Archive for the ‘drag’ Category

jcm’s Top 10 Performances of ’13

It was another stunning year of live performance in the Bay Area and beyond. I’m forgoing reviews this time, thanks to grad school demands. I’m grateful yet again for the embarrassment of riches…one of the many reasons I gladly call San Francisco home!

1) Matt Alber @ The Rickshaw Stop
Presented by SF Bear Pride
November 8
With NAKIA, Jeb Havens…
Program incl.: Monarch, The River, Velvet Goldmine, Old Wallingford, Tightrope, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Field Trip Buddy, Hide & Seek, Always (ACAP), End of the World, Yellow, New York, Old Ghosts…
A taste of Matt live

Matt Alber

2) Pink Martini @ The Hollywood Bowl
July 19
With China Forbes, Storm Large, Saori Yuki, Ari Shapiro…
Program incl.: Brazil, Zundoko bushi, Splendor in the Grass, Eugene, Hang on Little Tomato, Get Happy/Happy Days medley, And Then You’re Gone/But Now I’m Back medley, Yo Te Quiero Siempre…

(Photo by jcm)

(Photo by jcm)

3) Mephistopheles, San Francisco Opera
September 14
With Ildar Abdrazakov, Patricia Racette, Ramón Vargas, Marina Harris…

Mephistopheles_680x385-(3)

4) Anything Goes, Broadway Tour, Curran Theatre
January 28
With Rachel York, Fred Applegate, Erich Bergen, Alex Finke…

4.179493

Continue reading

jcm’s Top 10 Best LIVE Performances of ‘10

It’s that time again! I’m serving up my second annual Top 10 LIVE Performances of the year. It’s a follow-up to my ‘09 list. Sadly, there are no Broadway shows on this list. I plan on remedying that in 2011!

1. Die Walküre, San Francisco Opera (Details)

This production offered one of the finest casts that could possibly be assembled for this opera (and The Ring) in the current operatic landscape. The production said some new things, and offered a few fresh perspectives, but didn’t try too hard, or overshadow the score. Maestro Runnicles is a Wagnerian master, and he and the orchestra rose to the occasion again. Yeah, I was a “Supernumerary” in the production, but I was able to watch much of it from the orchestra during rehearsals, and even accounting for my bias, this would still takes my top spot. Enjoy my full review here.

Mark Delavan (Wotan) & Nina Stemme (Brünnhilde); Photo by Cory Weaver

2. Scalpel! The Musical, Brava Theatre (Details)

Can you say fun? It had me at the opening number, with countless heals and drag runway walks. It was the first show I’ve seen in the Brava, and I immediately loved this venue…the warm lighting, the urban ambience, and the straight, raked seating offering direct views. Even with all the camp and hijinks, the entire cast was completely committed to the material. This was the second mounting of the show, and my fingers are crossed that it returns yet again. Apparently, there was a bit of a curse on the production, with multiple cast injuries (including a very unfortunate broken leg for leading man, Mike Finn), but they pushed through, with some quick and fortuitous replacements and prevailed. Picturing Sara Moore as “poop-raking” TV reporter Kitty Kelly (“Hardballs” host) still makes me laugh.

 

Emily McGowan: Fritzy, Arturo Galster: Pepper Van Allen, Cindy Goldfield: Jacqueline Bulgari

3. Heidi Melton: Salon at the Rex, The Rex Hotel (Details)

To hear Heidi Melton plead in spoken french AND debut her chest voice was alone faint-worthy, and positively scintillating. And, to hear her in repertoire much outside her core operatic rep and comfort genres was a treat (ie: Irving Berlin and Kurt Weill cabaret, and Korngold songs). Her rendition of Berlin’s “Always” left not a dry eye in the audience. (Her Noe Valley Chamber Music Recital a few weeks before was also very beautiful). No thanks to the Adler “Future is Now” concert, which was on the same night, the recital was over all too soon (evidenced by a jcm quotation here and here)! I stuck around and imbibed and dined at the bar…I wanted to savor the spell Heidi had cast.

 

Continuing Reading jcm’s Top 10! —>

Our Pink Martini Music Video Won 4th Place!

Our prizes?


Two guest list tickets for an upcoming Pink Martini show, as well as some “other gifts” (possibly P.M. schwag?!). We’re contemplating one of the Hollywood Bowl Pink Martini shows in September. But, it’s tempting to save up for a European concert locale.

What people are saying


Pink Martini’s Business Manager shared this:

“We’ve been consistently amused by your video since its submission. In fact, it was the first video we received that we really loved, and at that time, unsure how the contest would go, we were relieved to know we had at least one gem. By far the best of the “home video” type entries we received.

We’d love to…post it permanently on our YouTube channel and on our website, and use it at other venues too. Thanks again for your video, and thank your fabulous cast for us as well!”

The creation of the video was a joy, but the contest announcements have brought it all to life again!

See their facebook page for fan’s comments on our video and to follow the remaining contest, and click “Like” to keep up-to-date on their concerts and activities.

The Final “Cut”: Music Video Contest Entry

I now present to you my entry for La Cieca’s (parterre.com) light-hearted lip dub video competition:

http://www.vimeo.com/12347347

Although a winner hasn’t been announced, happily, my entry was featured today on parterre.com: Darkest Before the Dawn

[UPDATE: I won! My video received the winning prize worth $200.00, and cries of "Bravissimo!," "genius," "brilliant," "poignant" and "hilarious." Woo-hoo!]

The song is opera diva Renée Fleming’s recent crossover single “Endlessly” (originally by Muse). It was GOBS of fun to create, and this is Faux Paul’s official video debut! A tragic tranny mess? Visionary? You be the judge, but it’s nothing if not fun. Plus, I didn’t know I was a blonde (the look chosen to APPROXIMATE the album cover)…the results proved me SO wrong.

For non-opera aficionados, the paper dolls are of Peter Gelb (he runs the Metropolitan Opera), Barbara Walters (operagoer), Mary Zimmerman (director), James Levine (music director and conductor at the Met), and La Cieca! (Yes, the inside jokes abound.)

I invite you to share comments directly below the video at vimeo.com link provided above! Praise me, roast me, sex me up, and so on!

Here’s the official collectible album cover:

“Ohayoo Ohio” Music Video Contest Entry

Eleven months ago CJ and I launched the plans for my 40th Birthday celebration at the stylish, Mid-Century resort: The Century Palm Springs. Taking our favorite band’s festive inspiration, and our plans to imbibe cocktails aplenty, we named the weekend “Pink Martini-Land!”

Fast forwarding to one week before our departure, CJ made the very happy discovery on facebook of the Pink Martini music video contest. When I saw that “Ohayoo Ohio” (“Hello Ohio”) was one of the options, it was clearly kismet (I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio). The stars had aligned, and we heeded their creative calling!

We hope you have even half as much fun as we did creating it! And now, we cross our fingers and hope that the judges get swept up into our world of muumuu runway shows, gleeful synchronized swimming, swingin’ faux percussion, “Mrs. Groper” (CJ as a baked Mrs. Roper-type) and more!

“Halestorm”: a Masquerade for Denise Hale

Lucky me that my 40th B-day landed on the same day as one of the most fabulous San Francisco parties of the year: Halestorm.” It was a masquerade hosted by Ken Fulk at his SOMA interior design/staging studio, in honor of socialite Denise Hale. It also marked the creation of the Denise Hale Fund at the SF SPCA.

The entire cast of my current show “Pearls Over Shanghai” was invited to attend, in costume. (Perhaps Denise’s attendance at our March performance was research?) Other attending luminaries included the Newsoms, Michael Tilson Thomas, Ann Getty, Mark Leno, etc.

It was an unforgettable night, highlit by the yummy “Halestorm” cocktail (vodka, lime juice, thyme sprig+), and the parting gift, a breakfast McMuffin-sort of sandwich, wrapped in a branded wax paper sleeve. Perfection!

Entertainment included jazz singer Paula West, “Pearls…” cast member Connie Champagne, as well as faux queen Fauxnique. Upstairs we showed our moves on the dance floor.

Here are some of the priceless pix from our fun in the “Dressed to Kill” photobooth! As you can see, Chang gets luckier and luckier with each photo…but, by the end looses his seat to Russian femme fatale Petrushka (Veronica Klaus):

See More Changtastic Photos —>

My Drag Name: Lost & Found!

Well, my over six month search for my drag name has come to an end. I (think) I found the pot ‘o gold at the end of that rainbow! But, the fun of getting there is worth sharing.

You  may remember last October, I included an online poll here on jcm to help make the selection, and some of you weighed-in. At that time, I was most tickled by the more jokey, lower-common-denominator names. Well, I’ve come to my senses, and have more recently been drawn to more ownable names, more directly linked to me or my name in some way. I also realized I wanted a name that was adaptable, and wasn’t going to be so specific it pigeon-holed me, should I want to get her on stage (but, of course!). She WILL have a private debut in Palm Springs next weekend!

Here is the short-list of names I toyed with, and then…the final pick! (They’re listed here by what they’re based on.) Enjoy…

My First Name


Paulie Girl
Paulyanna
(yes, I can tend towards rose-colored optimism and idealism at times)
Paulie Baby
(ala a childhood nickname)

My Last Name


Zillernelli (ala Farinelli)
Zildo (a one-time, h.s. band-camp nickname I hated, but considered reclaiming)
Agnes DeZille
Killer Ziller
Zilleratura
(ala coloratura)
The Great Zildini (via Woody)
Phyllis Ziller (via Jef & Val)
Zillbinetta

My Hometown


CinCin (Italian for cheers, usually pronounced cheen-cheen. In japanese “chin” is slang for dick.)
CinCin Addy
Cincinasty
(ala one of the cities nicknames: Cincinasti)

Opera/Musical


Turandon’t (via La Cieca, thanks to a Parterre blog post title)
Shamneris! (via Gil)
Hella Longaria! (ala Eva Longoria, via Paul…I think)
Ariadne auf Nachos
Holleratura
(via Heidi)
Fannie Girl
(ala Funny Girl)
Elektranny
Zerbonetta
Arabella Strauss

Soignee River (ala “Swanee River;” soignee = polished, well-groomed; showing sophisticated elegance)

Misc.


Moniker
Faboo (a word I made up, short for fabulous!)
Sham I. Am (a nod to Dr. Seuss, and me being a ham)
Ham I. Am
Demi Monde
(demimonde = mistress, on the fringe of society, a wealthy lover)
Tuck (ie: what does a drag queen do?)
Giggles (something I do a lot of)
Pop Tart
Vanity Schmanity
Esoterico
(a collection of items of a special, rare, novel, or unusual quality)
Toots E. Pop
Addy H. Dee (from ADHD)

After much ado, I now give you…


Faux Paul (as in faux pas, or “a violation of accepted social norms”)

Bonus: (My Partner) CJ’s Drag Names


Edamame (food)
Ana Constance Diet
(food!)
Hella Dee Lish
(food!!)
Boniva Selexa Viagra
(prescription drugs) his final pick!

Denise Hale Attends “Pearls Over Shanghai”

March 27, 2010

Since I was playing Scrumbly Koldewyn’s jazzy percussion sidekick “Hung Lo” in this evening’s performance of Pearls Over Shanghai,” I decided to do the pre-show rounds with my camera, and attempt to capture the unique and bustling spirit of my fellow Thrillpeddlers as they put on their costumes and faces in the dressing rooms and other backstage haunts at The Hypnodrome!

Lili Frustrata (Eric Wertz) & Wigs Aglow

I was lingering in the loading dock, hoping for someone in full costume to come or go, so I could capture that amusing juxtaposition (ie: Madame Gin Sling squatting in full headdress, see below). This landing serves as the performers’ backstage passageway, for coming and going for entrances throughout the evening. It was also used as the audience emergency escape route in the notorious flood last December. During the show, the performers open the metal garage-like door, pass down the sidewalk in front of an antique store, and reenter through the main front door or wooden, sliding stage door to make their (memorable) entrance. On a rainy night, with full Cockettes’ makeup, I recall this seeming like quite a challenge the first few weekends I performed. Now it’s old hat, and part of the fun!

Original Cockette Rumi Missabu as Madame Gin Sling

I had just captured a pensive photo of our SM (Jon) taking a momentary break on the loading dock, and was standing on the sidewalk. A very well dressed woman, with sleek, dark hair, pulled-back with a classy band approached me on the sidewalk. She wasn’t the type you normally encounter in these parts. She asked me if or how she was going to be helped up onto the loading dock. I thought she was just jesting with us, in Cockettes’ fashion. I then noticed a large, black limousine waiting on the street, complete with driver and passengers shrouded behind tinted glass. Clearly, this woman preceeded the mystery guests in the limo. “Who were they?,” I wondered.

Lili's Platforms: The envy of ALL!

Perhaps readying myself for the show, and already being a smidge in character, I told her with a degree of sass, and in so many words that part of the fun was helping oneself onto the dock, as many of the characters (ie: Madame Gin Sling, Petrushka, Lili Frustrata, etc.) manage to do it, despite their considerable platform pumps!

When it became clear she mistook this performer’s passageway as the main entry, I shared with her that it was around on the other side of the theatre, and pointed her in that direction.

During the show, as I played my various percussion instruments, I enjoyed observing this woman, as well as another woman with finely coiffed silver hair and stylish yellow and black print blouse, in the comfy Turkish Lounges. Both surely had the finest posture and carriage of anyone I’ve ever seen sit there! Somehow, each smile on their face felt particularly well earned.

When, after the show, from the dressing room we overheard Scrumbly hailed by socialite Denise Hale, it became clear who was in our midst. (I believe the woman I first interacted with was author Diane Dorrans Saeks.) Scrumbly shared that back in the day, when performing at The Palace Theatre, The Cockettes’ also often received socialites and politicians in their audiences, and that they contributed greatly to the overall milieu.

Having “attended Baron Alexis de Rede’s Orientalist Ball in Paris”, and even “slipping semi-incognito into the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Shanghai,” (according to The Style Saloniste link above) Denise certainly knows a thing or two about the real AND fantasy world we conjure up.

“Chang VI” & “Hung Lo”

[UPDATE: SF Chronicle's Leah Garchik made mention of Hales' attendance in her 4.1.10 column, as did the BAR.]

“GAY Stars On Ice & Friends!” PRESENTS:

Johnny Queer


There’s been SO much press and discussion about Johnny’s “STARS On Ice” exclusion, and of him wanting to produce his own alternative show, complete with his Lady Gaga. I didn’t trust that any producer could get this off the ground as a tour…MAYBE as a one-time tv special (Johnny, please prove me wrong!). So, with my wildest fantasies sparked, I took the bull by the horns, and dreamt up something truly “family friendly” (nudge nudge, wink wink): “GAY STARS On Ice & Friends!” Instead of creating an entirely new name, it’s a more effective rubbing-in-the-face to alter it slightly…and “RAINBOWS On Ice” just doesn’t have any ring to it.

Some would argue that “STARS On Ice” IS essentially “GAY STARS On Ice…” already, in everything but name. However, the reaction to Johnny’s request for inclusion has clued us into the fact that this is not the case, at least as per some of the mainstream target audience. No, surprisingly, Johnny hasn’t verbally “come out,” but he upholds “gay” where it counts, and I, and gay kids everywhere applaud him for that.

The Concept


My concept is for an independent skating show that would travel to only the hippest urban spots, aka the biggest gay cities: SF, NY, LA, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Dallas, Miami, etc. Oh, and the top-billing sponsor (ala Smuckers) goes to the maker of Twinkies® and Ho-Hos®…not to mention Sno Balls®! Yes, that’s Hostess’ GAY Stars on Ice!”

The programs and performances would tip the scales in favor of the campy, flamboyant, and festive. BUT, there would be plenty of true, heartfelt gravitas as well, with a strong nod to high-classical repertoire (ie: from full-length ballet, and opera). It would honor and encourage the young aesthetic and spirit, AND the old gays.

What would be forbidden? Typical Pro/EX-skating fare: cheesy-sexy-faker rock (ala Michael Weiss, Josef Sabovcik, and just about any American pair’s EX), alpha-male, testosterone-filled movie soundtracks (ala Eldredge), karate-inspired numbers (ala Stojko), vanilla hip-hop (ala Belbin & Agosto, and Evan Lysacek), and so on. Basically, all the stuff that makes me yawn and avoid most Pro shows altogether these days.

What makes something “gay (besides the skater)? In short…1) a triumphant rising-from-the-ashes return of a diva (see Bobek and Harding); 2) male face makeup and glitter (ie: Johnny doing Gaga); 3) pride anthems (see Sandhu and Sawyer’s programs); 4) a nod to the older gay generation(s), who paved the way and, yes, we know, had it much harder (see Cranston); 5) plenty of pop and opera diva icons; and all this:

Program (Act I)


Vogue — Complete Cast

If You Were Gay (from Avenue Q) – Brian Boitano & Brian Orser

One (LIVE, by Adam Lambert) – Denise Biellmann

Bad Romance (LIVE, by Lady Gaga) – Johnny Weir

It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green (by Kermit) – Rudy Galindo

Guess Who I Saw Today (by Nancy Wilson, AMAZING video!) – Weir, Gregory
& Petukhov

You Gotta Have a Gimmick (from Gypsy) – Tonya Harding

Sag Mir Wo die Blumen Sind (Where Have All the Flowers Gone?) (Marlene Dietrich) – Katarina Witt

Sisters (from White Christmas) – Stéphane Lambiel & Rudy Galindo (featuring a throw triple axel)

Act II: Le Lac Des Cygnes (from Swan Lake) – ALL the boys in tutus (ala Les Ballets du Trockadero)

Continue reading this fabulousness —>

New Pair Threaten to Crash Olympic Party

Brand spankin’ new Siberian Pairs Team Chesty Fishnetskaya and Viacheslav Alloverya may just be the wild card in Vancouver. Here is their recent exhibition program, displaying peerless program components and costuming (click on video to watch):

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.