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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oprah: The Dragsical and Pearls (Again) vs. the Supermoon

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 3:30 PM

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Supermoon, too much too soon.

Well dearest of readers, let's just start by saying that through the wisdom of my editors, you are being spared my initial rant this week. Now, I'm not saying they're wrong, in fact, they were very sweet by suggesting that the post might be ... mm ... a little more light-hearted. Ha!!

I guess you could say that I was initially feeling the effects of the supermoon, and my original post WAS a bit harsh this week. Sometimes when you're down in the dumps, it just seems easier to pull people down with you, then to lift yourself up. That, coupled with being overworked and stressed beyond belief, (you all know I run a small business on Valencia right?) didn't make for the nicest, or even cohesive, reading.

The super messing-with-everyone's-head moon. - STEVEN LEMAY
  • Steven LeMay
  • The super messing-with-everyone's-head moon.

It was a rant about the sense of community, and how sometimes the ease of online social media and generational advances make it easier to belong to a community without the intimate benefits that a close-knit community can have. (Insert joke about the loose-knit aspect of my friends.) If that wasn't enough, it quickly spiraled into how hard it was to rally a community behind a cause when most people nowadays seem to be so self-centered and self-serving.

I know right? Some light reading for sure!!

So here's my new take on community, seen in the light of a new day.

It still sucks. Ha, just kidding -- but I have to get a dig in there somewhere.

One community that always has the ability to enliven your spirits is the performing community, and yes, even though tempers flare and egos soar, hopefully their overall goal is to help the viewer escape reality and lose themselves for awhile.

With the supermoon being its largest on Saturday, I chose to see Pearls over Shanghai again, (which if you didn't know, is closing on April 9th). I realize much has been written about it already, but if anything could counteract the effects of the supermoon, it would be the sheer magnitude of the luminescence given off by the amazing ensemble. (See how I pulled that together?) If you've seen it, then you understand their special rotating cast -- there are different people playing the same roles on different nights. Saturday night's ensemble was, by far IMHO, the perfect community of performers. You see, for the most part, Saturday's show was filled with many veterans of the performing scene. So in a lot of ways, it was like old-home week. (Closer to old-folks home week -- but that's a joke at their expense, not mine.)

Pearls Over Shanghai closes April 9. - DAVID ALLEN
  • David Allen
  • Pearls Over Shanghai closes April 9.

If you know anything of the underground performing scene, then Saturday's show was like a who's-who. (And a little bit of who's that?) The all-too-brilliant smile of the captain, played to perfection by Flynn Demarco, could definitely offset the moon's glow. Arturo Galster's take on Madame Gin-sling is always an evil favorite, and it was Leigh Crow's last night as Chang. I hadn't seen her take on that character, and let's just say, that every time I see her, I only want to see her more ... on stage. (Luckily, she will be starring in the lead role of Divina, for the Thrillpeddlers new production of Vice Palace; previews for that start April 22nd). Rounding out the cast of thousands were other stellar veterans like Birdie-Bob Watt and Fennel Skellyman. That's five people I have known for about 15 years, and if you ever need to fill your tired empty heart, there's nothing like a dose of your friends' lunacy to set you right. (Lunacy, get it? Trust me, the effects of the moon on on the cast were far more evident at the Eagle later that evening ... kiss kiss smooch smooch ... lick lick.)

Anyway, go see it before it closes, and everyone looks at you in disdain.

On a different note and scale, on Sunday night, I ventured out to Cocktailgate's peformance of Oprah, the Dragsical. Suppositori Spelling's show, which used to be at Truck, has now found a new home at Rebel (formerly the Triple Crown, formerly the etc. etc.) The new space has a much better stage for the performers, and they surely used it to their advantage on Sunday night.

Loosely, as you can imagine, the performers told the story of Oprah Winfrey, and how she was birthed by the Supremes. A clever use of Oprah soundbites, and Oprah impersonator sound-bites, made for a very interesting piece of drag theater.

Honey Mahogany played the title role to hilarious perfection, and many costume and wig change led her from early eighties Oprah, all the way to the Oprah of the future (fat and devouring a city). A smart choice was including Raya Light as Kathy Griffin,

STEVEN LEMAY
  • Steven LeMay
because as many may know, Kathy does a whole schtick about Ms. O. The production smartly peppered sound-bites from Kathy's comedy throughout the whole show, which gave the performance a great even thread that the allowed the viewer to easily follow along, and laugh at the insipidness of it all. During the show, Oprah was visited by the likes of Barbra Streisand (played by Mercy Fuque),
STEVEN LEMAY
  • Steven LeMay
who joked at the whole white microphone bit. She was even visited by a maniacal Tom Cruise (played by Trixxie Carr). And even though Spaz is the host of the show, she opted to take a back seat to Honey's Oprah, and dove head first into the King of Pop...crimped hair and crotch grabbing away.

STEVEN LEMAY
  • Steven LeMay

The show wasn't perfect, but that's what made it great. A not-so-serious look at someone who seems to take themselves so seriously....oh yeah, did I mention they even do some jokes about the book club and Reading Rainbow?

That's it for now, check out Cocktailgate at Rebel on Sunday nights, and be sure to check out Pearls Over Shanghai before it closes on April 9.

All things considered, this weekend gets 5 ding-dongs ... totally a-door-ble.

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Cheers bitches,

LeMay

"Tuck of the Town" is a weekly blog column about the San Francisco drag scene. Check back next Tuesday for more.

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Steven LeMay

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