Wednesday, July 10, 2013

RuPaul's Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon came to town last night with a fabulous new cabaret show called The Vaudevillians. I loved Jinkx on RuPaul so naturally I had to be there. The show was hysterically funny, an absolutely perfect night out, marred only by a couple of drunk straight girls sitting at the table next to me. It seemed like they just had to show Jinkx how much they loved her by laughing too loud, clapping too hard, and WOO!ing just about every time she blinked.

In the show, Kitty Witless (Jinkx) and her husband Dr. Dan Von Dandy (some guy) are 1920's Vaudeville performers who, through an odd combination of glaciers and cocaine, find themselves frozen alive. When they thaw out nearly a century later, they discover that the songs they've written have been stolen by other performers -- like Brittney, Madonna, and Abba. They then treat us to the original versions, which are totally different from the version we know. Who'd have guessed, for instance, the "original" Piece of My Heart had a jaunty ragtime bounce?

Since the tunes were so different, the only way we could identify the songs were by the lyrics. It was almost a puzzle, I thought, as different parts of the crowd recognized songs at different times, bursting into laughter as enlightenment hit. "Hey, Mr DJ put a record on," Jinkx sang, and one of the straight girls cackled propulsively. "It's Madonna!" she chirped. "Music!"

I shot her an angry glare, but if those did any good my mailman wouldn't spend every afternoon pooping next to my head. With the second song she was even faster. Jinkx sang, "Baby, can’t you see I’m -- " and before Richard Dawson could kiss her she gave the answer. "Toxic, by Brittney Spears!" she said.

This was ridiculous, I thought. I didn't fork over my hard-earned money to listen to some idiot. "THIS IS NOT A CONTEST," I whispered loudly. "It's a cabaret show! You're disrespecting the performer by talking during her act."

The woman looked appropriately chastened, and she sat in silence for the next few minutes. Then Jinkx started singing, "Didn't I make you feel -- " and it hit me. A flood of enthusiasm and excitement overwhelmed me and I just had to share it. Before I could stop myself I said, "PIECE OF MY HEART! Janis Joplin!"

Some weird sixth sense told me the drunk girls were angry. I glanced over at them, and if looks could kill I'd be in Intensive Care. From then on, it was war. It was like Jeopardy! if Alex Trebek wore form-fitting, bugle-beaded gowns. As the first word exited Jinkx's lips, I wracked my brain to identify it, knowing that even a nanosecond's hesitation could mean the difference between glory and having heterosexual Red Zinfandel fans shove mud into my face. "25 years and my life is still trying to get up that great big hill -- "


I might have shot a haughty look at the drunk girls before glancing over to see if my date shared my excitement. It wasn't even close. "What's the opposite of a high-five?" he whispered.

Still, all the haters couldn't stop me from basking in glory. Now that I was on a roll, they shouldn't have been surprised when I also took the next song. Before Jinkx finished, "I come home in the morning light -- " I'd nailed it. Maybe I did that "Raise the roof" thing as I yelled, "GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN!"

A few people snickered. My date shook his head. "Roman," he said, "be quiet! You're kind of embarrassing me."

I can be honest too. "'Embarrassing'?" I repeated. "I'm not the one who needs fourteen lines to recognize Cyndi."

The drunk girls and I had our hands on invisible buzzers for the next round. I don't have any excuse: I think the adrenaline must have washed all the music out of my brain. Jinkx got all the way through, "If you change your mind, I'm the first in line," and I was still clueless. "TAKE A CHANCE ON ME!" one of the girls screamed. "ABBA!"

"SHUT ... UP," somebody bigger than us snapped, and we realized the game was over. I didn't even think about our game during the rest of the show, but I was pretty sure we tied.

When the lights finally went up, I felt like everybody was staring at me. I felt like such an idiot. How could I claim to be smart when any idiot could suck me into their game? It was probably even worse for me to act stupid, since I almost had a degree from a major university. I allegedly knew better. As we stepped outside, one of the drunk girls pulled up next to me.

"I'm sorry," she said.

"BRENDA LEE!" I yelled as everyone within eighty yards spun around. The drunk girl and my date and pretty much everyone stared at me but the winner takes it all.

1 comment:

Yet Another Steve said...

Oh fuck. You can write like that AND you got to see Jinkx Monsoon's show? How the gods must hate me.