|The expressions on the faces of columnist Pollo Del Mar, newly-crowned Grand Duchess Landa Lakes and Grand Duke Carlos Medal and their attendant say a thousand words about the Court representative from Las Vegas pictured second from left.
Itâ€™s safe to say my neighbors â€“ even in my rather quiet, out-of-the-way neighborhood â€” have grown accustomed to drag queen sightings. Most Wednesday nights they see me head to BRAIN FARTS, the weekly trivia night I cohost at Lookout. Weekends are dotted with performances, fundraisers and appearances at all times of day and night. Still, though it was probably only in my mind, I could feel eyes on me as I hit the streets in full drag this warm, sunny Monday morning past en route for Marlenaâ€™s basement.
When David Lassman â€“ nee, Empress XXXVI Chablis â€” scheduled a noon shoot for his upcoming independent film for that day, the implications never really occurred to me. However, after my weekend â€” Saturdayayâ€™s Ducal Ball & Coronation and Victory Brunch not to mention Folsom Street Fair (which I was exhausted just trying to avoid) on Sunday â€“ waking up early to again put on my finery was the last thing I wanted to do.
A few months ago, when David told me about The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Starr and said heâ€™d written a part for me, I was intrigued. Despite having starred with Heklina, Cookie Dough and Matthew Martin in God-only-knows how many performances of the stage version of The Golden Girls â€“ which once again returns to Mama Calizoâ€™s Voice Factory this coming December â€” I have never been in a feature-length film. Despite the fact my talent as an â€śactressâ€ť is relatively untested, David was certain I could pull off the part of â€“ shocking! â€“ a drag queen who provides a moral conscience and motherly perspective for the filmâ€™s protagonist played by Miss Trannyshack 2002 Suppositori Spelling.
So wearing a gown by Cockatielia and dripping jewels given to me by none other than Marlena herself, the same ones I wore to the Swedish American Hall to watch Carlos Medal and my drag mother Landa Lakes crowned San Franciscoâ€™s newest Grand Duke and Grand Duchess and later ever-classy Rentecca and CoCo Canal judge a Folsom weekend â€śBest Cockâ€ť contest at Starf*cker at Deco, I arrived. Certainly if I looked glamorous enough to be crowned Baroness of Rubies & Diamonds Saturday night by The 35K Diamond Duchess, Grand Duchess XXXV Big D, I thought, then surely I could pull off four minutes on film as the fictional â€śAuntie Maneâ€ť!
After several hours huddled in the secret dressing room of Empress XLI Galilea, who must be shorter than I think to be able to stand upright in that space, we were done! It was interesting to learn how many takes, shots and reshoots â€“ not to mention the amount of time â€” a single scene in a movie requires. It will be even more interesting to see how Amir Jaffer, who released the documentary Drag: Not Just Men in Heels last summer, manages to piece it all into a cohesive story!
The experience should be excellent practice for the weekend upcoming, when I begin shooting yet another feature film. Devious, Inc. â€“ in which I get to play a twisted dominatrix, a character much closer to my heart â€” costars two more former Trannyshack titlists, Miss Trannyshack 2001 Precious Moments and Miss Trannyshack 2003 Fauxnique. While I donâ€™t know how familiar Fauxnique is with this medium, Precious is a seasoned vet. (Maybe you caught her in the campy Frameline XXXII favorite The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror?!) Also involved are a host of local talent including Kegel Kater, Huggz Bunny, and L. Ron Hubby. The creative energy flowing into the project is so much fun, I can hardly wait!
Of course, the flip side is the scheduling nightmare this very active, incredibly exciting weekend presents. With long days of on-location filming both Friday and Saturday â€“ which just happens to coincide with co-star BeBe Sweetbriarâ€™s step-down as Miss Gay San Francisco at the annual pageant, held this Oct. 4 at the Holiday Inn on Van Ness â€“ my calendar is already cluttered. Add to that a cohostessing gig the next day at the Castro Street Fair, and Iâ€™m going to be one very busy gal!
In situations like this, planning is key. In the midst of writing this column, in fact, I raced off to discuss Sundayâ€™s costuming needs with fabulous seamster Chris DenBlyker. This marks our first time working together since he created the absolutely stunning (if I do say so myself) mermaid costume I wore in the â€śBathing Suitâ€ť portion of last yearâ€™s Miss Trannyshack Pageant.
Knowing Iâ€™ll be sporting one of his stunning designs when I leave my house at some ungodly early hour Sunday morning en route to the Castro mainstage gives me peace of mind. Let the neighbors look, honey. Iâ€™m ready for my close-up!
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