Friday, August 29, 2008

Um, Disney? Part 2

The Little Mermaid Sing-a-Long at the Castro Theater was fun for the whole family! I mean that figuratively and literally. I really wished I had my nieces there with me, they all would have loved it. Instead we got to sit next to some fun gay boys. It's almost the same thing sometimes.

While we were in line to get in a friend texted and said "Make sure you watch Obama!" and I was like, unless he's swimming around underwater singing with a crab I'll be catching him online later.

Lots of straight girls, the kind who dress "cute," which was fine until they invaded the bars later. Entering this bear bar across the street we passed this girl who said with disdain as she walked out, "this is the gayest bar in the Castro." And I was like "thank God."

"Tranny Ariel" won the costume contest, beating out sluttier "Low Self-Esteem Ariel."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

'Shack Attack

Getting your full freak on in Detroit is a decidedly underground affair. A perverse curiosity, an adventurous spirit and a tolerance for disappointment can yield tremendous results in a city where legendary scenes come and go in a flash, and by the time you discovered it, it's probably over.

San Francisco, on the other hand, is a magnet school for freaks. The freak flag flies with reassuring consistency here, and there is a critical mass of people who support the outrageous, outlandish or simply outre. And that is why they get to have nice things, like

Briefly, Trannyshack is a weekly drag event held at a shithole gay bar (the kind I like to bitch about in Detroit) called The Stud located in the South of Market area of SF. Started by Heklina in 1996, the show is known for its cutting-edge performances and departure from regular ball-gown diva lip synch drag. I highly recommend reading the
Wikipedia entry here, and watching this YouTube video with clips from an evening at The Stud. After twelve years, Heklina decided to put Trannyshack to rest with a huge Trannyshack Kiss Off party this past Saturday night.

It is a testament to the gay community in San Francisco that what was a popular, but fringe, event managed to pull a crowd of ... 1000? 1500? I mean, when was the last time anyone saw 1000 homos in one place in Detroit? And this was pretty solid gay, not an excessive amount of straight girl filler. And like 10% were in some kind of drag. It was, needless to say, thrilling.

What's your count?

It would be a waste of time for me to try and describe in detail every act in this tremendous evening, so I'll show you what I can. I took some crappy video clips with my cell phone, and since the show was a "best of Trannyshack" there are some original performances you can watch on YouTube.

Hoku Mama Swamp opened with a Queen Elizabeth number about absolute power corrupting absolutely (or whatever) to Abba's "Lay All Your Love on Me," with "Love is a Battlefield" Pat Benetar breakout choreography and a crowd-pleasing Madonna MTV Awards "Vogue"
traveling posse of fabulous.

Raya Light provided a dramatic morality tale about the victimation, exploitation and ultimate empowerment of women (well, that's what I got from it) with a reprise of her Miss Trannyshack-winning Kate Bush/Kelly Clarkson number (original

Lady Miss Kier from Deee-Lite was there. And oh my. I mean, I'm by no means the inguenue I was in 1992, but then I didn't make my name prancing around in Pucci bodysuits either. Get a new stylist at the very least, Tammy Faye!

Why don't we, why don't we, whyyyy don't we whyyyy don't we ... change our look?

The House of More! (Juanita More! and Glamamore) performed the Flower Duet in dresses made entirely from paper. A flawless number.

Kimo performed "Ten Years of Madonna in Ten Minutes" (original peformance
here) which was clever and fun, but the subsequent performance was one of two that really drove home the over-the-top nature of Trannyshack.

Kiddie performed a powerful rendition of Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain" that was pretty straightforward, focused on perfect make-up and lip synch ... until the hooded monk figures appeared to heat up pieces of metal with a blowtorch and BRAND HER BACK WITH THEM! And she didn't flinch! Unbelievable. This branding had the crowd's rapt attention - maybe Detroit Renaissance should consider something like this instead of a new slogan the next time around. (See a clip from Saturday
here, and the entire original amazing performance here.)

Well, fortunately Lady Bunny was in town to lighten things up after that, and she did some of her patented routine (an example from Trannyshack earlier this year
here). She is one fucked up bitch.

And then Fauxnique, a biological woman who is also a drag performer and Miss Trannyshack title winner (I told you Trannyshack was progressive) peformed a really beautiful number en pointe to Elton John's "Someone Saved My Life." I don't have my video editing software here on vacation but I put my clips together in a playlist, because I thought for those of you who like this stuff it was really worth getting a taste. Just really really great!

Justin Bond, famous as Kiki from Kiki & Herb in NYC, was on hand also, although sadly his brand of torch/vamp/camp singing didn't really translate well to the venue. I guess you have to be in row seven with him screaming at you to really fully enjoy it. But what came next definitely qualified as the most fucked up drag anything I've ever seen in my entire drag-loving life.

A queen named Precious Moments was up next and peformed "Gloria" by Patti Smith. Spinning on a communion rail with her dress hiked up (and showing the goods - click on the picture below for the very NSFW view of that) she was eventually banged by altar boys, priests, the pope, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ on the cross. And then the number ended with her flouncing across the stage and someone coming over and shoving a buttplug up her butt. For real.

Precious Moments indeed.

Click picture for the other view. You won't be sorry.
Or actually, maybe you will.

Did you know that Ana Matronic from the Scissor Sisters got her start in the SF Trannyshack scene? Me neither, but it's true. She was another celeb on hand to bid farewell, and she had lots of cute boys in her number too. Bravo.

Can someone get me the boy with the glasses?

The final performer of the night was Putanesca, who did a very dramatic performance to a Siouxsie Sioux number in the greatest drag gown since the last time I claimed something was the greatest drag gown. Really gorgeous, "gothic beauty of the highest order." Watch the original fabulous performance here.

And then ... and then that was it. Heklina came out to bid farewell ... not forever, but for now. And after proclaiming she didn't want to end Trannyshack in a predictable way, she burst into a performance of "I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" by Jennifer Holiday. And through the course of the song she was joined by throngs of drag queens on stage. You really don't need to see more than
these 15 seconds to know how overwrought that was.

"Well, I guess we could do something predictable after all."

I loves me some good drag, and this was just the thing to get me back on the gay track. An inspiring evening and undoubtedly one of the high points of this summer!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Um, Disney?

She's a beauty, but I don't think she's sleeping.

"No, the other hole."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Job Opening?

"Hello, Fecal Face Dot Gallery, please hold. Hello, Fecal Face Dot Gallery, please hold."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Getting it out of my system

Day 1 went well, I thought.

Valley of the Dolls on the big screen is like seeing it for the first time.

Walking around town you pass so many beautiful homes. And some other ones too.

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence work hard for the money.

Bonus: here's a video of the opening of tonight's Disco Bingo. It was held at the Veteran's Memorial Building. Note the American Legion banner in the background. Sorry that guy next to me wouldn't stop clapping, I don't think he gets out much.

Sisters' Bingo is one hell of a good time. I didn't walk away with any money, but I felt like I won just by being there.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ode to the Smith Terminal

Walking through the Smith Terminal at Detroit Metro Airport (lots of pics at link), it feels like a bit of a shame that it’s become such the neglected stepchild mess of all airline terminals. It wasn’t always this way. When I was growing up it was sharper, more open, so modern and nicely scaled for the needs of the day. If you look closely you can still see vestiges of when the terminal was a sophisticated gateway to the glamorous world of air travel.

As it did when the terminal opened in 1957, the ceiling still soars overhead and check-in counters for the smaller airlines still ring the main entry area. Modern glassed-in airline offices, reminiscent of management overlooking the factory floor, still sit on the mezzanine level

Terrazzo floors and travertine marble details exist throughout most of the circulation space, but they are about the only high-end design elements that remain. Signs in great cream/white on brown/black (colors acquired as the patina of age) with that slightly funky san serif font are a little beat up but absolutely scream 1970. The glass block walls down the corridor seem surprisingly contemporary. The square analog clocks that dot the ceiling along the corridor have that dated-but-kind-of-now feeling too.

There are only scars remaining from many of the amenities that once seemed like necessities. The post office is permanently gated with only the glue from the signage letters indicating what it once was. Phone booths with their little stainless steel mushroom stools are all capped over (with a few exceptions) or converted to internet terminals. The courtesy phone station is now a laptop recharging station.

The most glaring indication of what an anachronism the Smith Terminal has become is the way that the security checkpoint is still just plunked down in what was once a high-traffic corridor. A Jack Daniels (sorry, Jose Cuervo) Tequilaria and airport newstand have been crammed in right there as well.The original design for the flow of passengers and guests was hijacked on 9/11, and that is what really pushes Smith into obsolescence. Well, that and the abysmal baggage claim situation.

Unlike the TWA terminal at JFK Airport, Smith was once nice but has no compelling architectural merit. It’s just a dated relic of a different time in air travel. But I have lots of fond childhood memories of being hustled through there by my parents, and I’m glad I got to travel through it one last time before it is closed for good next month.

Time to go.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm goin' to Zion

I've gotta recharge. All the crap has been getting the best of me, so I'm taking a break to go back into the San Fran gay immersion program.

While there I will be visiting with all my friends who have made their way west over the years. I will enjoy seeing gays walking down the street and I hope to eventually get over the shock and excitement of seeing more than one gay person on the street a day.

What else will I do? Well, hit a few movies at the Castro Theatre, starting with Valley of the Dolls on Wednesday and The Little Mermaid sing-a-long this weekend. I'm going to the Trannyshack Kiss-Off grand finale. I might go to Sisters Bingo put on by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. And for sure I'll scrounge for good new music and video stuff for Doggy Style.

Yes, for two weeks I am going to act like the country cousin that I am and get my gay groove back in San Francisco. I'll let you know how it goes.



After a frustrating and few days of work I thought to myself, "I just want something to make me happy." And then I stumbled on this video I had bookmarked on my iPod Touch (I don't rate the full iPhone). And it made me happy. There is something so cute about hipsters appropriating the eighties for their own amusement.

Beat Control by Tilly and the Wall. And thanks to whomever it was that told me about this in the first place. It was this spring at the Park Bar ... Doggy Style, maybe? I just can't remember which one of you it was, I was probably drunk. Besos.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Do the Shake

I love the Village People for their totally subversive gay agenda in 70's/80's America - an agenda that is still alive today in places like wedding dancefloors and the front of downtown Detroit's YMCA.

I also love them because they are awesome and they sing songs with lyrics like "I'm a cruiser" and "Women .... we love women" (and then proceed to name the women they love: Judy, Donna, Diana, Jackie, Zsa Zsa, Barbra, Liza, Lucy, Carol ... "they are women, yeah women."). Oh did I mention these two songs are in a medley?

So they are fun and who can blame straight America for loving them. But they are really gay. As you can witness in this Doggy Style fave, a clip from their movie "Can't Stop the Music." Believe it or not, parts of this were actually used as milk advertisements on TV.

Somehow knowing that Nancy Walker directed this movie makes all the sense in the world.

You'll be singing this all day ... chocolate, vanilla, strawberry yeah.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Referral

With everything that's going on with Kwame right now, there doesn't seem like much I can blog about without seeming like I've got my head in the sand.

However, right now I kind of prefer to keep things on the lighter side. And I also like to acknowledge that I've enjoyed some Kwame over the years, so the way things have fallen apart is a little ... disappointing. Although, you know, I could live without the arrogance and (alleged) corruption, not to mention race-baiting.

And I guess I have actually been keeping my head in the sand, so I am going to refer you to a blog that is doing a very entertaining and informed job of covering things, Detroitist.

Detroitist is actually blogged by our good friend and guest blogger Woodward's Friend. His daily "State of the State" posts are routinely entertaining, intelligent and snarky. And brief. Just what you want in a political blog.

Definitely check him out for coverage of all the local goings-on. Whether you agree or disagree with his point-of-view, you'll have to acknowledge it's a great read.

Do you think last night went anything like this?


Needy Girl

Well, today's greatest hit is "Needy Girl" by Chromeo. It's a video re-tread from Doggy Style this spring, but the time felt right to revisit it. Plus it's a cool video and even though the guys are straight the video is kinda gay. In a good way.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

OK that was weird ...

Someone I know was just mentioned in the The Andy Warhol Diaries.

It really is a small gay world.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I think Andy Warhol said it best ...

OK it's Monday morning and someone (Zamfir?) is playing a pan flute in Lafayette Park. I love that it can't be something normal like a guitar or trumpet around here, you know? It has to be a pan flute or a bagpipe.

In mythology, the music of Pan was said to be capable of arousing inspiration or sexuality, which is the perfect segue to a brief recap of "
Fierce Hot Mess" on Friday night at Oslo.

I gotta say, I think this event is tremendous, and I am proud to say I managed to achieve two of the three objectives in the name. The energy was great, everyone was having fun and when things shut down at 2am it seemed like we'd just gotten going.

It was crowded but not packed (the crowd was bigger than the inaugural FHM on July 4, though), and it was full of familiar faces, younger and older, freaky and subdued. One of my friends mentioned that one nice thing about the way the gay scene works in Detroit right now is that there isn't a place everyone goes all the time, but then periodically and sometimes unexpectedly there is a night when just everyone you love to see is there. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much how the straight scene works too, albeit with a touch more regularity.

So the crowd is great, and the music is greater. It was a fantastic mix of disco and new wave dance that you love from the olden days mixed with some house and ital-disco and new stuff you might not know. It's definitely a dance club vibe, but in an old school way. I got my Sylvester, "
Do You Wanna Funk," which thrilled me to no end. And I got the song, "You Belong," by Hercules and Love Affair, which is currently in heavy rotation at Chez Supergay. It's got a little Kevin Saunderson/Inner City homage thing going on and is amazing. (And the video is genius, it kind of captures the sound and spirit of the Palmer Park after-hours club Midnight Sun back in '95-'96, before it became Numbers and got that tacky circuit party crowd.)

Interestingly, on Saturday I was up to August 2, 1978 in The Andy Warhol Diaries, and his entry for events exactly 30 years prior was:

"Life really does repeat itself. The old songs come back in a new way and the kids think they're new and the old people remember and it's a way of keeping people together, I guess, a way of living."

That pretty much sums it up. See you at the next one, first Friday in September.

The whistle kills me. It's perfect.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...