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Entries in Drag Queens (58)

Wednesday
Apr292015

Drag Race: "Divine" John Waters Inspiration

Manuel here to talk about that wonderful Drag Race episode this week which was dedicated to, as Ru called him, “the Sultan of Sleaze, the Baron of Bad Taste,” Mr John Waters! Seeing RuPaul and legendary auteur John Waters together judging drag queens on their “ugly dresses” was many a gay cinephile’s wet dream.

How does she manage to look this AMAZING every week?

John Waters: She was not afraid to play not glamorous. A lot of drag queens I know, they’re afraid to do that.
RuPaul: You were looking at me when you said that!

And, can you blame him?

RuPaul, the drag superstar par excellence is glamor (or, her latest incarnation is, as “No RuPaulogies” taught us back in season 5). Even when she camps it up (look at that dress!) she is glamor incarnate. Now in its seventh season, RuPaul’s Drag Race has, for better or for worse, created a seemingly new kind of drag, one that insists on glamor above all else (or in addition to everything else): how many times have we heard Santino, Michelle Visage, Ru herself or any of the rotating cast of guest judges complaining that a certain girl’s look wasn’t “couture enough," "not high fashion" or that “it didn’t look polished enough”? Even when challenges call for camp, humor, and/or stylized aesthetics, glamor has remained the requirement on the runway. It’s not for nothing Ru has coined the term Glamazon to refer to her queens.

Not this time, though...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr142015

Mucho Miscellania, Ya Dig?

MNPP reminds us that today is the 15th anniversary of American Psycho, Mary Harron's masterpiece. True story: I used to get her confused with Mary Lambert as if the same person made Madonna's "Like a Virgin" Hee!
WOW was Dennis Quaid losing his shit on a film set real or staged?
MTV Which Avenger deserves a solo film most? The answer is obvious and Joss Whedon knows it. Weird that Marvel doesn't 
i09 the real reason we didn't get a third solo Hulk film has been unveiled
Comics Alliance the Avengers playing Family Feud on Jimmy Kimmel.
Awards Daily Director Michelle McLaren has left the Wonder Woman picture 
Variety revisits the Sony Hack (remember that? seems so long ago) and the minefield of legal questions its opened up 

I'm sorry there's so much superhero bizness lately but that's all the news feed is ever offering up of late

Biggest Tease
Josh Gad says he can't wait for you to "Be Our Guest"... yep, it's the cast of Beauty & The Beast (2016). Or some of them at least. 

Can't wait for you to be our guest.

A photo posted by Josh Gad (@joshgad) on Apr 14, 2015 at 11:37am PDT

Is that Luke Evan with the suddenly pointy twink hair? If so he looks so different with shorter hair. No Audra McDonald (Wardrobe) or Emma Thompson (Mrs Potts) in this photo though. Grrrrr

 

Earth's Mightiest Illustration
Love this. Well done Stephen Byrne 

  

On The Political/Theatrical Stage
BuzzFeed points out the delightful Hillary Clinton 404 page
MNPP as if those of us with tickets to this summer's Little Shop of Horrors event weren't excited enough. Jake Gyllenhaal is announced as Seymour!
Dissolve Magic Mike franchise may be heading to the stage next
New Hedwig <-- this is my favorite reaction to the first image of Darren Criss as Hedwig. 

Small Screen
Must Love Movies the story of Daredevil's opening credit sequence.
The Playlist Cary Fukunaga doing The Alienist as TV miniseries. That book freaked my shit out back when it was a best seller but I am sad that we've lost Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre) to the overworked land of the serial killer procedurals. Did he really need to do another after True Detective? David Fincher isn't likely to be dethroned as king of the genre so let's have some other genres for our talented rising auteurs! 
Pajiba shares the VERY welcome news that Katee Sackhoff is taking her career into her own hands by creating her own series since Hollywood is far too stupid to notice her gargantuan charisma. It's called Rain and its sci-fi.

Madonna Screen (aka Nathaniel's Brain)
The Daily Beast surveys the rampant bald ageism and sexism that's greeting Madonna's every move this past week or two. It's all become very Freudian with the world's collective fear of 'all consuming female sexuality.'
Watch What Happens Live Andy Cohen invites Sandra Bernhard to watch the latest Madonna video "Ghosttown" (previously discussed) and it is a joy... especially when she sees Terrence Howard cooking beans and hunting Madonna with a rifle.

He's going to barbecue the bitch!

...Get me a rib. Get me a meaty rib" 

LOL. Also on my 130th view I was looking around Madonna's beautifully lit apartment (with dirty mattress) and realized that we'll still have electricity after the apocalypse! Whew, that's a relief

Exit Video
This made me laugh so hard that I now feel bad about myself. Apologies world, I am terrible. (P.S. I'm really hoping Trixie Mattel is the queen that RuPaul brings back that shashayed away too early on this season of RuPaul's Drag Race)  

 

Wednesday
Mar042015

RPDR: Thou Shalt Not Take The Name of Thy Tilda in Vain

Katya, an actual original!Did you catch the premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race S7? Underwhelming! It's that time in competitions before you've had any time yourself during which to fall in love / hate / conspiracy / indifference / lust with any players. 

I eagerly await the moments each episode when the names of showbiz divas or pop culture properties are dropped but that usually comes from either the smartest or most seasoned queens or the judges who tend to have a better grasp of showbiz history than the competing queens each year whose pop awareness often seems disappointingly limited to Beyoncé waking up flawless. RuPaul dropped "Mitzi Gaynor" while commenting on a queen (I forget who). I'll bet you ten dolla and 33 cent that that queen will be googling it, like, "What's a Mitzi Gaynor?"...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec182014

Stage Door: Christmas With the Crawfords

 Feeling the holiday spirit yet?

Jose here. It’s Christmas Eve in the Crawford household, and Joan (Joey Arias), and her children Christina (Chris March of Project Runway) and Christopher (Adam Davidson) are getting ready to receive a very special guest: Miss Hedda Hopper (Sherry Vine) who will broadcast a holiday special live from their home. As the perfectionist actress stresses to her children how important it is that they make a good impression - no wire hangers to be seen anywhere! - it becomes obvious that the holidays here are a truly special occasion, as many famous guests show up throughout the night (most of them mistakenly ringing the Crawford bell on their way to a party at Gary Cooper’s house).

Last seen in New York, twelve years ago, Christmas With the Crawfords is a hilarious parody that will certainly appeal to actressexuals who don’t mind their favorite divas being ridiculed. As with any good parody, the work seen on this show makes it clear that its creators are not in it for the cheap jokes, or the easy targets, but their higher purpose is to highlight what is it that made these people so fantastic, that to exaggerate their unique traits feels like the highest form of tribute.

Among the featured guests and performers are Connie Champagne as Judy Garland (her rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is equally funny and devastatingly sad) and Flotilla Debarge as Hattie McDaniel (don’t ask…), and truly to reveal all the guests that show up would be to rob the show of some of its magic. At its center this is a showcase for the astonishing Arias, who with thighs-to-die-for and shoulder pads for days, epitomizes the harsh/sweet duality that made Joan Crawford so enigmatic.

Arias moves across the stage with grace and poise, and his chemistry with March is unbelievable. One could see these two go at it forever, both being highly talented comedians who know the importance of choosing the right moments to deliver their punchlines. The production design by Andrea Purcigliotti features an anachronistic, but effective reproduction of the “big eyes” portrait Joan received from Walter Keane, and with nods to films Crawford made much later than the 1944-setting of the show, Crawford-ites will be in for a real treat. A Christmas miracle of sorts…

Christmas With the Crawfords plays at the Abrons Arts Center through December 27.

Tuesday
Nov252014

Quick Impressions: "Madame Frou-Frou (Singing Voice)" in The Boxtrolls

New Series! In Quick Impressions we'll be looking at the working actor in key movie scenes. Consider it a celebration of SAG card-holders everywhere and free advice for casting directors for people who aren't famous ...in some cases "yet". So many showbiz dreams wander around on every film set and are embedded in each frame of your favorite movies. 

Today, we're talking to actor Sean Patrick Doyle who sings the title song in The Boxtrolls in that great scene when Madame Frou-Frou takes the stage. Sir Ben Kingsley is the voice of Archibald Snatcher / Madame Frou-Frou so Sean Patrick makes like a modern day Marni Nixon.

NATHANIEL: What is that process of "voice matching" and how did you get the part - it's so different from your other credits. 

SEAN PATRICK DOYLE:  A cockney villain posing as a female Czechoslovakian show hall performer? - different indeed!  Laika had auditioned many actors in LA but Heather Vergo at Atlas Talent put a call out to their commercial office in New York, seeking performers who could interpret the song but still voice match.  My commercial agent Michael had seen me perform a soprano aria in the Broadway revival of La Cage Aux Folles.  He also knew that imitating famous singers is my party trick of choice.

I signed a few confidentiality documents, but was never told that the spoken recordings I was listening to were Sir Ben Kingsley. A week or so later, there was a bite at the line giving me feedback on my audition track and a slew of references to listen to before re-recording: Mae West, Edith Piaf, British Show Hall performers.  They also requested that I roughen up my sound a bit.  Dario Marianelli [The Oscar-winning composer] had done some digging online and turned up a video of me playing Fruma-Sarah in the 2008-09 National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof.  He was tickled that they had cast a male in the role for the first time, and advised “a little more of that wouldn’t hurt.”

Because I was doing a show here in New York, director Anthony Stacci and producer David Ichioka flew in from the West Coast. Co-director Graham Annable listened in from Portland and Dario from a studio in London.  It was collaboration across many time zones!

NATHANIEL: It payed off. The song/scene is amazing. Did you know what it would look like?

SEAN PATRICK DOYLE:  I was sent an animatic, which is a moving storyboard with rough sketches of the characters and their movement, along with the spoken voice performances in the Cheesebridge Fair scene.  When we recorded, the producers put up renderings of Snatcher and Frou Frou in the booth and also showed me footage of Ben recording his tracks in a lounge chair.  When seeing the movie, the real surprise was that they had turned it into a full production number, using live choreographed dancers to aid the animators.  They also had Mark Orton re-orchestrate the song with Portland band Loch Lomond, and bent some of the higher operatic notes (the ending note was originally a soprano A), so it sounded slightly different, too.  I think the finished product is very clever, and fits Ben’s colorful spoken performance.

NATHANIEL: Proposal: If the song is nominated for an Oscar, You and Ben Kingsley do the number in full drag. He stands at the microphone and you are behind him as a curtain opens up, the Kathy Selden to his Lina Lamont. 

SEAN PATRICK DOYLE:  It might take some convincing to get Sir Kingsley into a frock, but, hey, sign me up!  I know the Academy often favors a pop sound, but I’d be very happy to see Eric Idle’s cheeky lyrics and Weill-esque melody recognized on that level.

NATHANIEL: Speaking of frocks, First La Cage and now you're onstage in Kinky Boots (such a fun show!). So should we expect to see you next season on RuPaul's Drag Race

SEAN PATRICK DOYLE:  Haha!  Well, as much as I love watching those queens battle it out, the fulfillment I get from gender-bending roles comes solely from being able to play a character wildly different from myself. Recently I was playing nebbishy Eugene in Grease at Paper Mill Playhouse, and I just filmed an episode as a heroin addict in the final season of Nurse Jackie.  The further I step away from myself, the more fun the work becomes.  But as a lithe countertenor weighing in at a buck twenty, a few of my bigger jobs have involved elements of gender illusion.  It’s not in every actor’s skill set and I’ve used that to my advantage, but of course the goal is always to do really varied, interesting work!  Still, let me tell ya - it takes a real man to pump across a Broadway stage wearing a bikini and 7 1/2 inch heels.  Come to the Hirschfeld and I’ll show you! 

The Boxtrolls will be released digitally on Dec 23rd with the DVD/BluRay release on January 20th, 2015. You can follow Sean Patrick on twitter here. He is currently on stage as "Angel" in Kinky Boots (in the top hat and red coat, third from right by football star Michael Sam below). You can also listen to Sean Patrick's insane voice reel below if you're interested.

 

Previously: "Nervous Intern" in Gone Girl
Next Tuesday: American Horror Story: Freakshow

Tuesday
Oct212014

Top Ten: Best of The Boxtrolls

Because it was so much fun last week, another all top ten tuesday to celebrate our new season as the awards will soon come rushing at us...

People aren't talking about The Boxtrolls enough. It's a true mark against the world's parents that numerous animated mediocrities, The Peabodys, Nutjobs and Rios regularly and considerably outgross inventive Laika's awesome stop-motion films. While it's true that Laika's features have elements of the grotesque or macabre that are tougher sells to nonadventurous families, one only has to look at the perennial universal love for Nightmare Before Christmas to know that people are okay with that once they acclimate.

Which is very much my personal experience with The Boxtrolls. It's less immediately sympathetic than ParaNorman, less hook-laden than The Corpse Bride, less immediately fantastical than Coraline but once you get past the initial shock of the character designs (which has undoubtedly been an obstacle): blotched, deformed, dirty, jagged teeth and so on, the movie grows on you. It's another technical triumph in the service of a story that works on both juvenile and adult levels. Sure, it's not their best film but it's still a singular one in the current animated marketplace.

Since I never reviewed The Boxtrolls, consider this one of those in top ten form and a plea for those of you who haven't seen to correct that. To any awards voters reading who are just beginning to consider the Animated Feature Film category just know that it could be very rich with variety if you choose well this year.

THE BOXTROLL'S GREATEST HITS
after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep132014

TIFF: The New Girlfriend

Nathaniel's adventures at TIFF continued

 François Ozon remains one of France's most prolific directors. Like most prolific auteurs this means an uneven filmography. Even the very good films can feel ever-so-slightly underrealized. Is it the rush or just the nature of the artistry of the prolific, all first draft energies, favorite or borrowed styles structures and themes, and just warming-up ideas with the occasional lightning-strike perfections?

Like many fans I'm still waiting for another of those lightning strike perfections like certain moments in Under the Sand or 8 Women in full but his not-quite-there efforts can still be highly appealing: Potiche anyone?

The New Girlfriend turns out to be all of the above with grand moments, messy ones, energetic diversions, familiar tropes and half formed ideas... which as it turns out is just fine for a movie about embryonic searches for new identities. It begins with a funereal yet beautiful opening sequence that recalls an Almodóvarian trance, and quickly moves into an Up-like backstory prelude detailing the very intimate friendship of Laura and Claire (Anaïs Demoustier) from childhood to Laura's early death. When we begin our actual story Claire and her husband Gilles (Raphael Personnaez, who also starred in The Gate at this festival) along with Laura's widowed husband David (Romain Duris) and his infant daughter Lucie are all still reeling from Laura's demise. One day on a guilty whim, Laura jogs to David's house to check in on Lucie only to make a startling discovery when no one answers the door and she lets herself in: there's David, in full drag, tenderly feeding Lucie with a bottle like a good mother. Claire can't believe what she's seeing and to cover her tracks for where she was that day with her husband she says she was with "Virginia... a girlfriend, someone you don't know." And thus begins our subject matter with the title taking on multiple meanings. Is David more Virginia than David? Which of them is Claire befriending? How desperate are both of them to recreate Laura in her vacuum? And what kind of a girlfriend can Virginia even be since she has a visible penis? 

The rest of the film is largely devoted to both farcical and dramatic consequences of this new secret in Claire's life with delightfully surprising beats amply peppered across the character arcs. Demoustier proves rather masterful in delineating Claire's internal confusions and hypocrisies, especially and most amusingly her illicit hypocritial thrills in having a new girlfriend at all (the prelude makes amply obvious that Laura and Claire were so devoted and happy together that they didn't cultivate other friendships). But full warning: the film is way too comically provocative and politically incorrect to please the easily offended which many in the LGBT community seem to be of late. Claire for example thinks 'gays are fine, trannys are not!' in one joke that goes over well in context but will surely offend out of it and calls David "sick" while still encouraging him to do it. David isn't as certain of what his gender fluidity means to be a role model for any political agenda. And Gilles ignores ambiguities and is convinced that David is just gay, always has been.

Though Romain Duris has long since proved his worth as a leading man, his screen attraction is entirely masculine, so I'll admit that it was easy to wonder what the film would have been like had the more beautiful Personnaez considered his inner woman instead. Would it have dulled the surprise or the comedy or made Claire's confusing situation between the two men in her life and this new girlfriend more believable?  Who can say? The time jumped epilogue leaves things both tied neatly up and slightly ambiguous as to what went down between the climax and the credits roll but by that time we know the characters well enough to draw our own conclusions. B

previously at TIFF