Maxi Glamour is our indigo demon queen, dancing the polka and burning Satanic rites down the Mississippi River. For ten years they have summoned plagues of glamorous disco punk to St. Louis that defy attempts at binary categorizations. To simply label Maxi a “drag queen” would be to incur their fiercest voodoo curse. Maxi’s scales are too prismatic.
Maxi’s work is a collage of vibrant queer possibilities, a voyage into steampunk dystopia, a femme fever dream full of horns and venom heels, a ballet of absurdist-avant garde fashion and a fierce dose of black queer liberation. Maxi is a designer, a classically trained flautist, a professional dancer, a show director, an activist and yes, a QUEEN.
“I see my purpose as knowing my skills and looking at the needs in my communities and understanding how I can make them better,” says Maxi.
It may sound simple, but Maxi has used this tenet to build a name as one of St. Louis’ most impressive artists. From polka parties at Das Bevo to demon cabarets full of hedonist burlesque to free drag workshops for trans and gender non-binary young artists, Maxi continues to push us to reconsider where the line exists between community and individual artist.
“Drag queens are pillars of queer culture,” Maxi says. “We are the ones on the mic, we are the ones creating the parties, so how can I work to change them? To change the culture and society?”
In terms of racial equity, Maxi says it comes down to not just putting black artists on the stage but putting them on the microphone.
“That is shifting the culture of what is seen as queer leadership in clubs, shows and arts communities,” Maxi says.
One of Maxi’s most influential projects is the quarterly queer arts mini-festival Qu’art, which blends intersectional and multi-disciplinary queer artists on the Crack Fox stage downtown.
“I wanted to bring acts together to expand our conceptions of what queer art is and what it can be here in St. Louis,” says Maxi. “I wanted it to be an event that I would want to be a part of, something I wasn’t seeing in St. Louis.”
The events are organized around themes like club kid wonderlands, cyber freaks, black queer excellence, filth and dismantling the oligarchy. Each Qu’art features panel talks with community leaders, activists and artists on issues touching queer lives: addiction, political mobilization, racism in the LGBT community and sex positivity. Many of the panels intentionally center queer leaders and elders.
“Learn from your queer elders, respect them,” says Maxi, who never reveals their age. “These are the ones that kept the bars open and alive for years. They were innovative, they were avant garde, so don’t treat these queer pioneers as disposable.”
And that ability to cultivate may be what defines their demon baklava influence.
“To be humble and lower yourself to learn from someone, to ask a question you don’t know the answer to,” says Maxi, “that is deep, that is beautiful.”