’t speak to the validity of these theories because I don’t care to research them. But I will gladly drift into a rollicking, poetic meditation on the Alternate Real because I’ve got some shit to do there. I need to bury a lifeline across space and time so that a boy on his own has something to hold on to other than his lonely penis. I need to write an internet essay to teenage Woody, floating on the waterbeds of yesteryear.
It’s been almost two decades since Mom sat you down to tell you that Markie Chianti grew pubes before you did. Please understand that she wasn’t trying to rub your nose in ‘em. (You and I both know how badly you wanted to do that all by yourself.) Mom was just trying to tell you that he had a new heart condition and the nurses needed to “clear the runway” before they could put in his catheter, and that was a real bummer, so you should pray for him. He turned out okay, but you never get to see his short-n-curlies before he joined the Army National Guard. You really don’t think of him much, unless you’re dredging up hairy little gems for internet essays. But you never stop thinking about your pubes, nor writing about them so that other people will think about them too.
Ballet doesn’t work out for you (maybe you know that by now) but don’t be so scared of wearing white tights for the first time in The Nutcracker. I know that it feels like everyone is crackerin’ jokes about your nuts, but trust me: they’ve got other shit going on. Plus, in the Right Now, the running shtick in your solo shows is that your bojangles pop out of your costume so often that no one can tell if it’s intentional or if you really don’t notice your testes taking in the evening air. Cozy up to those low-hanging fruits because you’ll find them to be your only constant companions.
Do not eat french fries Lady and the Tramp-style with Anthony Mackatonto at the basketball tournament. You will, as you planned, successfully set the rumor mill spinning fast enough to break it, right there at the Garden State Association of Christian Schools’ Junior Varsity Basketball Invitational. And naturally, you’ll get closer than ever to finding out what Anthony’s accidental mustache would feel like on your still hairless mouth. But Marialana will rat on you so fast and when you both get pulled into the Headmaster’s office for restitution, Anthony will throw you under the bus harder than that boner he had at Hallelujah Bible Camp. You will never meet anyone with sexier hands, but you will hate-follow his Instagram and never heart the pictures of his plain-looking children.
Keep crying on the roof of the house. No one will ever bother you there because they’re also desperately plotting an escape route. But every day after you leave the Pine Barrens, you’ll remember the sound the trees make as they poke holes around the stars and how shitty it feels when no one checks on you. Use that feeling as a reminder to check on yourself. Don’t keep a journal; it’ll only make you cringe and you won’t want to carry it across the country and around the world. But definitely keep the home movies of all the shows you staged in your bedroom. They’re not very good, but they are very important.
One day in the Right Now, with a ton of practice and a few sharp friends, you’ll temper your most annoying qualities with a sparkling sense of humor. You’ll discover that Something Queer Is Going On was not just your favorite book in kindergarten, but a prophecy of the heritage you’ll grow into. You’ll never right old wrongs, but you’ll write new rites. The endless rivalry between your taste and your skill will keep you moving and grooving and forever proving. And one day, when you write a time-warping internet essay to a young handbell-ringing, underwear-stealing, righteously angry flamer with a thing for practical shoes, the big gay void will finally swaddle us in its vivid embrace and we’ll both take a nap on your waterbed.
Published in the Queer Review
July 21, 2019
Comic stripper Woody Shticks brings his unique blend of stand-up storytelling, hip-hop heroics, and emotional nudity to the King’s Head Theatre London this week with his Schlong Song, following sold-out runs in the US and a headlining slot at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival.
Ahead of Woody’s London dates The Queer’s Review’s James Kleinmann meets the man behind the thong.
James Kleinmann: Hello! Help us to get to know you. Who are you? Introduce yourself…
Woody Shticks: “I’m a comic stripper who harnesses the unruly power of sex to confront power and privilege with stand-up, striptease, and storytelling in Seattle, around the States, and across the globe. I’ve been hailed as “razor-sharp” by Seattle Star, “comedy gold” by BroadwayWorld, and “too gay to book anything but children’s theatre” by my college acting teacher.”
When did you first realise that you had the ability to make people laugh & how did it manifest itself?
“I’d say…conversion therapy, which I started when I was 11, was the first time I realized that I could make myself laugh. My counselor asked me if I knew who Britney Spears was, and I distinctly thought, “Of course, and I think that’s why I’m here.” Ever since, I only tell a joke if it makes me laugh the hardest.“
When did you first get into performing, what were your early shows like?
“I grew up as a show pony (not literally, though that would’ve been exciting) in a professional ballet company. Outside of that, I staged elaborate performances on my queen size waterbed and cast my siblings and neighbors to perform alongside me. (Behind me).“
How have you developed as a performer over the years?
“My process has changed a little over the past 25 years, but my aesthetic is essentially the same. I’m classically trained in acting and dance, but it wasn’t until holding my BFA in my hand that I realized it was my weapon against classist artmaking. In 2011, I cofounded The Libertinis with Tootsie Spangles and Hattie HellKat, and together our interarts gang deals a low blow to high art as strippers trained as actors trained as clowns. (We’re a hoot.) These days I prioritize working with queer makers who center their experience in order to rock the boat while making a splash.“
How do you deal with hecklers?
“I deal with hecklers swiftly and mercilessly. I’m from Atlantic City, New Jersey so…don’t try it. (My hair is much softer than my heart.)“
How would you describe SCHLONG SONG, what can your audience in London expect?
“Schlong Song is true-blue storytelling about some of my best, worst, and weirdest sexual experiences. And after headlining the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival this spring, it’s clear that Europe is thirsty for them. But trust me: Schlong Song is not another solo show that feels like your grandmother’s diary entries. We are taking the scenic route to the bone zone, so keep your eyes peeled for gut-busting hilarity, too-true tales, saucy striptease, fitness montages, emotional nudity, and stories about my mom Bunny. (I mean, my mom’s name is Bunny. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?)“
Would you say it’s strictly a gay or LGBTQ show or do you tend to have pretty mixed audiences?
“Everyone should (and does) come! But this is not-so-straight-up #propagaynda. This is queer art for the modern audience, so if that’s not really your thing…read a book because you’re part of the problem."
Have you spent time in the U.K. before?
“I have, and I’m looking forward to more local flavor! (Mmm.)”
Have you any encounters with British men? If so what was that like?!
“So much foreskin, so little time."
Published in Ignite Seattle Magazine
I’m Woody Shticks and I haven’t paid for toilet paper since Barack Obama was President. (The first time.) Thanks for tuning in! As the days get longer and my shorts get somehow shorter, I’ve been considering what I need for the annual journey through rainbow flags and intersectional infighting so that I can shriek to the hazy sky: Happy Pride, y’all! Oh wait - damn. I always mispronounce that. Happy “T-Mobile, Premera, and Uber present Seattle Pride brought to you by Walmart, Smirnoff, and Delta Dental.” What a time to be alive. Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson threw bricks at a cop so that the Holland America Cruise Line could help us “Savor The Journey.”
But are we well-packed? The savory journey to willful ignorance is not over equal terrain. For some, the trip to splashing in the International Fountain at the end of Sunday’s Pride Parade is a more straight-and-narrow affair. Their moderate march through responsible puberty, coaches who cared, and heteronormative pair bonding with partners who look like their siblings is accomplished in little more than rainbow flip-flops and a pleather harness fashioned by a child working for food. It doesn’t matter how they’re outfitted because it’s a short walk to Pride-edition cupcakes, bad drag, and conspicuous consumption. Settling the middle ground is their inevitable destiny because they just live out loud
But what to do when you can’t find the right thing to wear? Even when you read the articles, follow the hashtags, and believe your blonde friends about half the time? Maybe you just call your sisters, pretend to brunch, and settle on cry-proof mascara and a fanny pack because it’s getting warmer on every side and polyester is unbearable.
If my too-many years of spooky parochial school taught me anything, it’s that inciting a riot is too hard in uniform. When righteous indignation sparks, it burns too brightly and too quickly to be bothered with a rainbow tutu. You have only two instantaneous options: shoot up like a firework and explode in fleeting brilliance, or land in the bushes and spread the flame. The baby-you’re-a-firework option may feel more fun, but by yourself, you’ll burn out in a matter of seconds. Faggots catch quickly when they’re in parched bundles and then you just keep the blaze alive. It’s the only way to learn what’s built to last in the first place
Sometimes you singe an eyelash, but our brightest leaders have always been the most glamorous: court jesters and queens of the night and royal pains in the ass. We won’t tell you what to wear while you frolic in the fountain, but we will ask why you came at all. And whatever you do: please don’t douse the flamers around you because those sparks took a long time to build and there’s still plenty to burn.