For Jason Barnes, the nightlife scene is something he’s always aspired to and a place where he says he thrives.
“Even the little things like being backstage or in the kitchen or using the bathroom as a makeshift dressing room, all that stuff is fun for me,” says the 29-year-old Washington native. “I love the amount of love and creativity that are all there in one place and I also love that you’re never fully in control. It can go any way at any time.”
He says Pussy Noir, his stage alter ego, is not a drag persona per se, but more like a “gender bending” sensibility.
“Sometimes when people first meet me, they don’t know what to do with me, but then they see me perform and they’re like, ‘OK, I get it.’”
For his next performance at the WTF: Superhero party Sunday night at Town (starts at 10 p.m.), he plans a “Catwoman, lacey kind-of” look. He’s just started singing live again though for the past several years he’s mainly lip-synced. He says the late Eartha Kitt was “hands down,” the best Catwoman ever.
Barnes works by day as a buyer for Buffalo Exchange and also makes short fashion films and does styling work on the side. Next month he plans to launch a website to showcase his work.
Barnes is single and lives in Columbia Heights. He enjoys drawing, writing and dressing up in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I was out the day I was born. It was not always really hard for me to deal with because I didn’t really know being any way other than gay.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I never really thought about it. I always had to give myself strength and mold my own path through the LGBT sphere.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Wonderland, not just because of the bar but my friends and I used to throw Pink Sock, a crazy legendary party on a Wednesday night every month. Oh the characters that crowded the upstairs! The kids were living!
Describe your dream wedding.
By the sea among trees and brush in fabulous haute couture and all the guests wearing animal heads by Philip Treacy.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Bullying. Even though it can cross with LGBT issues, it’s something that affected me and so many other children of different backgrounds. It’s wonderful the active steps that have been taken over the years on a national level.
What historical outcome would you change?
The first contact with American natives and Europeans. It would be interesting to see where we would all be today.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The death of Alexander McQueen. Yes I mourned him in only black tie for a week.
On what do you insist?
Style is most important.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A post about the new “AbFab” movie. I was living for it!
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“100 Years of Legs”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I am a pretty serious spiritualist so my scope of things beyond this world involves a bottle of rye and a pack of American Spirits because I have a lot to say. I’ll say I believe in the power of nature and our cosmic connection to our environment.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Remember to always empower and encourage not just LGBT people, but anyone with an open mind.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
A billion dollars, because then I can pay for the foot surgery after, have custom made heels during recovery and stay on bed rest in my sumptuous garden villa.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That we are jesters for public entertainment. As someone who loves the stage, I don’t like when people approach me as if I am a living YouTube for gay TV quips. This tends to happen in majority straight crowds for me.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Weekend.” It was very real. That’s the best way to describe it.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Bar crawls. It’s doing the most and accomplishing nothing.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
A Kennedy Center Honors.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
How to be selfish. I gave way too much of myself, I was almost burned out by 23.
Most people don’t know this but you can do whatever you want here. It may be conservative, but no one is really going to stop you from spreading a new idea or vision throughout this city.