Cassie Nova • 08.05.16

Cassie’s ‘Sordid’ history with movies

full-64b3b0-sordidlives-3dartfinalOh Em Gee!!! I am gonna be a movie star! No seriously! Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to take a role in Del Shores’ sequel to the fabulous film Sordid Lives, called A Very Sordid Wedding. Del has been a fan of the Rose Room for years and I was lucky enough to be asked to be in a scene set there. Acting-wise, it was a real stretch for me: I played a bitchy drag queen named Cassie Nova. I know, I was totally typecast. Anyhoo, more on that later. Let me tell you why this was a real full circle moment for me.

Around 2000, myself, Celeste Martinez, Valerie Lohr and her husband Johnny went to the Inwood Theatre to see Sordid Lives, which all the gays were talking about. We loved it. It’s fabulous fun. If you have never seen it, do it now. (Who am I kidding, everyone has seen it.) It’s got drag, death, wooden legs and some characters that reminded me way too much of my family. It has almost as many quotable lines as Steel Magnolias, and you know how much we love to quote a line from a movie. I can’t tell you how many times I have said, “Ohhkaaaaayyyyyyy” or “Now if you will please excuse me, I have a show to do.” I don’t have a lot of use for the “Shoot her in the head, Wardell!” but I keep it locked and loaded just in case.

I loved the movie so much that I bought it when it came out on DVD (for $89.99 I think!). DVD’s were expensive as fuck when they first came out back then. Hell, I remember when Blockbuster would charge you over a hundred bucks if you lost one of their shitty cassettes. Anyway, I took the Sordid Lives DVD to my mom’s house in Italy, Texas, and forced her and my Aunt Zina to watch it with me. I don’t know what I was thinking. Back then, my family and I didn’t have an open dialogue about being gay and the drag stuff — not like we do now. And Sordid Lives is freakin’ full of gay and drag stuff.

To be honest, there were a few times during the movie that I felt uncomfortable watching with my mother. When Ty tells his mama he’s gay, my mama’s living room got very tense for a second. My own coming out story was painful and a very touchy subject with Mom at that time. Looking back, I can plainly see that watching that movie with Mom changed something in the way we talked about me being gay. We joked about it more … actually started to talk about it more. It may have put some things into perspective for my mother. I bet she thought, “At least we are not as fucked up as that family.”

She is still not completely on board with the drag thing, and I don’t think Brother Boy or Dr. Eve helped with that. When Mom first found out I was gay, one of the first things she said to me was, “You betta not ever dress up like no woman!” Being gay was one thing, but being a drag queen on top of that might have been too much for any mother to bear. She ignored it as long as she could, but at some point I guess she figured out that Cassie was not a phase, but a profession. My drag persona was a large part of her son’s life and she wasn’t going anywhere. Now my mom sees that I am not a woman trapped in a man’s body but rather an entertainer whose voice wears women’s clothing to be heard.

I know my mama and my Aunt Zina enjoyed the movie because they laughed and cackled through the whole thing. Plus Momma loves Beau Bridges — I think she got some serious ladywood for him. I’ve even heard her say, “Ohhkaaaaayyyyyyy” in a very Brother Boy voice.

When Del Shores told me that he wrote Cassie Nova into the next chapter of the Sordid Lives saga, I about died. I was so freakin’ excited … but I am one of those people that don’t want to get their hopes up about anything. I hate being disappointed, and I was not.

The day we filmed I was so nervous. I didn’t want to fuck up something that suddenly meant the world to me. I always want to do a good job at everything I do, but I was on the verge of a panic attack. I could not get out of my head. What if I am awful? What if I stutter like I just got donkey punched in the head? What if I vomit or have a heart attack right on camera? So many stupid, ridiculous scenarios going through my head.

Then Del does what a great director is supposed to do. He told me what to do and how to do it. He stroked my ego enough to get me to a positive, strong and fun place. I had one of the coolest moments of my life: I got to be in a scene with Leslie Jordan. That damn Leslie Jordan is a hoot. He is the nicest, craziest off-the-wall person I have ever met. He is exactly who you think he is — a joy.

My second scene had me being introduced and entering the stage in the Rose Room. We rehearsed it a few times and once again I was in my head. Even though I was doing what I have done hundreds of times, walking out onto stage and starting the show, I started to doubt myself and my abilities. When they yelled “Rolling!” for a second I thought, “Oh, fuck, I can’t.” Then they yelled “Action!” and across the way, on the other side of the stage. I saw someone waving at me. It was Emerson Collins. Emerson is a wonderful actor and is one of the producers of the film, and is a very good friend of mine. He’s on that show The People’s Couch and was incredible in Del’s play and movie Southern Baptist Sissies. He is also a very good looking man.

So he is waving at me just seconds before I am to walk on stage and do what I do. I see him and start to wave back when he drops his pants and shakes his dick at me. He full helicoptered his meat at me just as they called my name. It was honestly one of the nicest things that anyone has ever done for me. Not because I got to see his peen (which was lovely) but because he knew I was a little to in my head. It was funny, shocking and just what I needed to clear away any self-doubt I had. It changed my whole thought process from nervous energy to “let’s kick some ass!” And I did.

Del let me do what I do and let me run with it. I did my lines and then went into messing with people in the crowd just like I do in the regular Rose Room show. The crowd of extras in the audience were all fans of Sordid Lives or the Rose Room. Many were fans of both, so the energy in the room was incredible. When Del yelled, “Cut!” the crowd started to applaud really loud. It was such a great moment. It was such a great feeling.

I’ve worked on a few other movies over the years, but nothing as professional or as well run as A Very Sordid Wedding. It was so cool to see Del in his element, doing what he was born to do. I knew he was a great writer, but to experience him directing was amazing. Over all, it was a very good day. One I will remember forever. Thank you Del, Emerson, Leslie and especially the big beefy cameraman with the full beard. You will be in my spank bank forever!
Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova.

If you have a question of comment, email it to AskCassieNova@gmail.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Looking for something to do Sunday? How about a ‘Sordid’ pool party?

Del-Shores-32If you’re looking to enjoy the summer at a pool party and your a movie buff, have we got the party for you. Later this month, Del Shores and Emerson Collins will be in town filming A Very Sordid Wedding, the first-ever sequel to Shores’ cult classic play and movie Sordid Lives (his Logo TV series was a prequel). And if you wanna meet them (as well as WFAA anchor Ron Corning and drag queen Cassie Nova), and support the production, you can buy a ticket ($50) that goes toward the film’s budget and enjoy a beautiful day at an Uptown pool with drinks by Stoli and Sordid-themed ice cream. You can purchase your ticket here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

You can be part of a ‘Sordid Wedding!’

Del-Shores-32Del Shores — he of the snarky Texas-twanged rants against religious hypocrisy and homophobia, in works from Southern Baptist Sissies to Queer as Folk— is primed to begin filming his latest movie, the first official sequel to his signature hit Sordid Lives. A Very Sordid Wedding puts your favorite characters in the receiving line of a gay wedding — which, thanks to SCOTUS, is now just called “a wedding” — and will begin filming soon in the Metroplex. But the groundwork isn’t done yet. Shores and his producer (and Dallas Voice contributor) Emerson Collins will join Louise H. Beard for a fundraising and location scouting tour of North Texas this week. If you want to be part of the producing team, you can attend an investors’ informational meeting Friday in Fort Worth or Saturday in Dallas (both at private homes, starring at 7:30 p.m.). The minimum buy-in is $25,000, but if you don’t have that much cash in a drawer, you can always pool some money with your friends … and be on the cutting edge of the marriage equality movement.

To learn more, email Del at DelShores@me.com. And if you see him around town looking at sites, come up and say howdy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Del Shores will launch all-new show at the Rose Room in April

creditPaulBoulonoptionwaistup300dDel Shores aways remembers his texas roots — it’s why he’s forever coming back to Dallas with his one-man comedy shows. His newest one will launch here (at the Rose Room, natch) on April 17. Called Del Shores: SINgularly Sordid, in it he discusses life post divorce at getting back into date scene in the age of Tinder, Grindr and Scruff, as well as letters from haters and dishy Hollywood stories.

And it won’t be his only trip here. He’ll begin filming A Very Sordid Wedding as soon as he can, which will be shot in and around Dallas and prominently feature the Rose Room.

Tickets to SINgularly Sordid are available here ($10 standing room, $20 seated, $30 VIP).

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Del Shores set to make ‘Sordid Lives’ sequel, shoot it in Dallas

0600 flashDel Shores is finally following up his hit play/movie/TV series Sordid Lives with an official sequel. His next feature film will be A Very Sordid Wedding, picking up 16 years after the original. Castmembers Leslie Jordan, Bonnie Bedelia and Caroline Rhea are set to reprise their roles, and as the title suggests, there’ll be a wedding … and a same-sex one, at that.

And the above-named folks won’t be the only familiar names in the cast — one of the scenes will take place in the Rose Room, and Shores has even written parts for some of the ladies there.

“I never felt, like much of the Sordid Lives fan base, that I was done with the denizens of Winters, Texas,” Shores says.

The film will be produced by Shores’ business partner (and Dallas Voice contributor) Emerson Collins, and there’s even a IndieGoGo website if you want to contribute to the making of it. Click here for that.

Shores was just in North Texas for the screening at Q Cinema of Southern Baptist Sissies, another of his Texas-based riffs on conservative, religion and homosexuality.

Here’s a video of Shores talking about the project filming in Dallas.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The wit and wisdom of Leslie Jordan

IMG_3157In this week’s cover story, I interviewed Leslie Jordan, Del Shores and Emerson Collins about their upcoming appearances in Dallas at both a fundraiser for Al McAffrey and screenings of their film Southern Baptist Sissies. As with most interviews, your subjects say a lot more than you can use in the final story. Most of the time, you just let it go. But when Leslie Jordan is talkin’, there are just too many gems to let them be lost forever.

Here, then, are some of the great comments Leslie made during our talk that I didn’t have room for in the story. Enjoy!

On the scope of his fame: I was performing at the Leicester Square Playhouse in London — you know what’s really popular over there? Sordid Lives! Who knew? Anyway, I was walking down the street at Piccadilly Circus and this cab slows down and the cabbie shouts, “Can you see my pussy now?” Then he took off, laughing! But I got misty eyed. People are screaming my lines at me out of taxicabs — I’m an international star!

On interacting with his co-stars: I was doing a show with an actress who plays one of the maids on Downton Abbey, her name is Siobhan Finneran and she tells me, “Just call be Shiv.” “Shiv?!” I said. “In American, ‘Shiv’ is what they stab people with in prison!”

On his rent-boy obsession: I spent three weeks in Puerto Vallarta [recently]. The best part of being there are the beautiful brown boys who hang out in the square. They’re all married straight boys with children, and all you have to say is, “Do you need a little diaper money?”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

More Q Cinema scoop: ‘Something Real’

realSouthern Baptist Sissies is the main attraction at Q Cinema tonight, but it’s not the only film screening. It is preceded by the short Something Real. Part music video, part withering internal monologue, it features celebrity stars from Rex Lee to Jack Plotnick to Coco Peru to Bruce Vilanch, as well as music from Tony winner Jeff Marx (Avenue Q). Writer-director Guy Shalem looks into the minds of a cross-section of gay guys at a dick-dancer bar as they reveal the secret thoughts they have about sex, themselves and each other. It’s full of hilarious observations (some quite judgmental — surprise) and smoothly executed — a total hoot.

And look in Dallas Voice tomorrow (print and online) for reviews and previews of additional films playing at Q Cinema, as well as an interview with founder Todd Camp.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: “Southern Baptist Sissies’ trailer, at Q Cinema Thursday

This week, I reviewed Southern Baptist Sissies, Del Shores’ filmed version of his play, which opens the 15th Q Cinema tomorrow night. To help prime the pump for the event, then, I offer you the film’s trailer, after the break.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

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Our Readers Voice Awards issue is out now, and you see what won all the favorites of our readers — from favorite personal trainer to hottest bartender to top local chef — but there’s also tons more going on in town this week.

Friday, you have two chances to see Del Shores’ one-man show at the Rose Room — at 5 p.m. and then at 8 — which will be recorded for an upcoming DVD release. Standing-room-only tickets are available for as little as $10, but if you are one of the first 10 people to email kristamartinpr@gmail.com, you can win free tickets to the show. Also at the Rose Room for two shows this week? Comedian Bruce Vilanch. He’ll be performing March 28 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

On Saturday night, DIFFA returns with its second year featuring smoking jackets. Once again, runway legend Jan Strimple is in charge of the show, so it should be a hoot. It’s at the Anatole starting at 6 p.m. You can also get your fashion fix this week at Legal Hospice of Texas’ Fashion Cited event and Dress 4 Yellow, both next Thursday.

On Sunday morning, the inaugural Big Gay Brunch Party gets going at Blue Mesa Grill in Addison, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with DJ Michael Evans spinning.

Two indie theaters have very gay-themed plays opening this week. Up in Addison, MBS Productions is staging the original work The Futility of Hope, pictured, about a teenage girl who seeks out her birth father, only to be shocked to find out he’s a gay man. Over at the Green Zone near the Design District, Bruce Coleman has written and directed two one-acts he collectively calls The Apartment Plays: A Conversation with a (Potentially) Naked Man and Larry Kramer Hates Me. And at the Kalita for a one-night-only event you can see old-school DTC veterans Carole Cook and Tom Troupe in a staged reading of the Pulitzer-winning play The Gin Game on Monday at 7 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

It’s not Pride Weekend, so why is so much going on this week?

Oh, wait — it kind of is Pride Weekend. It’s Gay Christmas — aka Halloween! That accounts for a lot of the goings-on: The Street Party on Saturday, the rugby tournament HellFest (timed, as its name suggests, to coincide with All Hallow’s Eve), the drag dinner and brunch at Dish with Candis Cayne. (Hotel Zaza’s monthly Sunday School brunch, with a costume theme, is also on Sunday.) And you can kinda see why Dallas Theater Center would open its dress-up play about pro wrestling when folks are all into costumes as well. (It also explains OhLook’s Evil Dead musical and MBS Productions’ annual classics of the macabre, Theatre of Death.)

But what accounts for Blues for Willadean being booked for a week-long stay at the Angelika Film Center Mockingbird Station, with writer-director Del Shores and producer Emerson Collins in attendance for some Q&A screenings? And with Cloud Atlas — co-directed by trans woman Lana Wachowski — laying claim to being probably the highest profile movie ever with a prominent (and frank) gay storyline, it’s an embarrassment of riches for moviegoers. And why are so many non-spooky themed stage productions opening, from Dallas Opera’s Aida to Lyric Stage’s 1776?

There’s also a chance to enjoy to new $100 million Klyde Warren Deck Park, pictured, which has its festivities all weekend.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones