|David Lopez: The Goddess Isis|
posted by Bridget O'Loughlin on Jun 1, 2012 10:00am | comments
I guess I have to update my bio and say that I made it to the big 4-0 and am still a gold star lesbian! I am serious, really. I am still a smoking, drinking, softball playing writer, who has to be a parole officer by day to pay the bills until I am discovered and become the lesbian David Sedaris or the lesbian Candance Bushnell or the lesbian Sandra Bernhard....oh, right, she is a lesbian...anyway. It has been quite an adventure getting to the end of my first project of 365 stories written in 365 days on MyPantsWontStayUp.com. While I have jumped out of a plane and did a little (teeny tiny bit) of performing, I still have a shit ton of stuff to do on my list and 2012 might just be the year for it, including writing this damn book I promised myself to write. ooooh, I said it out loud to you, now I really have to do it. As always, if Phillygaycalendar.com's faithful have anything for me to check out, I will try anything (at this point, not even within reason) once.
You don't look at The Goddess Isis and think married preacher with kids, do you? However, what would have happened if David Lopez had continued on that path and married his high school sweetheart when he finished his degree at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee? I, for one, would be devastated. Isis is one of the fiercest queens around who "gives face" in a way that is not to be reckoned with.
I first saw The Goddess in May of 2011 at the Dollhouse Revue at Voyeur nightclub. Ms. Mimi Imfurst had just started this weekly collaboration of Philadelphia's best drag stars and I was there for the story. By the time I left, I had fallen head over ass for Isis, I was so impressed with her talent. But, I guess we should start at the beginning, it's a very good place to start. Yes, I am that gay that a "Sound of Music" reference is able to make its way into this story.
I sat down with David a couple weeks ago after annoying him to death for a year about getting his story. He finally contacted me and said that he wanted to do it, he had something important on his mind. He wanted to talk to me about his life in relation to his motto, "Be the Light". He wasn't sure where he wanted to take "Be the Light" but, for now, it is just a personal way of life, a way to live as an example of positivity for our community with no bullshit. He tries to shy away from the drama that comes along with being a popular drag queen in our city. The pettiness of competition is not for him and he stated that he'll "take whatever comes" and would be just as happy with world domination or a house in the woods, it makes no difference to this simple guy that just loves to entertain and has since he was little.
He was born and raised in D.C. in a family of performers, with his dad being in a travelling band. He is one of 8 and would describe his dad as "a nut", as we agreed that most good performers are, and his mother as "the voice of reason". Because he has been putting on performances basically since birth, he had no real fear of attempting to entertain out in the real world away from the safe cocoon of family.
His first foray into drag was at the age of 16 when he was snuck into a D.C club, Rascals, with his older friends. It was his first exposure to a gay club and he admits he was a little taken aback at what was going on in there (picture the basement at The Bike Stop mixed with ICandy go-go boys). The club happened to be having a "suicide drag" contest where people are randomly called on stage, given some drag accoutrements and assigned a song, which happened to be Mariah Carey's "Make it Happen" for young David. He had never thought about performing drag until that very moment but ended up doing it but not for long. He was headed on a different path.
While he did have a boyfriend in high school, who was the one who gave him the name "Isis", he left that life for a girlfriend and a bible college. He wanted to be able to perform and what better place than church to get your performing and singing on? I have to admit that church is some of the best theater out there. He started dating a young lady in high school and they even got engaged and went on to Tennessee to complete their bible studies at Lee University with visions of marriage, babies and David being the minister of a church.
However, all of that changed when they got to college and David laid his eyes on his current boyfriend on the first day of school. It was love at first sight and they have been together ever since. He broke up with his fiance and has never looked back. Now, as it is a bible college, things were more than complicated with having these feelings and then eventually acting on them, but, somehow, they made it work and remained under cover at the college until five years into his studies (yes, I know that seems like a long time but Catholics love to make you suffer, so, it was an extended stay to complete all of the curriculum), he was found out as a drag queen. He had been performing a local club as his job and someone turned him in. That was it, it was the end of his stay at Lee University.
He performed in Tennessee for ten years and has fiercely held onto the accent. I teased him about it because I have always assumed he was from the South with the drawl that he presents himself with. He lived in a dry town performing multiple nights a week from 9 to midnight, when the bar closed for the night, to people that you might imagine. He stated that all patrons, whether they were lesbians or gay men, looked like Billy Ray Cyrus. It was the 90's, it was the South. He then took a five year break.
He is now in Philadelphia, 37 years old, and everywhere that you turn performing. He is still The Goddess Isis, the only goddess in Greek mythology, he pointed out, that does not possess a wicked side to their persona. She is all powerful and uses her powers for good. She is like David. He maintains that Isis is a separate persona from him but they share the need to live by example. He said that while the gay community now has famous, public out people to look up to, they are not accessible to the common people and he would like to be someone that is accessible, someone that can "Be the Light" and encourage you. He would like to be that person and he would like other performers and public Philadelphia figures to be that as well.
I know that one way that he is the light for me is in his performing. If you want to see a great show with flawless makeup and singing ability, you have to check him out. One year later, he is still performing every Wednesday at The Dollhouse Revue, where Mimi Imfurst, during their Lady Gaga week, assigned him probably one of the hardest songs I have ever seen performed, "Scheise". It is Gaga's song that is in German and jibberish. I was blown away when I saw Isis perform this song at Bob and Barbara's and this lesbian even parted with a five dollar bill to show appreciation.
Isis has her own weekly show called "Sinful Sundays" at Tabu every Sunday night that has been met with rave revues. It was at Tabu that she won the contest to decide "Miss Philly Gay Pride" and will be representing in our pride parade on June 10th, possibly on the same float as Ms. Wendy Williams, which tickled David to no end. Seriously, who wouldn't be excited to be on the same float with her? During that same weekend, he will also be performing at our local all encompassing community center, William Way, for their yearly fundraiser, "Homecoming", on June 9th. It will be a show not to be missed with her Dollhouse partner in crime, Ms. Mimi Imfurst.
This Southern adoptee, who still misses his weeping willows and ice tea on the porch on hot summer nights, listens to bluegrass (much to his boyfriend's dismay), quotes lines from his favorite movie "The Color Purple", wants nothing more than to entertain you, he really does. While he would like to try out and succeed at "RuPaul's Drag Race", he knows that he would most assuredly fail the psych exam that they give you. Oh, you heard me right, they give you a psych exam. We both agreed, again, that creative people have a touch of the crazy and that's what makes us so good at what we do. We put ourselves out there to entertain you, make you laugh, cheer and just forget about whatever is going on, even if it is for five minutes. While world domination could happen for him, the word that he used most in our interview was content. He is a content man, who still loves his gospel music, who just happens to love to dress up as one of the fiercest ladies I have ever come across.