BY SCOTT STIFFLER
Lewd, crude, loud and proud, fast on her feet and politically opinionated (not a fan of Trump), legendary drag queen and one-time longtime New York City resident Jackie Beat retreats from her Los Angeles abode to grace Gotham with her pithy presence, for one show only, come Thurs., Aug. 15—when the storied Laurie Beecham Theatre hosts Jackie Beat: Jerk in Progress. Chelsea Community News fired off some questions to Jackie, and, as always, her answers did not disappoint.
CHELSEA COMMUNITY NEWS: You’re in the midst of a Los Angeles run of your long-running Golden Girlz Live! stage show, and this one features two very combative episodes from that beloved TV series, The Golden Girls—The Artist (where Dorothy, Blanche and Rose all pose, unknowingly at first, for a sculptor) and Joust Between Friends (in which Blanche becomes jealous and suspicious, when new employee Dorothy excels at her museum workplace). Talk about the kind of evening that pairing makes for, within the pantheon of other episodes GIRLZ has tackled.
JACKIE BEAT: We have done so many great episodes, but I have to say the audiences are really loving these two. I think it’s because they are particularly bitchy. Everybody loves a good catfight, and these episodes really deliver! We are constantly saying to each other, “Would you ever let a friend talk to you like this?” I mean, it gets really brutal! Like when Blanche tells Dorothy to “Eat dirt and die, trash!”
CCN: What’s it been like to work with Jonny McGovern (who plays the sculptor in The Artist and the boss in Joust)?
JACKIE: Great! He’s an old friend, so it’s like family. And he nailed the role of Hungarian sculptor, Laszlo Gregorian. The voice is dead-on! So funny. I just posted something on social media about how I get paid to just hang out with my friends and have fun. It’s so true.
CCN: The press release for this August Laurie Beechman gig promises “new work-in-progress.” What’s that work, and how’s it progressing?
JACKIE: To be honest, the moment I read this question, I fucking freaked out, because the show is in fact a Best Of… I think maybe someone was confused by the title? I have been so crazy busy that when we booked it, I specifically said it would be all classics. Now I’m panicking! But I’m sure it will all be fine… I have a list of song parodies I want to do, and I work very fast, so I will come up with something. And if not, I can always just take off my clothes!
CCN: What song parodies from the repertoire might we expect, and what are some of your all-time favorites to perform live?
JACKIE: I never like to promise specific songs, mostly because I am so likely to change my mind and/or be working on stuff right up to the last minute.
JACKIE: First of all, we are having a lot of fun just going shopping and being the ladies who lunch. We have decided to do more theater and more parodies. Why not focus on what we’re good at? Not every queen can write and/or perform these shows so let’s show ’em how it’s done! And of course, we are still touring quite a but with our two-woman show, Battle of the Bitches. Lots of great stuff in the works!
CCN: How is interacting with a Twitter audience different than the rapport at your live shows?
JACKIE: Well, first of all if I post a joke and someone says, “That’s not funny,” I always remind them that it’s fucking free! Occasionally I have to deal with a misguided Trump supporter who makes the mistake to come for me. I fucking hate Trump more than I love cock. I will never stop posting out that he’s a fucking monster, a fucking moron, and that this is NOT normal. And then, there’s the obligatory comments from 14-year-old cisgender White girls pointing out that a joke I made was racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or transphobic. Or better yet, accusing me of ripping off a [RuPaul’s] Drag Race queen who wasn’t even born yet when I started doing drag. And because I’m such a caring, altruistic person, I always take the time to educate them by ripping them a new one! Tough love, henny.
CCN: Discuss your condemnation of Trump, via Twitter, and coming to the defense of others on social media—as in your August 6 message in support of posting stuff other than thoughts and prayers after a mass shooting.
JACKIE: Like I said, the worst thing we can do is stop complaining about Trump’s dangerous rhetoric, become numb to it, and start to think its normal. So I will never stop. And yeah, some guy responded to Alec Mapa—who posted something about The Golden Girlz on the same day as the El Paso mass shooting, with, “Alec, I love you. But today is maybe not the best day to be doing PR for something like this.” Drew Droege [who plays Rose] and I went OFF! I responded to the guy with, “It’s not PR… It’s sharing what makes life worth living: Laughter and community. Yes, let’s bring life to a screeching halt so the hateful assholes win. If someone gave birth on the same day as a mass shooting would you tell them not to post a joyful picture of the baby?” Don’t try to shame people for trying to bring happiness into this ugly world.
CCN: What do you think about the current field of presidential candidates?
JACKIE: I am so impressed with most of the candidates. How amazing would it be to have President Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Bernie Sanders? I also really appreciate and respect Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg. I will be voting for the Democratic candidate no matter who it is. Seriously, it could be Lady Bunny and she’d get my vote. And I fucking hate Bunny! LOL.
CCN: People say we don’t ask the tough questions, but here’s a real head-scratcher: There are so many fantastic products at the Jackie Beat online store. If stranded on a desert island with just one of them, what would it be?
JACKIE: The gorgeous, full-color sleep mask featuring my world-famous, award-winning eye makeup, of course! I mean, those desert islands can be so annoyingly sunny, and my fans like to sleep in!
CCN: Closing thoughts, we defer to you: Any statement to, or words of advice for, our readers?
JACKIE: Yeah. Let’s get that asshole out of office and save this country and try to restore our reputation!
Jackie Beat: Jerk in Progress plays one show only, 7pm, Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre (inside West Bank Cafe at 407 W. 42nd St., btw. 9th & 10th Aves.). Tickets are $24 for general admission or $45 for reserved seating and a meet-and-greet. For reservations, call 212-352-3101 or visit SpinCycleNYC.com. There is also a $20 food/drink minimum at all performances at this venue. Artist info at missjackiebeat.com.
KNOW YOUR HERSTORY: Award-winning drag darling Jackie Beat has been wowing unsuspecting audiences since 1989. She has toured with Roseanne Barr as her opening act—including a 7-week run at The New York New York in Las Vegas; written for TV (Fashion Police, Hello Ross, Hype! and others) and collaborated on special material with the like of Roseanne, Rosie O’Donnell and Jennifer Coolidge; appeared in countless TV shows (Sex and the City), movies (Grief, Wigstock The Movie, Flawless, Adam & Steve) and Off-Broadway hits (Valley of the Dolls, Tell-Tale!). She has been named Best Drag Queen by New York Press and Best Live Performance by HX Magazine. Jackie is also a columnist, lead singer for the electro-rock band, Dirty Sanchez, and the subject of the documentary film My Name is Jackie Beat, which includes commentary from Joan Rivers, Margaret Cho, and others.
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