The Performant 150: We are the 99% (gay)

Copious laughs + cheap drinks = good times at Comedy Bodega.
Photo courtesy of Marga Gomez

Celebrating Pride Month in the the-ah-tah

We’re already halfway through Pride Month, but there’s no end in sight for the mad whirl of activities you could be availing yourself of. Proud or not, there’s no excuse for a blank social calendar at this time of year. Hate the club scene? Don’t overlook the très gay possibilities of a night in the theatre (Truman Capote wouldn’t). For starters, you might check out one of the ongoing shows over at the venerable New Conservatory Theatre Center, or one by queer theatre stalwarts Theatre Rhinoceros, but for campier fun, The Performant has a few favorites of her own to recommend (being gay not required).

What’s more gay than Marga Gomez at the Mission’s beloved Latino drag bar, Esta Noche (which thankfully seems to have staved off closing, for now)? It’s Marga Gomez at Esta Noche with a stellar line-up of out-and-proud comedians, a special Pride Month version of her regular weekly “Comedy Bodega” shows she’s entitled The 99% Gay Comedy Fest. I’m not sure who comprises that other one percent — perhaps some asexual socialite who’s slumming on the queer comedy circuit — but as laughter is a universal experience, they’d doubtlessly fit right in. Unlike most other comedy shows around town, Comedy Bodega is totally free, and although there is a one drink minimum (it is a bar, after all), well drinks are only $3.50, leaving you that much more money in your pocket to tip the performers. Everybody wins.

Speaking of wins, psychedelic-era, gender-bending performance troupe the Cockettes have permeated both sides of the Bay with the ongoing (extended to July 27) Thrillpeddlers’ revival of one of their outrageous stage shows, Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma, as well as an entire room of historical memorabilia at Mills College Art Museum as part of their “West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977” exhibition, which runs through Sept. 12. Also free to the public, the exhibition includes a June 26 screening of a pair of short films, Palace and Elevator Girls in Bondage, featuring key Cockettes including Rumi Missabu, Fayette Hauser, Hibiscus, and Miss Harlow.

Not free to the public, but always worth the price of admission, Tinsel Tarts is the fourth revived Cockettes’ show at the Hypnodrome, and it’s quite possibly the most outrageous one to date. In 1971, critic Rex Reed described it as “a spangled chaos of flesh, a seething mass of lurching bodies in lavish hock-shop costumes, doing their thing for freedom,” which well describes the Thrillpeddlers’ experience to a tee. If you’re lucky (as I was) you might get a chance to see not one but three original Cockettes strutting their stuff onstage: Missabu, Sweet Pam Tent, and fearless musical director (and “Chico Marx”) Scrumbly Koldewyn.  
And on the subject of ongoing revivals, if you’ve yet to see Boxcar Theatre’s rambunctious revamp of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, now is the perfect time to remedy that. Not only has the show scored a float in this year’s Pride parade, but it just celebrated its 100th performance of its high-octane version of the John Cameron Mitchell/Stephen Trask musical, featuring an octet of sexy Hedwigs swarming the stage at the same time. Punks, trollops, glam girls, rocker boys, and soul singers, each more endearing than the last, no matter which performer lurks behind the wig (the cast rotates every few weeks). After numerous extensions, the show will close for good on August 10, so get proud, get drunk, and get a ticket while you still can.

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