During the interlude between Sissyboy and Caught in Candy, I tried to make new friends because few of my PICA friends were present, and this was a new crowd which I wanted to engage in. I asked the guy next to me, whose shirt read “putting the cunt back in country” what it meant, and we had a conversation about the cost of vaginoplasty. Then, I saw a guy with a hat and an index card stuck in it reading PRESS, so I asked, “Oh, are you press corp? Me too! I love the PRESS hat!” He chuckled at me and said something like, “um, yeah.” Then I saw him standing with two others in the same outfit. When Caught in Candy entered like rockstars, pushing us audience members to the side, I saw the faux-PRESS swarm the stage with flashes. I’d been duped.
Caught in Candy had a fun and campy storyline of the two stars history together. We saw the rise and fall of their careers through a series of 1930ish black and white videos. Most exciting were the trials of Cabiria, the large and buxom countess with killer outfits. She sported giant bejeweled buckles, winged tops, and dresses with feathers protruding from wires, and she strutted around stage belting out fantastic, dark burlesque tunes.
The drag queen next to me, all decked out in an Elizabethan gown and towering white wig–an ensemble I think I remember seeing in the audience at last year’s performance at Mary’s by Meow Meow and Thomas Lauderdale–was waving a Chinese fan which, in the congested air of The Works, was glorious. “That fan feels great” I quipped, “the air is coming over your shoulder and it’s saving me!” She managed a smile, but didn’t look like she wanted anything to do with me and walked away. Though I spent the night imagining how fun it would be to dress in drag, I just couldn’t manage to chat up anyone in the audience.
In that night of gender bending-to-the-breaking-point, I felt more like a gender boomerang—a girl who wants to be a boy just to be a girl. It looks like fun (champagne!), but I went home feeling left out. I’m a little bit of a princess, but in the end I’m just no queen.
–Carissa Wodehouse
Freelance writer, enthusiast