Outrageous Oral: Four Dallas Icons On Stage Together for the First Time

Four legendary performers spoke about their careers as “charity drag queens” at the May 21 edition of Outrageous Oral in The Rose Room.

Outrageous Oral is the oral history project of The Dallas Way. Videos of the presentations are available online.

Although the four — Michael Lee, Sister Helen Holy, Edna Jean Robinson and Patti le Plae Safe — had all worked with each other many times, this was the first time the four had all performed together. All are known for what they called “charity drag,” raising money for LGBT and AIDS organizations, rather than pageants and professional drag — although Edna Jean and Patti have both won national pageant titles.

During the ’80s and ’90s, Michael Doughman performed as Michael Lee. He said he hadn’t been in a dress in several years and had to borrow the dress he wore. His performance for The Dallas Way he called his last. Rather than heels, he wore house shoes as he recounted how he became “a man in a dress,” which he called simply “funny.”

Rodd Gray continues to perform as Patti le Plae Safe. He recounted the years when he performed seven nights a week to raise money for every AIDS organization in town. He said it never mattered how much money he raised, as long as he was raising money.

Paul J. Williams told how his Helen Holy character evolved and then circulated through the audience picking out individuals and groups to show how she’s just a liiiiiiiittle bit better.

Edna Jean used video and pictures to tell her story. For more than 20 years, she’s appeared in videos, on TV, in movies and on stage, entertaining and raising money for groups throughout the LGBT community.

—  David Taffet

Goodbye, Edna Jean

IMG_0519For many in Dallas, it’s difficult to remember a time when Richard Curtin aka Edna Jean Robinson was not stalking the halls of S4 (like, when it was still Village Station). Alas, all things come to an end. After 21 years, Curtin has left Caven Enterprises to strike out on a new venture: owner and manager of Zippers, which he recently renovated (including the addition of a piano bar and new DJ booth). “Im excited about this new chapter; I’m also very ready,” Curtain said.

IMG_0525As a farewell, many of the manager and drag diva’s close friends and well-wishers gathered at S4 on Monday for a farewell salute and party. Among those paying their respects were Kelexis Davenport, Cassie Nova, Lalya LaRue, Krystal Summers and Valerie Lohr (pictured above with Curtin). Of course, it’s not really “goodbye;” it’s just “don’t let the door hit yo’ ass on the way out, beeyotch!” I mean, they are drag queens.

Best of luck! We’ll see you at Zippers!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

LISTEN: Edna Jean Robinson’s holiday single ‘Boobs for Christmas’

Richard Curtin is well into the holiday spirit with a new single by his alter ego Edna Jean Robinson. Curtin has released “Boobs 4 Christmas” just in time for a slew of upcoming performances on the strip. But the must-see show will be the Edna Jean Trailer Park Christmas at JR.’s Bar & Grill which benefits the holiday gift project for students at Sam Houston Elementary.

Read the spirited press release after the jump with a schedule of upcoming performances.

—  Rich Lopez