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RSVP / INTO THE NIGHT

To These 'Gals,' It's a Colorful Life Indeed

June 09, 1995|BILL HIGGINS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: Wednesday's West Coast premiere of the Samuel Goldwyn Co.'s "Wigstock" at the Directors Guild. The documentary covers the annual spoof of Woodstock by Manhattan drag queens. "It's fabulous!" said a queen named Coffee. "When they have Drag 101 in the schools, they should show it to the kids."

Who Was There: The film's director, Barry Shils; "Wigstock" stars the Lady Bunny, Alexis Arquette, Joey Arias, Jackie Beat and Misstress Formika, plus 600 guests, some in drag--some not, including Lesley Ann Warren, Ann Magnuson, Greg Gorman, Debi Mazar, and studio execs John Manulis and Ronna Wallace.

Drag Etiquette: When confused about gender, always refer to the person as "she." Explained "Wigstock" organizer the Lady Bunny: "I don't think anyone puts on a dress and makeup hoping to be called 'he.' "

Varieties of Drag: Co-star Arquette, describing some of the queens on hand: "that kitsch over-the-top, Christmas tree light thing over there," "acid-trip hangover blow-dried-fry-on-the-side thing," and "the Dolly Parton impressionist from Reno look" (his own style).

Drag Essentials: Marge Simpson-style hair done in a neon color, black fishnet stockings,false eyelashes, full-length gloves, aquamarine sequins, an auto-focus camera, and, as one guest said: "Why be a drag queen if you're not in high heels?"

Best Accessory: Pastel colored boas were handed out as guests left the screening, presenting multiple opportunities for that woefully underused phrase: "Honey, you dropped your boa." It's also amazing what wrapping a pink boa around the neck of an agent in a business suit does for his attitude.

Overheard: "I happen to be a woman, but I'm also a drag queen"; "My feet feel dreamy because the Percocet just kicked in"; and "When it happens at the Republican convention, then it will have gone mainstream."

Drag Protocol: There seemed to be about a 70-30 split on the queens' choice of restrooms. A gleeful majority opted for the women's, though one male guest said, "That's the only time I've ever seen eight women lined up at the urinals."

Problems Unique to This Premiere: "They should have put the drag queens in the back rows," said one woman. "You can't see over their hair."

Money Matters: Tickets were $75, and more than $20,000 was raised for AIDS Project Los Angeles. "We've done many premieres," said APLA's Richard Bondroff. "This is one of the more colorful."

Reaction: As she watched the queens march by, one woman said: "I feel like I'm an inadequate representation of my gender."

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