All about ME…
Janessa Jaye Champagne is the alter-ego and creation of Chris M. Stoner, and has been around the Grand Forks scene in one form or another since the late 1990s. She is witty, she is glamorous, she is larger-than-life, and she knows how to entertain a crowd. Janessa performs regularly around the region, including frequent performances in Grand Forks, Fargo, and Bismarck, as well as occasional performances in other locales such as Winnipeg, Manitoba; Wayne, Nebraska; and the Twin Cities. She is a former Miss More Head (2004) from the now defunct I-Beam Nightclub in Moorhead, Minnesota and since 2002 has been organizing shows and special events and offering a variety of entertainment services through her production company, Champagne Dreams Productions. Her emcee skills are in high demand; in addition to keeping drag show audiences in stitches, she has worked a diverse array of events including Zombie Music Fest 2012 and 2013 (working with the Lovely Dozen Bellydancers), Christus Rex’s Annual Fall Fundraiser in 2011 and 2010 (which she co-hosted with local media personality Terry Dullum), events for the Fire Hall Theatre, and more. Janessa recently expanded her performance repetoire, appearing in two productions at the Firehall Theatre in 2012: as a chorus member in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (including some very queer moments as Groupie #3), and as Sylvia St. Croix, one of the principal characters from RUTHLESS! The Musical, a role for which Janessa received the Firehall Theatre’s Dalmation Award for “Best Newcomer.” In 2014, Janessa returned to the stage with the Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre playing the role of Jeanette Burmeister in The Full Monty. In 2016, Miss Jaye checked an item off her bucket list when she made her Empire Theatre Company debut as Edna Turnblad in their summer production of Hairspray. In 2017, she will be making her film debut with a cameo in the film Cool as Hell 2: The Quest for God’s Bong, an Acid Bath Productions film directed by James Balsamo. Janessa can also be seen semi-regularly “out of uniform” at local karaoke events at places like the Long Haul Saloon; those performances range from comedy to tragedy, depending on how early in the night it is and how many cocktails she’s had. If you see her get up to do a Whitney number, it’s time to cash out the tab – there is no Whitney song on Earth that is within the three notes she calls a “range.”
Drag for Janessa is no mere hobby; in fact, playing with and thinking about gender is something Chris M. Stoner has incorporated into his life in many ways. Chris attended college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks where he earned a BA through the Honors Program (focused on creative writing; his senior thesis was a collection of poetry entitled Personal Geography: Poems) and an MA through the English Department. His MA thesis was an exploration of male-to-female cross-gender portrayals in film, including the roles played by drag queens in comedies, the meaning and use of bisexuality in films like Tootsie and Some Like It Hot, the use of cross-gender transgression as a threat to community survival as presented in slasher films, and the ultimately transformative potential of gender play in the films of John Waters. Since completing his MA, Chris joined the faculty at UND as a part-time lecturer in the Women and Gender Studies Program from 2010 until the spring of 2014, where he also served on the Executive Council and as chair of the University & Community Relations committee. He has been an active part of the 10% Society, a UND student and community organization for LGBT people, since coming out in 1997. He is frequently invited to speak to classes about issues of gender and sexuality, where he weaves together his personal experiences with his research and his advocacy and community service work for LGBT issues.
For show bookings, speaking engagements, or other inquiries, please email Chris directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris is also available for readings and workshops related to tarot, crystals, and other topics; for more information on this, please check out the “Champagne for the Soul” tab on this site or email with inquiries.