She’s a wonder!

For drag diva Celeste Martinez, Wonder Woman isn’t an act — she’s a way of life

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

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CELESTE MARTINEZ
The Rose Room inside Station 4,
3911 Cedar Springs Road. July 1­3. Shows begin at approximately 11 p.m. and midnight. Caven. com.

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When Michael was a boy, his parents divorced and he went to live with dad, who worked all the time and was seldom home. So little Michael found a role model on TV.

“That’s when Wonder Woman came on television,” he recalls, referring to the CBS series starring Lynda Carter. “Wonder Woman was a second mother to me, one who taught me right from wrong in a way. She stood for something. Plus she was so statuesque and feminine and graceful, but still stern and strong. I watched that show religiously and as soon as the episode was over, I was back outside, reenacting what had just happened.”

The series ended in 1979, but by the time Michael had grown into drag diva Celeste Martinez, the Amazonian princess was still a powerful force. Since 1993, appearing as Wonder Woman has been the hallmark of Martinez’s drag act.

It’s not just a passing fancy, either. Martinez has every single Wonder Woman comic book since 1983. “When I got my first job, the first thing I did with my paycheck was get a subscription to Wonder Woman,” she says.

Martinez’s devotion has also made her a regular at Zeus Comics, the gay-run superhero store on Lemmon. Such a fixture is she there, Martinez even appears in the next episode of The Variants, the web-based comedy series set at Zeus. (See sidebar.)

“I’ve known [store owner] Richard Neal for years,” she gushes. “They are a fun group.”

But before her debut as a Web star, Martinez will show her patriotism this Independence Day weekend with a series of shows at the Rose Room — all in the guise of her hero, whom she sincerely tries to evoke onstage in spirit as much as appearance.

Martinez’s costume — golden lasso, bullet-deflecting bracelets, tiara, cape, boots and star-spangled panties, all in the colors of the America flag — is familiar to fans of the classic character as well as the TV series, but maybe not so much the new generation of comic readers. That’s intentional.

“With issue no. 600 [of Wonder Woman], they were trying to get a bigger audience so they updated her look, but the real Wonder Woman fans were not happy,” Martinez explains. “They are about to do another reboot with all of DC Comics characters, so as to make the original Wonder Woman fans happy.”

The timing of the show is fortuitous: Wonder Woman is a perfect image for the Fourth of July, Martinez affirms.

“She represents the best of humanity in the sense she’s non-judgmental and sees the best in everyone. She’s gracious and empowers strength and the best in all of us,” she says. “And she does it in red, white and blue.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 1, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

What’s Brewing: Michele Bachmann; George Michael; homophobic Arkansas grocery store

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Whatever GOP Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said during her tea party response to the State of the Union was completely overshadowed by the fact that she was looking at the wrong camera the entire time, as well as her gross mispronunciation of Iwo Jima, which she referred to as “Ewa Jamma.” At this point, can you imagine anything more entertaining (and tragic) than a Sarah Palin-Bachmann ticket in 2012?

2. The Australian press is obsessed with George Michael’s use — or non-use — of gay hookup apps. The Daily Telegraph reports — under the headline “George Michael on the prowl for man action in Australia” — that the pop singer has switched from Grindr to Scruff. However, Perth Now reports that the Scruff profile (right) appearing to be Michael is actually the work of an impostor. With this kind of media attention paid to his app usage, can you really blame Michael for getting wasted? Next time Michael is in Dallas, we’ve assigned DV staffer Rich Lopez to cruise Scruff 24/7 in search of him — which won’t be much of a change for Lopez.

3. Harps grocery store in Mountain Home, Ark., is obscuring the cover of US Weekly because it contains a photo of gay parents (Elton John, his partner and their baby), according to a Twitter user who posted the pic below. Gay bloggers who’ve picked up the story list the number for Harps as 870-425-6556. If you decide to call, tell them to check this study, which showed that gay parenting is quite common in places like Arkansas.

—  John Wright