By Jen Belanger
I never knew how sexy a female Elvis impersonator could be until I went to a drag king show called The Men of Club Casanova.
Upstairs at the dimly-lit El Mocambo on jackets and baggy jeans gulped down rye and Cokes, anticipating a raunchy and colourful drag show featuring women dressed as men.
In case anyone in attendance was confused, the first performer made the transformation abundantly clear. The night kicked off with a typical plain-jane, her brown hair hanging below her thin shoulders. As she danced energetically to new wave tunes, she peeled off her grey T-shirt and shorts revealing a sports-bra. The crowd cheered her on as she frantically wrapped her chest with electrical tape, stuffed socks down her leather chaps, slicked back her hair, put on a cowboy hat and began gyrating to “Jailhouse Rock.”
Her transformation was remarkable. Her resemblance to James Dean was mysteriously sexy. Eagerness heightened as some ladies waved green bills at the performer.
As guests joined the party, Will Munro collected cover charge and welcomed almost every guest by name. Munro also hosted Vazaleen, a queer rock club held on the last Friday of every month. Both nights are part of a queer rock scene that’s growing at the Elmo and will likely scatter if the new owner closes down the club on November 1 to build a dance studio. “This night is important because it showcases women in all personas whether they are male drags [or] cross dressers,” says Munro. “Diversity of gender isn’t represented well in society and it has every right to be expressed.”
The performers didn’t have any problems expressing their personas. Mo B. Dick, who owned the original Club Casanova in New York, was the show’s ringleader. Her jokes were full of sexual energy and equally sexual humour as she introduced each act.
Thirty-three-year-old Mandy Siege nicknamed Mutha Fucka MC, came all the way from Melbourned, Australia. Known as the “original Aussie gangster rapper,” her painted-on goatee and back-framed glasses excentuated her mannish look.
“This is an incredible opportunity to shape masculinity in all forms,” she says. “It’s almost a female masculinity in the sense that you don’t have to be a man. I feel more brilliant as a person and ironically more womanly because of this lifestyle.” On stage, she kept the ladies cheering with lyrics about her girlfriend, Donna.
The only performer with a real penis was 29-year-old Antonio Caputo, “The German Gigolo.” Hailing from Berlin, he began 10 years ago as a go-go dancer at lesbian parties. In his stylish, ivory pimp-like suit and black hair, he squealed his patriotism over the music, “I love Germany!” before hitting the stage.
The energy radiating from this German was contagious. I found myself smiling in his presence and I knew he would be a hit with the dykes. After belting out Just A Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody by David Lee Roth, he shouted to the ladies, “If you like my show, my name is Antonio Caputo! If you don’t like my show, my name is still Antonio Caputo!”
Caputo’s eyes turned serious as he added that sexuality isn’t something you open like a drawer, take out, put back in, and then close. “For me it’s about getting the most out of my life and being truly happy.”
Miss Ham Hock, the 1987 Pork Pageant Product Queen of Arkansas, was another colourful performer, to say the least. At 33, Hock (her real name is Lora Marie Williams) is a singer, actress and activist who lives in New York. She said that the night was about expending people’s consciousness.
“We represent the extreme – the far side of sexuality,” says Hock, who says she’s a gay man trapped in a woman’s body. “I am on the frontier of sexual freedom. I can be a woman, then a man, then go back again.” The twisted beauty queen stood well over six feet in her leopard print dress and high heels as she belted out Broadway tunes and shook her almost-bare bottom to the ecstatic crowd.
The top floor of the Elmo was a blast for any sexual preference and it would be a shame to see this disappear. I went without knowing what to expect and was pleasantly surprised by the hour and a half show of sexual humour, raunchy talk, big, blonde wigs, gruff leather get-ups and self-expression.
I’ll never look at James Dean the same way again.