SUPER EGO "I'm from Indiana," confided the partly melted drag queen, after nailing "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" in a wicked patent-leather Duchess of Spades dress. "You know we do things different out there. I just got here a couple weeks ago, and when I first pulled my hair out the box, the other girls asked if it was three wigs or one."
"So you're a Hoosier," I replied. My observation went ignored. "The scene here's much more weave than cone," she winked, then disappeared behind a wall of mirrors. A tape-recorded version of "Is That All There Is?" kicked in. Metaphors!
I wish I could remember what she called herself, but I was knee-deep in my English Summer, an acrobatic concoction hovering halfway between a mojito and a Pimm's Cup. Mnemonic device, it wasn't. We were at Harry Denton's, 46 stories atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, peeping Scarlet Empress Donna Sachet's swank new "Sunday's a Drag" brunch show — me and a posse of party kids looking so out of place we may as well have been Skittles in the deviled eggs. The combined total of our online ages was probably half that of any one of the cackling grandes dames around us.
But no matter: "Sunday's a Drag" blasted off into outer space and gladly took us with it. A parade of energetic old-school queens teased the roomful of swilling octogenarians into Depends-dampening titters, and the whole affair took on the air of legendary drag club Finocchio's, circa 1985 — but with better prosthetics. ("A lot of money and a lot of surgery," rasped the nonorganically gorgeous Cassandra Cass as she handed me a "Cassandra Cass: Fantasy Girl 2006" calendar. Memo to Cassandra: It's June.)
Donna Sachet's one of those amazing creatures who do so much I often think there are two of her. ("Well, alcohol is a fuel," the little voice in my head pipes up, the one I call Deficit of the Doubt.) And it was somehow fitting that I was applauding our fair city's 30th Empress that afternoon, seeing as how I'd come to three hours earlier on brand-spanking-new Jose Sarria Court in the Castro, named after the ass-kicking queen who'd started the whole gay Emperor-Empress dealie — the Widow Norton, her Big Kahuness, Madame Awe. I had Jose Sarria pebbles in my y-fronts, bits of Jose Sarria laurel bush drifting from my hair.
The afternoon launched to another cosmic level when Hoosier-name executed a full-on backbend to Taylor Dane and one of her press-on nails flew off, somersaulted in midair, and landed on the table next to my blueberry pancakes. Which made me lose my bacon.
"It's like Mabuhay Gardens or the Deaf Club, only gay," I thought the first time I went to Sissy, the new punk rock monthly run by my favorite obnoxious club brat, Foxy Cotton. When people see Foxy a-comin' they usually take to runnin' — he's kind of like an amped-up Woody Woodpecker with half the feathers missing — but the queen's got talent pumping somewhere through his veins and an impecc-pecc-peccable sense of style. Plus, he's actually kinda sweet to me.
Sissy hit me as the potential realization of all my stuck-in-the-Midwest teenage dreams, which imagined the underground punk scene of ’80s San Francisco as a writhing network of gay-friendly mohawks, complete with carpeted dance floors, passed-out hotties, and who-knows-what in the bathrooms. Dead Kennedys in the front, Mutants on the roof. Plus it's after hours. Rad!
Since its early days (no naked mosh pit, alas), Sissy's expanded its musical format — but it's still the ginchiest metal-heavy queer experience out there. Where else you gonna hear L7 nowadays outside a lesbian jukebox? And it's fun to drop that brainy "post" from post-punk and just let loose. Although clubs may have stopped moving into the future, they're at least digging into the past with sharper queer nails.