The week before her classic Christmas show comes back to NYC, drag legend Jackie Beat caught up with Bradford Shellhammer to talk about this yearâ€™s show, the drag queens she loves, and the one she absolutely hates.
So Jackie, what is in store for us this Christmas? What is the theme of the show?
Hmmm, I guess if there’s any theme, other than “Gee, I sure would like to make TONS of money right about now!” it would have to be the usual warm and fuzzy stuff that seems to always come up around this time of year: binge drinking, illegal drug use, overeating, domestic violence. I’d like to think my annual holiday show is like a really hot but abusive bisexual Eastern European boyfriend. He’s got that naturally beefy, moderately hairy body and works some super sexy blue-collar job like lifting things. He’s gorgeous and the best sex you’ve ever had, but he slaps you around. You keep promising yourself you’re not going back, but it’s just too good so you put up with the abuse. Yeah, I think that describes my holiday show.
How is Hollywood treating you?
Great. I mean, what’s not to love? The weather is beautiful, the boys are beautiful, and Iâ€™m beautiful! Well, if you stand back and squint. Now, turn your head a little. I’m just going to dim the lights a bit, okay? There! See? I’m beautiful! Seriously, having grown up in Arizona I feel more at home on the west coast. I have a huge 2 bedroom place with a big backyard and my two precious dogs and my Pontiac Grand Am and a closet that’s bigger than my old New York apartment. Don’t get me wrong, I adore NYC. But it’s like heroin: It used to be my whole life, but now I’ve kicked my addiction to it and I only indulge occasionally and in moderation. You know, on special occasions like the American Idol finale or Columbus Day.
After the jump jackie tells how she lost all that weight and which drag queen she hates.
Many a queer is dying to know, how did you lose all that weight?
Through a spiritually based 12-step program I was able to lose a whopping 170 pounds. But I have to be honest, I’ve been fucking up and as a result I’ve gained about 60 back. Ugh! This is my cross to bear in life and speaking of crosses, part of the problem is that I really resent how overtly Christian and fear-based the 12 step programs are. Christianity and most organized religions in general sicken me. I grew up being told by these holier-than-thou people that I was defective and sinful. Anyhoo, back to the weight loss. When I step back and look at other problems I could have, being overweight doesn’t seem so bad. If you had a list at birth and could choose what your life’s struggle would be, I think most people would choose having too much food over having your clitoris forcefully removed, dealing with a deadly disease, or wondering where your next meal is coming from. And just so you know, I promise my holiday show will be much more fun than THIS! Note to self: Jackie, keep it light!
Your band Dirty Sanchez is one of our guilty pleasures. We listen to “Replicunt” all the time. What is going on with that project?
Replicunt!? Do you have it on 8-Track? Replicunt was the very first song we ever recorded, in my bandmate Barbeau’s bedroom! It’s the song that sort of started it all, but thankfully our sound and production have evolved. Our single, “Really Rich Italian Satanists,” is in stores now. It features the single, a remix, the gorgeous music video and John B’s super hard and heavy remix of “Fucking On The Dance Floor.” It makes a great Christmas, Hanukah or Kwanzaa gift! I believe we get credit on the music charts even if you shoplift it, so… Oh and “Really Rich” was just featured on the campiest soap opera in the history of television, “Passions!” It was playing at a club where a drug deal was going down, how cool is that? We are so proud/embarrassed.
Who are your favorite drag performers?
Lady Bunny makes me laugh like no one else. I am a huge fan of Retard Drag and no one does it better than that big ol’ Southern-fried mess! I adore the Carol Burnett of drag, Miss Sherry Vine. There are not many queens out there who can make an AC/DC song sound like Sondheim! What a gift. I love them all, from the rockers like Misstress Formika and Miss Guy to the rehearsed-within-an-inch-of-their-lives glamour gals like Varla Jean Merman and Lypsinka. But let’s face it, no one is better than me. Seriously, I am my favorite drag queen. Be honest, why would you want to waste your money on a bitch who doesn’t think she’s the shit?
Who do you hate?
We recently wrote about your garage sale. How much did you make and what did you sell?
Sherry Vine was coming to visit and it dawned on me that my guest room was full of stuff. I’m a compulsive thrift store shopper and my house looks like a knick-knack nightmare. And I buy a lot of hideous women’s clothing and accessories with which to visually abuse my audience. The garage sale was very last minute, but I made about $300. I had stuff I would have sold on eBay, but I was purging. One of my fans drove down from San Diego just to buy stuff. She has my autograph tattooed on her ass. It’s kinda’ frightening, but flattering at the same time. I sold the amazing acid wash denim dress that I wore in the Really Rich video to some up-and-coming drag queen for like $5. It doesn’t fit me anymore and it was time to move on. Don’t worry; I cursed the dress so the skinny bitch will fail miserably.
You’re a comedy writer. What are you working on now?
I’m a comedy writer? Oh yeah. I’ve been working with Roseanne, opening for her and writing some songs for her. When people hear that I work with Roseanne they ask me, “Is she nice or is she a bitch?” I always tell them she’s a nice bitch. Just like me, huh? Seriously, she’s very sweet. The guy who is making a documentary about me flew from NYC to San Francisco so we could include her in the film and she was so generous and accommodating. She let him interview her between shows in her dressing room in fishnets and a corset, scarfing down hot wings between questions. What a nice bitch, huh?
We love your new site. Would you ever blog like Ru or Bunny?
I might consider blogging, if the guy used a condom.
Any Christmas wishes for The Gays?
Yeah, come to my holiday show! Oh, and if you see Hedda Lettuce… slap her for me.