The wit and wisdom of Leslie Jordan

IMG_3157In this week’s cover story, I interviewed Leslie Jordan, Del Shores and Emerson Collins about their upcoming appearances in Dallas at both a fundraiser for Al McAffrey and screenings of their film Southern Baptist Sissies. As with most interviews, your subjects say a lot more than you can use in the final story. Most of the time, you just let it go. But when Leslie Jordan is talkin’, there are just too many gems to let them be lost forever.

Here, then, are some of the great comments Leslie made during our talk that I didn’t have room for in the story. Enjoy!

On the scope of his fame: I was performing at the Leicester Square Playhouse in London — you know what’s really popular over there? Sordid Lives! Who knew? Anyway, I was walking down the street at Piccadilly Circus and this cab slows down and the cabbie shouts, “Can you see my pussy now?” Then he took off, laughing! But I got misty eyed. People are screaming my lines at me out of taxicabs — I’m an international star!

On interacting with his co-stars: I was doing a show with an actress who plays one of the maids on Downton Abbey, her name is Siobhan Finneran and she tells me, “Just call be Shiv.” “Shiv?!” I said. “In American, ‘Shiv’ is what they stab people with in prison!”

On his rent-boy obsession: I spent three weeks in Puerto Vallarta [recently]. The best part of being there are the beautiful brown boys who hang out in the square. They’re all married straight boys with children, and all you have to say is, “Do you need a little diaper money?”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Willam Belli’s makeup lesson

18Drag Racer and Ticked Off Trannies actor Willam Belli — last seen in Del Shores’ Southern Baptist Sissies and soon to be featured in the North Texas-shot Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus — made this video last year in which he gives a tutorial in applying makeup. But not any ol’ style of makeup — drag queen makeup. Grrls work it!

Anyway, it’s a cool behind-the-scenes look at the drag process with a lot of shade thrown in among the eye shadow. Watch it after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: “Southern Baptist Sissies’ trailer, at Q Cinema Thursday

This week, I reviewed Southern Baptist Sissies, Del Shores’ filmed version of his play, which opens the 15th Q Cinema tomorrow night. To help prime the pump for the event, then, I offer you the film’s trailer, after the break.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus’ to start filming in Texas next month

Israel lunaIt’s official: Filmmaker (and Dallas Voice video contributor) Israel Luna has gotten the financing (and even international distribution) in place for his new film, Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus. The unofficial second installment in a proposed trilogy of satires that send-up traditional exploitation films but add a gay/transgender element, it concerns drag queens standing up against the zombie apocalypse armed only with their pumps and pump-action shotguns and a badass attitude.

The film will begin shooting on Oct. 7 and continue through most of the month in small towns around the state, including Graham, Eliasville, Olney and Mergerel. Luna describes it as “pro-Christian, pro-spirituality and pro-equality.” It will — as did his transpoitational grindhouse film Ticked-Off Trannies with Knivesfeature a cast of drag divas, including RuPaul’s Drag Racer Willam Belli.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas drag diva Erica Andrews dies

Erica ANdrews

Erica Andrews, a nationally known trans woman and drag diva who headlined the Dallas-filmed indie flick Ticked Off Trannies with Knives, died last night in Chicago from a lung infection, according to reports.

Andrews, who was in her 40s, was the “drag mother” of RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Roxxxy Andrews. She appeared with former Drag Racer and Ticked Off co-star Willam Belli at his show at the Rose Room in December. “A Goddess just met God,” Belli tweeted last night when word broke of her passing last night — ironically, as the latest episode of Drag Race aired on Logo. “I love you Erica Andrews,” Belli added.

“I’m sad. It came as such a shock,” said Ronald Radwanski, a local painter and director of the ilume Gallerie on Cedar Springs. “I didn’t even know she was sick. The last time we talked was when my nephew moved to Chicago. She was loving living in Chicago with her boyfriend, Juan.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: ‘This Boy is a Bottom’

From the queens who brought you the Chick-fil-A video to the tune of Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” — including Ticked Off Trannies with Knives star (and Drag Race contestant) Willam Belli — comes the latest video, inappropriate for most workplaces. At least, if you play it with the volume up. But go ahead, put on your headphones and enjoy.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Luna launches Kickstarter campaign “For Jesus”

I imagine that Israel Luna’s resume lists three skills: (1) make movies; (2) throw parties; (3) stir up controversy. It’s not enough that he pissed off a few members of the trans community with his campy blaxploitation-esque grindhouse Ticked Off Trannies with Knives (even though the movie was all about empowerment); now he’s doing his best to anger the Christian right with his latest. The title? Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus. (We imagine the zombie libby won’t be too happy, either.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

In defense of Chik-Fil-A (sort of)

Drag Racer and my former roommate Willam Belli was kicked off by RuPaul this week for still mysterious reasons related to a rule violation (Adderall addiction? Improper phone use?) but he turned lemons into lemonade by releasing at the same time this hysterical music video parody that asks: Is it still an endorsement if drag queens like your product? Enjoy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

My life with a Drag Racer: Willam Belli

A NEW pic of Willam, who didn't like how he looked in the last one.

I didn’t get a preview screener of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 4, which premiered last night on Logo… probably because last year, they were pissed that I spilled the beans a few days early that Dallas’ Shangela would be the series’ first returning contestant. Maybe to get back at me — maybe to toy with me — this season began with Shangela again jumping out of a box as if she’d be the surprise 13th contestant… only it was a fake-out: She was in fact booted instantly with Ru reminding everyone this is her show, her rules.

Fair enough.

The premiere was pretty good, with lots of other past queens returning as drag zombies. But what really piqued my interest was the appearance of my former roommate, Willam Belli.

I wrote about Willam living in my house for two weeks (scroll down) about three years ago, when he was in Dallas filming Ticked Off Trannies with Knives. Aside from the “drag bomb” that turned my guest room into a clothes hamper, Willam was a very agreeable roommate with lots of experience as an actor. (I remembered seeing him on My Name Is Earl.) But he has already become “the bitchy one” on Drag Race, irritating the other queens by, apparently, reminding them that he is not a club dancer, but a cross-dressing actor who has worked with Oscar winners. You really get a sense for how much he antagonizes the more insecure queens on RuPaul’s Untucked after-show.

Still, I have nothing negative to say about Willam. But it will be interesting to see how the series plays out. Watch the first episode after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones