To call seminal SF perfomer and alpha theater aficionado Arturo Galster merely a "drag queen" is to do his range -- from the legendary Vegas in Space movie and pitch-perfect live-sung Pasty Cline interpretations to his recent technicolor turns with the Thrillpeddlers -- a disservice. But his name will always call to mind that moment in the late '80s and early '90s when SF's drag scene unmoored itself from polite old school diva kabuki into a squall of gloriously punky, ironic camp.
Things I know right now: I'm far from the only one who knows all the words to Yaz's Upstairs at Eric's, OK Computer is much better as a conceptual drag performance, and the 12-inch version of "Mountains" by Prince is one of the best extended jams ever committed to vinyl.
The third thing I know from being a record nerd (it's also impossible to prove to you, since the Purple One spends all his time on Youtube yanking down his music). But the first two revelations came courtesy of the stunning San Francisco Album Project, a talented group of drag performers, stage technicians, theatrical personages, and tasteful club kids. Every two months they take on an entire album, presenting it as a stage extravaganza, embellished with special effects and original dialogue. It's brilliantly nuts, and not the albums you'd expect at all from a bunch of colorful queens.
After conquering Yaz and Radiohead (standing room only, btw), the SFAP is about to scale the purple peak and slide under the cherry moon:The troupe will present Prince's "Parade" -- the soundtrack to his 1986 movie Under the Cherry Moon, including the original version of my beloved "Mountains" -- in its entirety on Sun/22 at the Chapel.
I asked Nathan Rapport and Bobby Barber, "album curators" of SFAP, to give me the lowdown on the project, and what to expect this Sunday:
"Oh it's hot and it's sticky and it's naaaaasty," said drag goddess Lady Bunnyof the current New York City summer weather. "And that's just how I like it. The kind of men I like can't afford to leave the City when it's hot, so they just have to strip down and stay put, right where I can get at 'em.
"Let those other queens got to Provincetown or Fire Island or wherever. Lady Bunny's got everything she needs right here: sweaty men and a big can of hairspray."
Watch you don't explode there, Bunion! We need you to make that flight to San Francisco to star at the weekly Some Thing party on Fri/2 (10pm-late, $8. The Stud, 399 Ninth St., SF.)
Rocky Horror turns 40, still crazy after all these years.
Who doesn’t have fond memories of their first Rocky Horror Picture Show experience? Ok, mine are mixed since the first time I saw it was on an old black-and-white television with my father, avoiding eye contact and trying not to laugh too hard at the ribald bits. It wasn’t until I finally saw it on the big screen in the company of peers -- armed with rice, noisemakers, and snarky quips -- that the full potential of its subversive pleasures revealed themselves more fully.
Part of the fun of repeated viewings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show is emulating the character you most want to be, and for a curly-haired, goth-inclined teenager, the clear choice was Magenta, whose stone-faced cool and extraterrestrial sensuality were so beyond the straitjacket of smalltown teenhood, that to walk an evening in her spike-heeled shoes was akin to a declaration of, well, something. Call it freedom. Peaches Christ does.
Now that our local darling Honey Mahogany is out of the RuPaul's Drag Race due to being nice and enjoying actual fashion, we must say that Seattle drag queen Jinkx Monsoon's Little Edie from Grey Gardens blew away the Marilyn Monroes and Katy Perrys of last night's celebrity impersonation challenge last night on the LOGO TV show.
But we take serious issue with Gawker's headline proclaiming it the best Edie ever. Clearly politiqueen Anna Conda's take, assumed for her housewarming party upon moving to a fixer-upper in the Excelsior last summer, was superior in both motivation and situation. Overturned hottubs > sparkly curtained TV sets, in this case (and many others.) Read more »
"I've never been to a drag show," said my friend Cailey last week. "WHAT?!" I shouted.
She had to be kidding me. Attending a drag show belongs in the top 10 things everyone has to do when they move to SF. I got on it and found the next available performance we could get our butts to, which just happened to be the twice-weekly Heklina, Lady Bear, Trixxie Carr, and D'Arcy Drollinger show of Sex and the City.Read more »
SUPER EGO Scene: Midnight, Tiara Sensation drag pageant, Rickshaw Stop, September. A naked, enormously white-and-purple-bewigged figure in two-foot-high Plexiglass heels, laid across three raised Plexiglass pillars, faces away from us. The pitched down strains of Frank Ocean's "Pyramid," his voice syrupped into a slo-mo Judy Garland phantasmagoria, drown us in waves of bass. Sheee's wooorkiiing at the Pyyyramid toniiiight.Read more »
In this city, you can't walk, saunter, or sashay 50 feet without running into a drag queen. We are a queen-heavy city, and we love it. But ask the average Joe who their favorite faux queen is, and all you might get is a glazed look or a raised eyebrow.
Faux queens are drag queens stuck inside a woman's body -- women pretending to be men pretending to be women. A simple enough idea that got its due in 1995 when Diet Popstitute and Rooby Tuesday started the now-legendary Faux Queen Pageant. After a seven year hiatus, the tradition continued on September 16, bringing lashed lovelies from the deepest reaches of space who would give veteran drag queens a run for their money. Read more »
If Friday means Some Thing — the popular late night drag performance showcase at the Stud — then tonight means something More: opening night of "Work MORE! #5," the hybrid performance installation headed up by Some Thing's charismatic and catalytic hostess, Vivvyanne Forevermore, alt-persona of artist-curator Mica Sigourney.
Tonight has even a little more More than that: it's also four years to the month since Vivvyanne Forevermore first stepped onto the San Francisco stage. It's an auspicious moment, in other words, for one of Sigourney's more ambitious Work MORE! undertakings to date (with the possible exception of next year's planed tour of Work MORE! #4, but more on that below). Number five brings together (at CounterPULSE this weekend) a group of drag queens, visual artists, dancers and performance artists in an overlapping series of collaborative performance installations that do away with the usual proscenium setting in favor of a loosely compartmentalized stage that's more like a haunted gallery.
"Logistically, I've never done anything like this at all," says Sigourney, speaking at a SOMA café last week. "It's going to be too hot, it's going to be too loud, and it's not going to be easy." But then, he immediately adds, "that's not any different from a drag bar."