"It takes a village to make a solo," Monique Jenkinson, a.k.a. Fauxnique, quips over drinks at the Lone Palm, before finding a sequin from her blouse in the peanut jar. She would know: equal to Justin Bond's best endeavors on the stage of Climate Theatre, and complete with a Maria Callas homage as fierce as any by onetime Climate queen Diamanda Galas, her revelatory and inspirational show Faux Real deploys Trannyshack-schooled drag, pro athlete caliber dance, and first-person dialogue to mine diamond truths about the relationship between women and gay men. It's on a par with the 1990 film version of Sandra Bernhard's Without You I'm Nothing.
If such references send your fagometer off the charts and you've missed Faux Real, for shame, child. But if they mean nothing to you, Jenkinson is must-see because of her technical excellence, ability to create beauty, and rare personable flair for drama. These qualities mark her early collaborations with Kevin Clarke in the evidently Nina-mad duo Hagen and Simone, her 2003 win as Fauxnique at the Miss Trannyshack contest, a performance as her teen idol Edie Sedgwick in a L.A. play, her artistic partnership with longtime love and "music librarian" Marc Kate on SilenceFiction's song-video "Lipstique," and Faux Real. "I'll write some, do some movement, see how the writing works with the movement, make some movement around the talking, and figure out the sequencing," says Jenkinson. "I kind of have to move my body to jog my mind."
Does the mind rule the body, or the body rule the mind? I dunno, but from hamstrings to heartstrings, Jenkinson's viscerally refined explorations of that question thrill. She's capable of "finding the breath" in a lipsync with thespian precision that would garner Lypsinka's approval, but she's also capable of singing "This Charming Man" with a pitch-perfect pent-up fervor. She offers a unique kind of proof that drag queenery isn't about dick size.
The latest challenge for this "socially conscious aesthete" is Luxury Items, currently at ODC Theater. "I go back to Oscar Wilde a lot, and in his life, he had trouble living within his means," Jenkinson says, discussing its inspiration. "[A recession is] not the time for an 'Oh my god, shoes!' piece, and yet it is. I've always had to make sacrifices for a beautiful thing. You have to know about sacrifice to know true luxury."
>>GOLDIES 2009: The 21st Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery awards, honoring the Bay's best in arts