I don't have anything against drag queens, but I don't particularly have anything for them, either. For someone of the generation that came of age while the general attitude toward homosexuality became slightly more accepting, and a dude in a dress is no longer a shocker, I've never really been all crazy about transvestites. I mean, I find them generally entertaining, I suppose, but I've never been to a drag show or really sought out any environment wherein I'd be exposed to men in taffeta. Also, having lived in close proximity to Boystown for two years, I've become pretty accustomed to passing a few trannies in the street on any given weeknight, which is fairly desensitizing.
Having said that, I was fairly stoked to see Amanda Lepore on Saturday night.
[Disclaimer: I understand that Amanda Lepore is not a drag queen. Rather, she's known as the most successful transsexual (a title, I assume, which bases success on fame and notoriety rather than commercial success), but because her act is based on the fact that she used to be a man, I'm lumping her into that whole scene. Just bear with me here, K? Thx.]
I heard from John that Amanda Lepore would be at Hydrate, and I really wanted to go despite hating Hydrate. For those not in the know, Hydrate is a gay bar in Chicago that's fairly disgusting in the sense that you have to pay to get in and you'll leave with the smell of smoke and desperation all up in your clothes. There was apparently an open bar from ten to eleven that night, and they weren't charging cover if you went before ten, but "Hydrate Before Ten" sounded like a level of Hell I had yet to (nor did I wish to) experience, so I drank a lot of vodka beforehand and figured a five dollar cover wasn't too painful.
And, as an aside, I'd like to express why, exactly, I think Hydrate is particularly disgusting. Two bits of information: A. I knew someone who was roofied there, which doesn't surprise me because the place has a very strong sense of somewhat willing date-rape going on, and B. There's a sign in the bathroom that says (and I'm only slightly paraphrasing here), "Don't do meth." Not "Don't do drugs;" it specifically warns that users of crystal meth will be removed from the club. Classy!
So anyway. As John, Leah, and I approached Hydrate, I saw that at the front of the thankfully short line in front of the entrance there was a slender young man wearing big shoes, tiny shorts, and black and white body paint all over his chest and face in a pattern to make him resemble a court-jester, and I started to realize that I'd made a big mistake and was headed straight into Party Monster. Then we had to stand around for an hour and a half, since Amanda Lepore wasn't slated to go on until one in the morning (and the bitch was late, natch), listening to the repetitive beats of house / trance (whatevs) blast in our ears as we watched men in platform shoes wander through the crowd. Finally, around one-thirty, a haggard-looking transvestite to the stage to do an introduction, which was fairly muffled over the crowd's impatient chatter. Then Amanda came out to "perform" her "hits": "My Pussy (Is Famous)," in which Ms. Lepore repeated the p-word over and over; "My Hair Looks Fierce," which contains the lyric, "The party starts as soon as my dress drops," (um, and it did); and "Champagne," which is a clever little number about champagne. And she was completely naked on stage. Thankfully, I was too far back to see any fake vag*, but I did see some big old fake titties (but really, I was expecting that, since you can't Google Amanda Lepore without finding pictures of her chest).
Unfortunately, we skipped the meet and greet.
You may be asking yourself, "Why, Tyler, did you partake in this event if you kind of knew how bad it was going to be?" Well, Internet, it's because I do enjoy a good train wreck** every now and then. It's refreshing to experience all of the low-brow culture our society has to offer, since it makes me feel like a goddamn Proust scholar in comparison. Sometimes watching a tiny, plastic human prance around on stage while lip-syncing to a song about her fake genitalia makes one feel more alive and, honestly, distinguished. People like Amanda Lepore get all coked up and act a mess so us normal people don't have to. Plus, they make stories on Gawker possible, which in turn gives me something to read at work.
*Luckily for me, John found pictures from the evening on that gossip blog. (Link NSFW.) (But seriously, don't click it.) (I'm serious, you guys, don't do it.)
**Speaking of train wrecks, I've considered downloading I Know Who Killed Me. Can you really call that a wasted hour and forty-five minutes if you get to see someone hit LiLo in the face with a shovel? I call that a reward.