Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crossdressing for Fun and Profit!

Somebody said that the photo I posted yesterday of Rudy Giuliani, in full drag, reminded them of Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries - red-blooded Australian heterosexual, just like Hugh Jackman).

Well, damned if he doesn't! It's the eyeglasses... and the makeup... and that gown ... AND THOSE SHOES!!! UGH.

Speaking of drag queens, Joe, over at JoeMyGod, went to the theater last night to see a live production of Charles Busch's silver-screen triumph, "Die, Mommy, Die!" As Joe himself finally admitted, he's well on his way to becoming a Show Queen (I think he's already there).

Joe mentioned seeing CB in "Lesbian Vampires of Sodom" when he first moved to NYC back in the 80's. My ex and I caught that one, too. I don't remember too much about it, but I do remember an over-the-top performance by Busch who seemed hell bent on bringing out his inner-Norma Desmond at every opportunity.

But for my cross-dressing money, nothing could ever beat the late, great Charles Ludlum in a succession of wildly insane farces at the Ridiculous Theatrical Company's world headquarters on Sheridan Square.

One of the first plays I saw when I landed in NY in 1978 was their production of "Camille... a Tear Jerker." I, and the rest of the audience, was in stitches from the time Charles first (literally) flounced onstage in an empire gown whose hem was coquettishly held aloft by a circle of helium filled balloons, revealing a lovely set of pantalettes beneath, until he drew (one of many) last breaths in a death scene that just wouldn't quit. ("Nonette... I'm cold. Throw another faggot on the fire." "I'm sorry madame, but there isn't another faggot in the house!!!" "Not another faggot in the house??? TELL ME ANOTHER ONE, NONETTE!!!") His plays were loaded with cultural references from life, art, opera, theater, books, street talk and ballet. The zingers, sarcasm and puns flew. To see Charles and his company of fellow lunatics perform was exhilirating and inspiring.

But their crowning glory, in 1984, was a 2-man production of "Irma Vep" a gothic horror story and cross-dressers delight. The two people in the cast were Charles and his lover Everett Quinton. It was a tour de force and my ex and I saw it several times, and dragged out-of-towners to see it whenever we could.

Charles passed away from AIDS 20 years ago this past spring, but I have never forgotten this brilliant man of the theater.

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