Monday, March 17, 2003

Girl, My Dogs Are Barkin'!

Oy, what a weekend! My beardline is all scaly and red, big flakes of mascara are still dropping from my eyes, I've got razor-bumps all across my chest and bruises on my ribs where the bustier cut into my flesh, I've got wig-hair for days (like hat-hair but much, much worse), my feet are swollen and painful, and pretty much every joint in my body is creaking.

But I think it was worth it. I am an insatiable sponge for approval, and I get so much love and admiration and applause when I'm in drag that the painful aftermath is but a minor consideration.

(Oh, God, I just ripped my middle right fingernail, way below the quick! AAAAUGH!!!! Just when I got my nails looking so nice! Goddamned reams of paper packed too tight in the goddamned box!!!! FUCK!!!! I'm going to go put on a bandage and cry for a few minutes... excuse me).

So back to my exciting and glamorous weekend... (oh my poor nail!)

Saturday, while telling you all about the Night With Dame Edna, Caroline turned up out of the blue bearing Pillsbury Orange Danish. Actually, it wasn't entirely out of the blue... when I'd told her about the shows I was doing over the weekend, she said she might come, but she was keeping the weekend open for this guy she's seeing. But then Friday evening he gave her the old "I don't want to get involved in a new relationship right now" speech (which begs the question of why he posted an online personal ad in the first place), citing his depression over job insecurity, and the likelihood of his moving to another part of the world for a job that he hasn't got yet, as his main reasons. Sounded pretty flimsy to me, but then breakup reasons always sound pretty flimsy... usually because they are heavily euphemized.

I guess it must be difficult to break off a casual dating relationship. You don't know the other person well enough to know how they'll react to the actual reason you want to cut it off, so you have to come up with some generic sort of reason that won't be hurtful to the other person and also won't make you look bad. I was faced with that problem once, when I met a guy online and he seemed nice but when I met him and got an eyeful of his horrible teeth and his rosacaeaed nose, and an earful of his dreary passionless slacker personality... in a word, ick. But I didn't think I could just come out and say "sorry, darling, but you're icky." So I took the coward's way and never called him back. But with Caroline, you can't just stop calling her... if you don't call, she'll stalk yer ass.

So anyway, Caroline came over and we had orange rolls and talked smack about the latest guy (who still clings to his high-school water-polo nickname, well into his thirties), then she busied herself online seeking a replacement while I started packing my things for the show. I had one of my last-minute crises of faith, where the skirt I had planned to wear didn't really go with the top I'd planned (though both were opalescent pale green and worked fine in my mind's eye, the skirt leaned toward grey and bronze while the top leaned towards white and silver, and once they were actually together in front of my actual eye, their differences outweighed their similarities), and while I had a skirt that did go with the top (cream chiffon, goes with just about anything), I also had a hundred or so other outfits that started clamoring for exposure as soon as I was unsure of myself for a moment. Eventually I had to drag Caroline down to my Drag Room to help me... and after fondling and considering every gown I own, I ended up packing the original top with the replacement skirt, thereby wasting about forty-five minutes of frenzied indecision for no good reason.

Then after showering and shaving and whatnot, we went down to my office so I could get ready. As I was way behind schedule, I unfortunately rushed a little bit, so my makeup didn't come out quite as well as I like. And then the MapQuest directions I downloaded for the Rainbow Room were wrong... either I put in the wrong street-number on Mission Boulevard or there was a glitch in the system, but the directions dumped me way the hell out past Tennyson Road, when in fact the club was five miles away, a couple of blocks from A Street, in the downtown area.

When we finally got to the Rainbow Room, which is charmingly located in a tiny strip mall next to a Korean barbecue and across from a Korean cleaners, we were over an hour late and the show had already started. Of course, with the first-come-first-serve setup of Court shows, my tardiness gave me the second-to-last slot in the show, which is I think the best place to be. I was able to drink a soda-pop and calm down and acclimate myself before I changed into my show dress, chatting with some old friends I haven't seen in ages (hi, Paul!), and watching the performers while Caroline made herself sick on the chicken wings at the buffet.

Then I popped into the ladies' room and changed clothes and added some more jewelry to the mix, and came back with plenty of time to sit still and hydrate myself before I hit the stage to perform "Sing Happy" from Flora, The Red Menace, one of my favorite songs. Afterward I got out my camera and snapped a few of pix myself, Caroline, and my dear friend Miss Angelique deVil:

The dress looks good in this one, but not the face.

...and vice-versa.

Miss Caroline looked fairly glam in a double-agent sort of way... a small phial of poison in a diamond pendant or a microdot containing state secrets under her pinkie-nail, and she'd be all set.

Miss Angelique is such a sweetie, so pretty and talented and thin... sometimes I just want to punch her.

After the show (which was sponsored by the Royal Grand Ducal Council of Alameda County in benefit of the In Memory Foundation... though I neglected to discover what, exactly, the In Memory Foundation does), we all trundled around to the Turf Club and Rumors, the other two gay bars in Hayward, conveniently located across Main Street from each other, which makes bar-hopping so much easier. There had been an Imperial Star Empire event at Rumors that evening, so there was a great commingling of the two Courts, and I ran into a number of faces from the old days who I haven't seen in lo these many years (hi, Raven!)

After a while I started getting a bit weary, though... and that lovely top ceased quite suddenly to be at all comfortable. First of all, it's made of knit wool, and after about an hour it started itching; second, those lovely clear opalescent paillettes are square, and they were cutting into the skin under my arms like you wouldn't believe... besides, it was starting to get chilly out, and that sweet little organza wrap was no protection at all. So we bade our farewells to all and sundry and got back to the office so I could get into boyclothes.

Afterward we went to Merritt for a nice snack (I'm always teaching Caroline to like new things... first I convinced her that her tuna melt would taste good so long as her mouth wasn't expecting the capers that she habitually uses in tuna salad, and that grits actually are good with butter and sugar instead of dripping and salt and pepper), and then I got home at around eleven-thirty and pretty much went right to bed.

So then on Sunday, my prayers were answered and Grandmother kept to her bed all morning with Fox News' reports on the UN Summit, and didn't make me take her to church. So I was able to take the morning fairly easy and slowly get ready for the next show and prepare for rehearsals. But of course I got a little behind schedule — I just had to have another change of mind about costuming... I was so enamored of the green-and-cream ensemble that I abandoned the black beaded evening coat over a black velvet sheath with pearls that I had intended for the Sunday show; and having introduced color for the first act, my planned second-act number, the grey beaded chiffon two-piece, had to be changed, too... I ended up with the blue dress I'd bought on my birthday with a scarf that happened to match it, and a change of jewelry, all of which took up a great deal of time, putting me way behind schedule, making me quite late for my rehearsals. And then I forgot about the latest Peace rally in the City and so had a hell of a time finding parking, and was therefore even later.

The upshot, aside from arriving late (which I find terribly embarrassing), was that I got to go through voice rehearsals without having warmed up my voice first, and then I simply went to the far end of the horseshoe line so I was standing with the tenors instead of the basses and therefore sounded totally off key the whole time. I really hate our opening number, which is adapted from "I Hope I Get It," the opening number of A Chorus Line, and which is very staccato and in a minor key and in the top of the register, sort of hysterical-sounding and filled with notes that I simply cannot find (even when I'm standing with the other basses). Thank God we have four months to actually learn all this stuff. And hopefully by then I will have properly demonstrated that my character need not be involved in the opening number via the hopeless inadaptibility of my voice to the song. Or maybe I'll simply learn it. One or the other.

So anyway, I left rehearsals early, and unfortunately missed the dance portion (which I enjoy more than singing sometimes, especially since our choreographer is such a joy to the eyes), in order to get to Martuni's in time to shave (again... ouchouchouchouch!), change, and make up before the 6 p.m. curtain of the maiden voyage of Cookie After Dark. I got there rather earlier than I even intended, though, and so I was completely made up (and very nicely, if I do say so, though I'm going to have to find some way of counteracting that tendency to pebble around the pouch of my left eye) and dressed and ready to go before the other performers showed up. This was probably a good thing, as the "dressing room" was actually comprised of a small storage area, the manager's tiny office, and the rather claustrophobic staff toilet. But even so, it was bigger and better-lit than many places I've gotten ready for even more crowded shows.

The show went extraordinarily well. The venue, though small, is very elegant and has good juju... I felt instantly at ease, not in the least bit anxious (as I often am before a performance), even in the tiny dressing area we were quite comfortable and happy, and there was this wonderful tone of joy and indulgence in the air. It was a small show, only six performers, and lasted just two hours with a little break in the middle. We had some trouble with the CD player, and the lighting beyond the little suitcase-sized "stage" Cookie made and brought was a little dim, and of course there were more people than there were chairs so people weren't quite as comfortable as they might have been... but it was altogether a wonderful evening, a great performance, and a lovely experience all in all. We've been invited back to Martuni's for more episodes of Cookie After Dark.

Of course, much of the fun and joy was the presence of good friends in the show and the audience. With Cookie and Lorraine and Ruby and Linda and Ivy and Nick backstage, you can't help but have fun... and then Shiloh and Zach were there, as was Dakota (taking pictures, as usual, I'll post some here when I get copies), and Chaz and Forrest and Monica and Paul and Cubby and everybody from the Musical (including David, who I think it too cute for words), and just whole sheaves of other wonderful people whose names are escaping me at the moment, not to mention some of our die-hard Galaxy fans and Lorraine's coworkers and even Cookie's dad!

I performed two of my favorite songs, chosen mostly for their shortness (Cookie had been very worried about us fitting into the two hours we were allotted): Ella Fitzgerald's "You Make Me Feel So Young" (in the springlike green-and-cream) and Keely Smith's "Stardust" (in the long iridescent aqua-blue sheath I got from Jessica McClintock on my birthday, with a scarf that almost exactly matches it that I bought years ago at Ross). Even though I made my first-act CD skip when I touched the piano that the CD player rested on, and though I felt a little hemmed-in by the narrow stage-light, I think I did a very good job of both performances, even if I do say so myself. I felt on, if you know what I mean.

So after the show finally came to its rapturous close, and we all re-packed our goods and chattels and wended off on our merry ways, I met up with Shiloh and Zach and a whole mess of AA folk after the Sunday meeting on Diamond, and we all went to eat at the Firewood on 18th. That was great fun, too... I was still all gussied up in my blue dress with my silver duster (it was a bit chilly) and all my jewels, so I was rather, shall we say, sightly in the warm-lit earthtones of the trattoria. And I had a wonderful time drawing attention to myself and chatting with everyone nearest me (hi, Joe! hi, Apollo! hi Greg! hi Tony!) and wolfing down my House Tortellini with a side order of dolmas (I love dolmas... and I was utterly ravenous, having eaten nothing all day but a bowl of cereal for breakfast and two granola bars while I was dressing).

All good things must come to an end, though, and my wig started itching so it was time to call it a day. On the way back to the car I got some pix of Shiloh and Zach, as well as a little snap of Pretty Me in my silver-and-aqua glory:

Shiloh, whom you no doubt recognize from the Cast...

... and Zach, looking all manly.

God, I love these colors! My new favorite outfit.

Well, that pretty much wraps up my weekend. It was thrilling and fun and exciting and different... and exhausting and painful and trying! So today I have declared a No Work day. My boss came in unexpectedly, but he's seen more than enough of Robert the Busy Great Worker, it's time he met Robert the Surly Starer-Into-Space. He got an earful just a bit ago when I tore my nail, and I think he may be afraid to come out of his office with a screaming crying drag-queen rampaging around... at any rate, he hasn't made a peep since then, leaving me to my own devices (like writing this) and not giving me any extra work.

And now the day has come to a close, my aches are just as achey but there's a smile on my face (except when I look at my poor torn nail! Sob!), and JB and I are going to go to the Elmwood Theater and see Nicholas Nickleby. I'm very excited to see this, it's one of those star-laden period epics that has pretty much everybody in it, and the lead boy is so cute I just want to eat him up with a spoon! So until I next find myself with something to talk about, I bid you a very pleasant day and a wonderful tomorrow!

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