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

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RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

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

‘Rock of Ages’ at the Winspear

Do you wanna get rocked?

American Idol contestant and now Tony-nominee Constantine Maroulis recently announced an end to his three-year gig as Drew Bowie, the wannabe rocker in the jukebox musical Rock of Ages, which is now playing at the Winspear. But his last performance isn’t until July, so in the meantime, he’s still ready to rock it.

“It’s been huge for me on many levels as an actor and being acknowledged by my community,” he says. “I was a rock star wannabe growing up with these songs from Bon Jovi, Whitesnake and other songs in my wheelhouse. This is a true artistic achievement and for it to all work out in this time when so many shows come and go, we’re kicking a lot of ass.”

So go on and feel the noise.

—  Rich Lopez

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 04.29

These kings wanna get rocked
The peeps behind this show are pretty brilliant — not to mention a kick-ass flyer. Drag kings and local bands make up Mustaches & Music hosted by Christina Love. After Julian 4Play and the rest of the kings perform, Screaming Red and Electro-Shock Machine bring the rock out to finish the night. Sweet.

DEETS: Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. 9 p.m. PartyAtTheBlock.com.

 

Saturday 04.30

No, it’s OK to have that buzz
Festivals come left and right this time of year, but we’re prone to those encouraging us to eat and drink. The Dallas Wine and Food Festival has been doing just that for 27 years. We long for Saturday’s wine seminars at Mockingbird Station spots topped off by happy hour at Margarita Ranch.

DEETS: Mockingbird Station, 5321 E. Mockinbird Lane. 11 a.m. Through Sunday. $15–$25. DallasWineFest.com.

 

Sunday 05.01

Spoken word with purpose
Audaciously Speaking presents the 4th Annual Evolution of Spoken Word. Local out poet, Audacious brings together an impressive lineup of local poets and artists, all who are ready to drop some knowledge on you.

DEETS: Chocolate Secrets, 3926 Oak Lawn Ave. 3 p.m. $15. 682-472-9396

—  John Wright

Right, because why would kids wanna grow up to be a married gazillionaire?

A Harps grocery store in Mountain Home, Arkansas, is blocking the John-Furnish family from kids’ curious eyes:

Harpsusweekly1

Grocery Store Finds Gay Parenting Magazine Cover Too Offensive For Kids [Joe.My.God]

Interesting that Golden Globes “hookups” are perfectly fine.

Though this is nothing compared to the medicine aisle, where the Ben Gay supply has been renamed “Ben-Radical, Agenda-Laden Lifestyle Choice.”




Good As You

—  admin

Maggie calls us gloaters, then pulls post. Which kind of makes us wanna gloat, frankly.

For some reason NOM abruptly pulled this post from Maggie Gallagher (which referenced this here website as the “gloaters”):

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(*Thanks to Bob Barnes for capturing it!)

Interesting that she responds to this one thing we wrote, with a frivolous “gloat” aside, considering we’ve directly taken on her logic in any number of ways over the past six years. Guess this one matter was easier to spin than the time we caught her calling homosexuality “unfortunate” and said that gays can “always control [their] behavior” (to name but one instance). But I digress.

Since we were able to reclaim this removed post, let’s look at Maggie’s stated claim. Maggie says that even though her ideas still ended up getting trounced in the Economist debate, she’s actually glad because of the change that occurred. This change:

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That’s what she’s so happy about: That through NOM and other group’s GOTV actions she was able to grow opposition by 19%, getting it all the way to 37%? Well okay, Maggie, if you want to claim that as progress, then go for it. Though you should know: It is less than the The Cool Moose Party candidate for Lt. Governor ;-) .




Good As You

—  admin

Okay, far-right: You wanna talk about the Manhattan Declaration? Let’s go.

The social conservatives keep wanting to talk about the Manhattan Declaration and Apple’s decision to remove its associated, supposedly benign app from the iTunes store. For instance, check out this snippet from the National Organization For Marriage’s latest e-blast:

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So okay, fine. We’ll play along. In fact: Let’s go ahead, take a moment, and remind them of a few things about their precious little document/app.

(A) The Manhattan Declaration publicly and proudly touts signatures from Scott “the gay movement is a nuclear bomb” Lively, someone who this year earned considerable attention for his belief that the Uganda “kill gays” bill is a “step in the right direction

(B) Two other people listed on the “Religious leader’s [sic] signatories” list are Peter Akinola, a man who says “homosexuality does violence to nature“, and Rev. Emmanuel Musaba Kolini, who has referred to homosexuality as “moral genocide.

(C) Major Declaration backer Tony Perkins has come right out and said the document represents “a struggle between good and evil”:



Perkins.mpg [YT user: ptrvns47]

(D) Five SPLC-designated hate groups (Traditional Values Coalition, Abiding Truth Ministries, American Family Association, Family Research Council, Watchmen on the Walls) have at least one associate on one of the two signatories lists. Now, of course the “pro-family” folks are all attacking the SPLC as being agenda-driven and therefore without credence. But not a one of them has even attempted to (much less succeeded at) refuting the documented claims that got these groups on the highly selective list (particularly odd, considering it’d be in the “outraged” non-listees’ interests to note that SPLC does make careful distinctions).

(E) The most major voice behind the Declaration, Chuck Colson, has all kinds of nasty, hurtful comments on the record that more than belie NOM’s “reasonable and civil debate” claim. Like warning about gays’ marriages leading to “Cultural Armageddon,” for instance:

Or comparing Manhattan Declaration supporters’ mission as constituting “non-cooperation with evil,” for another:

“This kind of principled non-cooperation with evil won’t be easy—there are signs of a reduced tolerance for that most basic of American values, religious freedom. As we’ve discussed many times on BreakPoint, Christian organizations are losing tax-exempt status for refusing to buy in to homosexual “marriage.” Some are going out of business rather than cave into immoral demands—such as placing children for adoption with homosexual couples. Conscientious medical personnel are being sued or being fired for obeying their consciences.

I say, enough is enough. The Church must take a stand. And with the release of the Manhattan Declaration, that’s exactly what we are doing.”

The Manhattan Declaration

Or perhaps our favorite: The time when Chuckles admitted just how he sees the tens of thousands of soul-crushed people who took to the streets in the national, almost entirely peaceful protests against Proposition 8

When I watched the violence on television, memories came back of earlier generations of thugs: Bull Conner, who, with the help of brutal cops, used violence and intimidation to chase African Americans out of the public square. Or roving gangs of Nazi brownshirts who ruled the streets of Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. Do opponents of Proposition 8 who attacked Mormons and their churches think they’re any better than Bull Conner, or nicer than Nazi thugs? I don’t.” [SOURCE]

Civil, huh?

(F) The app in question was also offensive to “reasonable and civil debate” on a purely intellectual level, with the in-app survey pretending to query users on their support for marriage equality and reproductive choice, but then proceeding to tell them they were just plain incorrect if they fell out of evangelical lock-step.

(G) The Declaration repeats (as did the app) the oft-bastardized claims:

In New Jersey, after the establishment of a quasi-marital “civil unions” scheme, a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions.

The reality is that the church pavilion was receiving a SPECIAL tax benefit under the Green Acres tax-exemption. This tax break was always a bonus — a privilege bestowed upon eligible non-profits that open their private lands and/or accommodations up for public usage. Public, as in ALL of the public, not some. And since LGBT people are part of New Jersey’s public and civil unions are the law, A PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION MUST EITHER ACCOMMODATE THE PUBLIC OR STOP RECEIVING THESE KINDS OF PUBLIC HANDOUTS! A church can ABSOLUTELY keep gay couples from marrying in their own pavilion. However, they cannot receive special state, federal, and local tax breaks if they are going to pick and choose which kinds of couples are allowed to use the pavilion! In this NJ case, they still received the tax-exemption for the rest of their properties, which weren’t found to be in violation. But the pavilion in question was acting outside the rules for this particular state program.

(H) The Declaration refers to gays who are seeking civil fairness as really seeking “a right to engage in immoral sexual practices.

(I) need not say more. Apple pulled the app not because gays are out to shut down speech — but rather because gay activists gave attention to the offenses contained within the app and larger Declaration. The merits (or lack) thereof are what did the Declaration supporters in. But of course, yet again, they take no responsibility for what they have said and done, since the victim strategy makes the seem so much more sympathetic.




Good As You

—  admin

Manchester, England Pride 2010: I Just Wanna Dance

This video makes me proud of my English American heritage. Although, I’ve visited the U.K. often, I’ve yet to make it to Manchester. The closest I ever came to visiting was a brief, but torrid affair with one of Manchester’s finest English Bobbies in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Don’t get me started! On the other hand, don’t stop me!

The conservatives of America who have made claims in the past, “‘They’ hate us for our freedoms,” have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to providing LGBT American citizens the same human rights, protections and freedoms afforded by so many other western nations.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright