March 17th, 2005


Another "Finally Saw..."

...Prick Up Your Ears, the 1987 biopic of legendary and notorious gay English playwright Joe Orton.

Like Party Monster, it chronicles meteoric rises and terrible falls, Where Alig and St. James rose and fell together, though, Orton and Halliwell seemed always to be going in opposite directions. Where Kenneth Halliwell came from moderate wealth, declining at an increasing pace, Joe Orton came from nothing, slowly improving himself until he became the toast of the London theater.

This was, not surprisingly, the recipe for Halliwell's despondency, the death of their relationship and ultimately the vicious murder-suicide that starts the film.

It's a nasty little film, not nice at all, but a worthy watch.

Vanessa Redgrave is fabulous as Orton's high-society agent Peggy, but nothing approaches the delightful performances by Gary Oldman (Orton) and Alfred Molina (Halliwell). It's interesting watching them in a film from nearly 20 years ago.

Oldman as the polite, young, attractive and subtle (yes, subtle) Orton is a wild contrast to the roles he takes these days (Dracula, Lost in Space, The Fifth Element). Oh, and he's fucking gorgeous in this film. Can't forget that.

Molina? Watching Halliwell change from the 20-something self-assured (if kind of sexually repressed) wise-beyond-his-years (if a bit pompous) aspiring author to the valium-popping basket-case is impressive. Kind of like watching him play Doc Ock and seeing him play totally over the top intensity and insanity but not chewing the scenery. And while Gary Oldman has moved from gorgeous to somewhat strange looking, Molina, a few wrinkles aside, still looks much like he did in the 80's.

Anyway, it's kind of a product of its era, but it doesn't feel as dated as many other gay-themed films of the time.

BTW, if you're looking for an... interesting read, John Lahr (who wrote both the Orton biography Prick Up Your Ears and collaborated on the screenplay) edited and published an edition of Joe Orton's Diaries.

And now! What you've all been waiting for!

Yep, that damned Coronation report.

For those of you who have been living under a rock (I wouldn't know, I haven't seen the underside of our rock for a while) for the last year, kproche was Emperor 34 of all San Jose and Santa Clara County, and Coronation is the annual event that celebrates the accomplishments of the year while building to the crowning of the new monarchs.

So, of course, it's a weekend full of events, many of which we were responsible for planning and seeing happened.

Thursday afternoon, K moved us into the hotel so we could then go on to markobellydance's place for a quiet pot-luck where court members could hang out, have a bit of food and drink, and not worry about what was starting the next day. Jennifer Lipps and Sara Dreaming brought a very nice cioppino and Siobhan (who moved to Australia back in January) showed up with a few bottles of Australian red wine.

Friday I went back in to work while K did a ton of errands, and got back to the hotel in time to have a quick dinner before setting up sound for the Out-of-Town show. This is where all the reigning monarchs from other courts get a chance to perform. We ran (I think) 16 numbers before closing down to do the bus tour.

Aaah, the bus tour. Take 47 drag queens (well, not all drag queens) who have been drinking during the Out-of-Town show, put them on a bus, and schlep them around to a number of local bars where they can drink some more. We hit Dar's Hideaway, King of Clubs, Renegades, Mac's Club and Splash.

Surprisingly enough, K and I were both in relatively good shape the next morning. I ran an errand or two, built K's performance CD, and spent a bit of time in hospitality. We had Tiara Enterprises (light, airy rhinestone and crystal jewelry), LaMonz DuPre (big, clunky and very architectural rhinestone and crystal jewelry) and Aziza (patchwork hand-embroidered clothing) selling; I bought a new coat from Aziza. K and Frankie spent the afternoon doctoring the script to make sure there were no hitches.

We successfully snagged a bit of food before the coronation itself was scheduled to start. This was a very good thing.

The coronation did start, and it started (nearly) on time (we were ready, one of our MCs was late, so after a few minutes our present MC just started). After an impressive flag ceremony by the SCCLA lead by The Marine (yes, ex-Marine Drill Instructor), anthems by Ronnie Grigsby, Frank Salerno and Donna Sachet, and the invocation given by Dotti Boon, we went on for the opening court production. It wasn't perfect, but it was amusing. lobolance and I were "puppeteers" wrangling stuffed animals that attacked Madame Steele when she was playing alien/lion-tamer

Then K got to spend the rest of the evening on stage.

We had a large number of in-town organizations walk, including the Silicon Valley Gay Democratic Club, Costume-Con 26 in Silicon Valley, the Silicon Web Costumers' Guild, smOdyssey, SCCLA and others.

Court walks were long. We had a significant out-of-town presence, with people coming from as far as Texas, Chicago and Massachusetts. Speaking of Mass, moonpuppy61 finally caught up with me during the second act. We knew he was flying out, but the details were kind of up in the air.

Fortunately, to balance out the court walks we had a few excellent command performances. The incomparable Empress Tawny Towers of Fresno wowed the audience early on. Our own Madame Steele, TamEva, Siobhan and Jo-an with her I LOVE IT girls also turned in excellent performances.

Finally the rain of tschotchkes ended (outgoing monarchs generally get lots of gifts; it's part of the walk tradition) and we made it to the last act. Marko, Jo-An and I were each given "Court Member of the Year" plaques and Madame Steele was named by the board as the newest QueenMother (#15 if you're counting) in the organization.

K had three numbers set up for his last walk (performance, not presentation in this context). As is tradition he was expecting (and got) the "Wall of Emperors" during his second number. As a mark of support and solidarity, all the current and past emperors (from everywhere) in the room line up behind the outgoing Emperor. What he found out only a week earlier is that the Empresses wanted to do the same thing (our Empress resigned in August), so for his first number he had all the Empresses behind him.

After K finished his last number, the board of directors and the Imperial Family (everybody who was an Emperor, Empress or granted a lifetime title in the IRLM) came up on stage to announce the result of the vote. At shortly before 11:00, K escorted Idalis Houston into the room as the 35th Elected Empress of San Jose.

I and a few friends collected Kevin's gifts and headed back up to the room with them. Not long after that a bunch of friends followed us up. I made cocktails until about 3:30am.

You would think it was all over, but nooooo.

Sunday Morning was victory brunch. We ate brunch. K gave out a bunch of awards and gifts.

Then things got crazy. Or, as Rachael St. Beaver says, "It all started with a tampon." Watch out for the International House of Beavers. That's all I'm saying now.

In the afternoon we hauled a load of stuff back to the house and then had sushi with lferion before she headed up to Dublin. Finally, we went to the Victory Party at Splash, stayed for a bit, and went back to the hotel to sort gifts and crash.

Monday we checked out of the hotel, hauled the rest of the stuff home and then I called in sick so I could sleep.

Sleep I did. Beautiful Sleep.

Folks not mentioned inline:

johno and chriso, who made sure nobody fell off the stage or ramps.

galtine1 who came up from San Diego and came to the coronation even though jbriggs was stuck at her parents' house

loren_q, and flotsomnjetsom who worked security.