WCAX; You Can Quote Me (September 8, 2019)
WCAX (September 6, 2019)
Vermont Pride continues throughout the weekend, ending with a big parade on Sunday at noon.
For many in the LGBTQ plus community, it's a time to celebrate. Local drag queens Nikki Champagne and Emoji Nightmare spread awareness on queer issues year-round.
They say drag is an exploration of gender identity through art and that the transformation from "naked mole rat realness" to a fabulous queen can take about an hour. The make up phase is the longest part, but one of the most important for the gender bending transformation.
Trouw [Netherlands] (July 19, 2019)
In the US, children are told about a red pencil that is blue on the inside. This LGBT story encounters resistance in conservative circles. "It incites sinful life."
Read more > (published in Dutch)
Times Argus (July 18, 2019)
There were “queens,” but no drama at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library on Saturday. Not, that is, unless you count a uniformed police officer gamely posing for a photograph with a couple of colorful drag queens before he and his partner went on their way and Nikki Champagne and Emoji Nightmare sat down to read out loud.
They had a lot of listeners.
More than 130 people filled the Hayes Room — spilling out into the library’s corridor — for a story hour Carolyn Brennan, the co-director at Kellogg-Hubbard, said was never in danger of being canceled, despite rumors to the contrary.
True North Reports (July 15, 2019)
For the second year in a row, the Kellogg-Hubbard Library hosted a drag queen story hour for the public. This time more than 100 people attended, mostly with their children of young ages.
Drag queen Nikki Champagne told True North she appreciates all perspectives and said everyone is free to participate or not.
“That would be my ask: to come to a drag queen story hour,” Champagne said. “Or, don’t even come to a drag queen story hour, attend a story hour in general. They happen every single weekend at libraries across our nation.
“What is beautiful about a drag queen story hour is allowing and [showing] folks from the LGTBQ community that they are also welcomed in this space and can be attending events that straight and cis-gender people have been attending for years.”
VT Digger (July 14, 2019)
Calls poured into Kellogg-Hubbard Library after a conservative online commentator last month urged her nearly 700,000 Facebook followers to contact the organizers to “respectfully express your disgust” about a planned a Drag Queen Story Hour.
Many people did call to object, leaving sometimes lewd and threatening messages. But none showed up.
Instead, well over 100 parents and children — many donning glitter and rainbow-themed apparel — converged on the Montpelier library Saturday morning to listen to popular Vermont drag queens Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne read books and lead singalongs.
“This was solidly double or better what we would normally see,” said library co-director Carolyn Brennan of the event’s turnout.
WCAX (July 13, 2019)
One month after a conservative Facebook personality rallied her 700,000 followers to cancel a Drag Queen Story Hour in Montpelier, the show went on as planned.
Elizabeth Johnston, better known as "Activist Mommy," called for her followers to contact the Kellogg-Hubbard Library and "respectfully express their disgust at the event."
Librarians say they received hundreds of calls from concerned people around the country.
In the wake of Johnston's campaign condemning the national Drag Queen Story Hour organization, multiple story hours around the United States were shut down, including in Ohio and Texas.
More than 130 Vermonters packed into the Kellogg-Hubbard Children's Library in Montpelier to see Drag Queen Story Hour, Saturday. Despite calls to cancel, there were no protesters during the event. Library officials, parents, and the drag queens all say the turnout is a reflection of Vermont's dedication to inclusivity.
Seven Days (July 5, 2019)
The show will go on.
Two drag queens say they haven’t been cowed by angry calls to cancel their planned story hour for children at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier.
The July 13 event will not be the first time Justin Marsh and Taylor Small have dressed in drag and read books to kids at a public library. But this event has gotten the most national attention.
Times Argus (June 4, 2019)
Library and city officials have defended a “Drag Queen Story Hour” program for children at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library on July 13.
The hour-long program, at 10:30 a.m., returns after a packed inaugural performance last year by two well-known Vermont drag queens, which was attended by 85 children, parents and community members.
Basement Medicine (April 24, 2019)
The “Queens & Activism” Panel was a massive success, drawing more attendance that nearly any other Pride Week event. Education Professor and NVUnity Club Advisor, Hannah Miller, opened the event by thanking NVUnity for running Pride Week and introducing Drag Queens, Emoji Nightmare (Justin Marsh) and Nikki Champagne (Taylor Small).
The panel took place in Bentley 207 at 7:00 p.m. on April 18. During the event, Nightmare and Champagne talked about their experiences as Drag Queens and members of the LGBTQ+ community. They discussed the struggles they faced as queer and trans youth in rural Vermont, and how they challenged those stigmas in work and social settings.
USA Today (August 23, 2018)
In Burlington, Vermont, Nikki Champagne and Emoji Nightmare led a reading and singing session in front of more than 100 children and their parents in December.
“People forget about all the activism queens do in the community,” Champagne said. "We’re more than those dive-bar queens who lip-sync to songs."
Expand Your Bubble (August 16, 2018)
Drag queen. The term can be quite polarizing. When asked what they feel at the mention of drag queens, most people will respond in one of two ways: a) discomfort at the mere thought of a man parading around in stilettos, outlandish wigs, and heavy make-up, or b) an absolute love for drag queens. Very few people are “middle of the road.” In my opinion, drag queens represent something fiercely admirable—the courage and boldness of some humans to value authenticity and self-expression more than acceptance, and even—sometimes—more than personal safety.
But I never knew a queen personally. My experience was limited to drunken nights in Reykjavik and Key West, and a few episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Even with all that love and acceptance in my heart, I have to admit, I never really contemplated drag queens as regular, everyday people. I’m endlessly preaching about equality, and how we all (Muslims, Christians, black people, white people, gay people) just want the same things in life—to be safe and loved and accepted. But what about drag queens? Aren’t they performers, entertainers, caricatures of “real” people? Even the most open-minded among us can be in the dark about how to make a real connection. But why?
Basement Medicine (May 10, 2018)
Johnson State College hosted their second annual Drag Show Competition in the Stearns Performance Space on Friday, April 27. Hosted by professional drag queens Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne, this competition features a drag make up tutorial a few hours before show time, several hilarious performances by the hostesses and friends, and students performing their own numbers in hopes to win the crown at the end of the night.
Drag, while not new, has recently risen into the mainstream eye through media. This includes the extremely popular show “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” drag queen make up tutorials, and drag queen story hours for young children. The goal, as explained by Champagne, is to help people become more comfortable with their bodies, as well as a different concept of gender.
Colchester Sun (April 11, 2018)
More than 100 people packed into the Colchester Meeting House late Saturday morning for a story hour led by two popular Vermont drag queens, the attendance dwarfing those seen at the regular Burnham Memorial Library story times.
Dressed in white bridal gowns and flowing veils, Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne read children’s books about gender identity and inclusion and led group sing-alongs as kids squealed with delight — a few of them dressed in costumes of their own.
“I have this book at home!” one child exclaimed when the drag queens held up the book “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” all about a blue crayon mistakenly labeled red.
Six-year-old Reid Lord-Audesey of Essex had read the book before, too, he said as he pasted a pink construction paper crown together. The group craft accompanied the book “King and King and Family,” a tale of two married kings who adopt a child together.
Reid is a big fan of drag queens, his mother, Christina Lord, confirmed. They often talk about gender identity and social norms in their family, especially because some relatives are transgender.
WCAX (December 16, 2017)
It's story time, with a twist. It brought laughs, and taught a little sign language.
The story time, hosted by the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, featured local drag queens Emoji Nightmare, and Nikki Champagne.
"I basically saw that it was happening in New York, and Chicago, L.A. All these major metropolitan areas but it hadn't happened in Vermont," said Emoji Nightmare.
That is until now. More than 100 children and parents packed the library on Saturday.
"A lot of our conversations are around individuality but also community so how you can be yourself and show up in spaces and not conform into what everyone else is doing," said Nikki Champagne.
Read more >
Burlington Free Press (December 16, 2017)
Champagne and Nightmare have led a handful of Drag Queen Story Hours in recent months, ranging from one that drew 14 listeners in Richmond to more than 70 in Cambridge and Saturday’s triple-digit crowd in Burlington. The Fletcher Free Library event was also partly a fundraiser for Outright Vermont, the Burlington organization geared toward supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youths.
“People forget about all the activism queens do in the community,” Champagne said after Saturday’s reading session. Drag Queen Story Hour shows “that we’re more than those dive-bar queens who lip sync to songs,” according to Champagne.
Stowe Reporter (November 16, 2017)
For 28 years, Outright Vermont has been working to build a safe, healthy environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
Every Friday night, the support group for queer and transitioning youth holds meetings in Burlington, Montpelier and Brattleboro where local teens can get to know more people like them in the area, share common stories, enjoy a meal and offer a hand up to those who are struggling with their sexuality.
For Justin Marsh of Cambridge — who also performs as drag queen Emoji Nightmare — those supports didn’t exist in his community when he was growing up.
Seven Days (October 25, 2017)
It's not every day that two drag queens sashay up to the door of the Varnum Memorial Library in Jeffersonville, a village within the small Lamoille County town of Cambridge, for story hour.
On a Saturday afternoon last month, the flamboyantly dressed Justin Marsh, aka "Emoji Nightmare," and "Nikki Champagne" — real name Taylor Small — read to a crowd of 70 adults and children ranging in age from infant to octogenarian.
Marsh had pitched Drag Queen Story Hour to the small-town library, hoping he and Small would open some eyes about diversity and inclusiveness.
But the library's event announcement on Front Porch Forum days before the September 23 program enraged some community members, highlighting an apparent cultural divide in the 3,800-person town nestled below Smugglers' Notch.
Read more >
Stuck In Vermont (May 21, 2017)
The T with Emoji & Nikki is a new cable access show that airs weekly on Vermont Community Access Media (VCAM) in Burlington. Drag queens Emoji Nightmare and Nikki Champagne welcome eclectic guests to discuss arts and activism.
Eva went behind the scenes to talk the T with the ladies as they prepared for their show.