Get 'dragged' through quarantine ... with Boxxa Vine
MONTEREY — Being in COVID-19 lockdown is a drag. If you let it be.
But for Berkshire queen, Boxxa Vine (nee Aaron Johnson) it's an opportunity to let one's talents shine.
"Out Of The Boxxa Productions got hit HARD, like most small businesses and performance spaces, by the quarantine," Boxxa wrote via email.
Boxxa, for the record, uses pronouns interchangeably, typically "she" as a performer and "he" out of drag.
When her March 13 performance and 30th birthday extravaganza, "Dragged Through Disney," scheduled at The Foundry in West Stockbridge, was canceled due to shutdown orders, Ms. Vine improvised.
In early April, to help keep the stuck-at-home masses entertained, he released footage from a February Foundry show, "Dragged Through Dating," featuring sister performers Angel South, Noelle Diamond and Katrina Mirage. The campy cabaret show, like most of the Out Of The Boxxa Productions, falls into the realm of PG-13, with some adult-themed jokes and language. Free for all to view, Vine encourages viewers to practice digital tipping, made possible through applications like PayPal, Venmo and Cash App. As more musicians, artists and performers continue to stage their offerings online, digital tipping and the Patreon platform have become lifelines.
Boxxa and her cast of guests are also remotely filming a new web series called "Screwed It," a parody of the popular show, "Nailed It," "where we pit various people against each other in a bake-off fake off to see who, well ... 'Screwed It' up the least." The first episode features contenders cheekily describing their baking technique as if they were social media influencers unboxing and applying a new product. The next episode airs at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 21. Visit facebook.com/DraggedThrough for details.
To exercise his creative energy and tailoring talent, Boxxa continues to craft his own quarantine-inspired drag fashions for fun, as well as the most popular ready wear design of the moment — cloth face coverings — which he stitches in fun character fabrics and colorful patterns and sells for both adults and kids through her website. Boxxa and Angel South (aka Joshua Schnopp) have also been doing Facebook live videos and collaborative makeup and mask tutorials. Vine posts musings and creations nearly daily via her social media channels on Facebook (Boxxa Vine) and Instagram (@BoxxaVine).
One of Boxxa's first quarantine creations was based on a hazmat suit "but instead made out of orange sequin and velour I had leftover from another dress I made last year and the jacket is made from a couple of shower curtains I had in the bathroom closet. It's a high neck jumpsuit, gloves, mask, and jacket and one of the few things I've made since the social distancing started," he writes.
In true drag fashion, Vine did a bathroom photo session, completing the look with a bright red wig, respirator mask and a can of spray disinfectant. To keep the small business engine running, the upbeat entrepreneur has partnered with Monterey T-shirts to produce his own fan T-shirt, also up for sale. The red lettering across the white cotton reads "I love Boxxa Vine," with a heart atop a wine glass stem serving as a stand in for the word "love." Boxxa has also been promoting Only In My Dreams Events "Paraphernalia Packs," novelty gift and party planning decor kits.
He's taking some custom clothing design orders as well. IS183 Art School of the Berkshire Executive Director Lucie Castaldo is a recent recipient of one of Boxxa Vine's designs, a citrus colored paisley print trench coat. Castaldo wrote in a chat message: "When quarantine began I made a list of all of the local businesses, organizations, and artists that contribute to my love for the Berkshires and am picking one or two a week to support during this time. I love living here because of the life and color our local artists bring to our community. Boxxa Vine is an extraordinarily talented artist and performer and I've always been impressed with the work he does on costumes for IS183 Art School's annual gala. So, when I saw he had jackets for sale ... I was sold! ... Normally, I would not walk out the door in such a statement — but I love that it's bringing a little levity to Guido's trips and I get to highlight Boxxa!"
Boxxa also made a face covering for Castaldo to match the jacket.
"I have a lot of fabric I've collected over the years especially from The Rink sales and the closing of Country Curtains, so I've been trying to remain productive and have been just sewing the days away," he writes, referring to former Southern Berkshire businesses.
As for the debut of Dragged Through Disney? Boxxa Vine says, "My team and I have been adding even more to it with the extra time. There's no current date for Dragged Through Disney to happen, but someday it will happen and I can't wait to share all the hard work Angel South, my creative team, and I put into it! A big new set that changes each act, 8 to 10 new costumes all done my myself, fun songs, cheesy jokes, and LOTS of Disney!"
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