Best Unconventional Bombshell - 2005
Born Johnny Purcell, Lake has blossomed into a cyclonic force in San Francisco. Even if you haven't seen her gorgeous, harrowing live routines or witnessed her antics (which border on brilliantly insane performance art) at any number of local dive bars, you've probably seen her walking around town clad in Betsey Johnson or some stunning vintage dress from the 1930s. One could describe her merely as a transsexual chanteuse, but she's so much more than that. Lake got her start with the Angels of Light -- a splinter group of the Cockettes -- in the '70s, then toured with the British punk band the Stranglers before becoming a notable writer and powerful vocalist. She honed her skills as a young star in musical theater, and combined that talent with an assault-on-the-senses punk edge to produce memorable cabaret performances that are refreshingly unpolished. Lake's voice demands you accept that she's seen it all. If you have the privilege to catch her act live, don't miss it.