Named “one of Boston’s rising stars” by Stuff Magazine, Johnny Blazes is known for their genre-bending, gender-blending, tongue-in-cheek performances. They draw from their training in theater, dance and voice to create a category-defying brand of vaudevillian performance that incorporates drag, burlesque, comedy and clowning.
After graduating from Oberlin College in 2007, where they founded and directed OCircus!, a 95-person student group with whom they created five original shows, Johnny returned to their hometown of Boston and immediately dove into the nascent local circus community. In 2008, Johnny co-wrote and directed Mischief in the Machine, an evening-length circus theater production, in collaboration with Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band. This show served as one of the seminal moments for the founding of The Boston Circus Guild. Johnny most recently directed and starred in the BCG’s June 2011 show Reign of Revelry and co-wrote the 2012 circus-theater performance piece Threshold.
Since 2007 Johnny has been a corps cast member of TraniWreck, Boston’s all-gender, all-genre drag cabaret mess. Johnny has emceed for Rogue Burlesque, The Boston Circus Guild, Vadalna Tribal Dance Company, as well as for professional and student drag shows at colleges across the United States. Johnny has toured with The Tranny Roadshow, The Femme Show and Gender Queeries and has collaborated with Big Moves Boston, The Theater Offensive, The Extra Terrestrial Circus Experiment, and many other performance groups. They created an experimental cabaret show with collaborator Madge of Honor called Hypothesis, which ran from September 2010 through September 2011.
In April of 2010 Johnny forayed into the Boston theater scene to collaborate with The Performance Lab (now Liars & Believers) to curate and host the opening act to Le Cabaret Grimm, a punk rock fairy tale. In July of 2011, Johnny joined the cast of Tonya and Nancy: The Rock Opera in the double role of Tonya’s and Nancy’s mothers.
Johnny is currently on the editorial board of Salacious Magazine, a radical, anti-racist, feminist, queer sex magazine with a focus on art and comics. Johnny has co-authored several comics with fabulous queer artist Katie Diamond, as well as with long time friend and collaborator David Brown. Johnny’s work has been published in Gender Outlaws 2: The Next Generation (Seal Press, 2010) and Encounters in Contact (Oberlin College Press 2010).
Johnny’s wo(n)man show, a one-person, evening-length vaudevillian performance that incorporates theater, drag, dance, opera and circus arts to explore gender stereotypes and the performance of one’s daily gender, toured intermittently from 2009 until 2012. wo(n)man show has played in small theaters, universities and colleges in Boston, New York City, upstate New York, Hudson Valley, NY, Baltimore, Portland, ME, Philadelphia, Richmond, Washington DC, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Johnny’s newest project is a soul/funk band called Johnny Blazes and the Pretty Boys. Formed in 2011 by Johnny as a way of bringing the traditionally pre-recorded karaoke or lip-synching art of drag into the realm of live music, The Pretty Boys give audiences classic soul and funk songs with an unapologetically glittery flamboyance. The band also uses its powers of soul to cover songs in other genres, including artists that range from Frank Zappa to Spinal Tap, and to re-define those tunes with their own horn-heavy sound. In their first year of existence, The Pretty Boys have been honored to perform at the first ever North Shore Gay Pride Festival in Salem, MA, at The Hynes Convention Center as part of First Night Boston, as well as at clubs, theaters, and fundraisers throughout the Boston area.