A McNight to Remember

August 16, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altSinger and comedian Sharon McNight is talking about being a night owl. “Once I get that second wind,” she says, “I can keep going until the cows come home!”
Not that she doesn’t like her sleep. “I just finished an intensive 10 days at Yale, I teach there in the summer at the Cabaret Conference,” she explains. “They were doing work next to our hotel—cell phones going at six in the morning, and jackhammers right after that. It made New York seem like a quiet town!”
She’s off and running at about a hundred miles a minute. I’ve called to interview her about her upcoming shows at the Vixen with Bruce Vilanch, and I haven’t asked a single question yet: she’s way ahead of me. “I know why they call it P’town,” she confides. “There’s no place to park and no place to pee!”
McNight first came to Provincetown in 1980. “Here’s what I like best about P’town,” she says, and I can picture her enumerating her list on her fingers as she speaks. “Soft-shell crab at Front Street. Cocktails at Jimmy’s Hideaway. Walking down Commercial Street looking at people. Oh, and lobster.” Immediately she remembers that she has a lobster story. “Franco, he used to be the chef at Pilgrim House, he taught me how to eat lobster. So one evening I was having dinner at the Lobster Pot and saw a woman at the next table struggling to eat hers. I decided to be a Good Samaritan, so I said to her, ‘I can help. Just put your fork in the tail and twist.’ She gave me a look with a lot of attitude, so I went back to my meal, and don’t you know that two minutes later that damned lobster tail shell comes flying right by my face!”
I think I’m in love with this woman.

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REVIEW: The Book of Merman

August 10, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altDoor-to-door missionaries might leave you an unconvinced non-believer, but after a night at The Book of Merman, you’ll be a devoted follower of Varla Jean. 
In a hilarious nod to the Tony Award winning musical The Book of Mormon, Merman returns to the Art House stage showing why she is the drag superstar she is, by grabbing the spotlight in a devilishly clever way. Funny, quick, and smart, The Book of Merman is a must see.
The show is classic Merman. Accompanied on the piano by Tom Judson, Merman (a.k.a. Jeffery Roberson) takes the audiences on a madcap journey through the twisted genius of Varla’s mind, bouncing from enemas to classical opera to the “gerbil” urban legend to bed bugs. Merman’s comedic writing and performance talents are amazingly presented through an incredible vocal range. Picture Brunhilde meets Ann-Margret meets Gracie Allen meets Divine. From operatic arias to an Oprah-style give-a-way you won’t soon forget,  to a finale featuring Varla’s own Mormomesque magical panties, The Book of Merman is a wild ride.

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Second To No One: Mimi Imfurst

5:00 am0 comments

altMimi Imfurst and her pal Jesse Volt are sitting in Rock ‘N’ Joe coffee shop in Millburn, New Jersey, waiting to place their order, wearing sequined dresses, high-sculptured wigs, and the signature make-up of drag queens. That’s when the waiter approaches and says, “You should be ashamed of yourself. Does your father know you do this? You’re disgusting. It’s despicable what you do.”
Thankfully, the bigoted waiter is an actor and this is a produced scenario on the ABC television show What Would You Do?, which creates situations with injustices or illegal activity to see how everyday people unaware they are being filmed will react.  The majority of patrons during the experiment come to the drag queens’ defense. And when all is said and done, it’s not just a statement on attitudes of the general public towards drag queens, but also a testament to the varied career Mimi Imfurst has already had – and she hasn’t even turned 30 yet.  Her resume is about to lengthen again as she makes her Provincetown debut with Barely Living Legends at Vixen this Carnival Week.
“It’s something I’ve wanted for a really long time,” says Mimi of her upcoming Provincetown show.  “For drag queens that do more theatrical work, it’s something we all aspire to.”
Mimi’s Provincetown run is also the premier of Barely Living Legends, in which she takes on the tabloid culture of our country with impersonations of the sensationalized trials and tribulations of Casey Anthony, JonBenet Ramsey, Anna Nicole Smith, Teri Schiavo, and more.

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The Trials and Tribulations in the Sordid Life of a Southern Baptist Sissy

August 4, 2011 7:26 pm0 comments

How many times have you seen Sordid Lives?
Chances are if you loved it the first time you saw the cult classic “dark comedy about white trash,” you’ve seen it multiple times since. The film about a young gay man going home for his grandmother’s funeral in West Texas ran for 96 weeks in Palm Springs kicking off a Rocky Horror Picture Show-like phenomenon with audiences shouting lines and dressing like their favorite characters. Here in Provincetown the film opened early in June for a week’s run, but with several sold-out shows a night it screened all the way to Columbus Day Weekend. 
Written and directed by Del Shores, who the Los Angeles Times dubbed the “grand master of the Texas comedy,” Sordid Lives launched the award-winning playwright and filmmaker into the hearts and minds of fans nationwide.  And now he’s bringing his one-man show Del Shores: Sordid Confessions to Provincetown, where he tells it all: the good, the bad, and the raunchy as he kicks off his national tour.

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July 16, 2011 8:19 pm0 comments

altThere is no one like Justin Vivian Bond. With a voice like peppered honey, sex appeal that seems a product of the glory days of cabaret in Paris and Berlin, and a performance spirit that can both make you laugh and break your heart, Bond is a star for the new millennium. 
While Bond is known as a mesmerizing talent both here and abroad, the most recent news stories have focused on Bond’s identification as a trans person; more specifically that Bond’s identity does not fit into the binary gender terms used in our language and culture. As such, Bond’s full name is now Justin Vivian Bond, and rather than “he” or “she,” Bond uses the pronoun “v” and the prefix “mx” to best express the most accurate gender identity (and this article will use those pronouns).
This weekend, Bond make v’s Provincetown debut at the Crown and Anchor with the cabaret act Dendrophile, featuring songs from the album of the same name.
“A dendrophile is a person who gets an erotic charge out of nature,” says Bond via e-mail from Paris where v just performed at Les Sentiers des Halles.  “As someone who will probably never have children I like the idea that sexual energy can lead to a creative manifestation in other ways. So when I’m in nature I’m not just charged sexually but also creatively. Most of the original songs on the record were written while I was straddling a moss covered log on a mountain in Tennessee.”

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A Q & A with The Screw You Review

8:12 pm0 comments

altThe most homophobic entertainer in America is coming to P’town (No, we aren’t talking about Tracy Morgan). Bigoted entertainment legend Wayburn Sassy comes to the Cape for his Provincetown debut with his unbelievably tall, “suspiciously statuesque” girlfriend, Miss Didi Panache, in The Screw You Revue, an evening of comedy and music in the vein of Don Rickles and Lisa Lampanelli. The comedy team is the creation of real life partners Dewey Chaffee and Douglas McGeoch, who have taken the act around the country, recently making their New York City debut, as well as overseas at the Dublin Fringe Festival. Emmy Award-winning actor Leslie Jordan caught the show and said, “So funny I nearly sh*t myself and fell back in it!” The Screw You Revue is not for the over-sensitive or for those lacking a sense of humor! We had some time to chat with Wayburn and Didi as they prepared to travel to Provincetown.

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Flying High With Pam Ann!

7:28 pm0 comments

altThere was a time when flying was a sophisticated affair. There was a time when airlines served three-course meals and gave complimentary fluffed pillows. There was a Golden Age of Flying. And it’s gone. But there is hope, for the glory days of air travel live on with Pam Ann.
Savagely funny and wickedly hip, Pam Ann is the creation of Australian comedian Caroline Reid. Pam Ann first landed in Provincetown in 2006 for a sold-out weekend run at the Crown and Anchor to rave reviews. And now Pam Ann is returning for a one-night-only layover performance at Town Hall this Thursday.
Tapping into the universal misery and absurdities of modern air travel with razor sharp camp, Pam Ann has become a global gay icon. Tours of her native Australia and of the United Kingdom have sold out and led to a continental European tour this past winter and spring, a challenge in non-native English-speaking countries.
“I think they just like the color and movement,” says Reid, from New York City where she has landed on her tour. “I’m big in Serbia and Poland. Who knew? Can I get popular in America? No. Apparently I am very big in war torn countries where no one speaks English.”
Pam Ann is indeed big in Serbia and Poland, and throughout Europe. And in America she is gaining in popularity, especially within the LGBT community, which is where Pam Ann came from in the first place.

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There She Is, Miss Richfield 1981!

7:07 pm0 comments

altAs soon as Miss Richfield 1981 arrived in Provincetown in the summer of 2002, she became an instant hit! And this summer Miss Richfield continues the everlasting tour celebrating her triumphant crowning 30 years ago. As she zipped down Commercial Street on her scooter, Miss Richfield took some time out of her busy schedule to talk about the day she won the crown, her ministry of beauty, and how she keeps her figure with a specially designed diet of Tic Tacs and Sanka.

Provincetown Magazine:
Wow! It’s been 30 years since you were crowned Miss Richfield in Augsburg Park in Richfield, Minnesota! What has life as a beauty queen taught you?
Miss Richfield 1981: Thank you for naturally and quickly introducing my beauty pageant title into the very first question! It is my fondest memory of myself, and the theme of my new multi-media spectacular  30 Years On the Throne! I’d love to give you details, but I left my reading glasses on the bus again. Suffice it to say that most of my shows have a message. And I hope this isn’t getting too close to home for your readers, but the homos have such a history of crazy life choices and questionable decision-making, so I think it’s a great time to bring them a show about a successful life – mine!

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Prince Charming Returns to P’Town

7:02 pm0 comments

altTripoli is the bomb. Comedian Tony Tripoli that is, not Tripoli, Libya, which is being bombed. With the nightly news from around the world so serious and depressing, our culture has never needed comedians more. And Tripoli is a tastemaker both in terms of what is funny and what is to be made fun of as a top writer for Joan Rivers, who refers to him as “the second funniest woman in comedy.”  Tripoli made her, er, his Provincetown debut last summer and returns with a new show Tony Tripoli: Dirty, Sexy, Funny. Tripoli took a moment to talk to us (by e-mail) about his days as Prince Charming, his flirtations with Charlie Sheen, and the time he crapped his pants on stage in front of 900 people.
Provincetown Magazine: Right after graduating from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles you moved to Japan and took a gig at Tokyo Disneyland. What exactly did you do there?
Tony Tripoli: I was Prince Charming, furthering the rumors that Cinderella married a homo. But, c’mon, the signs were EVERYWHERE: He threw a HUGE dance party? Everyone was required to attend, like it or not? He spent the next day driving all over town to find a SHOE, because it was so FABULOUS??? Sorry, bitch, you got what you deserved.

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Creative Chaos

6:59 pm0 comments

altIt’s Monday night at the Crown and Anchor backstage at Showgirls and in the wings are a tall bearded drag queen in a huge orange turban, Academy-Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky, and a naked man in a leather harness.  The lights dim, the packed house is cheering, the curtain opens, and host Ryan Landry bounds onto the stage in a shredded, bloody negligee to kick off another night of what has become a Provincetown institution. 
France has the Académie Française to maintain its language, the National Parks Service protects America’s national monuments and unique environments, and Showgirls is the guardian of Provincetown’s bohemian culture.
When did Showgirls begin? No one is entirely sure. When did it get so popular that sold-out crowds wait in line for an hour to get a seat to wait another hour? Who knows?!  Best estimates put Showgirls at around 15 years old. At what point it struck a countercultural nerve is anyone’s guess, but it most definitely did. And while it may look like chaos on stage, an under the hood peek at backstage is an illuminating experience as to what keeps this weekly freak fest going.
Obviously no two nights at Showgirls are identical, with the ever-changing list of performers, the time of the season, the moods of both the audience and Landry himself.  On June 20th, the night begins quietly, despite the noise coming from the line that reaches from the door to Commercial Street outside just before 9 p.m.  In addition to the proper dressing room behind the Paramount stage, Showgirls spills into what is normally the cabaret, where a pile of chiffon, sequins, and satin resembles a drag queen leaf pile. Davion Edwards begins the transformation to Felicity Layne to plug Illusions, one of P’town’s longest running drag revues. Scott Martino arrives to begin the transformation from handsome man to pretty woman.  Landry finishes shaving, puts the can of Barbasol on the counter, and sits down as photographer and make-up artist Bobby Miller begins to apply foundation to Landry’s face. After all these years on stage hosting a show as unpredictable as Showgirls does Landry get nervous?
“Hungry,” says Landry. “I get hungry.”

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