Glamor Gets an Upgrade
As far as we can tell, San Francisco's first drag bar was a happy accident — unofficial history holds that Joe Finocchio established his eventually world-famous "female impersonator" spot in 1936 after hearing a customer in his father's bar imitate Sophie Tucker, known for her risque numbers. As hard as it might be to believe, this type of entertainment was accepted by the American mainstream for decades after that, with Finocchio's getting a decent amount of tourist traffic. Finocchio's closed in 1999, but there's still a hint of its spirit in the city. On a visit to Fauxgirls!, we saw citizens from "red" states wriggling with adoration alongside others. Fauxgirls! is not a delicate show, and its venue then was closer to the Tenderloin than Union Square. It's wonderful and funny, and the gowns are very pretty, but the performers aren't playing. The visitors in question, a whole family of them in their baseball hats, proudly and repeatedly asserting they were from Kentucky or Kansas or somewhere, learned at the same time we did that "hooker" is a term of endearment. And they loved it. This year, there's more to love about Fauxgirls!, including a dinner menu and a new venue next door to Union Square and the Powell cable-car turnaround. Produced by accomplished drag personage Victoria Secret, Fauxgirls! is hosted by Alexandria and includes a cast of sparkling female impersonators (and Bobby, the token butch) in a show involving lip-synching, singing, audience participation, generous tipping, and getting called "hooker."