Sunday, May 12, 2013

Poo Poo Platter: Drag Queen Theater par excellence in Austin

While down in Austin promoting a band, this blogger found himself face to face with one of the best delivered and funniest Drag Queen Comedy shows ever.  At Elysium there is a monthly event that dubs itself  “Poo Poo Platter”  While I was a little uncertain if this was where we wanted to spend Friday night in a town as vast and varied as Austin, the club owner, John, at Elysium, talked into taking a look.  They bill the event as follows:  “For our May installation, the girls of PooPoo Platter are giving the stage to five of the baddest bitches in Austin for our first ever Sequin De Mayo Chola Pageant!”   This blogger loves theater of any type, so it seemed worth a look.

While I am not particularly experienced at comparing “Drag Show” events, comparing an amateur/semi-pro stage event involving theater and comedy is hardly new to me, so I simply applied the same standards I would assessing any other event.  Did they appear to dress up for the event?  Are you kidding, these are "drag queens" baby, and they did not disappoint!  The glitter eyeshadow and eyeliner alone could probably have been seen from space if it was an outdoor event, to say nothing of one pair of earrings that looked like they might have weighed as much as their wearer.  Did they present a stage act that appeared adequately rehearsed?  Actually they get very high marks in this category.  While some seemed partly improved, the comedy seemed pretty well written and rehearsed as well as the talent show events in this spoof of a beauty pageant  and delivery of lines from contestants and judges had enough attitude to put American Idol to shame!

Now for the most important question for this type of event:  Were they funny?  Let me just say that comedy is such a dangerous and slippery slope that it is almost impossible to make people laugh without offending anyone.  On the other hand,  directly causing pain to someone so others can laugh at them, seems to be the most common, yet in my opinion, the very lowest form of humor.  That is definitely not what they presented.  Strange humor, satires of corruption, and humor that spoofs or makes fun of one’s own cultural group are the two that seem to take a higher road and still can be really funny if well delivered.  These girls, both the "Drag Queens" and the judges as well, were utterly hilarious using all three with excellent effect!

The contest poked fun at most aspects of a beauty pageant that involved some of the inherently ridiculous aspects such as objectification, arbitrary standards, corruption, and other general nonsense.  They also made fun of themselves, Drag Queen behaviors in general, Latinas (since four of the contestants were Latinas), one "white girl" by the name of "Puta Blanca" (you can guess who she was poking fun at) and three sarcastic, corrupt, and airhead type judges.  There were other aspects that were surprising such as a few rather credible bits of character acting, surprisingly impressive and theatrical makeup work, and one dance and burlesque by one contestant that was one of the finest, and actually one of the sexiest, burlesque routines I have seen.  Did she win the contest?  Of course not as that would suggest beauty pageants aren't fixed or corrupt, and we cant have that now can we?  In fact, the winner’s talent show involved a sexy dance culminating in slinking on all fours off the stage onto the judges table and French kissing one of the judges for a rather extended period, or at least until the laughter started dying down.  When the judge caught her breathe, she said “I know I told you I’d help you win if you made out with me, but I didn't mean here while everyone was watching!”

This blogger will include, naturally, a photo of the cast.  If you are in Austin for one of these “girl’s” shows, I must say that I very highly recommend it!

A few words from the director about the show

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