After a Fashion
Stephen reminisces about his early love for drag and brings it all up to date with some S&M: 'Standing & Modeling,' of course
MALE ACTRESSES It was like a trip back in time to 1973. I was 15, and in the interest of furthering my gay education, my father took me to the Hi Kamp in Houston to watch a drag show. Drag was hardly new to me, but I was spellbound by the impersonators out there on the stage spinning their magic as Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, and Judy Garland. That was more than 30 years ago, and the world has changed a great deal since then. Or has it? When I read that Xtreme Nightclub (inside Sidekicks, 110 E. Riverside, 804-2707, www.sidekicksaustin.com) was producing La Cage: Vegas in Austin under the direction of local fundraising whirlwind Rob Faubion of the Austin Babtist Women, I expected an evening of surprises. And I was surprised. You see, as far as drag goes, I can emphatically say, "Been there, done that." And after a couple of decades of watching drag shows, I pretty much lost interest. Today's drag shows feature the performers in personas of their own creation. That's fine, but to me, over the long haul, there can be a numbing sameness to it (and I'm sure I'm offending somebody by calling them "drag shows," but let's call a spade a spade, shall we?). At any rate, suffice it to say that I hadn't seen a drag show in a very long time. But this one sounded good because I knew that the performers would be impersonating their favorite stars. Mr. Faubion, who also hosted and performed, introduced "les girls" as they each tore up the stage in their own way. From the dynamic Desiree who delivered both Barbra Streisand and Cher; to the stunning Topaz as Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys; there was a gorgeous and completely effective Selena, Nadine Hughes as an over-the-hill Liza Minnelli (Nadine, darling, you're great as a plus-sized Liza, but we must get you the correct Liza wig!); the absolutely glorious Goldie Haynes as Diana Ross ripping up our hearts (and our tips) with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"; and the special guest star for the month is the magnificent and breathtaking LaWanda Jackson. Miss Jackson is well-known in Las Vegas and across the nation for her work, appearing on talk shows and now co-starring with Sandra Bullock in the upcoming Miss Congeniality 2. She is legendary for her Dionne Warwick impersonations, but bay-beee, did she burn the place down with her Tina Turner medley. I liked it so much I stayed for the second show. So if you think you've pretty much seen everything in town, think again. These homegrown beauties present a formidable challenge to the imported talent, and the result is dazzling. The event is held the second Sunday of every month, with a new guest star brought in for each set of performances.
MODEL/LAWYER? I just read that on Apprentice 3, one of the contestants, Erin Elmore, who will work on the Magna team, is a model/lawyer. A model/lawyer. I just love the sound of that! Can you just imagine a model/lawyer in court? I imagine she'd have a team of stylists in the courtroom tending to her hair, make-up, and clothes, with paparazzi swarming everywhere. Even when the judge enters, she'd beg her, "Three more minutes, Your Honor, while my nails dry." When she's ready, her clerk turns on the fan under the table, and her hair and dress blow like she's on the beach. "Ready," she would say and the trial would proceed with the model/lawyer turning this way and that under the lights, until the critical moment when the model/lawyer asks the judge, "May I approach the bench?" The judge nods in assent and the model/lawyer strides forward, doing a spin halfway there, tossing her hair and giving a haughty glance back to the spectators in the courtroom. "Your Honor," the model/lawyer would plead, "How long are you going to let this badgering of my client to continue? I have a shoot with David LaChapelle in about two hours for American Vogue, and I really should be getting into hair and make-up for that. Your Honor! American Vogue!" The judge would presumably swoon at the very mention of the veritable bible of fashion, and issue a continuance until the shoot was over and the model/lawyer could once again concentrate on the court case. What a dizzy, high-powered life a model/lawyer would have: from the runway to the courthouse, day-in, day-out. It would be a very glamorous, but brutal existence, knowing how many people out there would depend on your extraordinary legal skills as well as your ability to wear clothes like no other model. What's next: comedian/surgeons?
HEDDA THE PACK Just to remind you, Miss Hedda Layne, a uniquely talented entertainer who adds another facet to Austin's glowing list of performers, begins performing at the new club Rain on Fourth Street on Sunday, Jan. 16. See www.heddalayne.com for details.