Marlena’s was packed last night. Known as one of San Francisco’s premier and long standing drag performing entertainment bars, I had rushed to catch the show. I just left a dinner with visiting friend Ben and his partner Gary from Texas.
This was only my second time to Marlena’s. I was a little nervous. I recently got acquainted with Ana Mae Cox , a drag performer , and her group of friends and was still getting to know them. It was a whole new crowd for me but I appreciated their kindness and friendship.
I was recently inducted into her Haus of Coxx, which is her little family of friends, that she gives nicknames to, which I have been dubbed as “Sweet Coxx.”
When I entered the bar I quickly found Mark who is part of the “Haus.” I was so glad he was there. he and I got into a good conversation and I know he and I will become good friends.
Then I saw Alan. He has always been sweet to me. I am always nervous around him because I feel sometimes I think he does not know what to make of me. However, I really admire how he really takes care of Ana Mae and of course I think his relationship with the other Haus member, Moe Joe is great. Now Moe Joe is just Mr. Happy Face with a screaming laugh that makes you smile. I also saw Desmond, Bryan and Victoria.
I separated myself from the group because I wanted to experience the drag show close up and I also could not understand half the gossip they were talking about since I had not been with them a long time. So I immersed myself with a group of guys who were celebrating their buddy’s birthday.
It allowed me to observe the audience and the performers. I was glad I did what I did because I just got what made drag so fun to watch. When it is good, it is really good.
At dinner, one of the guys was critical of me coming to Marlena’s saying it was basically an outdated drag show. Well, I could not have disagreed more. There is something so organic and fun about the show that really makes it entertaining and simply a delight to watch.
Sure there were some performers that were better than others. I thought the hostess, Miss Galilea, was great. Her Lady Gaga number of Bad Romance was hilariously good. Tiger Lily also brought it. I mean there were consistent performances of songs old and new.
However, when Ana Mae Cox took the stage. She owned it. She was the star of the night. This is the 4th time I have seen her performed. This is the second time at Marlena’s.
As I watched her, I think what makes the difference is that she really goes beyond simply performing it but becomes an artist. Yes, it is all lip syncing. But when you are there live, you really believe she is singing the song, feeling the song and living that moment.
There is only one word to describe every performance she does…”WOW!” I feel very privilege that my first real introduction into the world of drag performers has been through such a talented and consummate artist as Miss Ana Mae Cox.
Now I know Ana Mae’s real male identity but like Superman or Batman I am not going to reveal it in this blog. The art is the illusion. It is perfect and that fantasy is what needs to persist on stage and I do that out of respect to the artist (and to my friend).
I captured on video both performances. They do not due justice to what you see live. If you can, you MUST come see Ana Mae Cox and her sisters perform at the Hayes Valley Follies at Marlena’s every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in San Francisco.
You will come to love and shout the name Ana Mae Cox!!!!!