Something tells me Clinton Leupp would make a great gusband. Say what? Gusband = gay husband, the gay male best friend prized by straight women who cherish queer pals for their ability to listen to complaints, keep busy on the dance floor, and dish. Though it's unclear if Leupp can dance and attend to kvetching chicks, when it comes to gossip he's second to none. And luckily for us his talent is front and center in Miss Coco Peru Is Undaunted, a cabaret-style show in which Leupp (as his drag alter ego Peru) strings together autobiographical monologues and campy ditties (Barry Manilow's oeuvre is a fave) to relate the story of his/her life thus far.
And what a life it's been. Donning a wig and some heels proved to be a real career-booster for Leupp, who created his persona more than a decade ago as a lark for New York City drag revues. Since that time, sassy drag queen Coco has appeared in numerous movies (Valley of the Dolls spoof Girls Will Be Girls, the bizarre Patrick Swayze cross-dressing comedy To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, and 1999's queer romantic comedy Trick) and television shows (Will & Grace, Bravo's embarrassing gay reality entry Boy Meets Boy) in between onstage turns in shows that, like Undaunted, offer anecdotes from a life writ large. Soak up celebrity scuttlebutt and wry reminiscences as Undaunted previews at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, March 10 and 11 (the show runs through April 3), at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Admission is $20-30; call 861-8972 or visit www.nctcsf.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Singer/songwriter Mark Geary moved from Ireland to New York as a teen. Somehow, you can hear it in his music -- the old country, the big city, and the adolescent. His new album, Ghost, has gotten plenty of attention, especially for the track titled "Beautiful," whose unlikely subject is a Mafia family facing the pregnancy of a teenage daughter. Did he learn it all from hanging out with Jeff Buckley in the mid-1990s? Probably some, but his sound is all his own. Geary opens for the Frames at 8 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $13-15; call 885-0750 or visit www.musichallsf.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Women in Chains
One tough crossing
Modern criminals are housed in institutions that boast hot meals, fresh-air exercise, and free cable TV, but 19th-century British crooks faced a far scarier fate: deportation via ship to an Australian penal colony. Simply surviving the harsh six-month sea voyage was a feat. In ACT's new drama, Female Transport, the arduous journey makes a harrowing backdrop for a focus on the tribulations of six women convicts en route to their Aussie prison. Shoved together in a tiny cell, surrounded by the depraved and the diseased, and (worst of all) subject to a creepy spectrum of humiliations and assaults by their vessel's barbarous crew, the women must stand together in order to survive. Female Transport opens Wednesday, March 9 (and runs through April 3), at 8 p.m. at the Zeum Theater, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), S.F. Admission is $12-20; call 749-2228 or visit www.act-sf.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Rock-A Your Soul
Dances you will like
Many people say they don't like modern dance, which can be difficult, even alienating. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performances are the opposite: The company is justly famous for clean lines, great music, and joyful movement. The level of skill among the dancers is stratospheric; the archetypical Ailey-ite is Artistic Director Judith Jamison, whose classical training hasn't interfered with her style, her creativity, or her politics, all of which are reflected onstage.
So even if you "don't like modern dance," check it out. You're likely to go berserk along with the rest of the audience during Ailey's Revelations, with its dramatic costumes and triumphant finale set to "Rock-A My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham." The show starts at 8 p.m. Friday, March 11 (and continues through March 20), at Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, on the UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $32-54; call (510) 642-9988 or visit www.calperfs.berkeley.edu.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Stripping the art of drag of its weary John Waters like campiness is tricky, because more often than not it's just that: outrageously out of date. But not in the case of artist Juanita More!, who routinely gives fresh, fleshed-out performances that go light-years beyond your local gay bar's Cher impersonators and Divine derivatives. As part of ODC Theater's "Pilot 45: Six Emerging Choreographers" program, More! guest stars in dance-maker Phil Bandel's Sell Out, which sets her story to modern moves. Zoe Fyfe, Elizabeth Mendana, Rebecca Pappas, Dillon Paul, and Shauna Vella also feature new work. The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. at 3153 17th St. (at Shotwell), S.F. Admission is $12; call 863-9834 or visit www.odctheater.org.
-- Brock Keeling