Entertainment » Theatre

Jackie Beat: Come, They Told Me

by Steve Weinstein
Contributor
Thursday Dec 13, 2012
  • PRINT
  • COMMENTS (0)
  • LARGE
  • MEDIUM
  • SMALL

On the day I had the pleasure of enjoying her own personal war on Christmas (suck it, Fox News), Jackie Beat mentioned the date, 12/12/12, "or an orgy for Jerry Sandusky."

Trust me, that’s one of the milder lines. In a season full of the spirit of love for mankind, joy, peace, understanding and children, isn’t it reassuring to know that this L.A.-based drag queen has again returned to the Laurie Beechman Theater to trash all that feel-good crap?

"Jackie Beat: Come, They Told Me" includes a few oldies-but-goodies, such as the narrative about hating the tourist families shopping on Fifth Avenue. To the tune of "Silver Bells," Jackie’s holiday finally ends in a family dying horribly in a car accident while she laughs.

Although we get a number about Kwaanzaa. Or is it Kwanzaa? Kwaaanza? Who cares? As Jackie points out, this is an American recently invented holiday with some faux-African kitsch thrown in authenticity.

To the tune of "Let It Snow," she offers a helpful hint about how to keep going when you have so many obligations: shopping, entertaining, cooking. "Let It Blow" celebrates snow, the Columbian variety.

While "Sleigh Ride in Leather" still gives us a vision of a bear mauling a plus-sized drag queen, I missed "Jew Christmas" and "It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Syphilis."

The new stuff was more iffy. A ditty about how, if Mitt Romney had won, we ’d be wearing gingham and magic underwear seems dated. I mean, who wants to be reminded about Romney? He seems as over as Richard Nixon.

To the tune of "Let It Snow," she offers a helpful hint about how to keep going when you have so many obligations: shopping, entertaining, cooking. "Let It Blow" celebrates snow, the Columbian variety.

I wish that the ode to Twinkies had included a little bit more about Dan White, the assassin of Harvey Milk, who got off by claiming a sugar rush from overdosing on the snack food. Overall, the song went over familiar ground. Yeah, it’s crap. Yeah, it’s out of business. Another song grabbed from the day before yesterday’s headlines.

Turning "The 12 Days of Christmas" into a long complaint about the crummy gifts from a cheap boyfriend worked a lot better, not least because it wasn’t tied to a news event. My favorite night was the drug intervention.

There’s also a wonderfully inventive parody of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" (hence, the show’s title). Maybe next year she’ll expand on her offhand anti-Muslim jokes into a whole number. Hey, she’s nothing if not topical!

The best part of any Jackie Beat show, of course, is the between-song patter. At this point in her career, Beat has perfected the art of the ad lib. Well, you would to if you’d been performing for -- what is it, now, 30, 40, 60 years?

Certainly, her status in the gay, drag and larger entertainment worlds gives Jackie a right to look down on all the drag wannabes running around these days. Having suffered through one of RuPaul’s TV veterans on the same stage giving a textbook example of what happens when Girlfriend is not ready for the footlights, I only appreciated Jackie’s annual visit all the more

If you’re still wondering whatever happened to Baby Jane, head over to Theater Row. But be warned: La Beat will only be there through Dec. 16. Or you could stay home and watch "It’s a Wonderful Life" again.

You do the math.

Jackie Beat: Come, They Told Me" runs through Dec. 16 at the Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 W. 42nd St. For info or tickets, call 212-352-3010 or visit www.SpinCylceNYC.com

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).

Comments

Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook