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
stevencraiglindsey@me.com

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

Concert Notice: MEN at The Loft in April

Back in 2007 when their band Le Tigre was on hiatus, members JD Samson and Johanna Fatemen created the side project MEN. The magazine Sentimentalist describes them best: “Anthemic, synth-heavy dance beats team up with fiery topics from sexual freedom to wartime economies to both queer lifestyle and pleasure politics in MEN’s cathartic songs like ‘Who Am I to Feel So Free?,’ making them the perfect band to open tours for The Gossip and Peaches in America, in addition to doing their own headlining stints in the U.S. and overseas.”

And headlining they will be come April 1 touring in support of their upcoming February release Talk About Body. Fatemen is less a member and more a contributing writer to the band, but the out Samson, center, holds down the fort and brings her activist gay party perspective to the alt-dance pop side project. I mean, just check out this video for the single “Off Our Backs.” Pretty gay … and hot.

Tickets are $10 now and $12 at the door.

—  Rich Lopez

Shawn lately

Comic Pelofsky pairs with Dallas’ Paul J. Williams for a gay ol’ time Saturday

COMIC PAIR  |  Paul J. Williams, right, opens for comedian Shawn Pelofsky at the Rose Room Saturday.
COMIC PAIR | Paul J. Williams, right, opens for comedian Shawn Pelofsky at the Rose Room Saturday.

SHAWN PELOFSKY
The Rose Room at Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. Sept. 25. Show begins at 9:30 p.m. $4 cover. Caven.com

…………………………

Shawn Pelofsky has probably been on more gay cruises that any straight woman should feel comfortable claiming.

The L.A.-based comic, who performs nationwide with her Lady Haha & Friends Tour, has appeared on E! with Chelsea Handler, but is familiar to gay travelers for her frequent stints on Atlantis Cruises. She brings her act, alongside local comedian Paul J. Williams, for a show at the Rose Room Saturday.

Pelofsky chatted (with Williams) about what she likes about Dallas’ gay community and why she is so popular with gay audiences (hint: It’s her schnoz).

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas Voice: You were here a few years ago at the Lakewood Theater; how did this show come about? Pelofsky: I was already booked in Austin. I had a lot of requests from the Dallas boys from working the Atlantis Cruises so I thought, “If I’m gonna be that close, and we make it happen…” So I called Paul and he did it.

Williams: I am just a vessel for you to perform.

Pelofsky: Paul is so nice and funny.

Are we talking about the same person? Pelofsky: Yes. You can’t get much by me. He’s funny.

You’re straight — how’d you get to be so big in the gay community? Pelofsky: I was born with a Streisand face, so I couldn’t dodge anyone in the gay community — they stop me all the time. Actually, I wasn’t born with it — I broke my nose three times and it got this way. I think with that, people noticed me a little more.

About five or six yeas ago, I just noticed most of my friends were young gay men and I was working a lot of gay venues in Los Angeles. Then the Atlantis [Cruises] people saw me. I was really one of the first straight comics to work so much for them. I really represent the community because I understand that thought process, that mind behind the gay man. It’s my mind. And I’m very accepting.

Do you tailor your act for your audiences? Pelofsky: Sure. Believe it or not, I have worked in front of kids, and I do kid humor. Or when I’m in front of a bunch of old Jews in New Jersey. I can’t do all my gay material when I’m in Afghanistan for the troops.

Do you do it at all? Any “don’t ask, don’t tell” jokes when performing for the troops? Pelofsky: I haven’t really touched that. They say do nothing about that or the president. I just don’t go there. But it does come off the cuff…. But I do love gay humor. And I do it when I work at the Comedy Store.

Do you have any topics that are burning a hole in you comically speaking? Pelofsky: Yes, Prop 8. I support it. Just kidding!

You’ve worked Vegas — did you hear they are closing the Liberace Museum? Pelofsky: Yes! Who doesn’t wanna go to the Liberace Museum?

Williams: I just wanna know if they’re having a garage sale. I’d buy anything shaped like a piano.

Pelofsky: I want a Bedazzled jock strap.

You grew up in Oklahoma as, as you put it, one of 10 Jews born and raised in the state. Do you like coming back to your old stomping grounds? Pelofsky: I have not been to Texas in a few years. I’m not going home until Monday — gonna stay longer because I have a couple of best friends there. I will tell you this, though: I will always get to Texas before I get back to Oklahoma. My dad says, “You gonna be playing Dallas and not Oklahoma?” Yes.

But you like performing here? Pelofsky: Yes, I’m excited! I think the Dallas gay community is one of the best-looking communities, and I’ve been around. And yes, I know everything is bigger in Texas. And everyone knows I’m a size queen.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Applause • Thoroughly modern Jeffrey

Jeffrey Grove, the DMA’s new gay curator of Contemporary Art, takes a forward-thinking approach to keeping art — and museums — vibrant

JEF TINGLEY  | Contributing Writer

Jeffrey Grove
Jeffrey Grove, who came to the Dallas Museum of Art last fall as its first titled curator of Contemporary Art, poses in the museum’s sculpture garden. Photography by Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas Museum of Art
1717 Harwood St. The Jeffrey Grove-curated Luc Tuymans exhibit
continues through Sept. 5. Tuesdays–Sundays, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (open until 9 p.m. Thursdays). $10. 214-922-1200. DallasMuseumofArt.org.

For Jeffrey Grove, modern art is more than just a paint-splattered canvas or the iconic portrait of a soup can; it’s a way of life. The Dallas Museum of Art’s newly minted Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art boasts stints at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art. In addition to being the first person at the museum to hold the modern art curator title, there’s one particular item on Grove’s extensive resume that always piques the most curiosity: “Founding curator of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.”

“It’s everyone’s favorite part of my history,” Grove says with a grin. “And a very fun place.”

Originally a student of industrial design, Grove began his career wanting to make objects, but along the way he became more interested in the history of the things themselves — and consequently developed a passion for art history. After receiving a master’s degree in archeology and art history from the University of Missouri, Grove received a doctorate in art history from Case Western Reserve University.

While studying art, Grove simultaneously began immersing himself in artists’ culture and the act of staging small shows.
“I really wanted to help artists translate their ideas — you know, be a facilitator,” he says. And his career as curator was born.
Grove arrived at the Dallas Museum of Art last September to help its department of Contemporary Art with exhibitions, programming, publications and acquisitions. One of his immediate large-scale projects was coordinating the presentation of the first U.S. retrospective of the work of the Belgian painter Luc Tuymans. Jointly organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts, the installation showcases Tuymans’ interest in interiors, landscapes and figural representations. Among the highlights of this particular showing are six additional works by the artist on loan from Dallas residents, on view through Sept. 5.

In conjunction to the installation, Grove has coordinated a sculptural installation to supplement the artist’s iconic works entitled Mass and Material: Sculpture Since the 1960s, featuring work by artists Barry Le Va, Charles Ray and Bruce Nauman, among others. It runs through Oct. 24.

“It’s the first solo show I have done [at the DMA]. It’s drawn from Tuymans to be a compliment to the painting exhibition.”
Given the often unfamiliar and non-traditional nature of contemporary art, Grove faces a larger challenge than many other curators: How to get people to connect with the often abstract or misunderstood.

Over the years, Grove has developed numerous exhibitions, including the 1997 retrospective Fame & Misfortune dedicated to the life of LGBT icon Andy Warhol, a giant of contemporary art.

“You see his self portrait in magazines. He’s the [contemporary] artist that every school child knows and thinks is the greatest thing since sliced bread,” says Grove, who is also gay.

Nonetheless, he’s quick to squelch the notion that modern art must be explained away to be enjoyed.

“I don’t feel like people have to know it to appreciate the work, but certainly a more contextual knowledge creates an understanding of the artist’s situation, which leads to different identification the viewers’ part,” he says. “Didactic wall hangings, smart phones or someone like me giving you the information [are some of] the preferred ways.”

And because of the nature of contemporary art, the collection he oversees is always growing and changing. A quick look at his bookshelf brimming with muses, including gay artists like Jasper Johns and the late Texas Robert Rauschenberg, gives a hint to what’s on Grove’s wish list for the museum. However, he’s careful to add that the collection requires specific parameters when adding new acquisitions.

“[You must know] what compliments what is already here and really analyze the collection. Where it is going? Where can strengths be built? What is being collected in the community?” he notes, adding that he’s still working on all these questions having only been on the job less than a year.

Earlier this year, Grove led an after hours “walk & talk” for the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Dallas as part of its partnership with the DMA. It was a chance to introduce Grove to Dallas’ LGBT community while allowing participants to hear firsthand his unique perspective about the museum’s collection — witty quips and all.

With a bright view of the future, Grove sees a new dynamic in the way museums and individuals will continue to collect art, specifically modern art. “I think that the change will be in the distinction between private collecting and institutional collecting,” he says. “Speaking particularly about contemporary collecting, on a high level Dallas is already a pioneer in partnering with individuals and organizations to share acquisitions. ­­No great museum can afford to buy all the great art and keep pace with cultural production.”

As for staging his dream collection, Grove says, “stay tuned,” but should it not work out, he can always return to his bio highlight, a world of espionage and double agents. As he says, in a tone laced with sarcasm, “All the conspiracies are true: It’s all a way to support things like Salt.”

The Angelia Jolie spy movie? No, thanks. We prefer Grove in this day job working with some real art.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas