[UPDATE: This show has been rescheduled to January 11, 2025, so if you saw Monét in the fall, you officially saw them before they took a break from performing live. "I was so excited to go on the road and see y'all," they wrote in a note shared on social media. "I have a long and (in Jesus name) successful theater/stage/vocal career ahead of me, so for the next few weeks my doctor has ordered I take a pause on live singing." A caption to the post reads: "Delayed, but she’s still coming mama." The Mercury's editors would like to note this article is still extremely relevant to those with questions like "who is Monét X. Change?," "do they have a new single out?," and "how does this relate to ME, a Portlander?"]

In the decade since Kevin Bertin called Portland’s Alberta neighborhood their stomping grounds, life has life'd the comedian, singer, and drag artist. Originally from Brooklyn (New York, not Portland), Bertin spent time touring with Opera to Go—a program run by the Portland Opera—performing shows like The Magic Flute around Oregon in 2013-2014.

Even then, Bertin flexed their cabaret muscles as drag queen Monét X. Change on off nights—perfecting stunts that would one day gag Mother Ru, when they entered competition on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Monét didn't win on the first go, but tied for first in the All-Stars series’ fourth season. They went on to support Madonna on tour and—between countless guest star appearances—currently co-host the popular podcast Sibling Rivalry with Bob the Drag Queen.

Now, a new stage show Life Be Lifin’ is the product of Bertin condensing over twenty years of experience into a comedic, dramatic autobiography, told through song, standup, and the art of drag. The show's nationwide tour stops off at Portland's Aladdin Theater on May 1.

And it might be the last time fans can see Monét perform live for a minute.

According to Bertin, they wrote Life Be Lifin’ two months before its debut at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Another note of Pacific Northwest pride: Drag Race alumnus BenDeLaCreme lent a hand by directing the show.

Bertin's coming-of-age story explores details from their younger years, related through anecdotes that are hilarious and embarrassing, yet sometimes sweetly tender too. “I go through some really interesting things and eye-opening experiences," Bertin said, "like jerking off in a basement with my enemy-best friend who I ultimately fell in love with."

To Bertin, every interesting moment unpacked in Life Be Lifin’ flows into the person they are today, even the basement masturbation ones. "I do love edging. Edging is a very fun experience, and I have definitely edged the audience a lot in this show,” they said, wryly.

Photo by Yekaterina Gyadu

When it comes to post-tour plans, Bertin says they may disappear from the stage for a while: "I’m taking a break to just put out music. I'm not going out on the road and performing a bunch. I have been doing all the things, and I just need a collective [deep breath] with myself and my brain and my body and my mind to chill for just a little while.” 

Though a classically trained opera singer, Bertin expressed feeling limited about the music they've released thus far. “There are drag queens doing R&B. There are drag queens doing rock. There are drag queens doing pop,” they said. “When it comes to secular music, it feels really confining. They don’t want to see you step out of the box.” 

On April 12, they released a music video for “Body,” the first single from their forthcoming, as-yet-untitled debut LP about “love, life, and the guys who have ever done me wrong.” The soul-baring ballad laments another one night stand; the video depicts Monét onstage at the club, in a bed that slowly fills with men whose faces are pixelated blurs. 

“I have been in these Grindr streets since 2008,” Bertin confessed. “I got the beta testing version, so I have been on Grindr for a very long time... you catch yourself in the mirror, like, Oh my god, why, whyyy?”

Monét X Change performs Life Be Lifin' at Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie, Sat Jan 11, 8 pm, $35-45, tickets here, 18+