House of Larva was founded at Beloit College, WI in 2014, when Max Brumberg-Kraus and Guadalupe Angeles were the first act in a school drag show. Dressed in green rags, trashbags, and boas, Max tbecame drag ogress Çicada L’Amour, while Guadalupe became her parasitic lover: Enphanga Sphynx. They lip-synched to jams including “Habanera” from Bizet’s Carmen, Q Lazzarus’ “Goodbye Horses” (Enfanga lipsynching to Silence of the Lambs’ Buffalo Bill dialogue), and music from trans punk rocker Jayne County. Their trash/glam, punk/opera drag struck a chord with the audience, so Angeles and Brumberg-Kraus decided to continue elevating and experimenting with their craft.
From 2014-16, House of Larva produced four full-length shows/cabarets, including Carnal Instinct: Dinner for One and Slut Shaman. The Co-Operative grew to include numerous queer artists, providing one of the main platforms for drag and queer performance art at Beloit College. As their work developed, L’Amour and Sphynx began moonlighting as “dragademics”, including research in queer temporality, memory, immigrant identities, transgenerational trauma, cosmic pessimism, and borders in/outside the body into House of Larva’s acts. In Spring 2016, L’Amour and Sphynx were nominated to present at Beloit’s 40th Annual Student Symposium, where they offered a two-part presentation “Border Crossdresser, Temporal Drag Queen” (“Part One: Memory and Radical Queer Identity in House of Larva Drag Cooperative” and “Part 2: House of Larva and the Violation of Normative Time”) in front of an audience that included the college President, Scott Bierman. L’Amour later received the prestigious Martha Peterson Prize typically awarded to a single graduating Beloiter who demonstrated leadership, involvement, and dedication to the liberal arts, begrudgingly sharing her honor with Brumberg-Kraus.
Since leaving Beloit, WI, and relocating to Minnesota, House of Larva has continued to perform, especially through collaboration with Patrick’s Cabaret. In 2017, McKay Bram joined the Co-Operative, performing as Pouchet Pouchet. House of Larva’s work continues to explore postcolonial and queer theories, necessitated by the current political climate. Theology and theopoetics also influences part of House of Larva’s work, particularly around investigating the effects of heteropatriarchy on myths about and experiences of the divine. House of Larva;s most recent a full-length show, Lowlands, was held at Wheaton College, MA in April 2018.
Admiral Benwa Breedwinner
Benwa Breedwinner is a character that House of Larva uses as a general stand in and symbol for “patriarchs” of all kinds. He is alternately militant general or an abusive husband. He is a cruel lover, a wicked king, tyrannical father, and a malevolent, masculine God. Usually appearing in House of Larva’s acts as a mask or a voice, Benwa is sometimes just a whisper, a quick mention, but he is always there. Benwa has his hands in every aspect of society. He has touched every single body. He has orchestrated the economic, religious, social, and sexual machine of humane reproduction/breeding in order to sustain his empire. Benwa works through us, possessing our bodies and minds. Anyone is susceptible to his grip. Benwa is adversarial. He is powerful, except when he is not. He is at once an object of ridicule and an object of terror and awe. He was at the beginning. He is the now. He will be the future. Benwa hungers. Benwa sees. Benwa loves. Benwa takes.