Before appearing with Turtle Creek Chorale, Vera Carp (aka Jaston Williams) shares secrets about Tuna, Texas’ most prominent socialite
“Being a satirist is more and more difficult because there’s nowhere to go,” laments Jaston Williams, one of the geniuses behind Greater Tuna. “It’s a sad day when the only candidate running for president with any testosterone is Hillary Clinton.”
But Williams will put his poisoned political pen in his pocket at least for a little while when he joins the Turtle Creek Chorale next week for two of its final three performances under the leadership of artistic director Tim Seelig, who’s stepping down next month after 20 seasons as head of the Chorale.
“The last time [writing partner Joe Sears] and I got to do a show with the Chorale was just about as much fun I have ever had,” he says. “I’m really going to miss Tim. He has an amazing presence.”
To preview the performance, Williams agreed to let his most popular character, Vera Carp, come clean about some things nobody knows about her. Here they are.
Secret no. 1: Vera’s age is Sorry, that’s still a secret.
“I can’t tell you except to say I’m an old woman now. I haven’t had it since it had me. All I can say is, I’m younger than Pearl considerably. I asked her once what it was like to ride on a chariot she got so upset. But I swear she knew Moses.”
Secret no. 2: Vera has a surprisingly racy sexual past.
“I had a brief affair with Donald Rumsfeld,” she meekly confesses. “But I had to call it off. He was, shall we say, too “‘quick’ he’d just yell “‘bombs away!’ and he was done. All hat and no cattle, if you know what I mean.”
And how did she keep such a scandalous affair a secret in Tuna, Texas, for so long?
“It was very difficult mainly because of me,” she says. “I just have to talk. Like when our high school football coach got with the mascot. It was just awful. We never did get the 50 yard line cleaned up.”
Secret no. 3: Vera’s on a mission.
“I’ve started a new organization to stop sex on the television mostly because I keep falling off it,” she says. “There’s a reason they used to make TVs solid state. Those thin screens, there’s just not enough room to do it on them. I had to go to the doctor to find the rabbit ears. Of course, Pearl has cable those cable men now go anywhere.”
Secret no. 4: Vera disapproves of Mary Cheney though not, perhaps, for the reasons you think.
“What a waste of a turkey baster why did she have to keep the gene pool going?” she asks. “Couldn’t she have just gotten a Springer Spaniel? Nature was trying to stop it. God knows what that child will be like. It was like when I saw Baby Suri in Vanity Fair. She looked like she had just eaten her nanny. Look at the hair on that thing! It’s “‘The Omen.’”
Secret no. 5: Vera is a big fan of the Turtle Creek Chorale.
Tuna’s cultural doyenne isn’t known for being what you’d call gay-friendly. So how did she hook up with the Chorale in the first place?
“We didn’t “‘hook up’ as such,” she growls. “I heard about them through my son Virgil. You know, he wanted to go to beauty school in Dallas. Of course, we put him through a series of 47 shock treatments. He’s doing really well now, though every time he walks into a room the lights come on.”
In between electro-shocks, Virgil told Vera about the all-male chorus.
“I love men who can sing high. I loved Mario Lanza he could sing high and make meatballs at the same time. So I decided I’d sing with them. I’ve got the lowest voice on the stage.”
She remains a little puzzled by some of the backstage gabber, though. “I got very confused backstage when everyone was say “‘girl, this’ and “‘girl, that’ the only two girls back there were both big women in leather biker uniforms named Sheila.”
FABULOUS FAVORITES FROM TURTLE CREEK CHORALE
Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St.
June 22 and 24 at 8 p.m. $15-$48.
214-526-3214, ext. 102. TurtleCreek.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 15, 2007.