Condragulations on being crowned “America’s Next Drag Superstar!” Although I do adore me some old-school flawless Chad Michaels, I was rooting for you and your spooky brand of glamour from the get-go! Get it, ghoulfriend! See what I did there? Genius.
Seriously, I have felt a swell of proud and protective maternal warmth from the moment I first laid eyes on you—makeup-stained post-show eyes that were downright exhausted from smizing at generous tippers one moment and then shooting daggers at idiots who were compulsively texting and/or trolling Grindr the next. Eye am so tired! Get it? Hilarious.
May I tell you a story? I’ll just assume that you are nodding your head “Yes,” otherwise I’d stop typing right here and now and this column would only be 134 words long and, frankly, my editor would not be amused. So, here comes that story you can’t wait to hear…
Last summer, while I was performing in the homosexual hell-hole known as Provincetown (oh, simmer the f*ck down, people—I am kidding!), I stayed with my pals and fellow performers Ryan Landry and Scott Martino (aka Penny Champagne). It was wonderful! We watched old W.C. Fields movies (I guess the word ‘old’ isn’t really needed, huh?), snuggled with their three adorable Jack Russell terriers and ate the big juicy tomatoes that grew in their backyard. During the day we hung out (held court, ruled the roost) at Ryan’s delightful store, Mother’s Antiques. For some reason, I always pictured ‘mother’ to be Mrs. Bates from Psycho, or maybe Lizzie Borden’s ill-fated stepmommy. “Oh, don’t mind the bloodstain on that sofa, just artfully place this stunning Victorian needlepoint pillow over it!”
The small room was filled with gold-framed grainy daguerreotypes of strange babies (“Is it sleeping or dead?”), weird religious items, tattered-but-glamorous clothing from days gone by and other treasures that would have set a psychometrist’s teeth on edge. The moment you entered you couldn’t help but imagine tiny-waisted alabaster women in trances furiously scribbling their nonsensical “automatic writing” from beyond. Add to all of this a tinny, scratchy, ironically optimistic Depression-era song seeping out of the vintage mono record player and it was all very “sweepy”—a combination of sweet and creepy. I’m pretty sure I invented this term.
Yes, this was the kind of place that, had the word ‘shop’ been in its name, it would have most certainly been spelled ‘shoppe.’ And we loved it! It was everything we lived for. As a child, I was obsessed with anything eerie and strange: The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, the Winchester Mystery House and Dark Shadows. Then, as I got older, that black-and-white goosepimply aesthetic suddenly went full-color and was replaced with graphic True Detective magazine, Sharon Tate’s house and Night Gallery. So you can imagine our horror when, day in and day out, little kids, pre-teens and adolescents alike would wander into the store accompanied by their tourist parents only to take one look around the spine-tingling surroundings and whine, “This place creeps me out!” Huh? What the hell is wrong with kids today? You know what creeps me out? Auto-Tune, reality TV and horrible remakes of every classic song, TV show and/or movie from my youth. Tim Burton, stop crapping on my childhood!
What? Oh dear, where was I? Oh yeah, writing a letter to Drag Race winner Sharon Needles. Sorry.
Sharon, as a middle-aged man-lady who has an entire room in my home dedicated to the movie Carrie, I want you to know that I really do appreciate what you bring to drag. I am a big fan of darkness, irony and I have always been of the belief that, to be truly beautiful, you must allow yourself to be hideous. It’s also important to show kids out there that there are different kinds of ‘cool’ and ‘pretty.’ I may have invented the term “sweepy,” but honey, you embody it. Happy Halloween, indeed!