Primarily working in performance, Holiday fuses elements of drag with harsh noise electronic music. For their show at haul, Holiday will be staging multiple performances on opening day, as well as an audio-visual installation in haul’s basement space. The installation will embody Holiday’s harsh sounds, stark lighting, goth makeup aesthetic, and femme drag-performer style.
For the performances on August 3rd, locations throughout New York City will be announced on haul’s instagram (@haul.gallery) where Holiday will be performing on the street, from the back of a rental truck named The Big Baby. A final performance will occur at haul gallery at 9pm.
The work of Reagan Holiday is best understood within the subversive tradition of drag-shows. Where drag performers have long bent gender norms and challenged an oppressive heteronormative society, Reagan Holiday’s performances temporarily destroys them. In a harsh tempest of pulsing bass and screeching sounds, Holiday stands confidently in their platform boots, fishnet leggings, rouge lipstick, and dark eyeliner. Their overall presence plays on the desire of the audience – Reagan Holiday is sexy – but they are also scary, intriguing, and powerful. While performing, they rarely acknowledge the crowd. They calmly manipulate distortion pedals and press their lips to a microphone, forcing a barrage of often-painful sound into the audience’s ears, while coolly seducing them to keep watching.
At some point, Holiday may or may not drown the harsh noise and play a pop song (none of the performances are alike). If they do, they will dance and lip sync, like more familiar drag shows. But they will always return to the noise. Where mainstream pop music is often brought into queer spaces as a means of subverting (or achieving) glamour and idolization, Holiday uses it as a bridge between our world of gender-binaries and their world of gender-wreckage. The ultimate drag. Where there is a feeling of chaos, but also desire – a latent call for destruction, but also a therapeutic outlet for pain and trauma, caused by the same oppressive forces that they tear apart, if only for a short time.
Reagan Holiday is a performance artist and musician based in Philadelphia. Their performative work takes elements of drag and sets it to a soundtrack of thundering noise music. They are the founder of Harsh Noise, Beat Face, a performance series showcasing performers who similarly blend noise and drag.