I Stan: Nicki & Vivvy

The time has arrived for me to express my gratitude for two individuals who make my relationship with San Francisco sweeter, day by day:

Nicki Jizz

and

Vivvyanne ForeverMore

Not one individual has showered me with more love, booked me for more gigs, and publicly expressed their admiration for my work, than these two lovely ladies. And it is no doubt, because they love and respect themselves, they are able to do the same for others. Neither gains anything from showing me so much love, and yet my life is enhanced each moment I am near them, and for this, I am forever grateful.

I have only ever dedicated videos to these lovely ladies and I would like to take a moment to expound on the choices I so specifically made to honor them.

Vivvyanne forevermore

@vivvyanne_forevermore

There is no soul in San Francisco who has a better grip on wit and sarcasm than Vivvy. Her command of humor casts a shadow so great, that for half the year, San Francisco is cloudy and gloomy. Her humor is often at her own expense, which only someone of great humility is able to succeed at. It is for this reason, I decided to elevate my number for Vivvy to a place of high regard; The Opera. Vivvy also has booked me for Drag Alive so frequently, that I owe my success in the city to her and the platform that she gave and continues to give me to share my love with the world.

The background for this video is actually an image of The Academy of Music, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. About a decade ago, I began work there as a silent actor in numerous operas. And because Vivvy has a background in performance that lives far beyond “the bar”, I thought it an appropriate location to both honor her and pay homage to my past experiences on the stage.

About a week before I began work on the video, I re-watched the 1948 film classic, The Red Shoes. It is easily one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces ever. In the film, we are reminded of the role of The Maestro, something that I was able to see first hand both in school and in my time working with Opera Philadelphia. It is for this reason, I decided to include this character throughout the entire video.

The song choice may seem obvious, “Gimme More” for Vivvyane ForeverMore. However, allow me to elaborate on this choice. The song, “Gimme More” is one of the greatest pop songs ever. Period. Thank you Danja and Britney Spears for the work you did on this one. And Vivvy is one of my favorite people ever. Period. If one listens closely to the lyrics, it becomes clear, that it discusses one’s relationship with the outside world. When people see you in your natural habitat, being your authentic self, they often become so enamored with you and what you are doing that it “feels like the crowd is saying, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme. MORE!” It can initially feel rewarding, the attention. But, with time, the crowd begins to believe it has some ownership over you and it transforms from a request, to a demand. Vivvy, for about a year, was doing what I consider to be a public service, by providing us with Drag Alive; an opportunity for artists to focus on their work in a time when focusing on other things, may not have been so healthy. At the same time, giving the crowd something to talk about. After all, there’s only two types of people in the world; the ones who entertain and the ones who observe. I imagined that Vivvy was beginning to feel the “gimme gimme” of the work she was doing and so, I wanted to express that. At the same time, there was a bit of blatant negativity from one or two places, I was experiencing about my work. They will remain un-named, but the general feeling in response to my work and it being celebrated, was “big deal, who are you? stop taking yourself so seriously.” And at the time I felt, oh, “if they want more, well I’ll give them more,” as a response. For these reasons, I chose the song.

The mix for the song, I also made. It is a combination of 3 versions of the song “Gimme More” and a ceremonial Indian song. The initial idea behind the mix, was a community summoning the spirit of Cleopatra, who they felt deserved a second go at it, if you will. The first minute of the song, is the ceremony; Shamans beating the ground and sacrificing themselves, using this energy as a portal for her to come through and set them niggas straight, which she does.

nicki jizz

@nicki_jizz

I have yet to meet a person who lives as authentically as Nicole Paige Jizz, Ms. Jizz if you nasty (you are). The first time I saw her, I was visiting San Francisco from Mexico City and she stood out…. BY FAR. I needn’t explain, but her energy, the looks, the butt drop! No one does it like she does it. Her personality is bigger than life, but what is even more surprising is the general feeling of Love and the sweetness I feel from her. In a WORLD OF PRETENDERS, in THE AGE OF POSERS, she is THE REAL DEAL. Aside from that, in 2019, she asked me to perform back up for her on the mainstage at Pride. She could have asked anyone, but she asked me. I remember setting the intention to be the greatest shadow for her, that I could be. And in a scene where most queens aim at casting shade, it was a privilege to choose to be the shadow for someone shinning so brightly.

I am blessed to have something in common with Nicki. You see her tagline;

Hoe is not a phase, Hoe is…..

LIFE!

Can be heard echoing wherever she goes and HOE happens to be the acronym for Heaven on Earth. And I will never forget the first time she used her own tagline to shine the spotlight on me, H.O.E., after one of my performances. So I decided to make the ultimate H.O.E. remix for her birthday show, something she and I could share. When I think of Nicki, I think of an honest expression of feminine sexual energy and so I went for Lil Kim. The original Queen B. The original Hoe. The Original. But, it wasn’t enough to do just that. So, I decided to root the song, “How Many Licks?” ft Sisqo (Drag King for days) in its own reference, the Tootsie Pop commercial from 1982, to give it a classic feel, like many rap songs do (a la Drake and Kanye). And because Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott is the only other artist that expresses her sexuality so eloquently, it seemed like an obvious choice to use the instrumental for “Minute Man” to enhance “How Many Licks?”

I could have easily made myself as pretty as possible for the video and been half naked, but I didn’t want to put all the focus on myself. It was more interesting for the video to be centered around both Nicki and the mix. It is for this reason, I decided to wear one of her “Jizz” shirts throughout the entire video. I also covered my own face, but used the classic Heaven wig to do so, so one is always reminded that I am there. The makeup for the scenes that do show my face, were modeled after Kali, a Tantric Hindu Goddess. I thought, “how great would it be to connect rap, with the gods”. It helps the shallow mind think deeper about what Lil Kim is saying and the power of her sexuality. A power I see in Nicki.

“Designer pussy; my shit come in flavors. High Class taste, niggas got to spend paper”

Sounds a little different when you imagine the voice as a goddess, doesn’t it?

There is even more symbolism in the video, but I will spare you the details, or we would be here all day. But, because Nicki is so special, I decided to go into my abstract pocket, to make it feel more like an Art Video, which it is, as opposed to… some video. And it was my honor to dedicate this video to her and to have something that eternally connects us.

Both these videos were made as birthday gifts, which I believe also served as an energetic offering to The Universe to enhance their legacies.

Thank you ladies, for the privilege to do so.

-Heaven on Earth

more

Pop music means more to me than what one might see on the surface. It is a 3-5 minute expression of feelings that are often judged as superficial or trivial, and yet are feelings and experiences, none the less. The limited melodic format of pop music, combined with its repetition makes it intoxicating. And when the recording artist fully emerges themselves in the moment, it gives life to inner experiences that society would like to judge you for.

The producer, Danja, is a shooting star. He layers pop music in an almost operatic manner. His vocals are layered throughout the song, pulling you up, haunting you, leading you into a mysterious and intriguing place. The untrained ear may not even notice, but their effect is ever present. And the music itself…. talk about layered. I could strip the song and listen to each piece on its own and be mesmerized. Combine that with Britney Spears, who, regardless of the perception that has been given to you (because i doubt you have formed one on your own), gives herself over to the song completely. She is the song. You believe she is the moment. And one thing that makes a Britney pop song a Britney pop song, are the adlibs she adds throughout the entire song. Have you ever noticed that? She is one of the only artists whose background vocals and adlibs sometimes are what give the song its cherished tone. Anyway…. I can go on forever.

When my dear friend, Vivvyanne ForeverMORE asked me to produce a video for her birthday, I was more than happy to and because I respect her so much, I chose to use one of the greatest pop songs of all time; Gimme More. A song that I never bore of, a song that instantly changes my mood, my personality, my person.

In my early twenties, I was a silent actor for Opera Philadelphia and I so cherished being part of these large productions. Singers being flown in from all over the world, performing in the Academy of Music. It was a dream come true. And being there allowed me the opportunity to see what it would be like to have a concert, opera, show, whatever… of that scale.

One of my favorite things to do when working with popular songs is make new mixes to them, so I took Danja’s isolated background vocals, Britney’s isolated vocals, portions of the album version instrumental, and a concert version of the song from one of Britney’s tours and mixed all of that (even adding a completely different song for the intro, a song that had a similar mysterious and ominous tone) and made this operatic mix. I love the chants of “More!” that enhance the song. As she sings, “feels like the crowd is saying…”

And I put myself, Heaven on Earth, on the stage of the Academy of Music. Just before making this, I rewatched the film, The Red Shoes, and it took my back to my opera days. The Maestro leads the opera, they are behind the steering wheel. Silent and ever present. They are… The Maestro. And watching The Red Shoes I was reminded of this and how necessary they are and yet how much the general public, perhaps does not think of or respect them anymore. So, I thought, The Maestro should be a character in this video. What fun.

The song for me, also represents a resurrection of Cleopatra. Don’t ask me why, it’s just what came to me. If she was forced into suicide and the world, still till this day, can’t remove her name from their lips, why wouldn’t the powers that be grant her a return? They want more!

And why not through Britney Spears?

This video was also dedicated to Britney Spears because it was the performance of this song at The VMAs that began a change in perception of her. People were unkind to her, someone who literally dedicated her entire life to entertaining the world. And like spoiled, ungrateful children, people said what they said. Britney deserves more respect. More. More. More Honor. More. More. And so, I decided to get on the stage of The Academy of Music and thank her for her contribution to Pop Music. To Honor her energy. To give her…

more

Heaven on earth
heaven on earth – more

Toxic

Heaven on Earth as Wicked Witch

Lady Liberty has been faced with her own reflection and now must choose; stay the same or face the ego. She is swept away to the land of Oz, where her strongest qualities personified assist her in this duel.

In learning about herself, LL has come to understand how much of what she boasts to be unique to her land, comes at the cost of others, is borrowed or stolen, and is not welcoming to all. It was for this reason I chose to begin the video with Tere Mere Beech Mein. The song, from the Bollywood film Ek Duuje Ke Liye, served as inspiration forToxic, unbeknownst to most who celebrate it. It speaks on the appropriation, lack of acknowledgement for said appropriation, and the ostracization of those who culture is borrowed from.

The Wizard of Oz serves as a backdrop. In my mind, the film centers around one’s personal development and some degree of “enlightenment”. The Tinman, Scarecrow, and Lion all serving as areas where once Dorothy felt scarcity (heart, wisdom, courage), but through facing fears, she is shown that she has had them all along. May we all come to that realization for ourselves.

The Wicked Witch serving as the ego; the aspect of one that attempts to keep them in a perpetual state of fear and hesitation. Facing the ego is a path to growth for us all. May you one day brave that journey, my friend.

I love you.

Heaven on Earth