“Elvis + Priscilla” Starring Benito Skinner & Terrance O’Conner

2023 has been the year of revivals and tributes. With the release of both 2022’s “Elvis” starring Austin Butler and Sofia Coppola’s 2023 “Priscilla”, Elvis’s impact on culture is one most notable. Actor Benny Drama recreates the 1967’s Las Vegas Wedding in our latest Editorial.

Miss Halloween…

You have always been my favorite day of the year. It makes sense! I was a gay kid growing up in Idaho. When else could I wear wigs, like the FAB I wore to be Willy Wonka? Or dress as SpongeBob with a full Ben Nye beat on that took 4 hours to wash off? I wish the answer was ALWAYS, but sadly… no. I had to wait all year for the day I felt like I could be completely myself. 

I remember in 5th grade, my mom drove me to school on the Halloween I decided to be Tim Burton’s Willy Wonka. 

We pulled up to my catholic elementary school and I took my sister’s hair brush from my backpack. My bob needed one final pass. Then I delicately put on my Willy Wonka goggles and turned to my mom. Scared to death that her son, who frequently played “In The Zone” during car rides was about to get destroyed, she looked at me and said, “honey, are you sure?” 

I had never been more sure of anything in my life. 

I walked into school feeling the kind of euphoria I assume my classmates felt when they were playing sports. Willy was FLOATING. I was whipping that bob around like a king, doing impressions from the movie for the girls on the playground and bitch slapping tether balls. And even though Daniel called me “circle” that day because I “could never be straight,” I cared a little bit less. His SCREAM mask couldn’t hold a fucking candle to my Willy. And I won the costume contest that year.

The next few years, I felt myself forgetting about the joy I felt as Willy.  I didn’t have the energy to be “circle” like I did that day at school. So instead, I would pretend I didn’t care about my costume and throw on a classic Spider-Man one… deeply queer-coded but I thought it was a safe choice at the time! 

In college, I started to creep back into the holiday that felt like it was made for me. I convinced my (very good) friends into group costumes and once again, felt completely like myself for 24 hours. I like to think I helped some of my friends experience the joy that Halloween can bring. Especially at times when you have absolutely no idea who you are, a costume can feel like armor. If armor was an adult Elmo costume purchased from a Spirit Halloween taking over the carcass of an old Borders bookstore. 

I came out when I was 22 and I met my boyfriend, Terrence O’Connor, that same year. He is my Halloween soulmate. Also just my soulmate, but definitely my Halloween soulmate! We’ve been Kendall & Kylie at the Met Gala, a lizard and a horse (ketamine meme accounts rejoice!) , Marilyn & Jackie, and Ben & (T)erry’s. But this year we thought it would only be right to celebrate our love for both this glorious holiday, and love for each other, by being Elvis & Priscilla on their wedding day. And honestly, I can’t think of anything more surprising for me on Halloween than dressing up as a man.  

I hope everyone has a safe and perfect Halloween. 

Love ya kid, 

Benny (aka “Circle”) 

Team Credits:

Art direction: Terrence O’Connor @terrencefoconnor and Benito Skinner @bennydrama7

Photos: Lea Garn @leagarn

Set design: Terrence O’Connor @terrencefoconnor

Dress: Taylor Cox @taylorjeancox

Makeup: Alexandra French @alexandraafrench

Hair: Ryan Taniguchi @ryannyc

Production assistant: Ainhoa Hardy @ainhoahardy

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