By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
By Emma Silvers
By Alee Karim
Aside from all that showtune crap, I'm down with pretty much everything that gay guys like: Rufus Wainwright, arugula, "Jungle Red" nail polish, toile, Tammy Faye, fellatio, theme parties, and one of my favorite things on Earth, The Golden Girls.
I'm sure that if Joseph Campbell were still living, he would've turned his gaze from the archetypes found in Star Wars and planted it firmly on Blanche Deveraux's perky bosoms long ago. With The Golden Girlsyou've got the "Warrior," Dorothy Zbornak, played by Bea Arthur; the "Fertile Goddess," Blanche, played by Rue McClanahan; the "Innocent," Rose Nylund, played by Betty White, and the "Wise Sage," Sophia, played by Estelle Getty.
The hero's journey is timeless. So are the Golden Girls. The hero's journey is fraught with challenges. Just like the Golden Girls. Most importantly, the hero's journey always ends in cheesecake, and when the hero can't quite figure out what her next adventure is, or a network is trying to fill all 24 episodes, she buys time by sitting around the kitchen table, reliving parts of previous shows in a colorful pastiche.
And speaking of reliving episodes, leave it to the homosexuals to pick up that Goldentorch and run with it. Trannyshack, S.F.'s own cabal of camp, recently re-created two classic shows for our viewing pleasure, and I caught them the other night. Trannyshack, for the uninitiated, is a monthly club at the Stud that also travels out into the world in a community outreach program of sorts. For the Golden Girls, the party moved to a Victorian near Hayes Valley.
As for this hero's journey, it began like so many others, in an ongoing quest to find a parking space in San Francisco. The feeling of finding a spot is one of God's little victories, let's face it. Once I accomplished that task, I emerged from my Honda like David returning from battle with a thousand foreskins as his trophy. Hurrah!
Another thing I have in common with gay men is a deep and abiding appreciation for flamboyant interiors. The inside of the Victorian venue could only be described as fabulous. All of the house's original wallpaper, rugs, gimcrack, and even gas lighting was in effect. It was like Sherlock Holmes' gay cousin's brothel. It was grand. I was speechless.
The stage area was in the large living room. The hosts had wine available, but most people arrived with their own liquids in paper bags. The crowd was pretty much all gay men, but I was glad to see an elderly straight couple thrown in. My friend Audra and I were two of about six females, not counting the trannies. The stage was pretty basic, with a sofa, a table, and some '80s touches like mauve chintz.
I was riddled with anticipation. Apparently so was another chick in the back, who wouldn't shut up ... even during the show. "I just love Rose!" she would let out with the same moronic naiveté as White's character. Now, when you go to see a campy gay show with an audience full of gay people, you can expect raucous call and response betwixt the audience and the players. It's sort of like seeing Big Mama's House in West Oakland. Folks are gonna let it all out. But this babe spoke at the wrong times, like during the moments of pathos, where the audience really should be reflecting and learning, not tuning out a dingbat. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The first re-enacted episode concerned Rose thinking that Blanche had slept with her dead husband Charlie. The actors were funny, using the exact script for the most part, but they weren't dead-on mimics for the original actors. Once I accepted this fact I could sit back and really enjoy the play. The second episode was one of my favorites, where Dorothy's friend Jean, a lesbian, comes to visit and falls in love with Rose. Trannyshack really had fun with this one, playing the Jean character as a big ol' Oakland dyke, complete with cat sweatshirt and mullet.
It occurred to me that re-creating something you love is a way to get as close as you can to the original without actually being it. It's like being a tranny. Civil War recreations, the Ren Faire, the Dickens Fair, all of these things were basically the real thing in drag.
I would love to live in the Golden Girls house in Miami with those women. I have often thought that if I ever get an incurable illness, my Golden Girls DVDs will somehow lift my depression and dread. The episodes will escort me into the afterlife. Maybe they're called "Golden" for a reason. The show is so soothing, especially the bumper music that plays before every scene, a romantic little ditty with a faint Gone With the Wind pageantry. The show is my white light, and I shall walk into it bravely when my hero's journey ends. Sigh.
"Oh hahahahah!" came a booming voice from the back row. "She's dressed like a lesbian would dress! That's so funny. Hahahaha ... "
Oy. It was my nemesis, that lady who was obviously trying to claim my "No. 1 Straight Chick Golden Girls Fan of All Time" crown. After the first act I managed to get stuck next to her in the bathroom line and had to listen to her yammer on about St. Olaf and the fabulous interior of the Victorian. I thought about channeling Sophia and putting a Sicilian curse on her, but a real hero turns the other cheek. I think.