New York city drag queen icon Miss Understood presents rants, musings, and observations from her East Village headquarters.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Sweat in The City 

I went on an audition today. It was for a one-line part on Sex and The City. I hate auditions. I spent three hours getting ready, I had to cab over to Queens, and I had to wait in a hot room for an hour. It was sweltering today and I was wearing one of my special sequin numbers: pretty but WARM! Then, I get to say the line twice and it's over. I know if they let me say it 10 or 12 times that they would definitely like one version, but they never give you that much time. It's just hard to be myself in such uncomfortable circumstances. Well, working in my favor was the fact that very few queens wanted to audition because they only wanted to see you if you auditioned dressed. For me, that's a full day's work. I'm very picky about going on auditions. It has to pay well or be prestigious. I gave up being an "extra" years ago.

We'll see. It's not like being on that show is sooooo important. It's just that after going through all that trouble it's nice to see it pay off. I was actully on the 1st episode of the 1st season. We sang "Happy Birthday" at Lucky Cheng's. That was my last extra job. I felt ripped off because they were able to focus on me so much and still consider me an extra. Still, I'm glad I did it. It got seen by a lot of people.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003


Every time someone gets it in their head to try to portray drag queen in a film or a TV show, they always get it wrong. Sometimes they get it MORE wrong.

Did anyone see "Flawless"? What a disaster! I suspected from the premise that I wouldn't like it, but I thought I should see it and give it a chance. Also, several NY queens got peripheral roles. So, I rented it on DVD.

Phillip Seymore Hoffman plays a hideous and pathetic queen named "Rusty" who lives to sing and longs for a sex change. You'd never know it since not only does she not wear a wig but she actually wears a headband to pull back her thin hair so that we can get a good look at her male pattern baldness. Pretty pretty!

Anyway, we're supposed to be all moved when she befriends her homophobic neighbor. Oh boo hoo! What crap! As if there aren't enough worthwhile people to make friends with in Manhattan! They make it seem like no one appreciates drag. I've been in this neighborhood for well over a decade, and I can tell you that people in the streets here LIVE for drag queens! Rusty's just this lonely whiney miserable creature that is mocked from every direction. Maybe it was that head band. I'd probably call her names too.

They play off the East Village as a gritty war zone full of violent gangs. I hated Rusty so much that whenever there was shooting I kept hoping she'd take a bullet in her ugly balding head!

IMPORTANT Disclosure:
I did audition for this film. I got called back twice. That's 3 days of my life wasted. Still, I swear that's not why I hated the film. I will say, though, that the director, Joel Schumacher, left a bad taste in my mouth. He just creeped me out. The whole Monica Lewinsky thing had just happened, and he wanted to know our opinion on it. I basically said that it shouldn't matter if they had sex in his office. Who cares? You do lots of personal things in your office: Eat lunch, make phone calls, etc. So what if they fuck? It's probably very common for people to screw in their office.

Joel wasn't having it! His opinion was that "yes, everybody DOES do it, but when you get CAUGHT, you must FACE THE CONSEQUENCES!" Not only did I think that his logic had no logic, but I also felt that I was being judged based upon my political opinions at an audition.

Well, the silver lining to all of this is that Mona Foot, Jackie Beat, Michelle Dupree, Joey Arias, and Tatiana Jackson, a bunch of great NY queens, are all collecting their residuals for their parts in this stinker. Hats off to them!

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Crack That Back! 

I love a good massage more than just about anything. Heels and a corset can really screw up my back and my neck. I've become addicted to Qi Gung (Chee-Gong) massage. In the past few years these little storefront massage places have opened up all over the city. After some trial and error I've located the perfect place and the perfect guy. He's the best. He walks on my back and digs his big toe into all of the spaces between the ribs and the vertebrae. He's a genius. His name is "Michael", though since he's obviously a recent immigrant, I assume that it's really something in Chinese and that "Michael" is his professional prounouncable-to-Americans name. I kinda have the hots for him, though it's probably best that that nothing nasty never happens behind the curtain. See, if he did try to get all jiggy, I certainly wouldn't say no. But then he'd have no time to work his magic on my back, which, as I've already said, I love more than anything. I really do.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Nineteen Eighty Whore 

This year has been a big 80's year for me. Not just fashion-wise (I've been doing a lot of spiky hair, leg warmers, and dolman sleeves) but schmoozy-wise. I seem to keep meeting 80's new wave figures that I've always admired. I met Nina Hagen several times. She's on a New York kick lately. I ran into Pete Burns (of "Dead or Alive" for the clueless) along with bandmember Steve and had a nice little chat about nightlife, androgeny, etc. Then Boy George showed up one night at Cabaret Magique, a small bohemian gathering I've been frequenting on Wednesdays. I actually didn't talk to George. When I'm not in drag there's no easy way to break the ice. Still, it was lovely to see her all painted and lovely. I really admire that she still enjoys being a freak. So many feel they must tone it down at a certain age. I think George will follow in the footsteps of the great queens of our time: Quentin Crisp, Flawless Sabrina, Eartha Kitt, and Cher. If you have an outrageous rebellious streak in you, can either be self destructive or channel it creatively. George has music and fashion. Nina has religion, music, and her ...ummm...OFFBEAT persona. Pete has surgery, vanity, fashion, and music.

For anyone who hasn't noticed, Pete Burns is pulling some OUTRAGEOUS looks lately! It's not just his excessive surgical enhancements, but also the brilliant styling he works around them. He has really put himself in a position that makes him a subject of awe and a constant target of criticism as well. For that I have a lot of admiration. It takes a lot of self determination to permanently transform yourself into someone who stands out to that degree.

Over the years I've heard many stories about what a difficult person he is to deal with. While this may be true, I'm sure he's had to deal with lot more animosity being thrown at him than he has had the energy to toss back. When I met him I inadvertently insulted him. He overhead me describing his look for the evening as "Amanda Lepore meets Liza." It was just a way for me find words to describe the gorgeously painted pouty lips paired with a sleek, short, black hairdo. I think he thought I was implying that his look was derivative. He, like many of us, takes pride in his uniqueness. When he heard me, he seemed upset, not angry or bitchy. Who knows, maybe in his youth he was snappy and defensive, but I've found that an acid tongue is often defense mechanism used by queens (and related nonconformists) to shield themselves from attacks. Of course I felt awful! Here's someone who inspired us all for years and here I am upsetting him! I had to explain the whole loudmouth New York Jew thing to him. I think he was okay with it.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Miss Underblog 

Welcome to my blog. If you would like to know what I do with my time you can take a peek at my website: www.screamingqueens.com. Yes, I'm a professional drag performer...and pimp to a whole crew of others. Is it fun? Sometimes. It's also a job like any other. It can be draining. Still I am very happy that I lived this long and managed to avoid the 9-5 thing. I'm addicted to new experiences, and those come very rarely when you're punching a clock every day. I only held a job like that for three and a half years and it was hell. I work harder now, but it's more satisfying.

There's this point in most people's lives, usually between 21 and 25, when they take out their earrings, cut their hair, and basically assimilate. That's when the real bohemians begin to stand out. The people in my life I admire the most are the ones who reach 50 or 60 and still have their outrageous streak. Number one on my list right now is Jack Doroshow, aka Mother Flawless Sabrina.

For you cult film fans, she is the star of the 1969 film "The Queen," a documentary about a 1967 drag pageant. In the film she comes off as a more ladylike Joan Rivers. These days she's more of a punk rock grandma! She's 63 (as far as she'll admit) and has been showing her face, in full freak drag, at least four times a week, for the past several years. She is den mother to a whole community of young queens and artfags. I hope I can post photos on this blog thing, you must see how gorgeous she is. There's much more I can say about her, but it's late. Comments? Questions? Email me at MissU@screamingqueens.com.

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