>home>clubsandnightlife>february 10, 2005

Outsiders sifting through the wreckage
TraniWreck’s Aliza Shapiro builds on her empire with a new contest and a birthday blow out

by Tony Giampetruzzi > associate editor

Aliza Shapiro a.k.a. Heywood Wakefield and the rest of TraniWreck smash into Jacques: for freaks of all kinds.

BOSTON — Aliza Shapiro, a.k.a. Heywood Wakefield, says that she’s been going to Jacques since the day she was able to get through the front door (we assume that was sometime in 1990 since she turns 36 this month with a bash at T.T. The Bears in Cambridge, Mass.), and that’s why she has brought her fiercely popular “TraniWreck and Wreckage: the Contest” to one of the oldest and most famous drag bars in the country.

“People on the fringe are always looking for weird places to go, and Jacques has always been a place for people on the outside,” says Shapiro, who has been hosting her show to standing room only audiences.

“Whether you’re queer, a trannie chaser, a trannie, gay, bi, or just a freak … you name it, Jacques is the place for you.”

That said, Jacques is the place for Shapiro and her alter ego, Wakefield, who she says is somewhere in his late 50s. Together, they’re rocking Bay Village with some Monday night programming that specializes in the unusual. First up in February, TraniWreck on Feb. 7, and every first Monday of the month.

A successful show since it debuted last August, TraniWreck is an all gender, all genre, performance cabaret/variety/show.

“Our cast includes drag king Wakefield emceeing, crooning the schlockiest, heart-wrenching, sappy love songs, while trying to find a date, Miss Dominica K twirling her baton, Mr. Lady fanatically lap dancing you in half, Donita Roxx/Sir Loins, both femme and masculine drag from the same over-sexed punk fag boy, the Haiku King, our own trannie frat boy poet, and a rotating cast of dragsters, divas, entertainers, and enigmas,” says Shapiro. “It’s just amazing. Haiku King, for example, will generally have some pre-written haiku, like writing love letters to the Red Sox, but he’ll also take requests from the audience and recite stuff on the fly.”

Shapiro explains that she conceived of the concept for Traniwreck after years of suffering through banal lip synching.

“I was getting really sick of just watching people move their mouths trying to emulate real drag queens,” says Shapiro. “And I just wanted a venue for different stuff. Like Miss Dominica K, who twirls her baton and does these incredibly emotive performances through dance. We’ve also been trying to always have a musical guest, and that’s tough, but we’re definitely packing the place.”

So successful is the event, that Shapiro is launching “Wreckage: the Contest Show” (or “Wreckage” for short, says Shapiro) on Monday Feb. 21.

“It’s basically TraniWreck, but also a contest with ‘amateur’ performers and celebrity judges,” she says adding that the contest is open to anyone with any skill or antic. She’s also hoping to pull in some good drag. And, if you catch the eye and ear of the judges, it may just pay off.

Performers will compete for $50 for the first six shows and, in August, the final contest will determine “who is Boston’s biggest wreck!?” with the winner collecting $500 in cash and prizes.

“‘Wreckage’ will mix performances by the TraniWreck cast and other non-competing performers with numbers by the competitors and also witty remarks — a la ‘The Gong Show’ and ‘American Idol’ — from the celebrity judges,” says Shapiro. “It just made sense. We keep adding more and more people and the shows just continue to get more and more eclectic.”

As for that birthday bash for Shapiro cum Wakefield, well, everyone is invited to T.T. The Bears on Wednesday, Feb. 9, for “I’ll Cry if I Want To.”

“Why do depressing songs make us feel good? I ponder this often when considering some of my favorite music. Thalia Zedek, WGC, and Lovers have gotten me through many a dark day, and a few too bright. Well, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to in honor of the amazing music some of my favorite musicians [and people] produce, and for the smiles their depressing songs produce in turn,” says Shapiro who says that performers will include Zedek, The Willard Grand Conspiracy, Lovers and Seekonk.

“My entire goal has always been to blend the rock scene with the queer scene because I always felt out of place in the ‘90s when I’d be out by myself at rock shows. This is what it’s come to. As for it being my birthday, well, I’m a control freak and I just don’t want people to forget it!” 

For more information about Aliza Shapiro events, connect to www.truthserum.org.


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