Mikey Torres and his boyfriend of five years Dan Sherwood are both into music, albeit of wildly different varieties — Torres is the front man of local band Glitterlust, a queer outfit he says is a cross between Marilyn Manson and Scissor Sisters. Sherwood is an opera singer.
“We don’t perform together or collaborate musically,” Torres says with a laugh. “He tries to educate me on things whereas I taught myself every instrument I know. He’s much more a musician. I see myself as an entertainer where it’s all about music, sets and costumes. In the band, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
Glitterlust, which formed last April and debuted at last year’s Phase Fest, is Torres, lesbian guitarist Liz Wooley and bi bassist Chris Roudiez. They perform mostly Torres’ originals but occasionally do covers. They have two upcoming appearances — look for them at Homopolitan at Velvet Lounge (915 U St., N.W.) on Feb. 18 where they’ll co-headline with burlesque outfit D.C. Gurley Show and lesbian R&B group the CooLots (Doors at 8, show at 9; $8 tickets available at the door, 21 and up). And on Thursday they’ll open ’80s night at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room (1725 Columbia Rd., N.W.) at 8 p.m.
Torres says he likes to explore the nuances of gay life, especially sex, from a queer perspective.
“I think it’s an artist’s job to question what’s put out there for us,” he says. “Ultimately art is not a statement, it’s a question mark. You can’t close everybody in the hetero-normative bubble.”
The band put out an EP last year called “Beautiful Noise” on Band Camp. They’re working on an indie album — tentatively called “Chaos Magic” — for release this year. All three members work day jobs — Torres is sous chef at Dupont Circle hotel The Beacon. They play in the region about three times per month.
“If success comes, we certainly won’t turn it down but I think we’re really lucky to live in a time when the record contract is not the ultimate goal,” he says.
Torres and Sherwood live together in Oxon Hill, Md. Torres enjoys music, cooking, sewing, crafts and “anything creative,” he says.
“I’m sort of a punk rock Martha Stewart.”
(Blade photos by Michael Key)
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out pretty much my whole life, I wasn’t born, I sauntered out of the womb! The hardest person to tell was myself.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Probably John Waters, while I love his sense of humor and creative quirkiness, he continues to be a pioneer and push the boundaries of American culture and cinema.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Past, I’d say The Edge circa 2000-2002, I was a big raver back then and that club picked up where Tracks left off. Present, the 9:30 club, I’ve seen shows in there that have literally changed me as a person.
Describe your dream wedding.
I don’t really think I’ll ever get married, but if I did, it would be an 80’s-themed wedding with drag queen ushers dressed as ’80s icons like Molly Ringwald, ’80s Madonna and Boy George!
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about
Agriculture and food processing/labeling in America. I think we should tax junk food, soda and fast food and it should be illegal to sell those items in the public school system.
What historical outcome would you change?
The birth of Jesus. While I think all religions begin with the best intentions, as a gay person I also believe that religion has done far more harm than good to our community. I understand that most of the time it’s the extremists who are misinterpreting the context, however I think society as a whole would be far more evolved if we put our faith into science and art.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The acquittal of Michael Jackson in 2005. I was working as a bartender at a chain restaurant at the time and all the TVs were on when it was announced. All the black people in the bar cheered while most of the white people protested and sneered. It was the first time I’d seen such direct and unapologetic racism.
On what do you insist?
Good manners and punctuality.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
“Back from Vegas, I’d tell you all about it, but you know what they say!”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
Larger than life is just the right size”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Feel pity for those not strong enough to endure their true nature.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe that if there is a “God,” then it is an artist. I think to be creative is the closest you can get to really understanding God. I also believe that morality is a personal issue not a spiritual one. I don’t think any “spiritual” person has the right to tell you having sex or doing drugs is wrong.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
To stop being afraid of offending some people. There are some great LGBT leaders out there, but most of them seem to be walking on political eggshells. We’re so worried about being seen as “normal,” the Human Rights Campaign wants the right wing to see us as heteronormative, monogamous white-picket fence-type families. I think it’s great that those types of gay families are out there, but we shouldn’t have to adapt to that ideal to get equal rights. There are plenty of successful non-monogamous couples, triads, open relationships, non-traditional families that are probably more “normal” and well adjusted than most straight families.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
The chance to go into space!
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
When someone thinks that because I’m gay I won’t fight back when you call me fag. I’m from P.G. County, I’m not afraid to stand up for myself.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“The Trip.” I love how they weave in footage from critical moments in gay history.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Saying “bless you” when someone sneezes. Just say “Shut up!”
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Not really a prize, but I’d love to go on tour with my band and see the world while entertaining people.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
Nothing. I think that everything happens for a reason and if you’re happy with where you are, you can’t bitch about how you got there!
The more I travel, the more I realize how great D.C. is! We have so much history but also constantly evolving culture. In one day you can see the monuments, eat amazing Ethiopian food and see a great drag show! I love all the culture here, how you can meet people from all backgrounds and everyone has a story.