Detroit native Robert Mitchell, aka Cyon Flare, moved here from Ann Arbor almost a year ago. He lip-synchs and dances at Circuit and is working with a producer to record original songs. During the day, he assists the staff at a suburban hospice.

What are you wearing?

I am wearing, in short, a lamp shade, mirrors, rhinestones, masking tape, duct tape, felt, and a grocery bag. And feathers.

Where’s the grocery bag?

On my head, underneath–it’s the base. Everything I made is from scratch. When I put the plastic bag on my head, I shape it with the tape and I keep doing it continuously so it fits just my head. Actually it’s suctioned to my head. [Leans over.]

What inspires your designs?

I’m influenced by so much, but I’m mostly influenced by the Roman style and the old Las Vegas showgirl movies. I’ve only been to Vegas once and they thought I was from there because of my style.

Your eyes look like butterflies.

I’m very influenced by butterflies. I’m hooked on them because of their symbolic meaning of change, unfolding–going in and coming out something new.

Do you dress like this every day?

No, only for the weekends, even if I’m not working and performing. It’s something I really love. It adds to the energy of the room, the party, the event, and the day–it’s perfect.

When are you performing next?

Tonight at Circuit. I created a music box and basically it’s covered in mirrors and painted with silver-chrome paint and I mimic the old-fashioned music box where you wind it up and the dancer pops up and spins around while the song plays. I’m doing a song called “Hurt” by Christina Aguilera.

So where are you headed now?

There’s a street fair for Pride. I wasn’t hired to do anything. I’m just going to be a part of the whole atmosphere. –Irma Nunez

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Robert Mitchell, aka Cyon Flare photo by Mireya Acierto.