Give Me Hed

Before you head home for the holidays, join the other freaks for "A Hed-Wigged Out Xmas"

In 2001, John Cameron Mitchell got ripped off: He failed to pick up a single Academy Award nomination for the film version of his off-Broadway hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch. This snub made the Golden Globe Awards – at which he did get the nod (for Best Actor in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy) – that much more relevant by comparison. But while he lacked statuettes, Mitchell gained cult status after he penned his rock musical based on the life of a gifted, blond transsexual. Who knew that Mitchell's former baby sitter, Helga – an Army wife and part-time prostitute – would inspire the tale of an East Berlin drag queen who, after losing 5 of her 6 penis inches in a botched attempt at wooing her soon-to-be husband, pines after the rock star/ex-paramour who stole her songs and superstardom? With that catchy premise, plus a rocking score and stellar performances, the movie became an instant hit and, arguably, opened the floodgates for the musical genre's recent renaissance (see: Chicago, Moulin Rouge!, From Justin to Kelly).

Now, just in time for the holidays, comes "A Hed-Wigged Out Xmas" – a glamfest musical treat to soothe you into the Hanukkah, winter solstice, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Boxing Day season. Before you head away from the cozy confines of San Francisco – home to Iowa, or worse, the Central Valley, to face the family for a few glasses of sour eggnog and another sober Christmas dinner – join the throngs of other freaks for a night of storytelling, comedy, and film. The choice is yours: Dress up as your favorite glam star, decked out in a towering hairpiece of spit curls and garish blue eye shadow, or come as you are to watch one of the greatest musicals released in the last 20 years.

The city's own rocking queen of drag, Heklina, MCs the holiday gaiety as only she can, rolling out drag performances by Matthew Martin as Hed-ggy Lee and Arturo Galster as Rockin' Granny Hedwig, plus a fashion show (put on by the cool folks at Glama-Rama) of stunning wigs and cunning models. Funnyman Greg Proops (of Whose Line Is It Anyway? notoriety) provides comic relief as needed. And in addition to the screening of the gender-bending musical, the live comedy, and the drag performances, John Cameron Mitchell himself reads a festive story: Truman Capote's autobiographical tale of baking fruitcakes, buying illegally made whiskey, and getting slightly sloshed on the leftovers, titled "A Christmas Memory."

Sing It, Sister: John Cameron Mitchell, no 
relation to the Mitchell brothers, as 
everyone's favorite stub owner.
Sing It, Sister: John Cameron Mitchell, no relation to the Mitchell brothers, as everyone's favorite stub owner.


Friday, Dec. 19

The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and the gala at 7:30

Admission is $27.50-50


Castro Theatre, 429 Castro (near Market), S.F.

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Before the festivities begin, in case you just need to see every inch of him up close and personal, there's a meet-and-greet reception at which you can sit on Mitchell's lap and tell him what you really want for Christmas.

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