Power Infiniti (born Dale Wilson) is a DJ and renowned performance artist, an entertainer who lip-syncs to dance music at clubs and Circuit events in semi-drag, often with a shaved head. His outrageous costumes, dancing skills, and choreography have made him an icon in the Circuit scene.
Wilson was born in Trinidad and Tobago, and grew up in the USA. His first five years were in New York City, then Miami. The moniker Power went back to his childhood, where Wilson was known for his willingness to fight, but given his small size, was nicknamed “Power.” The other part of his name, Infiniti, is a title that speaks to his association with the Ballroom House of Infiniti, founded in New York City in 1990 by Father Ross Infiniti and the late Mother Bangie Angie Infiniti. The Florida chapter is composed of predominantly Black and Latino Gay social groups. The House of Infiniti mixes fashion with modeling for fundraising and runway competition with other Houses.
Attracted to the Miami club scene in the early 1990s, Power Infiniti sought the spotlight while dancing on go-go boxes. He performed his first show in 1997 and was hired to work at Salvation nightclub as their resident performer. He began touring the Circuit (large weekend-long dance parties for Gay men and their allies) and developed his own unique style, incorporating elements of drag with an androgynous stage persona. Wilson mastered the technique of choosing a current dance hit, performing it with back-up dancers, and leaving the stage immediately once the song is finished. Performances are typically 5-10 minutes, with a new song mixed seamlessly by the DJ to replace the old one without skipping a beat.
Performance artists in the Circuit have ranged from men (mostly African American) who appeared in semi-drag (Kitty Meow from Miami, Kevin Aviance from NYC, Flava from Los Angeles, Fierce from Orlando), transwomen with perfectly toned feminine bodies who may or may not have kept their male genitalia (Sofonda Cox from Toronto), and at least one born-woman performer (Lena Love from Toronto) who dresses like a drag queen/transwoman. Although Infiniti wears make-up inspired by drag queens, he nevertheless performs with strong movements most often associated with masculinity.
As a performance artist, Power Infiniti challenges the stereotypical drag queen ensemble, flowing amorphously between high femme drag and androgynous vinyl “boy” shorts. Each show is created based on a distinct theme and conceptualized following the aesthetic of music videos. Power Infiniti’s performances showcase a detailed attention to presentation and noteworthy choreography. Makeup, costumes and stage presence are determined by a show’s concept rather than mimicking the preconceived forms of traditional drag. He draws inspiration from the iconic “raccoon-eyed” Damien Divine as well as keeping to his roots: go-go dancers and muscle boys. His adaptability is rooted in a core philosophy that repeats itself like a mantra: try not to have any rules, throw out all expectations.
In 2005, Power Infiniti made the transition from performance artist to DJ, combining his shows with his DJ sets. Musical influences come from established DJs in the club scene such as Abel, Escape, Junior Vasquez, Victor Calderone, and Tony Moran.
In 2009, Infiniti started the website www.ilive4music.com with DJ Donnie Moon, posting podcasts of their club mixes as well as event listings and news. DJ Power Infiniti has two albums out, Power Trip and Radio Active.
In 20111, Power Infiniti joined with fellow performance artists Kevin Aviance and Kitty Meow to form PAK. They released their first single, “FreakWhenSee” and their first album, Age of Opulence in 2012.
Power on Power
In an interview for The Fierce Tribe, Power Infiniti describes himself and his art (note: every person referenced in this quote was born biologically male):
My Ballroom past was a huge preparation for my career as a Circuit performance artist. My connection with the Ballroom scene started a couple years after coming out, with me taking notice of the children of the House of Exxcentrica serving drama on the dance floor. A ball thrown by diva Jo-Jo Infiniti (who really opened up the Ballroom scene in Florida) was the first time I got to see underground talent up close. These kids were doing things that, if displayed on any stage at any Circuit party, would make the boys and girls of clubland gag [watch the performance in amazement]. I soon opened up my own House, the House of Righteous Shade, and went head-to-head in Ballroom competitions with other Florida Houses, like the House of Lords, House of Exxcentrica, and at the time our archrivals, the House of Infiniti.
After a few years, I wanted to make my mark on the club scene, including the Circuit. I left my House [and competition in the Ballroom scene] in ‘97. My friendship with Jo-Jo Infiniti, however, remained solid and as a result, I eventually became a member of The House of Infiniti; yes, the same House that once I had hated, I now embrace. I’ve been an Infiniti ever since, which is why my full name is Power Infiniti.
When a Ballroom competitor switches to the Circuit, the need for drama and shade is greatly reduced. The things the kids do for a Ballroom contest are so much more amazing than what we do during a Circuit performance because the Ballroom crowd is a tough crowd to please. If you want 10’s across the board [approval from the judges and crowd], you’d better be able to turn it or you will get chopped [disqualified] and told to sit down.
Long before there was an official Circuit scene, there were performers that were using androgeny, i.e. shaved heads, semi drag. Much respect has to be given to my sister Kitty Meow, though not alone in her styling (Kevin Aviance would also perform quite androgenous from time to time), did in fact help to pioneer the Circuit scene. At the time, Kitty was pretty much the only performer Jeffrey Sanker [party promoter] would use for a lot of his parties. And Jeffrey, in my opinion, is one of the architects of the Circuit scene. So I would have to say in the Circuit scene, it pretty much started with Kitty Meow.
However, the fact that I shaved my head and took on a similar look had less to do with influence and more to do with circumstance. I am Black, and I came into the scene with a shaved head before I knew Kitty. Coincidently, when Flava and I met for the first time, Flava had not really seen me. Her androgynous look was not influenced directly by me or the Circuit. I truly believe great minds think alike and other performers who look similar are not necessarily copying each other’s look. Sometimes in this great big world of ours, birds of a feather truly do flock together, at least in terms of styling.
Speaking of Flava: I have seen Flava perform many times. Love her; she is my sister and I am proud to have her as a friend. I am not easily wowed by others performances—I’m highly critical of my own. However, Flava performed a show years ago at White Party-Palm Springs in which she not only choreographed the dancers fiercely, but her own personal choreography involved her twirling a huge stick, which she did flawlessly, combined with a hot track, DJ Paulo’s mix of “I Can’t Get Enough” which had not been heard until then. Took my breath away. I told that bitch in the dressing room afterwards, “Now Bitch, That’s what Power calls Fierce!”
When I perform, my attitude is this; “If I feel it, yo’ ass is gonna feel it too.” I feel like I’m taking you to church, so to speak. If someone is truly passionate about the message or the energy that they are giving, you can’t help but feel it… much like a preacher who catches the spirit when he speaks and the rest of the church catches it with him. It’s no different.
Cunningham, Michael. “The Slap of Love.” Open City 6 (1998), pp. 175-196.
Garber, Marjorie. Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety. New York: Routledge, 1997.
Weems, Mickey. The Fierce Tribe: Masculine Identity and Performance in the Circuit. Logan, UT: Utah State University, 2008.