Wednesday, February 27, 2013

All The Goss! Our Drag Debut at Stonewall

After weeks of preparation, a few of us made our drag debut onstage at Polly's Follies. They offer free champagne all night to drag queens which is the reason 1) there are so many drag queens at Stonewall and b) why we got ejected from the premises by Polly herself! Read on.
After watching it for years, I've finally arrived to the stage. Mayday's first lip synch was to a Rita Hayworth number - "Zip" from the musical Pal Joey. About a stripper who fancies herself a thinker:
"Zip" turned out to be a near impossible number as it has no chorus to repeat and it's a LOT of fast talk. There was far too much memorization of 1950s lyrics that mostly I didn't understand ("who is Walter Lipman? Charlie's aunt?") Thankfully, Richard returned to his days of producing theatre and helped me with characterization and choreography. 
He knew the lyrics and moves far better than me, so I'm not sure why I was the one tossed on stage to the piranhas. What I do know is that if there's a next time I'm choosing a song that's ONLY chorus, with maybe a key change...

Joining me in this fiasco fantastic adventure popping our Polly's cherry were Mai Tai:
double fisting! Atta girl.
Nell'ee Maydit:
And Miss Belle Igerent, aka Bam Bam, aka "Thing":
Getting Bam Bam frocked up is always the same narrative. It begins with "no way" which soon morphs into a curious, "Where's my Betty Drooper wig?" to "I have to have the gold glasses". Then he backtracks in the manner of a special guest star diva, with "I'm not CONFIRMED". At which point I suggest he drinks a few beers. After a few beers, he is off buying pantyhose, even texting me if he should get a feather boa, and by the time we're out the door he's begging me for more lipstick...

At Polly's you have to do three numbers. Mai Tai was the first up with Sunday Girl, prancing about with a jumprope she spun around like nunchucks.
Audience BEWARE!
Nell'ee performed a power anthem from Eurovision that was all chorus and maybe a key change (a SMART queen)

An imperious Mayday takes on "Zip".
"I'm a broad with a broad, broad mind!"
Richard and I rehearsed with a lot of props. I figured the best thing you can do to wow an audience is to DISTRACT the hell out of them. I was up to my earrings in props.

They largely backfired. My fur fell, I dropped the book at the wrong moment and (oy!) tossing sweaty fake dollars from my cleavage proved challenging. If I was foiled by my own brilliant idea, I believe they proved effective in distracting the audience from reading my lips.
There is actually a video of this, which is now under high-surveillance security!

For my second number I went for chestnut, attempting to channel my Latina heritage. Belle Igerent kept following me around prowling after more drink tickets...
This photo kills me. Mayday imagines herself to be a smoldering torch singer...
Our "Enough is Enough" duet with Mayday (Barbra Streisand) and Mai Tai (Donna Summer): 
We rehearsed choreography (including lesbian grope and a mutual grinding on Polly during the interlude) in Mai Tai's backyard - where she set up a taped out perimeter of the Stonewall stage:
With lyrics clipped to the washing line!

And on opening night:  

Hours later, by the third number, the champagne was taking full effect and things were going pear-shaped. First, the drapery was assaulted...

Then Bam decided to camp out on the stage. Here I'm trying to talk sense into Belle Igerent (foolish, really)...
Miss Belle Igerent was living up to her name. I had convinced Bam to get on stage, promising he wouldn't have to do anything except sit there as accessory to my last number, Transvision Vamp's "Tell That Girl to Shut Up!"

He got onstage too early and, in character, refused to leave. Which was downright hilarious. Alas the show must go on...
 This about sums up our relationship.
At this time Polly informed me that we needed to leave, concerned one of us was going to fall off the stage. I said, I HOPE one of us does!

For the first time in the history of the universe (it has been noted by those who know me), I was asked to leave because of my friends behavior and not the other way around. Naturally, we didn't leave. We went back for more champagne... until Belle Igerent finally gave in and headed home. What a vision.
Business casual...after dark
Mai Tai and I soldiered on to the Loose Ends party and while later walking home, some dude pulled over in his car and tried to solicit sex. Mayday hopped right into the car and made that tranny chaser give us a ride home!


Tony said...

You young whippersnapper! Hopefully by now, someone of a sufficient seniority has augmented your education by telling you who Walter Lippman was.
People used to read his columns with awed reverence.
That was back when journalists (most of them, anyway) were actually respected members of society. I may still have one of his tomes.
How about that Belle Igerant getting YOU tossed out of a bar! That really is unheard of. Way to go Belle!

Margret said...

Oh, Jesse!! I would have LOVED to have seen you perform Zip. All I have is this.

Jesse Archer said...

Tony, I have now been enlightened ;)
Margret, looks like I wasn't the only one with the idea for props! Also, here's Rita herself doing Zip: