The many faces of Seattle Superhero Celene Queeno Ramadan
Welcome to City Superheroes, the second installment of a regular column that highlights the powerful figures walking among us with the help of a (usually local) illustrator. This week's pairing: performer Prom Queen and cartoonist Marc Palm.
Moniker: Prom Queen
Given Name: Celene Queeno Ramadan
Other Aliases: Leeni
Superpowers: Time travel, shape shifting, spatial manipulation
First Appearance: April 2012 at the Can Can Kitchen & Cabaret for the release of her record, Night Sound.
Local Haunts: Vito’s, the Can Can, Café Racer, the Blue Moon
Archenemies: Closed-mindedness, Defeat, Complacency
Even Heroes Have Heroes: David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Amy Winehouse, Lesley Gore
Origin Story: Born in Massachusetts and raised in New Hampshire, Celene Queeno Ramadan visited Seattle in 1999 and fell in love with it. She moved here in 2004, after graduation (from the University of New Hampshire) and a year-long stint working at PBS. It was when Celene moved to the Emerald City that her super powers — time travel, shape shifting — really took off. Indeed, no historical era is beyond her reach. A virtuoso creator, Celene can also summon a magic genie whenever she needs extra inspiration.
She began her Seattle career as Leeni, a solo musician performing Chiptune (synthesized, 8-bit music derived from vintage electronics). In 2011, she transitioned to Prom Queen, a solo, cinematic confection with a bouffant and a pink guitar.
Prom Queen, the band, emerged soon after when Celene joined forces with keyboard and guitar player, Ben von Wildenhaus, and hit its stride when lead guitarist Jason Goessl and drummer Tom Meyers joined a few years later. In 2014, the four bandmates released their musical and cinematic masterpiece, Midnight Veil, a 12-track audio and video project featuring Seattle luminaries such as Waxie Moon, Ahamefule J. Oluo, Lily Verlaine and Fuchsia Foxx. The project’s Parisian, 1950’s-noir aesthetic is as alluring as an ounce of Chanel #5.
Her Philosophy: “Get out of your own way and do the best work you can. Realize that while art is important it is not the end-all-be-all. The most important part of art is that it’s truthful. Choosing art is choosing honesty, a certain level of openness, a very humble life and finding joy and celebrating in the immediate.
“I always want to have a community that I feel like I’m a part of where we’re really supporting each other and everyone has their own gift to bring. I just want to keep people close because people have such unique voices — and that goes for both creative collaborative and friendship.
“I love that I can go out in Seattle and see someone I know. I like that the city is small enough that you can do that and large enough where you’re always meeting new people. It’s the perfect sized city, which helps build strong foundations.”
What’s Next: Prom Queen plays Vito's on Saturday, April 25th.
About the Illustrator: Marc Palm is a Seattle illustrator/cartoonist and organizer of Intruder Comics Newspaper. He’s been making independent self-published comics since he was 16.
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