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Put the bass in my face

Now I’m ready for the beat

Pink lips, hips, tits—

Honey, tuck away the heat

Lashes, Louboutins

And I just blew out my hair

Perfume, trashed room—

What to wear?

       —Hot Couture by Manila Luzon

 

“Are you seeing the Anniversary Film at The Colonial this week? It’s PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT.”

“I’ve never seen it. I mean, I’ve heard about it of course.”

“You’ll like it, I think. I would say it definitely qualifies as a Crowd Pleaser.”

“Funny, poignant, great beginning, majestic ending, right?”

“Yeah, all those things. Plus an Oscar for best costumes, and the soundtrack is great. A lot of disco.”

“I was never a fan of disco music.”

“Let me guess: you were at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1979, during the Disco Sucks protest?”

“No, I never went that far… I just never turned up at Studio 54 in a white suit.”

“I loved it then; I love it now. I considered it the other side of punk. Punk was masculine, disco was feminine. That’s how I looked at it.”

“So, what’s the soundtrack of PRISCILLA? The Village People and Gloria Gaynor and Donna Summer?”

“I don’t think there’s any Donna in it. But it would’ve been great to hear Donna’s ‘I Feel Love’ out in the Australian Outback, surrounded by aborigines”

“It seems like, whenever I see an Aussie film, they always seem to have aborigines in it. It’s like in a Brit movie; they can’t do one without shots of the red double-decker buses. Its a given.”

“When they do show indigenous people in Australian films like WALKABOUT or THE LAST WAVE, they’re always very wise and mysterious and calm or dancing with gleeful abandon.”

“Obviously there’s a lot of guilt about what they did to those people.”

“They now want the creators of PRISCILLA to feel guilty. You know why?”

“Tell me… “

“The fact that Terrance Stamp was not a real transgendered person. They would’ve liked a genuine one in that role.”

“Didn’t some actress have to back out of a movie because of that recently?”

“Yeah, Scarlett Johansson.”

“That’s right. Well, I actually don’t know how I feel about this.”

“It all goes back to Mickey Rooney, of course.”

“Mickey’s responsible?”

“Yeah. He played a Japanese character, Mr. Yunioshi, in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S. He did just an appalling job. It’s the most cringe-worthy cameo appearance of all time, I think.”

“I guess they could’ve easily gotten someone like Pat Morita for the role. Pat was around thirty when TIFFANY’S came out.”

“Yes, that’s the most egregious example… But then, you could look at it another way: what about Brando playing a Mexican revolutionary in VIVA! ZAPATA? I think Marlon even received a Best Actor nomination for that.”

“I’m sure he did. So you’re saying that no one could have played Emiliano Zapata as well as Brando.”

“Probably not. But looking back now, from the ‘Cultural Appropriation’ era we’re living in, it might’ve been better if they had tried to find a young Mexican actor who could do it, I guess.”

“But how far should we take this? If a movie calls for a 400-pound fat guy, who can’t get off the couch without help—should they look for someone who has gulped down 30,000 bacon cheeseburgers; or should they just put the lead actor in a fat-suit?”

“Like Gwyneth Paltrow in SHALLOW HAL?”

“Or, if the part calls for a Jew, should they get a real Jew, or one of these fake Jews running around?”

“You mean like Sammy Davis, Jr.?”

“I don’t know how real Jews felt about Sammy converting. I mean, Judaism isn’t just a religion; it’s also a cultural and genetic heritage.”

“I once read on Wikipedia that ‘conversion has traditionally been discouraged since the time of the Talmud.’  Why go where you’re not wanted, that’s what I say.”

“Like, what if somebody came up to Sammy and said, ‘I wanna be black, my brother. Can you teach me?’ And Sammy would just break into that classic soundless Sammy laugh, and shake his bling in the guy’s face!”

“Didn’t Lou Reed once write a song called, ‘I Wanna Be Black’?”

“I’m not sure. It sounds like Lou. Remember ‘Walk On the Wild Side’? ‘And the colored girls go Doo, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo…’ But my question is: should they have hired a real trans person to do the role in PRISCILLA, or let Terrance do it? I don’t know.”

“And of course, Terrance Stamp is a great actor.”

“Exactly. It’s called ACTING. And Terrance was among the best. Think of THE COLLECTOR and FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and A SEASON IN HELL where he played Rimbaud, in all his hashish-ingesting, absinthe-guzzling, homosexual glory.”

“And MODESTY BLAISE, too. They actually have a MODESTY BLAISE poster in the bathroom of The Colonial, by the way.”

“That’s where it belongs. I wasn’t a fan of that film even though Monica Vitti looked absolutely delicious in the title role.”

“Well, its a new era, and media is gonna have to come to terms with it one way or the other, I guess.”

“But I mean, look at Felicity Huffman in TRANSAMERICA. I loved her in that. She did fantastic. Very moving.”

“She also did a fantastic job during her ‘College Admissions Scandal’. She groveled and apologized appropriately, in public. She probably knocked off quite a bit from her coming punishment.”

“Unlike Aunt Becky from FULL HOUSE who thought the whole thing was a photo-op star-turn, where she could look good, sign autographs and charm the Judge.”

“I think Aunt Becky is going away for a long time.”

“But I’m glad PRISCILLA is being shown in the same month as the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.”

“You know what I just found out recently? That there was another protest ten years earlier. In 1959, in LA — at a place called Cooper Do-Nuts — the cops started harassing LGBT people as usual… I mean, why weren’t they out catching criminals, instead of causing trouble for people who had trouble everyday just trying to be themselves?”

“I think that’s changed a little bit in America, in the last sixty years.”

“Right. Now the cops are targeting young, unarmed, black men. Hopefully it won’t take sixty years to get that nonsense under control.”

“So what happened at the riot in 1959?”

“The drag queens and lesbians and transgendered people started throwing coffee and cups and donuts and trash at the police — and eventually they retreated, letting all the people they arrested go free.”

“If the PRISCILLA singers were there they could’ve serenaded the cops with Abba songs.”

“I would pay to see that.”