Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

RuPaul: 'Starrbooty' Call
by Amy Matheny, Windy City Queercast
2007-12-01

This article shared 8972 times since Sat Dec 1, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


After strutting down catwalks and with that famous phrase, 'You Better Work' in the Supermodel video, RuPaul became a mainstream success. RuPaul then joined Elton John on a duet and assisted Mac cosmetics in a breakthrough fundraising campaign for HIV/AIDS. The evolution of RuPaul continued as artist, actor, activist, singer, talk show host, and much more. Starrbooty is Ru's newest movie venture, it was at Reeling 2007 Chicago's gay and lesbian film festival next week.

Windy City Queercast: What performers were your earliest inspirations?

RuPaul: Thanks to the Mike Douglas show, I was privy to many performers on television. Everything I've ever learned has been on television. The ones that really resonated were Diana Ross, Cher and David Bowie, of course. They are such standouts in their fields, not only because they were so talented but because they pushed the envelope, and I so related to people who could push the envelope.

WCQ: David Bowie really brings into focus the yin yang, male/female, the androgyny, if you will, of you. Even Oprah's got everybody talking about gender. What is different today than when you gave birth to this persona of RuPaul?

R: It's an interesting question, because I was born in 1960. I experienced the civil rights movement, the women's movement, the gay movement, the sexual revolution—all of those things where our culture was pushing the envelope and really trying new things. In fact, people were encouraged to try new things. That seemed to all come to a crashing halt during the Reagan era except for a small window of opportunity when Clinton got into office, which is when I broke through into mainstream. That window closed very quickly.

We live in a patriarchal culture, and in fact doing drag, or even women toying with feminine energy, is akin to an act of treason in a patriarchal society. So where we are today is the scariest place I've ever seen it, where young gay kids are obsessed with anything 'straight-acting.' Even the gay elite, the media, are obsessed with everything that's straight acting. [ Gay ] magazines [ have ] straight people on the cover. You [ would ] never see Essence magazine, which is focused toward a Black female demographic, put Britney Spears on the cover. But gay magazines justify it because they feel like, well, I don't know how they justify it, because it's sales and they want to make money. I don't know. But it's a scary place. It's a worrisome place for gender in America today.

WCQ: Do you find yourself changing as a result of that?

R: It's always been difficult ... for a man to use femininity as a palate ...but it is extra-difficult today, and I've seen the winds of change turn really ugly in recent years. The things that I get offered on television are ... bite the head off of a live chicken or mud-wrestle Maureen McCormick from The Brady Bunch, or things where the gay character or the femme character is the evil character.

WCQ: How did you break through that mold, then?

R: It's something in my nature, growing up with my mom who question [ ed ] authority, almost to a fault. She encouraged me to do what I needed to do, regardless of what other people thought of it ... to say just screw it, you know? That's gotten me into trouble. I remember when I was growing up in San Diego, I would go to the beach on the bus, because we didn't live near the beach, and when I would come back to my neighborhood all the kids would stand with their arms crossed, and say, 'Oh. So you must think you're white or something' or 'You think you're better than us?' It was that scenario that followed me all of my life, because I've always gone to the places that I felt I needed to go, and it threatened the people who I left behind.

WCQ: What do you think of other people stepping onto this platform of drag? Is the envelope being pushed?

R: I think that Dirty Sanchez, the band, is really exciting. They're pushing the envelope, but we're kind of from the same era. I don't see enough of it from the younger people, and it saddens me. I live in New York, and I was looking at some kids and thinking, I wish they were screwing with it a little bit more, just pushing it. I feel so disappointed with the younger generation, especially the younger gay kids. I hate to say that, but I wish that they could see beyond what's being presented to them. I'm amazed that people are still obsessed with celebrities. It's so a sign of a culture's inability to recognize your spiritual base. If you are focusing on some teeny-bop girly girl who doesn't wear panties, you are looking for opportunities to not focus on your own personal power. And who knows what part the government plays in that, because they love it when we're distracted by some bleach [ ed- ] blonde bimbo or someone who's going to rehab or whatever. But I'm surprised that young people buy into that stuff, and won't go, 'That's crap, we're not gonna listen to this stuff,' you know?

WCQ: Starrbooty is a remake. Tell us about the original Starrbooty film.

R: Starrbooty is a character I created 20 years ago in Atlanta, Ga. Based on John Waters and Russ Meyer films … that palate, that template and my own version of it. I took my brother-in-law's camera and we shot this really guerilla movie, and I edited it with two VCRs and played it in clubs in Atlanta. Well, it made its way across the United States and became a cult classic. Twenty years later, I decided it was time to bring this character back because no one else is doing it. The closest is like Borat or Jackass where it's completely irreverent, making fun of everything. Nothing is spared in this movie. In fact, Starrbooty the character is this self-righteous do-gooder who's righting the wrongs of society. Basically, we're making fun of that mentality, especially in this politically correct climate we've been in for the last 15 or 20 years.

WCQ: Were blaxploitation films and Pam Grier a strong influence for the film?

R: Absolutely. The one and only fan letter I've ever written was to Warner Bros. Pictures in 1973 after I saw Cleopatra Jones. I was in love. And I grew up in a house with all women, so I longed for movies with bitches kickin' ass. I love that, love it. So when I saw Cleopatra Jones, I can't tell you how excited I was. So it did have a huge impact on me. Even today I'll go see many movies with bitches kickin' ass. Most of them aren't very good. Like that thing with Uma Thurman called My Super Ex-Girlfriend. Horrible. Aeon Flux … Domino ... but I go every single time.

WCQ: Kill Bill was pretty good.

R: Kill Bill was awesome. Awesome! Love, love, love Kill Bill. In the movie The DaVinci Code, they touch on goddess energy and the conspiracy against it, and how it's missing from our culture. There's such a deficit of that energy … our culture's inability to accept goddess energy, and to accept love between two men, and anything to do with real femininity. I'm not talking about Hello Kitty and everything pink and fuzzy. I'm talking about feminine energy at its core, the thing that we all have. We deny it so much that it's made an impact on art across the board. So many stories have not been told [ and ] so many songs have not been sung because of our country's fear of goddess feminine energy.

WCQ: Talk about working with Candis Cayne ( Dirty Sexy Money ) , Ari Gold, Miss Lady Bunny and famed photographer Mike Ruiz, the director. What amazing people in this film and what energy!

R: All of the people you mentioned have that same, outside-of-the-box mentality. Candis Cayne couldn't be more of a kind person. She is so wonderful. Ari was over at my house last night. I was uploading his iPod. …All of the people in the movie are from the same mentality, so when I told them I was doing this guerilla movie which was completely irreverent, they just completely jumped at it. You know they make movies for the demographic that spends the money, [ which is ] 14-year-old white boys. I don't want to see [ that ] . I want more and I want more people who are making fun, poking fun at the establishment.


This article shared 8972 times since Sat Dec 1, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Seagull 2022-05-25
- Title: Seagull. Playwright: Anton Chekhov At: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.; Steppenwolf.org Tickets: $20-$88. Runs through: June 12 The final test of success for any undertaking lies in how well it accomplishes its intended purpose. ...


Gay News

THEATER Lesbian-cruise drama 'Seven Days at Sea' running thru June 5 2022-05-25
- Light and Sound Productions is running the world premiere of Seven Days at Sea, written by Martha Hansen and directed by Margaret Knapp, through Sunday, June 5, at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. The performance ...


Gay News

THEATER Musical 'Get Out Alive' running July 8-Aug. 7 2022-05-23
- Haven will continue its 2021-22 season with Nikki Lynette's multidisciplinary afrogoth musical Get Out Alive, co-directed by Roger Ellis and Lucky Stiff, which features the writer and her personal journey with mental health. The production will ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: Theater 2022-05-23
- "Well, thanks Colin. That's the end of my career. Because you know, that role really should have been mine."—Rupert Everett tells Piers Morgan his reaction when he heard Colin Firth would play the lead in Tom ...


Gay News

PREVIEW Here comes the sun: Summer plays are blooming indoors and outside 2022-05-22
- There were times when we thought that the sunshine would never return, but despite climate change and contagion, there's no stopping summer—and while we usually associate expanded daylight hours with outdoor activities, a number of theaters ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Broadway, JoJo Siwa, WEHO Pride, 'Jurassic World,' Madonna 2022-05-22
- The Broadway League announced that all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City have extended the current mask requirement for audiences through at least June 30, Playbill noted. Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Chinese Lady 2022-05-22
- It began in 1834 as an advertising gimmick: In order to promote sales of their Far East Oriental imported goods, the Carnes Brothers procured their company a real-life spokesperson. This was the teenage Afong Moy, known ...


Gay News

THEATER Season of Concern to present 'Jerry's Girls' on June 27 2022-05-21
- "Jerry's Girls: A Benefit for Season of Concern" will take place Monday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Season of Concern Chicago is dedicated to providing financial assistance to ...


Gay News

Quiz program 'Wait, Wait' to start taping June 16 at the Studebaker 2022-05-16
- Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, NPR's weekly hour-long quiz program, will resume live audience recordings Thursday, June 16, in a new Chicago home: the historic Studebaker Theater at the Fine Arts Building, 401 S. Michigan Ave. ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer playwright, LGBTQ+ films, BMI Pop Awards, new superhero 2022-05-15
- Jeremy O. Harris, the queer Tony-nominated author of Slave Play, has been named the presiding playwright for the 2023 Yale Drama Series Prize—one of the theater world's most prestigious playwriting honors, Deadline noted. Harris joins the ...


Gay News

THEATER 'The Secretaries: A Parable' running through June 11 2022-05-12
- First Floor Theater returns to live production with the world premiere of company member Omer Abbas Salem's The Secretaries: A Parable following the script's 2021 development as part of Goodman Theatre's Future Labs. The production will ...


Gay News

THEATER Underscore's 'Notes & Letters' running through May 28 2022-05-12
- Underscore Theatre Company celebrates its 10th-anniversary season with the world premiere of the musical Notes & Letters, which features book, music and lyrics by Annabelle Lee Revak (she/her) and is ...


Gay News

FILM 'The Adventures of Priscilla' to show nationwide on June 2 2022-05-11
- Iconic Events Releasing will kick off Pride Month with a special nationwide rerelease of MGM's classic 1994 Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Screenings will take place in select theaters nationwide on ...


Gay News

Kokandy Productions to present 'Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical' June 9-Aug. 7 2022-05-10
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (May 10, 2022) — Kokandy Productions is launching its 10th-anniversary season this summer with the Chicago storefront premiere of Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical—a flirty and fun, nostalgia-packed show ...


Gay News

Tonys: Queer-themed 'A Strange Loop' leads nods; 'Paradise Square,' 'MJ' close behind 2022-05-09
- Nominations for the 75th Tony Awards were announced May 9—and a Pulitzer Prize-winning original musical and a play that recounts the 2008 financial crisis led the nods, CNN reported. Leading the nominations was A Strange Loop, ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.