|Columnist Pollo Del Mar, Peggy Lâ€™Eggz, Holotta Tymes and Cookie Dough were among the many Bay Area extras filming a recent episode of the NBC drama Trauma, which is set in San Francisco. Photo by RinMichael J. Kang.
Notorious Sainted Glamazon About Town
â€śIs that Donna Sashay?â€ť asked Sandra O. Noshi-Diâ€™nâ€™t as we pulled up in front of the AMC 1000 Van Ness Theatre shortly after 7:30am this past Tuesday. Though unmistakable in her long, red evening gown, stunning jewelry and signature blond hair, I was nonetheless surprised to see Donna. It somehow never occurred to me that she, too, might answer the open call for extras in an upcoming episode of the television series Trauma.
Starting Mon., Sept. 28, the one-hour NBC drama set locally traces the day-to-day activities and high-action lives of a crew of fictional first-response medical professionals from San Francisco General Hospital. For weeks now, the show has been spotted filming at locations throughout the city, including closing the King Street exit off 280E for several days to stage a multiple car pile-up for its debut episode.
Two weeks ago, I received a call from the same casting agency which placed me in Peaches Christâ€™s feature film All About Evil earlier this year.
Trauma was scheduled to shoot an episode based in The Castro, I was told, and they were seeking colorful members of the community to participate.
The episodeâ€™s premise - a Halloween night party gone awry - certainly seems realistic enough. Cast basically as herself, Heklina portrays a Liza impersonator hosting the upscale, Mardi Gras-themed event in The Castro when a group of party-crashers start a brawl. After a drunken Lady Bear - dare I point a finger toward typecasting? - knocks over a fireworks cannon, a small fire breaks out and causes a stampede.
Though the blood and gore sounded all too appealing, at first I was unsure whether or not I wanted to participate. Sure the pay is decent, but the schedule - four 12-hour days - is grueling.
Soon, though, my Facebook friends helped make up my mind. More than just a paycheck, they pointed out, it is an experience. Who knows whether I will ever be invited to shoot another network television series again, I thought, and decided to snag the opportunity when it presents itself.
So after waking well before dawn to get ready, Sandra and I arrived in the private â€śholdingâ€ť area - which is where the productionâ€™s extras wait between scenes - to find it in complete chaos. A steady stream of people poured into - and then back out of - the on-site wardrobe department to be properly fitted in costuming. From a sexy pharaoh to a man on stilts and a hot-pink Marie Antoinette, there was no lacking in creativity.
To really give the episode added local flavor, casting agents scoured the city to bring onboard a wide array of well-known Bay Area drag performers. Cookie Dough, Juanita Fajita, Vivyenne Forevermore, Ambrosia Salad, Suppositori Spelling, Metal Patricia and Kim Burly joined the fun. From the East Bay, Holotta Tymes and Diva Dan each looked stunning. Diva Dan, in fact, was so gorgeous in a pink gown of her own design, she won an on-site costume contest, which was also incorporated into the episodeâ€™s storyline.
As on the set of any film or television shoot, there were long periods between on-screen appearances. It gave me a great opportunity to get to know Peggy Lâ€™Eggz, who shared her appreciation for my recent column about weight gain. It seems she, too, put on some weight over time and had to take it off as well. Meanwhile, when things really started to drag, so to speak, I hunted down Pippi Lovestocking. Her genius idea to bring a â€śScrabbleâ€ť board really helped the time pass much more quickly!
In retrospect, of course, it only seems natural that Donna would be prominently featured. After all, whatâ€™s a party in the Castro without the Lady in Red? To find out whether or not she survives the episode, though, youâ€™ll just going to have to tune in!
Follow â€śThe Glamazonâ€ť at www.Facebook.com/PolloDelMar or www.Twitter.com/TheGlamazonPDM