It’s a thrilling time to be a ‘mo in ‘Merica. We’re running amok getting married, our cultural icons are the subject of legitimate educational analysis, our baseball heroes are twerking for us in tight pants. We are taking over the world! Just kidding, we’re not. Although we certainly do reign supreme in the world of the stage — without the LGBT community, society would see little more than endless Nickelback concerts and productions of Tony & Tina’s Wedding.
Luckily, we’re still here, and we’re making magic once again. Exciting happenings are afoot across the U.S., and we beseech you to buy your tickets immediately before these shows are sold out.
First of all, it is an act of divine blessing that this show even exists. If you don’t know the glory of the original movie Heathers, imagine Mean Girls with shoulder pads, scrunchies, and all the bitchy attitude that the 1980’s could summon. Add Christian Slater, Winona Ryder, Shannon Doherty, and a demonstration of how to spit and not swallow, and you have a taste of the magic. Heathers lives today as a cult classic, and deservedly so because it really is Big Fun, but will the magic translate from screen to musical stage? This is some dark stuff. In Mean Girls, Regina George got hit by a bus; but in Heathers, people die. We’re choosing to believe it’s going to be amazing. Because it must be.
The SXSW Festival, and the city of Austin in general, is the center of the American hipster movement, but there’s more to this festival than cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and stupid t-shirts. SXSW is an important showcase for new music, film, and technology; the music division is the largest music festival on Earth with acts from around the world, and the film division hosts major U.S. premieres in theaters around town. Over 25,000 people attended the various events in 2013, and 2014 will be thousands bigger.
LGBT festival-goers may be particularly interested in keynote speaker Jason Blum, producer of Larry Kramer’s AIDS crisis drama The Normal Heart on HBO. The movie stars out actors Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff and Matt Bomer, as well as a little-known actress named Julia Roberts, and it is guaranteed to be a huge sensation when it airs in May 2014.
For music lovers, classic faves like Depeche Mode and Melissa Ethridge will perform, as will newer acts like Tegan and Sara, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and drag superstar Big Freedia. Names, darling, names, names, names. There are literally over 1,000 events, so check the lineup here. The schedule will be finalized close to the festival’s opening day. And seriously, if you go, do not miss Japanese punk band night.
There is camp theatre, and there is Ron Megee. His burlesque company Late Night Theatre became a legend in the conservative confines of Kansas City, where he shocked the masses with all-drag parody shows like Stepford Wives and Valley of the Dolls. Foul language, appliqué genatalia, and general debauchery are the norm in Megee’s shows, but he doesn’t rely on shock value alone. Somehow he manages to elevate all the craziness and treat it like it’s a legitimate show. The end result: it’s just really funny. LNT hasn’t staged a production in several years, but Megee is back with Golden! Girls Gone Wild!!!, (playing the part of Dorothy, top center), with Chadwick Brooks (Rose, right), Gary Campbell (Sophia, bottom), and Jon Cupit (Blanche, left), all of whom will presumably be thrust into various humiliating situations. And the denizens of The Heartland are obviously eager for more, because entire performances (at Missie B‘s) sold out within hours of going on sale.
After Jinkx Monsoon, a.k.a. Jerick Hoffer, won the fifth season of RuPaul‘s Drag Race, she got a lucky break: when she was booked at NYC’s Laurie Beechman Theatre — for one night only — to perform her new cabaret act, The Vaudevillians.
The premise of Vaudevillians is typical Jinkx, goofy and fun: a musical duo gets frozen in time for 90 years, and then they come back to life to sing all their old songs, which now have funny subtexts. The show is a clever mix of comedy, cabaret music, and Monsoon’s endearing presence, swirled together in a delicious cocktail. Ticket demand for The Vaudevillians was so intense that her one-night-only lasted for several months, sometimes two shows a night, and she earned rave reviews in The New York Times. Everybody who is anybody was there at some point (scroll down for the celeb photos). We do believe that is called being a “hit.”
Monsoon and her musical partner, who goes by the name “Major Scales” (really?), have now taken the show to Australia, including a stop at Sydney Mardi Gras, the biggest gay party in the universe. She will be there until March. If there is a brain in her head, Monsoon will get back on a plane and come back to the U.S. and tour again. Everywhere.