Whistlin’ Dixie

RESEAL THE DEAL | Drag Tupperware guru Dixie Longate keeps Fort Worth fresh with her show … which also functions as a real Tupperware party.

Dixie Longate peddles plastic as America’s funniest Tupperware Lady

STEVEN LINDSEY | Contributing Writer

Someone at Amway is very jealous, because fast-talkin’, Southern drawlin’ Dixie Longate (né Kris Andersson) has turned catalog sales into a small empire. It’s mostly thanks to some hilarious shtick, the mouth of a sailor and a surprisingly thorough product knowledge in her plastic extravaganza, Dixie’s Tupperware Party.

In her one-woman interactive comedy show, starting Wednesday in Fort Worth’s McDavid Studio, Dixie reveals her sordid past, what with three dead ex-husbands and three children home alone in a trailer in Mobile, Ala. Stints in and out of prison keep her grounded and streetwise. But it’s her genuine passion for those burpable bowls that has made the Tupperware HQ take notice since she began selling nearly a decade ago. After her first year, she landed in the top 20 of national sales and hasn’t ever dropped out of it. Twice, she was the No. 1 Tupppersalesperson in the nation.

“I work real hard,” she says. “When I was No. 1, I was doing buttloads of home parties. I don’t sell as much at my shows because people are coming to be entertained — buyin’ Tupperware is not always on their minds. But I’m not going to take that away. What sort of lady would I be if I showed all this fine-quality plastic crap and then forbid you the opportunity to purchase it? That would just make me sad.”

Even though her show is wildly entertaining, it is an elaborate sales pitch. Tupperware is indeed available for purchase and what she started in small home shows translates just fine to bigger venues because she’s confident in what she does. Becoming Tupperware’s top sales diva has been motivating, but Longate acknowledges that there are other things in life.

“I have tasted sweet victory; now I want to taste other kinds of things,” she laughs. “You have to keep puttin’ stuff in your mouth to keep tastin’ ’em. Victory tastes good. But you know what? So does a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader!”

Longate is stoked to be returning to Texas, if only to experience our hospitality: “Everybody’s so neighborly. People want to have sex with me and I have to say, ‘Not everybody!’ Because I’m busy,” she says. “I didn’t get my chance to ride a mechanical bull, and that makes me happy, so I need to find one when I’m in Fort Worth. There’s nothin’ more fun than gettin’ on mechanical bull and ridin’ more than eight seconds, diggin’ your heels in and just havin’ a cocktail in a Tupperware tumbler in one hand and ridin’ it like a Christian.”

Longate is serious about her Tupperware sippy cup, always in-hand during her parties.

“Oh hell yes, I don’t want to spill my drink. Riding is so much exercise, you need to make sure you’re hydrated.”

Longate takes a dragtastic approach to sales that shocks suburbia. “There are a couple fun gals that are now selling Tupperware, making sure your food storage needs are being met. But you know how some Tupperware ladies just suck ass?” she asks. “They just sit there and they’re boring as hell. You don’t want someone sittin’ there talkin’ to your face about some bowl. You want to get up and have fun and do something crazy. That’s why it’s called a party, after all.”

And it’s one hell of a party. She’s taken it on the road all over the U.S., and even out to sea on several Atlantis gay cruises. It’s there she first came to love and accept the homosexuals — even if she can’t say the word.

“Oh you know what? At first I was a little scurred of the homosectionals because in the Bible they say things like don’t touch tongues with another man because that’s filthy and all that. But I was like, well wait, I touch tongues with other men and they’re so nice,” Longate says. “And then I met some of them homosectionals, and at first I clutched my Bible and said, you’re not supposed to be like that. But let me tell you somethin’. Homoesectionals always smell good and they travel in packs so you don’t want to mess with one because another one’s gonna come up and throw glitter at your head and that’s gonna get in your eye and sting.”

There are also other benefits to hanging out with the homosexual set.

“They are just such nice people, please and thank you and oh-ma’am-you-look-so-pretty-today. They’re never trying to rub up on your leg when they buy you a drink. They just buy you a drink and that’s that. And for that the Bible says I’m supposed to burn them? I don’t believe in that part of the Bible.”

As for her three dead ex-husbands, Longate swears there won’t be a fourth.

“It’s like they say: You can take the milk out of the cow, but you can’t have sex twice in the same room without losing the camcorder. Or something like that,” she says. “I’m gonna have some fun and meet some people behind the dumpster and lift my leg up just enough to put a smile on my face, but I’m not gonna get in a serious relationship again.”

After all, she’s got her job. Tupperware has been very good to her. Her bestsellers continue to be her Jell-O Shot Caddy (for takin’ to church, of course), her safe-edge can opener and a new product that she swears the gays are going to love.

“I know you all go to the gym all the time and work out. We have this little shaker that you put all your protein shakes and stuff in and you shake it up real quick and it blends it without all those big lumps,” she explains. “You don’t want a big lump in your mouth when you’re at the gym. Maybe afterward in the locker room, but that’s different.”

Look for that and plenty of other products to be demonstrated like never before at her party. And because she says the “homosectionals” like beautiful things, she promises you’ll be happy just to sit and stare at her on stage.

“I’m just lucky Jesus made me pretty. I have nice legs and can have sex like a trucker for a month. I might not be able to cook real well and I might not be able to add stuff together without a really big calculator, but that’s what Asian people are for,” she says. “Everybody has their niche.”

And Dixie’s niche is one that can’t be filled by just anyone.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Memories of the Gulf

Ted Kincaid’s digital art recalls a landscape before the environmental catastrophe

PIXEL SHTICK | Ted Kincaid, above, produced two works, right, for an exhibit celebrating the Gulf of Mexico before the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Ted Kincaid is in a somber mood.

The Dallas-based digital artist has for 20 years been recognizable for his uplifting, vibrantly colorful digital cloudscapes (one of his “thunderhead” clouds was shown earlier this year at the Dallas Museum of Art). But his latest exhibition, on display through July 17 at the Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans, resonates with a profound sense of loss and melancholy.

And no wonder. The images currently on display are based on the artist’s memories of the Gulf of Mexico before the BP oil spill.

Kincaid’s contribution, which consists of two hypnotically beautiful seascapes, is part of a 30-piece mixed media group exhibition that focuses on pre-Deepwater Horizon disaster representations of the Gulf Coast region. The exhibit celebrates but also mourns a world and way of life that are rapidly disappearing.

Kincaid, whose partner is local activist and Human Rights Campaign honoree Steve Atkinson, spoke about his art and the tragedy of the spill.

— M.M. Adjarian


Dallas Voice: A genuine passion for nature clearly underlies your work. But why did you specifically want to take part in an exhibition about the gulf before the BP disaster? Kincaid: Arthur [Roger] organized this exhibit as a protest of the tragedy that’s going on in the Gulf and invited me to participate because of the nature of my work.

Did your environmentalism play any role in your decision to be part of this protest show?
Absolutely. I think what’s going on down there is a tragedy like we’ve never seen in our lifetime and it will affect probably all us for the rest of our lives.

Do you remembe
r when and how you become aware of the artistic possibilities the Gulf had for your work? It’s part of a trajectory that’s been happening in my work over the past 15 or so years that involves the veracity of the photograph. So those images, though printed and presented as photographs, are in fact entirely digitally constructed pixel by pixel on my computer. For all practical purposes, they are digital paintings presented as photographs.

But you have traveled to the Gulf. Oh yes, extensively. That’s why it was so important to be involved in this. The two images that are included in the exhibit are directly influenced by the area at the mouth of the Mississippi.

The name of the series from which you chose the images is called The Only Joke God Ever Played On Me. Do you find that title ironic in context of the current exhibition? Absolutely. The title referred more to the sense that images such as cloudscapes and seascapes are fleeting. They’re never static and they’re never repeated. And by the time you’re able to turn someone around and get them to look at what you’re looking at, it’s changed. And it is almost like a joke being played on you.

Only in this case, the joke isn’t divine. It’s more a terrible joke that humanity has played on itself. Yes.

Your images are haunting, disturbing … It’s much like looking at photographs of someone that you love who’s recently died. It’s the memory of what’s not there anymore.

You’ve said that your work documents things that “exist or not… and can be seen or not.” That’s a chilling statement, given that what your images depict no longer exists. Has the oil spill impacted any part of your artistic vision? My work for a number of years has tended to focus on a yearning for what we are losing. And the new work that is currently being produced in the studio has much more of an acute awareness of this than before. It doesn’t have an arrow pointing to it saying “environmental disaster;” it’s more a sense of loss and memory, a sense of something that doesn’t exist anymore. And I think that this oil spill particularly is going to impact my work for the rest of my life.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 02, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas