I am neither a huge fan nor a rabid critic of drag queens.
Sometimes they do get the better of me, particularly when they choose invective and bigotry as a substitute for humour. And when some unsuspecting innocent with bad shoes, poor fashion sense or body shape issues is targeted, then I leave the premises.
There are a few, however, a happy few who use guile, wit, vocabulary and a keenness of eye to make a mark and leave an impression.
One of those is Mitzi Macintosh.
She, and her alter-ego Graeme Browning, is leaving Australia after a feather and glitter festooned performing finale this weekend (May 15-16 2010).
Mitzi will be missed. Not least because she DID things to help make the GLBTI community in Sydney something resembling what the word community means.
She contributed by entertaining it AND by helping to raise around a million dollars for ACON through the astoundingly successful “Bingay” at the Imperial Hotel, Erskineville.
I was a “Bingay” sceptic. I was dragged along – pun very much intended – one Tuesday night as part of a friend’s birthday celebrations. There and then I was hooked.
The combo of Mitzi and lesbian barrel girl Naomi Palmer was irresistable. Funny, suggestive, silly, compassionate and raucous.
For three hours on a Tuesday ( on one occasion it was nearly five as MM recovered from the DIVAs the night before!!) bingo games were won and lost, drinks were drunk and sixty or so people felt a bit closer to each other.
Some of the Bingay numbers and their audience responses will live forever. A former partner and I were responsible for one of them: 44, fabulous foreskins….yummy yummy!
Taking part can be tricky sometimes, but Mitzi and Naomi made it so much fun that inhibitions (and some good taste) flew out of the window. My magic moment was when I donated a tin of “Shitto” as a prize one week – nary an eyebrow (tastfully made up) was lifted by Mitzi.
As Mitzi prepares to fly north I want to say thank you and good onya.
The jokes were funny (usually), the politics were bang on (and never with a sledgehammer) and the attitude was never on the vile side. The language could be fruity, but I cannot recall anything being said needlessly and for an easy laugh.
Bingay lives on, but Mitzi made it what it is.
A huge heart, a great talent and a wonder to behold.
Bon voyage Graeme and thanks for those Tuesdays and all those BOTTOM LINES!