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The Devil in the Details 

Marga Gomez went into comedy, she says, "So ladies would throw panties at me"

Wednesday, Aug 11 2004
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Some performers rest before opening a major show in San Francisco. Others go on drinking binges. Marga Gomez goes on panty raids. "That's why I went into this business," says the sexy, gaptoothed Latina lesbian comic. "So ladies would throw panties at me."

Though Gomez was looking forward to spending her Saturday night at the Lexington gathering knickers from the locals, her visit to the ladies-only hangout was more for business than pleasure. Gomez was collecting scenery for her sixth solo show, Intimate Details, which opens this week at Theatre Rhino. Much of the underwear -- which she has now accumulated in great quantities, she says -- will be hung all over the stage, to represent the comedienne's desire. Except maybe the remote-controlled vibrator panties. Those might be a personal keeper.

A raw-tongued shoot-from-the-hipster, Gomez is known for her house-packing, bawdy shtick, at once intelligent, uproarious, and dirty as hell. Her shows always involve sex, to some degree, and Intimate Details is no anomaly. This work follows Gomez through her sexual awakening, which was set off by an unlikely piece of chewing gum at the age of 16. "It was sugar-free," she says, "so I guess it was healthy." Details touches on other inquiries into arousal, as a young Gomez finds further enjoyment with inanimate objects like a washing machine on its spin cycle and a not-so-innocent statue of Venus de Milo. But the piece essentially focuses on a particularly disastrous experience she had while MCing New Jersey Pride in 2000: her affair with Shona, the woman assigned to be her personal volunteer for the month. "When she picked me up at the airport, she had a baby seat in the back of her car," says Gomez, who initially thought Shona was a regular lesbian suburbanite with a wife and a mortgage. But she didn't have a wife -- she had a husband. "There were a lot of red flags," the performer says, recalling with bittersweetness Shona's giant tongue piercing, her winking asshole, the Scooby-Doo tattoos on her butt cheeks, and her abhorrent taste for Parliaments. Despite it all, the hard-nosed comic fell in love.

Shona, however, was not a good catch, according to Gomez. She was married. She had a drug problem. And she was a compulsive liar: She claimed to be an ex-stripper, a pianist, and a snowboarder. She even professed to having been the understudy for Annie as a child. She was insane, the show claims, and in the end she broke Gomez's heart.

Intimate Details, which first premiered at La MaMa in New York City in 2003, tells a story of love and loss. But, says Gomez, that doesn't mean it has a point. "If people are looking for an arc, I learned nothing," she says, "except that suburban sociopath medicated bisexual chicks are really hot."

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Karen Macklin

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