Drag diva Miss Coco Peru dabbled with her New Year’s resolutions before binging her one-woman tour to Texas
You might think a drag performer would not want to be best known for getting squirted in the eye. But Coco Peru’s bathroom monologue in 1999’s Trick has become an iconic and randomly quotable scene. And she still loves it.
"Face it, I’m a drag queen. I had fantasies of being in movies so I love when people come up to me about that. People will just blurt ‘It burns!’ to me out of nowhere. It never gets old. One always hopes to have an impact on people," she says.
That doesn’t mean she should be relegated to the past. Peru is looking to the new year in bigger and brighter fashion — or at least with a reasonable peace of mind. Peru approaches her 2010 resolutions with a lot more practicality than one might imagine.
"Oh honey, my first resolution is to pay off my mortgage. I need to make some money to pay off that thing. I will perform in people’s living rooms or a nudist colony — although no one needs to see me nude," she says.
Drag divas have mortgages? Peru just received an achievement award for her charity work and activism from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center presented by Zachary Quinto. You know, that guy from Heroes. Spock from Star Trek. People who get awards from other celebs don’t have a mortgage.
"Yeah! I just have to keep making Coco’s hard cash," she says.
Which perhaps is what brings her to Texas. Peru visits the Lone Star state for the first time (officially) this month with stops in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, starting Jan. 15. A hefty tour of Texas’ major cities should cover a couple of months of residential living just fine. But her excitement for coming here is beyond padding the checkbook.
"I’ve never been [to Texas] so I’m looking forward to it. It’s a drag queen’s dream because I can appreciate the high hair. And I’m definitely looking forward to the food. I can’t wait to smell so much grease in my life," she says.
She brings a show that’s not your typical drag stint. She calls herself a storyteller with a show that’s more theater than camp. Peru refrains from the lip-syncing.
Instead, she goes into one-woman monologues detailing life experiences, including cracking on her mom, which kind of sounds like another redhead comedian big in the gay community.
"I love Kathy Griffin. I think we were separated at birth. I don’t think she stole my act but she at least stole my hairdo," Peru says.
With the new year and new shows, comes preparation. Peru has included this into her resolutions. She is going to work on the one promise everybody makes this year.
"I need to drop about five pounds. People are always trying to lose weight, right? My big thing is grapefruit. I don’t know what it is about grapefruit but when I eat them, I lose weight. I discovered this 15 years ago!"
It’s Coco’s last resolution though that could change the world, even if it is for selfish reasons.
"Well, I attract crazy people and it can be a problem at my shows: Gum snappers, snorers, talkers. But mostly texters. I don’t go to movies anymore because of them. People have forgotten how to behave in public. That’s my last resolution for 2010. To start reeducating people in public manners … or just shoot them," Peru proclaims.
Guns are man’s best friend in Texas — although, based on her past, maybe shooting with a gun wasn’t what she had in mind. With that kind of attitude, and seeing how she’ll be here soon after her resolutions are set to go, she should fit right in.
"Oh yeah! We can bond on guns. I’m feeling very trigger-happy," she says.
Coco Peru performs Jan. 15 at the Rose Room. For information about the show, visit MissCoco.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 1, 2010.