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Stephane Magliore | “Courageous Voice” | connect.faith
“I am a vessel of change for change.”
Join us for a beautiful conversation on the importance of self knowledge and authenticity with queer activist, Creative Director, and artist Stephane Magloire. In this episode we dive into:
- Being a vessel of change
- Creatively re-imagining difference
- Renewal after burnout
- Showing up authentically
Today is the day you vow to follow your heart and not your fear. If only it were that easy! The Courageous Voice podcast chronicles international artists, creatives, plus a handful of scientists, and their stories of fear, courageousness and creativity. Hosted by singer, storyteller and self-proclaimed joy spreader, Chanda Rule, The Courageous Voice inspires us to share our voices courageously in spite of our fears through courageous conversation and community.
Chanda Rule: Today we have with us Stephane Magloire, and the English pronunciation of his last name is McGlory, which is just so fabulous.
Stephane, tell me the full meaning of your given name one more time.
Stephane Magloire: So, Stephane – Stephane – it means, “crowned one,” so, even Stephane [00:01:00] or any variation of that. And then my last name is, “my glory.” So in essence, my name is “my crowning glory.”
Chanda Rule: This is so beautiful. This is so beautiful. So, Stephane is a creative director.
He’s a queer activist. He organizes Vienna’s Queens Brunch, Vienna Is Burning: The Happily Ever After Ball; he’s a writer, a singer, a traveler, educator; a human of inspiration as we have just been talking about, so…
Stephane Magloire: Me?
Chanda Rule: Listen, we, we like to really get into courageousness, and the different ways that we can use our voices courageously.
But first, can you tell us who you are? Because those are my words and my gleanings from our conversations and Internet, and we’re just getting to know each other. So, who are you today in this moment?
Stephane Magloire: That’s a really funny question because, um, I ask a lot of people that question [00:02:00] because it’s always interesting figuring out how I got to who I am right now.
And even who I am right now was not who I was, I’d say two to three years ago. I think if I were to describe myself, I’d say… huh. Interesting. Artist, I would say artist is the first way that I approach the world. I think the one that hits me the most is music, song. I definitely, in the various things that I do as an artist, I consider myself a singer first.
Second would be writer, user of words. That’s also interesting to my name as well because St. Stephen was a writer. And he was actually stoned because of his teachings and what he spoke on. I would say with me, the words that I have, and also the way that I approach the world comes from three very [00:03:00] specific things in my life, which is, one: that I am an immigrant. So, I was born in Haiti. Second: that I am queer. Specifically I identify mostly with the gay men community. And the last is, being a person of color, being a Black man. So, who am I? I would say, I can start in those three categories. But then it continues to find itself to be a lot more complex.
As far as right now in 2022, I recognize that who I am specifically, I am a vessel of change for change. And I’ve had to take a lot of work to really begin to understand even what that means.
With race, I found myself in a time in my life where I didn’t even know myself as a Black person. I tried to hide and run away from it as much as I could because I found it that was the [00:04:00] best way of protecting myself, in a way.
As a gay person, I realize so many privileges that I have specifically living here in Austria. But just like, as a tall person, as a Black person, there are ways that I’m able to talk about who I am as a queer man that a lot of people don’t have that opportunity to do so because of whatever demographics that put them together.
And then as a Haitian, I actually spent a lot of my life hiding away from it because Haiti is known as the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. As far as living in America, there’s a narrative about Haiti that is extremely false. But then once I really began to understand the magic of my culture, and my country, and my ethnicity, and the gods that are a part of it, and the religion that is a part of it, and also the unimaginable, which was them liberating themselves from white [00:05:00] supremacy, has also given me a lot of strength in figuring out who I am.
But who I am also changes a lot. I’ve lived many lives as a traveler, as a student, as a son, as an uncle, as an artist. Even just the inability to answer who I am makes me feel as if I’m actually living the life that I want to live.
Chanda Rule: Ahhhh. [Laughs]
Stephane Magloire: It’s also a mystery to me, because there are many things that – you know, at one point I thought I was going to be the premiere Broadway actor with the Tony Awards, and all of this. And then at one point I thought I was going to be the Quentin Tarantino of my generation and a screenwriter.
There’s so many things that I thought I was going to be, and in my curiosity and going into those worlds, this happened. On a small level of what I’m doing here in Vienna is already [00:06:00] being a vessel of change, and seeing certain things here, as far as… I don’t know. The first thing I thought of when I got to Vienna was that it’s a city that’s very much in the closet. That’s how I read it as a gay person.
Chanda Rule: Okay.
Stephane Magloire: A lot of parties at night, which are fun and cool. But within those parties, there’s also a lot of drug abuse, alcohol abuse; no conversation on consent; self-harm depression, suicidal ideation, suicidal intent. In the things that I began to create there, which at the time was the Big Gay Picnic, with the Queen’s Brunch which is a weekly drag show that takes place at the Villa Vida Cafe which I consider to be housed in the Rosa Lila Villa, which is the Stonewall of Vienna, or at least how I see it.
As a Black person, I found – oof, a lot of, a lot of dark things specifically first with the Black queer, right? In the sense of, one, being a refugee or an asylum seeker, and having to prove to a government that they’re gay, I don’t know how [00:07:00] that’s supposed to happen, but that’s asked of you – uh-huh! – to just the ways that people of color have seen, right? So whether they’re the ones with the Augustine magazine, selling it outside, or only being able to make three euros 25 cents, I think, a day, which is what then leads them to selling drugs, right? And even on that level, I find that the people that sell drugs are actually really nice people, right?
Like, if I think back to New York City drug dealers, and the gang banging and the stuff – that actually doesn’t happen here, it’s literally just the only means that they have to be able to make money, right?
Chanda Rule: Okay.
Stephane Magloire: There’s no one, other than one person, that I had observed who is in a position of political power or political representation.
Any of, even the basic jobs like, I don’t know, Spar or at Hofer, you don’t see a person of color. And there are a lot of people of color that are [00:08:00] here. And so, my privilege is being a Black American; is being a creative that has a business; of having these amazing opportunities and working with these amazing artists of my past. I’ve been able to come here, and… I’m not Jesus, but, it is still a feeling of a bearing of a burden, right? Of,
Chanda Rule: Mm.
Stephane Magloire: Assisting people to reimagine who Black people are.
Chanda Rule: Okay. And so, how would you just say that you’re doing that in Vienna? This is interesting, because we’re talking about creativity and this is, I think this is a different way of getting into creativity.
Stephane Magloire: Right. I happened to do it on one level with the events that I’m creating. And I say events, not even in the sense of parties, but having them seen as cultural marvels. Like drag, the art of drag is not just a party thing. These are artists and how they put together their artistry.
But at that [00:09:00] level, I’m the creator. And so you don’t really have a lot of Black creators here in Austria. And so, when you come up against people that you would like to either collaborate with or hire, there’s some misunderstandings or moments where you have to clearly delineate, “Well, I’m kind of the boss here and I make the decisions.” There’s a lot of reactions that come to that. No one’s used to these things. Even when I was working for other organizations, and I was the creative director, and I would show up in a space, and expect to have the respect of a creative director. I would have the respect of like kind of a gopher or an assistant to something that I’m creating. So in just me doing what I do, because I’m still going to do it, it’s beginning to change the minds: “Right, there actually can be a Black person that is calling the shots.”
You have to listen to it; you can’t question it. So just those types of relations, [00:10:00] I’m trying to help change.
Chanda Rule: I have a question about this because I saw something online. You did a workshop with the Ban Ki-moon – am I saying this right? – Ban Ki-moon Centre.
Stephane Magloire: Mhmm.
Chanda Rule: And you were talking about speaking your values without using words.
And for some reason, the story that you’re telling about creative ways to change people’s minds about queerness, about race. I don’t know if that plays into that, but that really stood out to me, especially thinking about creative voice, because we tend to just think, “Okay, like something that you can speak.”
And when you say, how to share your values without using these words, can you talk about that?
Stephane Magloire: Especially when the Black Lives Matter movement kicked up again, a huge thing that I took away from it was this idea of, “use your voice,” and your voice doesn’t necessarily have to be what’s coming out of your mouth.
It’s also in your actions. And so, I feel like especially [00:11:00] now in our current times, there are a lot of people that will feed words, and the same with like politicians and this, like just words, words, words, and, there’s nothing that’s coming together with the actions to have that work.
And so, I realized that in all of the ways that I could’ve seen myself in a position of attack, whether it’s verbally, emotionally, even physically, the thing about what speaks to who I am is my work. So, I always allow my work to speak for itself because, especially here, I am a rare type of human that is doing the things that I’m doing.
For some people, they have problems with that. That’s not my concern. My concern is always thinking of: it has nothing to do with me. It has to do with community. And so, the main work that I do is bring communities together. Cause I mean, there are many different types of communities that exist within this world. But, I enjoy bringing ones that you would never [00:12:00] think put together together in order to begin a conversation. And so, the first conversation could even be in body language, right? The next conversation then can be, in words, can be in how you look at a person. But, the more of that that happens, something begins to change.
Also taking things from outside of Austria and bringing it in. At least with my drag brunch, folks had issues with me bringing people in from the outside. And I was like, “well, how can we learn about a whole drag community if we’re only working with one specific thing?” And a huge part of that comes from me being American.
Chanda Rule: Okay. But tell us, then, tell us about your concept for the drag brunch.
Stephane Magloire: One has to start with where they are. So, I did start working with, um, Austrian queens. And there’s some difficulty in that as well, because there’s not, you know, infrastructure of people studying the arts here in that kind of way, and doing that kind of work.
And so, you kind of figure it out through looking at things from the outside. [00:13:00] And so for me, I come from the States, and so the States is this sort of amazing experiment, right? Where you shove a bunch of different types of people, from all different countries and whatever, together and see what happens.
Chanda Rule: [Laughs] Mhm.
Stephane Magloire: And so when I got here, I was like, “Yo, Europe is a little different, especially EU because the EU has this kind of false sense of being America, but it’s not because America is different states, but it’s still one country. Where it’s like this is all these different countries that you’re now putting together kind of like states. And so for me, I got here and I was like, “cool, I’m ready to play drag, you know, like mix things,” and it was like, no, the Dutch Queens are all doing the Dutch place, and the English are doing the English thing, and the Spanish are doing the Spanish thing.
And so, anything that is artistic that I do comes from curiosity.
Chanda Rule: Mm.
Stephane Magloire: So I was like, okay, I have this infrastructure, which is this brunch. I have an [00:14:00] ability which is even more amazing with how flights and everything work of being able, depending on the time, to fly people here at a very affordable rate.
Also, be able to give other people in these countries, opportunities to work, especially during a whole Pan Dulce.
Chanda Rule: [Laughs]
Stephane Magloire: Bringing them together and then seeing what happens. And so I had one opportunity last summer where it wasn’t just like one or two queens – I could bring 10 of them together. It was a little frightening too, because of course, you watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, you see the things, and the insecurities, and the egos and this.
And so I was like, I don’t know if this is going to work, but, and so I brought them all together. Oh my God. They were exchanging stories about, you know, all of the craziness that are going within their communities. Some of them came out as HIV positive. Some of them came out as trans, they were sharing wigs, they were sharing breast plates. They were putting each other’s makeup on.
It was just a question, right? And that question could have gone one of two ways. It could have also been like, they hated [00:15:00] each other. They couldn’t work together. It’ll never happen again. But there’s a feeling that I also have with regards to the art that I do, and that’s also because, at one moment I was able to work with Kanye West which is great, but the payout from that one gave me an opportunity to travel the world.
And so I had done two around the worlds where I was able to go to all these different communities to collect art practices from these different communities. And also in what we’re talking about here, which is the courageous voice, I specifically focused on queer community art. And so that came with drag, that came with visual artists, that came with singers, that came with writers, dancers.
And in some really crazy places. The hangups that I find here in Vienna, Austria within the queer community, you go to somewhere like Yangon, Myanmar, right? We’re literally in the [00:16:00] laws it’s illegal and you see a life and a force and this thriving heartbeat that’s there that, at times, I find here is taken for granted.
Chanda Rule: Okay, yeah.
Stephane Magloire: And for me, this isn’t my country, so I very much toe a line of, I’m not here to change anybody else, right? Like I’m not coming in to affect free will. I’m here to be myself and for the people that are attracted to that, and also want to be themselves and continue to be themselves as a unit, that’s what I’m here to do.
But the courage that I found to be able to do what I do here as an immigrant, as a Black man, and as a gay man comes from these countries that I’ve been to where I’m like, I don’t even know how you began. Like, in this thing right now that you’re doing, you could go to jail, right?
Like there’s very real consequences within your country. And I come here, and it’s like, why not? [00:17:00] And then I start to question myself as to, if I have this courageous voice, what were all the moments in my life that silenced it?
Chanda Rule: Okay.
Stephane Magloire: And so as a Black man, it was silenced because of many things from the miseducation that I received in my younger years, where I was really smart, and I was in these advanced classes, and not recognizing that being the only person of color in those advanced classes prepared me for a very white world that I did not recognize. I was not given permission to be a part of. So with police, and with the racism, and with my own internalized racism that I’ve been told myself, no, no, no, I can’t speak up about this because this is how white people deal with it.
So I guess the rest of the world deals with it this way. So this is how I’m always going to have to deal with it. And then as a queer person and woo and the HIV, and AIDS, and [00:18:00] this abuse here, and this, and there’s, even within the gay world, especially with gay men, there’s a violence that’s there that’s never talked about because at the end of the day you’re men, right? You should get over it.
Chanda Rule: I was just wondering if there was – because there was, I don’t know if you remember – a moment in this where you decided to start going forth anyway, right? So, you’re naming these boxes and these barriers that were assumed. But at some point, obviously, because you’re doing so much, at some point you made the decision that, okay, I’m going to start pushing past this.
I’m going to use a word that you used with me in a previous conversation. You talked about the importance of self knowledge. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but this journey of knowing yourself, and naming, and declaring who you are, despite all these things that you were taught.
Can you tell us about that because that’s, for me, that’s like, that’s like, there’s the startup, the courageousness, the blossoming.
Stephane Magloire: So I’m a mover and a shaker.
Chanda Rule: Yes. [00:19:00] Were you always? Were you always like that? [Laughs]
Stephane Magloire: My mom was always like, “If you don’t sit down…”
Chanda Rule: [Laughs]
Stephane Magloire: I never broke anything. So there’s never been any broken bones. I’ve been hit by a truck and still no broken bones.
Chanda Rule: Okay. [Laughs]
Stephane Magloire: The cuts, and the bangs, and the bruises – I appreciated that energy. I think in recent years I realized that that energy was fueled by a lot of anxiety, growing up as existing while Black. But what came to a head was, this figurative being hit by a truck. So, three years ago I hit a huge burnout.
It came from a lot of the things that I talked about as far as like silencing myself as far as being queer, silencing myself as far as being Black, and even as an immigrant. There’s an interesting quote that Jim Carrey actually had made about the difference between sadness and depression.
And so sadness is this thing [00:20:00] of like, I don’t know, you go through a breakup, you go through whatever, you might think of a certain situation, but then after a certain while, it goes away and it’s gone. With regards to depression, depression is your body saying, “the story that you’ve been telling yourself, it’s not real.
I don’t believe it. You don’t believe it. And so now we’re going to sit here until we’re able to unpack all of this.
Chanda Rule: Mm.
Stephane Magloire: “And it don’t matter how long! You think it’s gonna take two hours? Oh no, baby, it’s going to take as long as I’m here for you to unpack all of this.” And I had gone through that here in Vienna.
So like when I originally showed up, I had this moment where it was I’d come here to visit a friend. And then that night, I was going to the city center. So of course I asked, “Hey, what’s the name of the city center?” They go, “Stephansplatz.” And so I’m like, oh my God, that’s cool. I go to the U-Bahn and I see the spelling like, oh, that’s like my name!
So I get to Stephansplatz [00:21:00] and there’s Stephansdom and it’s like fixed, right? Like, it’s this thing. It’s not the most amazing cathedral I’ve ever seen in my life, but it was this thing.
Chanda Rule: It’s a thing. Yes.
Stephane Magloire: It was around the time of Christkindlmarkt. There’s so many people and they’re moving around everywhere. And at that point in my life, I kind of came to a fork in the road where I recognized that I was all of these people going in a million different directions and where I wanted to get to was in the feeling of what I saw when I saw Stephansdom.
I’m not quite at Stephansdom yet, but I realized that the burnout depression wall that I hit three years ago was important for me to begin getting there.
Chanda Rule: Okay. And you said you wanted to come to the point of being as the Stephansdom, like this force in the middle of this chaos, or?
Stephane Magloire: Uh, just, Vienna is a speed that I found that I [00:22:00] liked for myself. Like New York was really fast and LA was a lot of fun. And there are all these places around the world that have a little bit of either one of those. But on my worst, craziest, fastest day, I can still sit down and tell you everything I did that day.
I could not do that anywhere else. And so there were certain feelings of, it’s who I am. Like, it really is my pace. It’s the thing that I do. And I started realizing that just in being there in a week; I decided to move to Vienna within a week of being here.
Chanda Rule: Okay.
Stephane Magloire: And that was just like infrastructure wise, ’cause I lived everywhere, right? So like New York is hella expensive. So, one, being in a place that is not hella expensive means that I have now money to invest in certain things. And then because of this thing, I have even more money to invest in certain things.
And so me being able to invest in my art is a privilege that I have here that artists who are in the States could never. Because they’re working to [00:23:00] just do the thing, which is the cost of living.
Chanda Rule: Right. Right.
Stephane Magloire: And so these little tiny things were like, okay, this is more you, this is more your speed and everything. But then there was a lot of things that I conveniently could run away from in the fun of life and being an artist that began to slap me in the face while being here: racism, in a way that I never realized how good I got at lying to myself about it happening to me.
Chanda Rule: Okay.
Stephane Magloire: To me. And so, but, my work before still was consistent, but now my work and the motivation are consistent because I realized that there was a lot of miseducation that I’d had in this kind of world that I built for myself that during a time of COVID where everything got to slow down, I got to shift it in the other direction and shifting into the other direction is, real talk, anytime I tell [00:24:00] myself, “is that something you sure are you sure you can say that? I don’t know. You probably shouldn’t.” I just do now.
Chanda Rule: Okay. Okay. So just going with the urge.
Stephane Magloire: Yeah, ’cause I’d gone through a breakup also that at that time, I was experiencing a ton of cyber bullying. It was coming at me in a way that felt also extra because I wasn’t in the U. S. right?
I didn’t have my family, my friends, my people to be able to kind of filter through that. It was me, and it was what’s going on. It’s so funny that you said this because I woke up this morning, and I posted something on Instagram. It’s so important that like, I actually have to pull it up, but it says, “One of the most important qualities to develop in life is determination. At some point, you just have to put your foot down and say, I’m going to move in this new direction and no person or situation is going to stop me. Great transformations need a beginning.”
Chanda Rule: Mm.
Stephane Magloire: So when I had this burnout, it was one of the scariest things in my life. I didn’t even know if I would bring this up, but it was like [00:25:00] dark, dark night of the soul.
I had the suicidal ideations. It wasn’t intense, but going to therapy helped me realize, okay, this is just ideation. This is not intent. I’m okay. I’m not crazy. I went deeper into myself because the world stopped spinning. Those lockdowns, people were like, oh my God, where’s my fun, where’s this? I just went deeper inside because of another infrastructure that happens to be here in Austria, which is therapy.
Chanda Rule: Mhmm.
Stephane Magloire: And affordable, like the most affordable rate.
Chanda Rule: Really? I’m like, I haven’t found that, so we’ll have to talk about that offline.
Stephane Magloire: I have the secrets, right?
There were so many things that were happening and I was just like, how did this happen? The original thing that I told you about me moving here: there’s the idea of Stephan and Stephansplatz and it just, nothing made sense, nothing. I literally had a moment that in all of this breakup and everything that was happening, like I hadn’t slept in like a week and a half.
Chanda Rule: Oh my God.
Stephane Magloire: Everything just showed up, [00:26:00] right? Like every racist thing, every whatever, from all the walks of my life that I just threw into sides of rooms as I still just try to create authentically, and I just couldn’t anymore. So I sifted through this whole Rolodex of friends and I landed on one person that I knew that I could say everything that I was going through at the time, and they wouldn’t worry.
And that was what I mean in this idea of courage. I realize this now, especially in the last year where I finally had the time to go back to the U.S. and speak up to my people. It also takes practice. I don’t just show up on a big stage and start saying the words I’m saying.
Chanda Rule: Mm.
Stephane Magloire: They really start from these minor conversations. These, “Hey girl, what you doing right now? Ah, cool. Okay. You up?” Those are the moments where I can put the theory into practice, and then start to realize, oh wow, there are also notes that come back from these people [00:27:00] on what they’re going through and being able to just get to a place then of like, okay, this feels good. This feels right. I understand this. This is me. This has other contexts that are in it, but it still feels authentically me.
Now I speak.
Chanda Rule: Mhm.
Stephane Magloire: And all of that erupted from a place where I had no voice. Forget all the other people and laws and the rules and regulations that have silenced me. I silenced me.
Chanda Rule: Hmm.
Stephane Magloire: And I also have a choice, in un-silencing me, and I think what makes the work that I do now and who I am this force, as you would say. And I feel it too. And I feel also very grounded by it right now versus overwhelmed by it which was what I felt before, which is why I feel like I lowkey was giving it away to other people.
And then realizing that like giving that force to other people also wields a lot of violence that I’ve been also had to hold myself accountable for because I gave them those tools.[00:28:00] But this force that I’m feeling right now comes from this place of, no, half of the things that I had told myself are just not true. The parts that comes with the, “how dare you?” and “you can’t.” And I’m like, “watch me.”
Chanda Rule: So I want to name some of these tools because my hope is that people that are listening to this will find inspiration to use their voices more courageously, or maybe start something because, we can’t all juggle all these wonderful things like you are, but even if it’s just one thing.
You’ve talked a lot about your support, your friends, you found a friend that could hold what you were going through. You had therapy. I’m wondering, was there anything else, because you’re talking about these decisions you made and this process of relearning who you are or finding more authenticity, and how you want to share yourself.
But is this something [00:29:00] that you got just from therapy and a friend, or I’m sure you had your own processes. Were you writing? Journaling? Or was it just the time and just the act of naming what you wanted and waiting. This is also a thing.
Stephane Magloire: The first was time. I remember in the moment where I was at critical low that I found myself just asking the universe for more time. And this was about three months before Corona showed up.
Chanda Rule: Mm.
Stephane Magloire: When one is depressed or down or any of this, it feels actually the world spending twice as fast then as it was before.
And so that was the first part, where I had time. And then I had this moment of observing myself, being like, “well, you asked for this, and this is what you’re doing with it?” And so that was probably the first two months of COVID. And then I’ve just began to go, okay, there’s so much that’s in my head right now.
How, how do I get it out? And so at the [00:30:00] time with therapy, especially during COVID, they had given, sessions of up to five days a week for free. And so it was just the act of what I call mental vomit, word vomit of just getting things out, and hearing it outside.
There’s things that can stay in here, but the minute they’re out there, then I actually had to sort through it and deal with it. The other part, and these are really the first steps. And I kind of went from the first one back to the first one to the second one in between that.
And then it took about a year then until I went to my people, because I then also had to figure out who are my people. And so the more I informed myself with these things that were just in my head, I found moments where some of these voices were extremely negative and not good for me. And so then when I took those voices and I threw it along [00:31:00] smorgasbord of friends, I was able to pick out those and go, okay, that no longer serves me.
So then I went in and cleared a lot of space that I once made for everyone, except for myself to then really clear that out and make space for it. Then when I felt, okay, these are some people that I feel safe with, which is a privilege, right?
Like it’s a privilege to even have one friend, let alone, what I can say is at least 10 friends that I could call at a moment’s notice and they would drop everything and have the ability to come to me. And that is a privilege that I then realized that I was not protecting because I just put so many people in that space.
And so then I had to go into a conversation with these people that I loved so dearly and begin to face a mirror of parts of myself that I didn’t care [00:32:00] to see. And so as I had these friends tell me the truth made these friendships even more real, to be able to then feel like, there are people that are there for you.
And now from that, It’s not just in the sense of doing my own thing. Education then is a part of it. It’s crazy to think just this thing had happened three years ago, and some parts of that still carries some anxiety, because it was only three years ago, but then it’s like, I’m this far from it in three years.
The big part of that is I find that I could easily go, this is really great. I’m now in a good place. You know what I mean? And I’m still learning, but that’s the part now that I’m in, where it’s being myself in public. And I realize that that is a lot more important than any of the work that I do.
Because the work is always in a conversation with the person that I [00:33:00] am in public.
Chanda Rule: And so, does this change your creative work, do you think? I mean, I’m sure it has, but I guess I’ll rephrase it. How has it changed?
Stephane Magloire: It’s changed my creative work because it’s an interesting sight to see of, of people really finding a moment of being themselves. Like, for the brunch, for example, I’m behind the bar. I’m the emcee, the host. And so in the beginning, I give them this task of like, you’re not in an Austrian theater or anything.
You’re not clapping in the beginning and clapping at the end, no. You are screaming at this human being throughout the whole thing. When they make you feel something, if they fall on the floor, if they do this, if they like, just let it go. Like, ah! Right? And you see this like, ooh, yes, [cheers]. By the end you have this like 52, 65, 25 year old Austrian, who would never. [00:34:00] Ever.
And it’s not even just the audience, that’s just the beginning of it. There’s a whole mix of people from all walks that are there that are screaming and that are having fun and letting themselves go and they walk away with that. Right? If they want to give themselves a permission to be that way outside. Yeah.
Because it’s never about me. But at the same time, it is me. I am the representation of it. Also within that, I get to curate the things that I actually want to dialogue about. And so for me, stigma in the HIV AIDS community, it’s huge. And I have so many friends of mine who are positive, just found out they’re positive, have been positive for a very long time and still dealing with those types of things.
So then to create a space where a positive person, as a drag queen, can run around and do whatever she wants and have people love it and not be scared of it. That’s the beginning of that kind of work; also with trans also with all of, I only work [00:35:00] within the cards that I have, and also recognize that that’s enough. I don’t have to change the world. I can create a small piece of it within myself and see how that continues to have its own effects with other people. My voice only gets amplified by everyone else’s voice that also is singing in that same chorus.
And within a chorus, because I did grow up as a little chorus nerd, you know? So there’s the sopranos, there’s the altos, there’s the tenors, there’s the basses. You can even split that into tenor 1, tenor 2, and there’s different ways of how they come together. There’s sometimes dissonance, right?
There’s sometimes these beautiful harmonies, there’s full blast of the whole. That’s part of it too. Even though I’m in a curating phase, I also can be in a place where I’m learning as well. So these humans that I’m meeting [exclaims]. This past weekend, I stayed up with my drag artists till 6:00 AM.
And to [00:36:00] hear what it is that I’m doing that’s helping them and vice versa and really just attempting to speak to this world. I think anyone that has a voice and is able to raise it in whatever way that they do, especially in the arts, that’s amazing. And I think we really do need more of that.
The work that I’m doing is especially here is giving a platform to people who want to do that, who have worked really hard to do that, and that have something unique that they have to say as well. Before I would say that, I’m the type of person who hands out lighters.
In my life, as I go and I meet people, I just constantly, “here’s a lighter, here’s a lighter, here’s a lighter.” But before that, I went so far as to attempt to then light those lighters for all of those people where it’s like, that’s actually not my job. There, there are people that will figure it out for themselves.
And that’s wonderful to bear witness [00:37:00] to that. And I celebrate them for being able to do that. And that, in some way also gives me more to hand out, more lighters. But before, in trying to do that for everyone, I lost a huge sense of who I was.
Chanda Rule: Well, I love this sense of lighter. Actually, this is, this is a great part to wrap it up, because it’s close to an hour already and it’s been a beautiful conversation. Um, I’m loving some of this synchronicity and these moments, because I actually described you as a Firestarter, [laughs] I don’t know, in my last few Instagram posts! It was like the Firestarter. But I love this, that you’re handing out the lighters.
Stephane Magloire: That’s Haiti, in so many ways. Even with Vienna’s Burning randomly. There’s so many parts of this determination, as I talked about, that comes with this country that I come from it. I was born in it, and I only lived there for three years, but there’s so much of this tenacity of [00:38:00] doing something, right?
It might not even be the right thing. You don’t know, but to really do something and the Haitian call. So when you see someone else is Haitian, immediately, it’s “Sake pase?” which is, you know, “what’s going on?” And the response is, it’s like, “N’ap boule,” like, “You’re burning.”
Chanda Rule: “N’ap boule,” I love it. I love it. I love it.
Stephane Magloire: That sense of even within something that sounds crazy which is to burn something to the ground. It’s in creating new life.
Chanda Rule: Yes.
Stephane Magloire: And that has this thing that I’ve learned to do for myself. And I feel that much more empowered when other people learn to do it for themselves versus relying on me to do.
Chanda Rule: Yeah. Yeah. And I love the fire. I mean, this is such a beautiful, sacred energy in so many different traditions about the fire, but okay.
So. I want to talk more, but we have to end. Stephane, thank you so much. Thank you so much for, for joining us. [00:39:00] This has been such a wonderful conversation. Can you tell everyone where to find you if they want to find you online?
Stephane Magloire: Yes. So, on the Instagram, it’s @spaceghost1985. And then Queens Brunch, which is the drag brand that’s here in Vienna is @queensbrunchvienna. And then as far as Austria’s major voguing ball, that is @viennaisburning.
Chanda Rule: Okay. And if somebody wants to come to the drag brunch in Vienna, when is it?
Stephane Magloire: Uh, it always happens on Saturdays. There’s usually a show at 12 and another show at 3:00 PM. The shows are two hours each, all-you-can-eat buffet, bottomless mimosas, which is orange juice and champagne put together. Um, and, the Instagrams are really the best way of finding out what’s going on. But we also have a Facebook as well. So if you look at Queens Brunch Vienna, or, Vienna is Burning. You’ll find all the things there.
Chanda Rule: Okay. [00:40:00] Wonderful. Beautiful. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you connect.faith for making this all possible and yeah, we look forward to the next time. Thank you so much.
Stephane Magloire: Yeah, I’d be totally down to, to be back. Thank you for having me. Really, thank you.