Indie folksters Builder of the House have released the video for their new single, “Look at the Man,” which follows Conor Leigh Tubbs—a.k.a. Portland, Maine, drag queen Cherry Lemonade—through the course of a day.
Singer Rob Cimitile says he was originally writing a more autobiographical song about his own issues with acceptance, but he ultimately felt the song needed to go a bit deeper.
“I was moving away from writing about myself and, in this instance, I knew my issues were nothing compared to what others go through.”
Cimitile knew Tubbs/Cherry from the Portland music scene, and thought of the performer while writing “Look at the Man.”
“I created a character based on seeing Cherry—a character that doesn’t fall into a ’norm’ role and whose parents are having a hard time accepting them—and it turned into a kind of bittersweet study of gender identity.”
He was thrilled that Tubbs was interested in appearing in the video, as well.
“I wanted to show an entire day in the life of someone like this to show them as a multidimensional person who cannot be easily lumped into a category. In the beginning, there’s a guy. Maybe he’s gay, maybe he’s straight. And gradually throughout the course of the video he becomes his drag persona, then takes the make up off before going to sleep.”
As the country gets ready for another Republican presidency, a song about an gender outlaw seems all the more rebellious.
“Our rights are being dangled in front of our faces like carrots,” says Tubbs, “[so] there’s something inherently punk rock about having the gall to force people to rethink the ideas of gender representation.”
He added that he was drawn to the project because it highlighted the dichotomy of his two personas.
“Cherry Lemonade is just as much a living, breathing entity as my mild-mannered alter ego.”
“Look at the Man” is available on iTunes now.