Conversing with Coco
The indomitable drag legend Miss Coco Peru will be all over Southern California this month. She will be starting with a performance at San Diego's Martinis Above Fourth Table + Stage on Thursday, March 13 and culminating in the eighth installment of her ongoing Conversations With Coco on Thursday, March 20 at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Renberg Theatre, with a stop in between at the Purple Room in Palm Springs on Sunday, March 16.
Liza Minnelli will be Coco's very special guest at the Renberg. Minnelli, in addition to being Judy Garland's oldest daughter, has had her own Oscar-, Tony-, Emmy-, Grammy- and Golden Globe-winning career. The legendary actress-singer will also be making her Disney Hall debut while in L.A. on Tuesday, March 25.
Coco's past celebrity guests have included Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Charles Busch and the late Karen Black. Conversations With Coco, she said, "is sort of like Inside the Actors Studio, only it's much more fun and I'm prettier than James Lipton - sort of."
The divine Miss Coco recently spoke with The Rage Monthly during her weeklong run in Puerto Vallarta.
You are a busy lady! How do you maintain your energy and figure?
My figure is up for discussion, I'll probably return from Mexico with a giant burrito around my waist. (Laughs) The food here is incredible. I exercise as much as I can, and I don't drink booze. I try to get eight hours of sleep. Oh, and I'm a big fan of naps.
What can people expect at your San Diego, L.A. and Palm Springs shows?
In San Diego, I'm doing a "best of" show with both old and new material, and in Palm Springs I'm doing my "She's Got Balls" tour. It's the first time I'll be performing "She's Got Balls" in Palm Springs, so I'm excited. I understand both Palm Springs shows are nearly sold out, which is wonderful.
Do you ever tire of performing or of the "social whirl?"
I have my moments when I think retirement's going to be great, but then I have moments when I connect with an audience like I am doing here in Puerto Vallarta, and it's magical. I get tired of the marketing, even though it's much easier with the Internet; I don't have to stand on a corner handing out fliers anymore. But with the Internet people are also more distracted.
You are going to be interviewing the one and only Liza Minnelli this month. Is there a particular question you are burning to ask her?
"When's the last time you rode the subway?" (Laughs) I really want to ride the subway with Liza. I rode in a helicopter with her years ago. We were over New York City together, now I want to be under it. We'll do the city from both ends. (Laughs) Liza was really kind to me when I was just starting out. It made a huge impact.
How do you get such fabulous stars for 'Conversations With Coco?' "
The first one was Bea Arthur and she was a friend of mine, so she did it as a favor to me. That got me a bit of caché. Jane Fonda is a close friend of Lily Tomlin, so Lily got her. Some celebs are scared because it's with a drag queen and they think I'm going to attack them. But each conversation is a celebration of that person and what they mean to me.
Is there anyone you haven't yet interviewed but hope to in the future?
Dolly Parton, to complete the "9 to 5" trifecta (laughs). I'd also love to interview Shirley MacLaine. She turned me down once, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. You should never say no to a drag queen (laughs).
Is there a past celebrity interview, or moment during an interview, that is especially memorable for you?
One of the most memorable moments for me is when I see the celebrity, about 15 minutes into it, "get" the love for them that is in the room. They realize it is safe, and then they really open up. Another is Lily Tomlin. Lily was out there fighting for gay rights in the 1960s, decades ago. It was a very emotional interview for me and for her partner (now spouse) Jane, who was in the audience.
Beyond March, what are you looking forward to? Where else can you be found this year?
I'm looking forward to my summer in Spain on vacation and then I go to P-Town, which is always crazy but wonderful. Oh, and I'll be in New York in May at Birdland, which is a new venue for me so I'm very excited.
Anything else you'd like to say?
Big thanks to The Rage Monthly for all the support!
To keep up with Coco, follow her on Twitter @themisscocoperu. For tickets and more information about all her upcoming appearances go to misscoco.com