To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar

I don’t always write up movies I see in theaters that aren’t new releases. But Alamo Drafthouse has been killing it with their selection lately. I saw two things this week, one of which I absolutely had to talk about. Then I remembered that I skipped one from last month because “I don’t do those” but it was too fun an experience to pass up. So here we are.

Around Christmas, I saw that Drafthouse posted a brunch screening of To Wong Foo the next month. Normally, if I see a movie scheduled that I’m interested in, I just buy myself a ticket and that’s it. This time, I felt compelled to message a couple friends, and we soon had a trio of tickets. A week or so out from the film, I had an epiphany. I saw these friends a few days later and told them two things. One was that Drafthouse encourages dress up and cosplay. The second was that I asked them to look at our skin colors and then look at the skin of the trio of leads. Immediately our Noxzema about a wig off Amazon and we all started raiding our closets. I think we did pretty good, and I had a blast channeling Chi Chi.

We roll up to the theater looking fabulous, and I enjoy every second of showing my crew my happy place, Alamo. There was a special brunch menu that I ordered some strawberry pancakes and a themed drink from (plus my usual buffalo cauli) and we sat back to enjoy the show. Our host came up to intro it, and encouraged us to quote along. “No I don’t think so” was sadly the only bit I could do, but I didn’t really hear other people doing it either.

The three of us ran the gamut of having seen the film. I’d only seen it two or three times. Our Vita Boheme had never seen it, and our Noxzema lived and breathed this film. It still holds up for all three experience levels. But let’s back up. Quick summary if you haven’t googled what this strangely titled film is. Three drag queens (played by Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguizamo) are road tripping across the country to get to a competition. Their car breaks down in a tiny Southern town, and they spend the weekend turning the town fab.

As I was saying, this film holds up. Not only that, it was far ahead of its time. This movie is 25 years old. It’s hard enough now getting positive LGBTQ+ stories made, but it was nearly unheard of in the mid90’s, esp with such an A+ cast. The story is so empowering and lovely with a strong message of accepting yourself and others that rings true today more than ever. The dialog is hilarious and memorable and every ounce of glitter is used to perfection.

Once the lights came up, our host ran over to us and took pix with our Noxy. She invited us to hang out downstairs at Video Vortex, where there would soon be a lip sync contest that would hopefully combine this crowd with the crowd at Josie and the Pussycats. Sure, that sounds like a fun way to spend the rest of our Sunday afternoon. Two of us entered. Our host had to run the end of the Josie screening for a Q&A with Rachel Leigh Cooke (she invited us, but it would have likely meant missing entering lip sync) and she ended up sitting with us by the time she returned.

So the contest! It was three rounds. Personality, duet, and make us weep. Eliminations after each. I figured I’d keep the Latin pride going, and went with Selena’s “Bidi bidi bom bom” for round one. Round two, my assigned partner and I turned “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” into a duet. Alas, she made it thru, and I didn’t (but I’m thinking it was mostly political because our performances were pretty matched and otherwise 3 of the 4 finalists would have all been sitting at our table) Our Noxzema, however, not only was one of those finalists, they ended up winning the whole dang thing. So now we need to figure out when our crew is going back to use the prize pack of Drafthouse tickets and concessions money. In other words, it’s basically like I won too.