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June 16, 2005 Find Print Edition : Search : Archive : Login : Register

Northampton's Femmetastic Fatales steal TraniWreck spotlight

"Queer-identified femmes" add punch to bizarre burlesque extravaganza

The first Monday of the month Jacque's Cabaret hosts Truth Serum Productions' TraniWreck. Host drag king Heywood Wakefield and his gender-bending, genre-defying troupe always put on one of the most interesting shows Boston has to offer, but the June 6 show surpassed all expectations. The regular cast-Heywood, Sir Loins/Donita Roxx, Miss Dominica K, and Mr. Lady-turned in stellar performances, but one of the show's special guests stole the night. Northampton's Femmetastic Fatales, a group of "queer-identified femmes," served up five burlesque acts celebrating femininity and the allure of the female body in all its variety.

Though the Fatales have four members, only three were available for the group's encore Boston performance (they performed at the Dyke March Benefit at the Milky Way the night before). Kitty L'more, Violet Valentino, and Pussy Bojangles sandwiched solo acts by Bojangles and L'more with group acts, the last of which made great use of the addition of a runway to Jacque's stage; the girls offered up what is best described as a fashion show striptease, that left them in the end dancing in panties and pasties-a particularly inspiring scene given that all of the girls have more voluptuous figures than Hollywood and the fashion industry would have us believe is attractive. One of the night's most rousing moments occurred when a wardrobe malfunction left one of the ladies' breasts bare, causing Heywood to inform the audience that "nothing illegal happened here at Jacque's" -the sort of statement that is almost always preceded by a remarkably enjoyable show.

The night's other special guest was visiting from Berlin, which made the similarities between his/her numbers and those of Hedwig and the Angry Inch all the more apt. The first performance was as flannel- and denim-clad drag king Ray Camaro, complete with a surprisingly well-applied moustache and, somewhat oddly given the star's name, a Corvette belt-buckle. In the second act, the drag king vestments were tossed aside-though the moustache was hilariously kept-in favor of the high-femme drag costume of Deborah K.

Of course, crossing gender lines is what TraniWreck is all about, and a comparison between the acts of Ray Camaro/Deborah K and Sir Loins/Donita Roxx is unavoidable. Sir Loins' main (best?) attribute is the huge pantyhose sausage contraption strapped to his crotch that he likes to stick into people's drinks, soaking up a sip of their beverages for himself. Donita Roxx and her backup girls, the Coxx, always put on a great Courtney Love-type performance complete with raucous choreography and suggestive props. In the latest show, the group had two acts, the first of which featured a huge set of lips and a large cardboard penis that the girls put to good, if obvious, use. Their second number, which closed out the show, had the Coxx dancing around on the stage with only electrical tape covering their bosoms-an appropriate end to the evening.

No TraniWreck show would be complete without the lap-dancing, table-hopping, hyperactive performances of Mr. Lady or the baton twirling strangeness of Miss Dominica K, who added vintage costuming for this latest show-an element that helped integrate the Fatale's burlesque numbers into the TraniWreck fold.

In all there were 15 performances crammed into the two-hour show, making for a more than usually frantic pace. The only possible problem with the show was the limitation placed on the performers by the new runway. While it enhanced some of the acts, it seemed to hinder others, and it likely kept the troupe and their guests from taking away as much in tips as they would have otherwise. But with as many numbers as the show contained, finding so little to fault is quite an accomplishment. Heywood and his gang proved yet again that two hours at TraniWreck is time well spent.

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