Sassy Eddie Izzard
Storms into SF on
By Nancy Norstad
I have to let you all in on a little
secret. Because THE SLANT goes to print early and because it is such a colossal effort by
our tiny army of volunteers, we have to try and schedule our timely event reporting before
the middle of the month. So in the future, if you want to have a review, critique, an ad
or a scandal in our paper, it's best to do it in the wee days of the month.
Eddie Izzard complied with my request and scheduled his shows at the Curan Theatre from June 6-10. My crew had tickets for the first of five shows on Wednesday the sixth. That was the night it rained, remember? Well, Eddie will. He was in a mood about San Francisco that night. He talked about how we thought we were the center of the universe (yeah, duh) and how our weather was sort of designed to keep the foreigners away. Thank God he didn't have a cold like poor Plácido Domingo at the opera earlier that week.
Did you know that the dinosaurs, formally housed only on the Darwinian timeline, were actually a part of the divine Big Bang? According to Eddie Izzard, they were thrown from the car of a renegade-visiting troupe of gods while our western Christian God was in the loo. Jesus actually did come down to preach to them, but it just didn't take. With their gnashing teeth, huge unwieldy tails and effeminate piano hands, the dinosaurs resisted Jesus' attempts to guide them out of their liar. Kind of like Vanna White trying to govern a raffle at the Lazy Bear Weekend; she ain't sellin' no vowels, y'know what I mean?
Izzard's best comedic segue was the discussion on the roll of organ grinders (I think this was a double-entendre) during the Spanish Inquisition, and how the monkeys danced on the winches and cranks. "Monkeys," Eddie said wistfully; then paused, pivoted on a stiletto heel, and faced the audience squarely and boomed, "Charlton Heston! What the hell are you doing in this county with your arms?" I almost fell out of my seat. ("Damn you apes!" this is what my housemate and I yell when the other one has pillaged the last Coors).
Honestly, this was the sassiest show I've seen in forever. Eddie Izzard is a laugh a mile a minute. His 'Stoned Olympics" was the funniest skit of all. Imagine the 'torch' being a huge joint relayed from Athens to Amsterdam by stumbling pot-heads grabbing for pizza slices on the run and dizzying if required to climb the elevation of a small track hurdle?! And in those stiletto heels...
Izzard didn't talk much about his cross-dressing, except to mention that his father is 100% supportive of him and that it hasn't hindered his career any. He has been accused of affecting the role of a transvestite as a shtick, but assures us it is his 'sexuality' at play here, "out now" after many years of closeted pain.
I think it's pretty cool that The Crying Game let us see a gal so hot that when she dropped her drawers to reveal her bauble to millions of people in the world's theatre audiences, they fainted. What was the nature of that faint? It was all those straight men with their blood rushing you-know-where, then poof! Ten years later, we might be beyond that (at least in SF), but what about the psychology and sociology of this issue? How is our local society embracing the modern trend to 'be real,' when for some it means crossing over the gender lines?
Gender bending is more acceptable today than in the past, that's for sure. We can accept drag queens as pure entertainment. We can be okay with tough women in lead business roles. We have even been able to identify our masculine and feminine qualities and their attributions to our parent's polar pulls... but on a personal level what do we really know of the curves and twists on the road to gender identity?
A drag diva is usually a pretty man in make-up and a gown who has found an outlet for his "star" to rise on a spiffed-up karaoke stage; while a cross-dresser like Eddie Izzard can use his voice of fame to speak of his inspiration as a comic with a twist of splashy femme-gendering.
And then there is a whole other group of 'fetales' who make it their life's work to be so unspeakably gorgeous as females with their male genitalia intact that it would both shock and flatter the object of their affection to witness the rise of their passion. She-males are hot on the escort scene, perhaps because so many heterosexual men have so many unresolved issues about their sexuality. Or perhaps because it ads one more kink in the garden hose of sexual variety and erotic choice.
In a place like the Bay Area, everyone seems encouraged to explore the infinitesimal aspects of their sexuality because diverse sexuality is so accepted here. And thank god! It is quite possible that San Franciscans think they are the center of the universe because they, too, fell out of the car during some renegade cosmic road-trip while God was in the loo.
c 2000 The Slant / Marin County, California / www.theslant.org