Do you Peru?

Even as fans rallied to help Coco Peru get her next film off the ground, the drag goddess still likes her comedy live


RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

Expect a lovefest when Coco Peru comes back to Dallas for Pride weekend. With memories of a responsive audience, shopping and beef jerky during her last go-round here nearly two years ago, the drag goddess is hoping for a repeat performance. Sort of. She’s back on the road with a new show, but that’s not all the legendary queen has going on.

“Well, we’ve filmed Girls Will Be Girls 2 already,” Peru (aka Clinton Leupp) says. “Right now the writer/director is busily editing. It’s just one of those things: You film it and hope for the best.”

Peru has garnered a significant amount of film work over the years, usually with notable cameos in films like as Trick, but occasionally as the star, as with Girls Will Be Girls. But she admits live performance is where she’s at her best.

“I like to think my show is like watching a theater piece,” she says. “I love film acting, but it’s exciting on a whole other level. There’s not that energy of a live audience and no feedback. So often, comic timing is how the audience is reacting to you. With acting, you mentally feel it out, try it and mostly trust the director. I find sometimes I rehearsed a line so much in my head, it takes me a few times to take direction on it.”

For Girls 2, Peru discovered just how much her fans appreciated her work. As a micro-mini indie, the film went on the website Kickstarter to raise funds. As word got out that the film was in production and that Peru was in it, the money rolled in.

“The movie was completely funded by fans,” she exclaims. “It was just incredible that they would want to pay money! And I must say, most of it came from my fans. I’m just putting that out there.”

Along with funds from Kickstarter, the crew itself was almost all-volunteer. People would just show up, willing to help out. It turned into an actual labor of love.

Along with donated help, the production even received a donated green screen. All the generosity reminded Peru that people are that genuinely kind and that it’s all right to ask for things, which usually embarrasses her. She saw this particular filmmaking experience as a good lesson on many levels.

“Let’s just hope the movie’s funny,” she laughs.

Dating back to the “early ‘90s” — that’s as specific as her website will get — Peru gives much credit to her fans along the way for the success of her career. Even if they come up to once again mention her role in the film Trick, Peru takes none of it for granted. Perhaps it’s cliché for any type of celebrity to appreciate their fans, but she  talks at length about how her fans have kept her driven.

“It’s so overwhelming, whether it’s a movie or my own shows, that they will take time to contact me to tell me whatever it is they are feeling,” she says. “I feel lucky and blessed when they reach out to me and I strive to answer every email. I remember those days that felt so lonely and sad. Growing up gay and feeling rejected doesn’t make a happy life. But when you get over 800 birthday messages on Facebook, it’s amazing!”

She’ll meet a new slew of fans on her current End of Summer Tour, as she’ll visit Tampa and Las Vegas for the first time as a performer. Even with her experience onstage, Peru is still daunted by a new audience, the same way she was before playing Dallas the first time early last year.

“The first time, I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect,” she recalls. “I felt that audiences came wanting to have a great time. You go to certain cities and they have a bit of an edge, but in Texas, it was an immediate love fest on both ends.”

In her new show, There Comes a Time, Peru talks about getting older and reminiscing about her life. Fortunately, Dallas isn’t a punch line in her monologue. The city left a good impression on her and she only hopes to make another one of her own.

“Well, I’m happy to be coming back and they took such good care of me last time,” she says, “but I don’t wanna jinx myself. You never know.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS Casino Party tonight

Expect a full house

Lone Star Ride hosts their fourth annual casino night which is so much more than a poker felt on a table. Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, Texas Hold ‘Em poker all come in to play tonight as players feel like they are in Vegas for the night. Hopefully you’re a good player because all those winnings can be spent on the silent auction which includes gift certificates, hotel packages and so much more.

It’s a blast of a night and all you have to throw down is cash for the ticket. The chips are given to you upon entering. How can you possibly beat that? Well, maybe by helping raise money for Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, that’s how.

DEETS: Audi Dallas, 5033 Lemmon Ave. 7:30 p.m $50 advance, 65 door. For tickets, click here.

—  Rich Lopez

Las Vegas Pastor Arrested for ELEVEN Sexual Abuse Charges

This same pastor was charged in a similar case in 2005, and many of his flock stubbornly stood by him:

A pastor of a Las Vegas church was arrested Friday on 11 sexual abuse charges, five years after a similar case against him was dropped.

North Las Vegas police arrested Billy Eckstine McCurdy, 57, following an eight-month investigation into allegations that he sexually assaulted teen boys at his home….

The new charges involve two teen boys who said McCurdy forced them into sexual relationships with him. They told police he used his position in the church and Bible scriptures to force them into sex acts, authorities said.

I’m wondering if they have learned their lesson about blind faith now that their pastor was able to molest more of their children?

Of course, it goes without saying the whole using biblical scriptures and position within the church to molest the teenage boys sounds eerily similar to another case we’ve been following.


—  John Wright

On the Ground in Las Vegas to Reelect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Rep. Dina Titus

After Senate Republicans blocked the motion to proceed on the National Defense Authorization Act, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal supporters here in Las Vegas were even more fired up to get involved. Two of our community’s biggest allies are up for reelection and both are facing tough battles. Both Senator Reid and Rep. Titus have been strong supporters of the LGBT community, voting in favor of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill and being committed to making sure DADT repeal happens this year. After Tuesday’s partisan vote, Senator Reid voted ‘no’ on the cloture vote, procedurally, to be able to bring up the motion to recommit and allow the Senate to reconsider the bill containing, DADT Repeal.

I’ve been on the campaigns for the last two weeks, reaching out to LGBT allies and HRC members, reminding them of the importance of this year’s election and how much Sen. Reid and Rep. Titus have done for the community. It’s important to reelect the two to make sure that we continue our fight to pass fair-minded legislation.

Last night, the HRC Las Vegas steering committee joined me in calling Nevada voters, reminding them that this is an important election that no one should sit out of. They mentioned that no one could do more for Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada than Sen. Reid and Rep. Titus. Both have represented the state well and will continue to once we work our hardest to get them reelected.

As the weather in Las Vegas is cooling down, the race to November is just starting to heat up. To join us for our weekly LGBT and ally phonebank, contact Regional Field Organizer Adrian Matanza at

Paid for Human Rights Campaign PAC and authorized by Friends of Harry Reid and Dina Titus for Congress.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Paris Hilton in Vegas Coke Bust

PARIS HILTON X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMParis Hilton was arrested for cocaine possession Friday night in Las Vegas, her third drug-related incident this summer. Daily News

—  John Wright

LAS VEGAS: Netroots Nation 2010

Next week I’ll be in the company of thousands of fellow bloggers and journalists for Netroots Nation, the annual liberal confab originally created by the writers of Daily Kos and now sponsored by the nation’s largest labor unions and major outfits like the ACLU, Media Matters, Move On, and the Democratic National Committee. Major Democratic players tend to show up, so hopefully I’ll be able to corner a few for JMG soundbites.

Things get rolling a day early for the queer contingent with the LGBT & Allies pre-convention day on Tuesday. After that it’s five days of “hundreds of panels, roundtables, training sessions, workshops and keynotes” to choose from. (I’m trying to sort through the ones I’m most interested in, but as these things go, the times often conflict.) Obviously, JMG blogging volume will be down somewhat, but I’ll do my best to get out at least a dozen posts each day during the breaks.

Las Vegas peeps: Where are we meeting for drinkies?

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright