Thurs, Oct 24 @ the Four Seasons Centre
Some say the average person’s attention span has been reduced dramatically over the last century. Apparently, we are engaged for five minutes, tops. Maybe this explains the rise of video blogging and, perhaps, why the New York City Opera is now bankrupt. Once bulging with a $55 million endowment, its list of benefactors is shrinking. Tonight, however, at the Four Seasons Centre, the still rather new and stately home of the Canadian Opera Company, our attention is captured and money seems to be flowing. As does the wine, the gin, the vodka and whatever we can pour down our throats at the sold out Operanation: A Night of Temptation fundraiser, which funnels much-needed cash to the COC Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals. Making a glam entrance are Brendan Canning; Jeremy Laing; the decadent Dixon brothers, David and Glenn; and the always standout Suzanne Rogers, who tonight appears to have one too many weaves on her head. But no one can out-entrance model Stacey McKenzie, who slithers in draped in a floor-length fur and promptly proceeds to the make-your-own-mac-and-cheese station. “Nothing gets me like cheese,” she says, munching, as cameras click, people point and crowds part. After the Sam Roberts Band performs and the COC’s Ambur Braid brings down the roof (and crashes the glass walls — girl was on fire!), we sneak inside the royal box (always reserved for the British royal family, should they visit) to pose with a life-sized cutout of Will and Kate. Perhaps Prince George will grow up to be a five-minute tenor. Perhaps.
Hell’s Night: Sharon Needles
Wed, Oct 30 @ the Phoenix Concert Theatre
Some say the average gay person’s attention span has been reduced dramatically over the last few months. Apparently, we are engaged for five months, tops. When Sharon Needles was here just a few months ago, she packed the house. Now she headlines the Phoenix just before Halloween, and the hallowed hall is not even half full. Tragic. Not for us (including Miss Conception, Quanah Style, Judy Virago and others), but for those who miss out on an incredible performance. Aside from her constant want of more coke, her show is witty, her songs smart and her voice great. “Drag queens are not role models,” she says, tossing a half-finished can of Pabst Blue Ribbon into the crowd. “We’re supermodels.” She points to one man, sans costume, and entices him with faux compliments. “You’re interesting. Come here. Who are you? What are you dressed as?” “Myself,” he beams. “The scariest costume of all,” Needles replies, with cunty swish. His smile fades, but it gets me to thinking. Being yourself, to many, is the scariest drag of all. Here Needles stands, above her admirers, not only in drag, but in clown drag (her big red nose most likely packed with powder). She is protected somewhat from reality; not just by her rubber Ronald McDonald dress and pancake makeup, but also by the persona she projects. But then she becomes real, talking with us about her partner of four years, her co-star for the night, Alaska Thunderfuck. Topping her amazing crowd-surfing from the bar to the stage, her song “I Wish I Were Amanda Lepore” brings the room to its knees. Though Miss Amanda, who makes a brief appearance onstage, does very little but sway back and forth in a dress with straps to keep all that silicone from slipping, it’s a hauntingly beautiful ode. And it’s less than five minutes long. Done.