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This article was written on 04 Apr 2012, and is filed under Claudia's Blog.

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The Glitter Anniversary

This year’s Good Friday is going to be especially good: it’s the three-year anniversary of PUSSY FAGGOT!, the fabulous queer cabaret series created by the one-and-only Earl Dax. Naturally, PF! is throwing itself a party, at the Public Assembly in Williamsburg. I can’t even imagine what delicious mayhem will ensue. Alas and alack for me, I’ll still be in Arizona. What’s a girl to do? Well, reading these PF! memories from various performance luminaries is a good start … I feel a little closer to home already.

Penny Arcade. Photo (c) Christy Pessagno.

Being expelled from my own event in Croatia due to wild drinking and partying with Mr. Dax plus a certain French choreographer is certainly a memory. PF! caught my attention for its inventiveness and laboratory-like experience that it offers to young nightlife queer performers – a space increasingly rare in a town that was once known for it. For that we invited Mr. Dax again to Croatia this year and helped him kick start his European tour. -André von Ah, visual arts curator and communications director, Queer Zagreb

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Needles Jones, The Drag Pariah from Philadelphia ( who happens to be Earl Dax’s Drag Mother, singing The PUSSY FAGGOT! Anthem NO NO HOMO!

Pussy Faggot Zagreb for Queer Zagreb. They had us in a queer anarchist squat and the entire town turned out, feral, already drunk before we started and I, finding it impossible to actually do a performance, asked the DJ to play underneath me and I rapped to the audience about Queer Zagreb, shouting Glam Is GOOD  over and over in between doing queer political conscious-raising and Earl, A Man to Pet from London, La John Joseph from Berlin and I NEVER got off the stage ! We  go go danced, rapped and sang for 3 straight hours! Afterwards one of the Queer Anarchists who was heavily tattooed, scarred and had about 30 piercings asked “How can you say Glam is Good?” and I replied “Well, you are glam!” and he sneered and said “Me? I am not Glam!” and I replied “Yes you are! You are Tribal Glam!” and he blinked and smiled “OH, I see what you mean now!” -Penny Arcade, official PF! Den Mother, seeress, and high priestess of queer wit and wisdom.

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Earl Dax. Photo (c) Ves Pitts

Lea Delaria had performed with Jo Lampert downstairs at The Delancey.  Penny was talking to the audience afterward, and she said something about PUSSY FAGGOT! being about community.  Lea, sitting a few feet from the stage, responded with an incredulous chortle.  Without missing a beat, Penny launched into a 3 minute explanation saying, and I paraphrase, “I’ve been in this scene, this same scene for 30 years.  Whether it was Max’s Kansas City or the Pyramid Club, and whether people are dancing, drinking, doing drugs or conversing, it has always been about community, about connecting with people.”  We didn’t hear another peep out of Lea after that.

Ann Liv Young was hosting as Sherry, and she immediately alienated half the audience when she said, “How did you like that?  House of Ladosha.  They’re pretty good, right?  Not as talented as Eminem, but…”  The band’s fans did not appreciate this comment.  Sherry got into an argument with some audience members, and one of them (I think it was Helen Harris) rushed the stage and ripped of Sherry’s wig.  Later in the set, Helen crept onto the stage moving toward Sherry.  I jumped up, grabbed Helen from behind, wrapping my arms around her – whereupon she simply bent forward so that I was catapulted off my feet and up on her back.  From there she spun me around a couple of times before returning to the audience.  Sherry resumed the show unscathed.

Last fall I invited Edwin Ramoran to guest co-curate PUSSY FAGGOT! with me.  It was really fun to work with Edwin in advance of the event, and there were so many memorable moments that night… Jacolby Satterwhite roaming the club in a skintight futuristic outfit and a head piece projected video behind him wherever he moved; Jordan Eagles’ blood garden on the rooftop and Jeffery Owen Ralston’s inflatables; Tomashi Jackson’s delightful appropriation of Grace Jones’ “pussy” sequence in the Edie Murphy film Boomerang; Marga Gomez getting uncharacteristically raunchy during her stand up set; DJ Austin Downey’s PUSSY FAGGOT! house track… -Earl Dax

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My favorite PUSSY FAGGOT! memory was in San Frandisco  meeting some of my heroes from the Cockettes when PUSSY FAGGOT! helped with their  exhibition and after party  at the San Fran Museum of Modern art. To see them be acknowledged by such an institution  was quite touching. There was  the entire cast  in the audience who were recreating an early  play of the Cockettes which added some extra fairy dust to the event, especially as  all the cast members came to support them at the after party performing some of the play’s hi-lites. A magical night…..on the way home from san fran the  plane  was experiencing turbulence and when the pilot said “brace yourselves for a crash landing ” I was thinking how sad to die so young but then remembered the events the following evening and felt if one has to be taken from this earth at least the memories of the night before kept me warm and held my hand to the end.  Turns out the plane landed smoothly and I am alive to continue to love the Pussy Faggot parties.- lady Miss Kier, who has twice DJed for PF!

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Outside the Delancey after the end of a PF!…

Earl, dramatically speaking, flailed his arms forgetting that he had the PF! cash box under one.

The box crashed, the money spilled, and everyone gasped…except Earl who without missing a beat dropped to his knees, grabbed two fist fulls of bills and coins and made it rain money on the sidewalk outside the Delancey.

I caught the tail end of this on video, but might be a had-to-be-there moment… -Liz Liguori, PF! photographer

 

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I’m thinking back about two years. I was in the basement of the Delancey to catch Reading for Filth, the opening segment of that installment of PUSSY FAGGOT! I was thrilled to arrive just in time for Glenn Marla’s hilarious muff-o-phile monologue. I may fit the showqueen cliché, but I am very comfortable stepping away from the familiarity of my Hell’s Kitchen theatre scene and I can get goosebumps over a Lower East Side legend as much as a Tony Winner.  So it was a real LuPone-esque thrill when the iconic Downtown Diva Penny Arcade walked into the room, sidled up to me and smacked me in the chest, proclaiming, “Scratch a transman, smell a dyke.” I almost asked her to sing something from Gypsy. -Ben Rimalower, director and PF! alumnus

Ben Rimalower

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Charlie Atlas calls me at midnight. “Come out.” Haven’t had one of these late night commands from him in years, so I obey, as I always have. I arrive at PF!: Ann Liv Young is onstage yelling at someone in the audience, who is yelling back. It is Penny Arcade. I do not remember what they were yelling about; only that it was a moment of cosmic perfection: provocative women artists yelling at each other across the generations, stirring it up, shaking that social norm till it busts open. Somehow it ended. Ann Liv got to the last part of her show: throwing homemade t-shirts into the audience. I caught one: white T with iron-on image of two pieces of shit on it. Thank you. Still wear it. –Lucy Sexton, frequent PF! guest

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Needles Jones

My favorite PUSSY FAGGOT! memory has got to be seeing Needles Jones perform for the first time at the Parkside Lounge.  She showed up literally 3 hours late, took 45 minutes to get ready, and performed only for the bar staff, fellow performers, and a few scattered attendees, including a crew playing pool behind her disinterestedly.  Needles represents everything I love about PUSSY FAGGOT! : spontaneity, a connection to the past, resilience, and joyful degeneracy.  And Earl’s discovery and inclusion of a gem like Needles speaks to his great eye for the unexpected and his supreme love and patience for the madness that always ensues at his parties. -Shane Shane, frequent PF! performer

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This most recent (January 2012) PUSSY FAGGOT! was a real highlight. Lady Miss Kier was scheduled to do a DJ set, but ended up surprising the whole crowd by jumping out from behind the decks, dancing with the audience, and busting out a scintillating set of Deee-Lite favorites. It was thrilling, hilarious, and totally unexpected. I definitely melted into a puddle of screaming fanboy, and I know a lot of the rest of us did too. One anecdote is that a few minutes into the DJ set/performance, while Lady Miss Kier was dancing to a vintage disco jam and checking out the crowd, some asshole on the dance floor gave her the finger. She cut the music, grabbed the mic, and called him out. It was like Darby Crash. “What the fuck?” she asked “Do you not like Disco or something? Fuck you. Seriously. I love you, but fuck you.” Having efficiently and gracefully read the hater to filth, she put the record back on and we all had a fantastic time. It was legendary, and the type of spontaneous magic that can only happen at Earl’s parties. -Max Steele, frequent PF! performer

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Timberlina. Photo (c) Ves Pitts.

I met Earl at the salubrious RVT in London one Monday night at one of my weekly Big Bingo Shows.  He said if I was ever in New York to let him know and he’d shake out a PF!… or vice versa.  Later in the year my boy and I flew to Boston were we got talking to the delightful passport woman about some town up on the coast of Maine that was the ‘New Provincetown’, I got searched at customs and they didn’t even flinch at my pink heels… this was not JFK!  We headed south to NYC.

Next thing I know I’m in a bar by the Williamsburg Bridge, there’s blood-letting on the veranda, a Southern woman screeching about My Little Pony maybe singing Dolly Parton and throwing out souvenirs, an adorable hot young cub is doing some sort of slick porn poetry (in a hoody) (also hot) and me singing Dory Previn songs with my ukulele and the audience making animal noises.  A riot!

Meanwhile, in the time that you read this, Earl will have simultaneously toured (and accompanied) several Queer icons round Eastern Europe, taken in the culture of some hot city everyone’s talking about, liberated a developing country and had the time of many lives.

The rest is herstory.  Long Live PUSSY FAGGOT!   Long live Earl Dax. -Timberlina, Glamorous Bearded Lady, museum geek and avid gardener.

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Ann Liv Young as Sherry and Penny Arcade. Photo (c) Christy Pessagno.

I love the post-show smackdowns: Arcade vs. Young. Arcade vs. Wade. Arcade vs. Arcade.  -Jay Wegman, Abrons Arts Center’s Artistic Director, PF! frequenter

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2 Comments

  1. penny arcade
    April 5, 2012

    To clarify my comment to Ben Rimalower during Glenn Marla’s brilliant performance at

    Pussy Faggot

    In the middle of a some what hard core performance Glenn stopped his monologue

    and asked the audience if they were feeling ok about what he was saying

    and I said to Ben “Scratch a transman, find a lesbian”

    Refering to the politics of inclusion and supportive humanism that has marked the

    Radical Feminist Lesbian Political sensibility since the 1970′s …when I repeated my

    remark to Glenn later, Glenn knew exactly what I meant and he said

    “I was raised with that radical lesbian political view point and it is a part of me I

    treasure.”

    Ben’s memory of it is a bit more colorful…but I want to make my point clear!

  2. [...] Dax’s splendiferous queer cabaret series, PUSSY FAGGOT! (which is now three years old, a very advanced toddler…), returns to its New York home, The Delancey. Admission is just [...]

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