About five years ago, nightlife performer/musician Linsay Deming used to sing “Happy Birthday Jesus” during her holiday nightclub performances. A friend heard it and suggested a Sunday school-themed show.
“The moment he said that, a light bulb went on as I realized a church service is the perfect format for a variety show,” the 31-year-old Sioux City, Iowa, native says.
And thus Church Night, a monthly service/variety show, was born. It started at the Wonderland Ballroom in April 2013 and moved to the Black Cat in 2015. Deming performs as her alter ego, youth pastor Kathy Piechota along with Rev. Stevedore Maybelline Bidet, esq., and Randy St. Oates Jr., an altered boy (both are queer characters; in “real life,” Landon Letzkus and Jeremy Frank are “ferocious allies and like most people are somewhere on the Kinsey Scale that’s not zero,” Deming says). Last year they started regular shows in New York at the Cobra Club.
Each show features rotating stand-up and burlesque or drag performers. Shots-n-tots communion (a tater tot and shot of whiskey) is offered at each show and no two are alike. About 150 attend each month. Five episodes of a spin-off web series have also been made.
The Church Night Holiday Spectacular! is Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. Details at churchnight.org.
“You can expect a whole lot of debaucherous holiday-themed comedy, elaborate sparkly decorations, a light show, games with prizes and more,” Deming says.
Deming works by day as a museum educator and though married to a guy (Ted), she embraces her bisexuality. They live in a row house in Stronghold. Deming enjoys singing, playing guitar, reading, cooking and crafting in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
Eight years. I came out when I was 23, but I’m continually coming out since I’ve been married to a man for a decade and present straight. Hardest person to tell was my husband because we’d been married a couple years and then, you know, had to figure out how to incorporate it into our lives. He was so supportive.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Someday I want to have an empire like RuPaul.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
House/apartment events are the best in D.C. For artists, it can be hard to get your work or performance into a venue, so for years, people all over the city have been hosting music, comedy and art shows where they live. Plus you can let your hair down and let your freak flag fly higher when the event is semi-private.
Describe your dream wedding.
A courthouse in South Dakota with only immediate family and close friends present. Mexican food after.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Equity for minorities and gender equality are on par for me.
What historical outcome would you change?
The colonizing of the Americas by the Europeans and the genocide of native people.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Janet Jackson’s boob at the Super Bowl XXXVII halftime show.
On what do you insist?
A good night’s sleep.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A post about these cool holiday ornaments I’m making to sell at Church Night and Rock-n-shop. They’re called Peepshow Ornaments and look like a normal tree ornament, but there is a little window on the back. When you turn on a little LED, you can see what’s inside.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“The Midwestern Cunt”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Assume that with the advent of genetic alteration humans are now capable of never dying, so I’d try to live forever. If the GOP got their hands on it, I’d join the resistance.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Empathy is a virtue that bonds the human race together. Your struggle is mine and mine is yours. Your success is mine and mine is yours. The mysterious connection between people and our capacity for love is the x factor of life.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
This moment in history feels like a step backward so it’s extremely important to keep fighting for our rights and promoting love for all people.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To save a loved one’s life.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That there is a specific way to be L, G, B or T.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
It’s not that common in America, but I always shudder at that custom where men get handshakes but women get kisses on the cheek. What if I don’t want a kiss?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Best outstanding yearbook prize.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
AVOID STUDENT LOANS!
D.C. is full of incredibly passionate and intelligent people. Whatever you want to do and whoever you want to be is possible in this city.