rock the electorate
by Roberto Friedman
Everyone's favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet, the Kinsey Sicks, have returned to the Rrazz Room in San Francisco for a two-week engagement (through Aug. 19) with their election-year show, Electile Dysfunction. Their mix of comedy and social critique informs new songs like "Vote for Me (I Wasn't Born in Kenya)," "Sell the Poor," "Peoria" (pandering to the tastes of Middle America, to the tune of 1980s pop anthem "Gloria") and "Eliminate the Schools" (to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan 's "Three Little Maids from School.")
This new show makes its Bay Area premiere following recent performances in New York, Baltimore, San Diego, Denver, Minneapolis, Northampton, MA, Hayes, KS, and its world premiere as a commission from Theatre J in Washington, DC. After the San Francisco run, the show will be performed for one night in Tampa, FL, at the same time as the Republican National Convention. We asked Rachel of the Kinsey Sicks (aka Irwin Keller) if she was looking forward to rubbing shoulders (and other body parts) with Republican conventioneers.
"We're thrilled that the Republican Party has scheduled its national convention to coincide with our concert in Tampa," said Rachel. "We believe this is a much-needed sign that the GOP is finally returning to the great traditions that the Kinsey Sicks represent: Bible Belt, union-busting, shame-filled sex. Speaking of which, I am very excited about my post-show tete-a-tete with Larry Craig and Ann Coulter – those guys are hot!" For tickets ($35-$40), go to www.therrazzroom.com.
Out There long ago learned the two rules of successful parties: 1) there should be a reason for the celebration, even if it's only (as Warhol famously said) the opening of an envelope; and 2) there should be one moment when everyone at the party comes together to focus on the reason all are there. Guests can then feel free to leave at any point thereafter and feel they have participated in the party's raison d'etre. Party with a purpose, decadesce with decision. Yes, we made that word up.
Criteria both 1 & 2 were amply satisfied at the VIP launch party for the new 2013 Lexus LS sedans last week at City View at the Metreon, and OT was there. It was a deluxe affair held at the top-floor venue with its terrace offering sweeping views of the city. An exhibit of work by photographer Ellen von Unwerth , curated by Barney's New York creative ambassador Simon Doonan (he does the Barney's windows) and his husband, designer Jonathan Adler , added interest. Actor Jason Schwartzman and his wife Brady Cunningham added juicy celebrity presence. Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes is given music credit, but we don't know if he DJed because we were busy at the open bars, which offered some kind of kooky cocktail made with the aid of a bell jar and vaporizer. Yummy victuals ranged from sushi, prime rib and rack of baby lamb to Dungeness crabcakes and lobster salad. This was no Costco-catered affair.
The new cars were parked under dropcloths around the space, and at the party climax two hours in, they were spotlit and dramatically undraped to ooohs and aaahs. OT imbibed libations and chatted up strangers. One guest wore a button that said, "Free Foie Gras!" It was that kind of party. After the autos were revealed in all their phallic glory, and all the glamour was soaked up, we could go home satisfied that we had done the party proud.
The upcoming Broadway musical Kinky Boots is headed to its world premiere in Chicago this fall (it's expected on Broadway next year.) Inspired by a true story and based on the film of the same name, the musical has a book by Harvey Fierstein, direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell, and music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper , who is making her theatrical career debut. What is the true story behind it, you ask? Let's go to the release. "In Kinky Boots, Charlie Price is forced to step in and save his family's shoe factory in Northern England following the sudden death of his father. Help comes from the unlikeliest angel, a fabulous drag performer named Lola ." Let's just say Lola knows her way around a stiletto heel.
Lauper has released a song, "Sex Is in the Heel," and a selection of remixes from the musical. Hasn't opened yet, and it's already in the mix. Girls just wanna have Broadway credentials.
In the Summer 2012 catalog for art-book publisher Taschen, photographer Harry Benson recalls how he came to take an iconic early photograph of the Fab Four, aka the Beatles . "We were all staying at the George V in Paris on the same floor, and my brief was to cover it as a news story," he writes. "Their [gay] manager Brian Epstein was a good man. If you were legitimate, he wouldn't get in your way. They were friendly, and I got on with all of them. George and I even shared a room a few times.
"I had heard that they liked to have a pillow fight, and knew that this would make a great picture, but there was another photographer in the room from The Daily Mirror. I suggested to the Beatles that we do the photograph. They weren't keen at first, John said it would make them look childish, then he hit Paul in the back of the head with the pillow, and it went on from there. I didn't give them any directions, it was just pure spontaneous joy, captured perfectly." Just boys being boys.
"Then driving from the Plaza Hotel to The Ed Sullivan Show, I was in the limo with them, sitting on John's lap, photographing American Beatlemania through the car window." That's photographer intimacy alright.
You'll find a DVD review of the pre-Code Joan Crawford film Possessed in this week's issue, so as a little bonus here is a jaunty Joan anecdote for your jest. Jazz Age author F. Scott Fitzgerald had admired Crawford during her flapper days. Early in the 1930s, he was assigned to write a script for her, and complained about her limitations as an actress. They were at a party, and he asked her to dance. He said, "I'm writing a script for you, Miss Crawford." She had heard about his comments and coolly replied, "So I heard. Write hard, Mr. Fitzgerald, write hard."
RIP great gay man of letters Gore Vidal .