And since returning this past spring, the celestial deity drag persona of Zelienople native Sam Perry has kept a schedule representative of her creative breadth: Performing at the sold-out Trans-Q Live! show at the Warhol Museum, launching the pop-up retail art installation “Moonbabyland,” reading selections from her novel Twin Fawns at Assemble for the Inqueerior showcase, co-producing a live reading of the six-episode web series “Gorlz,” a parody of Lena Dunham’s HBO show “Girls,” and guest lecturing for a Point Park English course on gender and storytelling. And also regularly hosting, and performing in, drag shows at Lucky’s and the Blue Moon. And also holding down a day job or two.
Today Moon Baby is premiering the first music video from her EP Butter Face, released this past summer. Directed by Dillon Stark, “Moi” is a stripped-down visual representation of the relationship between Perry and the created, creative identity Moon Baby. “She makes me feel alive / He gives me a body / She makes me feel like I got a life / He lets me be naughty,” Moon Baby and Perry trade off in the affirmation-rich duet that closes out this brief, lush EP.
(Video directed by Dillon Stark. Track produced by Riley Urbano and mastered by Chad Beisner.)
Butter Face is an exploration of the self and the other, sexy in sound, lyrically both otherworldly and terrestrial, and steeped in mytho-religious imagery. “When I die, place me in an earthen cradle / Atop some sunny hill / And in my mouth, place the seed of a great oak tree,” Moon Baby sings, harmonizing with herself, in the opening seconds of the EP’s first track “Pslms.”
As a drag queen, Moon Baby is a channel for creative energies. But for Perry, who had a conservative Christian upbringing, Moon Baby is also a vehicle for reconciling and even celebrating that religious past rather than discarding it and creating something new from whole cloth. “The Moon Baby is a guide for me,” Perry says, “to help me see the absolute magic of the Earth and the people who inhabit it. There is a certain mourning of identity that comes with coming out, and that’s why I never chose to do it—I see the value in my past as something that is always happening and my present as the only thing I have. Moon Baby has come to inform me, and I her, and this sort of shared essence takes place inside of me, which I will forever cherish. Simply put, my body isn’t trans—my soul is.”
On Friday, Oct. 23, Moon Baby will be performing with Thousandzz of Beez at “Please Hurt Me,” a tribute to ‘60s doo wop girl group The Crystals (think “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss”) at Cattivo. In her words, it’ll be “like the saddest Kay Jewelers commercial you will ever see.” It’d be lunacy to miss it.