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"This is not an act," says Romak, 19. "I wear full makeup every day." As the androgynous lead singer of Romak and the Space Pirates, Romak says he is more about action-hero fantasy than cross-dressing. "I consider myself to be very much a man. I'm more of a clown or a silent-film star. I'm very influenced by classic horror movies."

Romak refers to Phantom of the Opera, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show when he plays live. His influences were clear to North County film director Carly Starr Brullo Niles, who discovered Romak on MySpace. She cast him as one of the two leads in Numb, a film set in 1983 that covers the simultaneous declines of the punk and "new romantic" scenes. Romak plays the glammed-out hero, and Aimee Allen plays the punk lead. The cast includes Unwritten Law singer Scott Russo, Matt Hensley (Flogging Molly), George Anthony (Battalion of Saints), and DJs Robin Roth and Mike Halloran.

Last year, Romak and the Space Pirates were mentioned in Blender magazine's "Weird Band Alert!" section.

"People have hidden their kids from me," says Romak. "When I worked in customer service, people treated me like shit. People call me 'freak' or 'faggot.' People have thrown things at me."

He says a record deal with a small independent label is pending; until then he needs a job.

"I was thinking of being a stripper. If you dance for women, you have to be a Chippendale dancer, and I'm not that. If you dance for men at a club, I'm afraid one of them will follow me back to my place and kill me. I promised my mother I would not do that."

Romak and the Space Pirates appear Saturday at Scolari's Office.

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