Go Behind the Scenes with Two of BAM’s Most Dynamic Staff Members


Daisy Desnuda (photo by Doug Ross) as well as Flower Tortilla (photo by Michael Avance)

By David Hsieh

They have double identities. To BAM staff as well as patrons, they are Leo Paredes as well as Hector Rios, with the totally normal job titles of, respectively, Operations Coordinator for Education as well as Community Engagement as well as Special Events Coordinator. however to brand new York’s night crawlers, they are known as Daisy Desnuda, burlesque thespian, as well as Flower Tortilla, drag queen. however once in a while, the two lives converge. Such is actually the case when Flower Tortilla performs at Everybooty, BAM’s annual Pride party, joining many various other brand new York night life glitterati in celebration of diversity as well as creativity. We talked to them about what the idea’s like pursuing two parallel career paths.

Can you tell us about your day jobs?

Hector Rios: I started off at BAM in February 2018 as a part of the Special Events team, which is actually an arm of Development. We handle events geared toward our patrons as well as members as well as offer interdepartmental support on large parties.

Leo Paredes: I started off at BAM in September 2016. I’m the Operations Coordinator for Education as well as Community Engagement. I manage all calendars for the Education department, collecting programming information as well as distributing the idea to various other departments, among various other duties.

What is actually your night life as well as how did you start the idea?

HR: I perform as drag queen Flower Tortilla. I’ve been doing the idea for three years.

My introduction to drag was through theater. I took a course at Pace University about drag in theater. We studied how actors as well as actresses portray masculinity on stage. Then I started off to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. I got the idea in which there could be a crossover so I tried the idea as well as the idea has snowballed into This specific big part of my life.

LP: My stage persona is actually Daisy Desnuda. I’m a burlesque performer. In college I took a class on turn-of-the-century pop culture, which was about circus, burlesque, sideshows, as well as I was obsessed with the idea. I wrote a senior thesis on burlesque as art. Then one day I took a class at brand new York Burlesque School as well as fell in love with the idea, as well as three months later, I got on stage. I’m also a strong advocate for body as well as sex positivity as well as sex workers’ rights. So burlesque fits into in which.

When people think of burlesque, they think of American striptease. however if you look at the idea coming from a historical standpoint, the idea was a satire on current events, politics, as well as pop culture. The type of burlesque I do definitely pulls coming from in which comical kind of striptease.

How did you choose your stage names?

HR: I was looking for something in which celebrated my Mexican heritage. I grew up in a border town where everyone around me was Mexican. I repressed my identity for a long time. I was doing theater as well as people couldn’t make sense of me because I don’t have an accent. I was “Too Mexican for the Whites as well as too white for the Mexicans.” So when I came to drag I truly wanted to honor the idea however also have fun with the idea.

LP: Much like Hector, I also want to celebrate my Latinx identity. I remember meeting a theater manager who said she didn’t know any Great actors of coloration. I think she just didn’t know where to look!

Do you like having a day job?

HR: in which’s a tricky question. I love being at BAM. I love what I do. Although I do think as a queer person I live more the life I want to when I’m in drag or when I’m in in which circle.

LP: I have a musical theater background. I did a brief stint in Bachelor of Fine Arts until I realized the idea was not for me. I wanted a job in which was going to feed me. as well as if I’m completely drained creatively, I don’t want to think about performing or creating a brand new act however in which will still be fine.

HR: There’s something truly relaxing about conforming.

LP: (Emphatically) Yeah!

HR: inside the drag community half the people have day jobs. We do the night life as our artistic expression. What I find is actually you can perform your art part-time, however being an artist is actually always full-time.

LP: Yeah, you’re always thinking about the idea. There are so many levels of being an artist as well as practicing your artistry. You don’t have to be full-time for the idea to count. Daisy never turns off!

HR: Sometimes things happening at work feed into artistic ideas. however then there are times I have to put into my calendar: Do not think of drag!

LP: I think sometimes you need a break to create brand new ideas as well as not just look at the same thing over as well as over. Like if the idea’s a truly busy week or month doing shows, at the end of the idea, I try to have one day off—no costuming, no listening to music.

is actually your stage persona the real you? 

HR: A part of me lives my life code-switching. When I’m Flower I’m a different person coming from Hector. however there are similarities. Sometimes I want to reconcile them, sometimes I don’t. I think there’s something to be said about portraying a persona as well as what the idea means to be in which persona—are you extending yourself or creating the idea up in some way?

LP: I do think both are very personal art forms. You present a character in which comes coming from within. I draw a lot of inspiration coming from my real life however I don’t present the idea in in which way. I did This specific show once called “Do Both.” I had to do a talk for a few minutes before I did my burlesque, as well as the subject was Latinx identity inside the US, which is actually super personal. After I did the idea, I was like, This specific is actually such a weird experience in which everyone knows my life story, everyone knows me on a personal level. as well as I thought I had crossed in which barrier between Daisy as well as Leo as well as the audience had seen too much Leo for me to be Daisy again. After in which I decided I’m never going to do in which again, to make Leo so visible when I’m supposed to be Daisy.

HR:  I totally understand. There’s a certain level of vulnerability in which you don’t want to show audiences because you need to make them believe you’re the character you created. When I’m on stage I don’t talk about my personal life. Maybe I’ll throw in a dating joke every once in a while. however the idea’s never too personal.

however interestingly, drag also helped the real Hector. When I turned 21, I felt as a brown queer person, I was very outside the bubble of This specific white cis gay male community. I didn’t belong. I thought drag could make me not feel in which way. as well as the idea did. Along the way I realized I’m truly supplementing my self-esteem in drag, how much more comfortable I was inside the social setting.

Everybooty is actually at the BAM Fisher on June 29.

Follow @DaisyDesnuda as well as @theflowertortilla on Instagram to learn about their upcoming performances.

David Hsieh is actually a publicity manager at BAM.

© 2019 Brooklyn Academy of Music, Inc. All rights reserved.

Go Behind the Scenes with Two of BAM’s Most Dynamic Staff Members

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