By Steven M. Housman
Renè Risquè: Is He For Real?
I have interviewed many personalities in my time, but no one, and I stress the words, no one, has ever come off the way Renè Risquè does. Renè Risquè, a.k.a. Andy Boose, an events organizer who works from 9 to 5 for the AIDS charity AMFAR, spoke to me as Renè Risquè, the sexy, seductive drugged-out performer that he is the other 16 hours a day. He never broke character. He is as outrageous and deadpan funny as his alter ego suggests. At first, I wasnt really sure with whom I was speaking. Was this Renè? Yes, and he played him to the hilt! I honestly asked myself, Is he for real? Hes very candid and very serious and sometimes a bit confusing and thats what makes him so unique, eccentric, and oddly charming. There had to be a reason why Time magazine recently named him Americas best lounge act. I asked him about that, and in true Risquè style, he refuted everything Time said about him, as well as Newsweek, Interview and a slew of other publications who are just discovering this self-described pansexual. I prefer to call him a metrosexual, which I believe he was before it was fashionable. Renè doesnt act alone. He has his troop who call themselves The Art Lovers. They perform electronic, disco, and soft rock classics while Risquè pokes fun at life, himself, and whoever may be in the audience. The Art Lovers are comprised of Dryden, Dolce, Johnny and Luffa (the sole female of the group). Renè gives me a very candid portrait of each and every one of them in this interview. Get ready for Renè Risquè. Hes coming to various California locations in late March and early April. Before he comes to town, hold on for this trip of an interview. I politely asked, What are you on? He just laughed. And the answer to the question, Is he for real? Im not quite sure, but his act is one-of-a-kind.
For those who arent familiar with you, how would you describe yourself?
Im a sexy and outrageous rock & roll cabaret performer who is also a misguided "international pop star, lover." My provocative lyrics flaunt my lifestyle of extremes and boast my luxuriously degenerate exploits. My yearning for experience is fueled by my vast wealth, allowing my whims total license. I was born in Paris and have lived all over the world. I have a ranch in Brazil and a Chateau outside Perpignon. Oh yes, there is my villa in Monaco. My music is a tool used for seduction; and to watch me perform is to see a man who is hypnotically sure of his message, however self-centered it might be. If I were not so notoriously attractive and disarmingly honest, then I might as well be dead.
Does Renè Risquè intend to take over the music world?
Hey, youre talking to Renè, and Renè is already an international pop sensation! I think the powers that be in the United States are scared of the truth. There is some resistance in the media here, but I think its just a matter of time until the truth surfaces to the top.
I see that youve been written about in several publications including Newsweek and Time. Whats it like when a magazine such as Time calls you Americas best lounge act?
First, thats obviously silly because you know were not from America. Secondly, were not a lounge act, I would call us a pop/rock act. What does that mean, lounge act? But, hey, well take it, ya know?
Well, its a big honor to have those particular publications writing about you, dont you think?
Well, Im proud of publications such as Flaunt, and people like you, cause you know what were about.
I see you have two CDs that you and the group have recorded. What was the inspiration for each CD? Theyre very different, arent they?
Well, only one album has been out in the United States, called Tough Love, and were actually going to record a full-length record that will be out in the fall.
You have a song titled 10% Fag. Whats that about?
Thats about how much homosexuality that Renè is. Well, maybe its more than that. He likes the boys, he likes the girls, and that song is particularly about a girl I met in Prague and having her assume I was gay which is helpful when youre trying to get with the chicks because they basically feel comfortable around you. Just when you have them feeling comfortable, you grab them by the ass. So that song says, After I gave it to her, and gave it to her all night long, she looks at me and says, youre just a 10% fag.
Does your act work better live than on record?
Weve been doing theater in a serious way for several months, so Id say definitely live. Weve always been more effective as a live thing. It never occurred to us to get our shit together, because Im into communicating with people. Thats what I do best. I dont do it for the money, so whats the point of the record? I guess its to make money, but the point is, I like to be there, and touch people on an individual level, and make love with people and that sort of thing.
What type of audience do you attract?
We have a very diverse audience. Id say we have straight and gay pretty equally mixed. I would also say that our audiences are a bit more sophisticated than your average audience.
Tell me a little about Dryden, Johnny, Luffa and Dolce.
Dryden is an uptight sort of a bastard. He is the son of a Nobleman and he basically spent his childhood wishing he were the one running the house and not the offspring of the help. Hes tried to surround himself with those trappings as an adult and hes caught up always reading the financial pages while he runs after little Asian boys. Dolce comes from the fashion house and truthfully hes not all that bright, but rich. He has been involved with Luffa, but she basically screws around behind his back, but he always forgives her. Ive also had my way with him more times than I care to even mention. Johnnys problem is that his hobby is drugs and gunrunning. Its not for profit, he just likes the thrill of it. For instance, my jet was just confiscated because of the fact that he was using it to run heroin, and I was forced to fly commercially. The good thing is that it inspired me to write this new song called The Mile High Club. Basically, those are my friends.
You seem like you were a metrosexual before the word was fashionable.
Well, it amazes me that its taken so long for some people to figure that out. I mean who wants to hang around with some guy in gym shorts? Well, I guess I would like that. I like to be clean and wear nice fashions. I get pedicures and have perfectly coiffed hair. Hey, its cool to have men and women and not have to be macho, just be yourself.
Did the Queer Eye guys come to you for tips?
Ugh! God, ya know I havent met them but you know whats a shame about that show? What is the true expertise of the homosexual? What they really need to teach these guys is about anal sex. They need to add more spice to their lives.
How much money did you spend on make-up and clothes on this upcoming tour?
Im not good with numbers. I have an assistant. Im fortunate enough that Im just able to float from pleasure to pleasure and people take care of us.
Who were your inspirations when you were growing up and who are they now?
Music-wise, Im into disco, Latin music, pop, Mick Jagger, Queen, David Bowie. Sexy, sexy music and sexy, sexy men. I also like classical and jazz and soft rock. I have a real appreciation for the 70s soft rock.
Tell me about your upcoming tour. What should we expect?
Ill probably take my pants off a lot. If you come to the show, you have a reasonable shot of getting with me that night. I like to put my crotch in peoples faces. Ya know, that kind of thing.
© 2004 Steven M. Housman. All Rights Reserved.