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Monday, December 13, 2004

Billy and the Angry Inch 

We finally saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch last Saturday, and it has been playing practically non stop on the Tivo ever since, which forces anybody else who wanders into the apartment to watch it as well. I believe my own personal viewing count is something like 15 times. Not only is the story poignant, brilliant and unlike anything I’ve ever seen, it is riddled with some of the most hilarious one-liners I've heard ("After my divorce I scraped by with babysitting gigs and odd jobs - mostly the jobs we call blow.” And what can you say about a movie that has an Israeli drag queen named Kristal Nacht.) I’m not particularly fond of musicals, but I have been humming these beautiful songs, some of which are profound and explain Platonic theory much better than any Philosophy professor I ever had, on a constant loop. The Wig in a Box song has to be one of the most inspirational songs I’ve ever heard about pulling yourself up, dusting yourself off and doing what you have to do to get on with life. It has supplanted my previous favorite song of this type, Bobby Gentry's Fancy, which was covered superbly by Reba McEntire. “I might have been born just plain white trash BUT FANCY WAS MY NAME!” Yeah, she got herself a Georgia mansion and she ain't been back. (Billy Jack was almost named Fancy).

Speaking of, we now are more sympathetic of and sensitive to Billy's behavior problems. E theorizes that this all stems from his botched tail docking when he was a 6 week old puppy. Jack Russells’s tails are docked at 6 weeks, but only partially. Enough tail length is supposed to remain – about 5 inches - so that the tails make a convenient little handle for grabbing them and pulling them out of varmint holes. As you can see from the photograph, Billy’s tail was docked much too short and he has been spiteful and overcompensating ever since.

E has been picking Billy up and singing, “6 inches forward and 5 inches back. Billy's got an angry inch, an angry inch!” Anyway, I can't believe Rachel Griffiths didn't get an academy award for her portrayal of the transexual Hedwig. She was amazing. I'm just kidding, but you have to admit the resemblance is remarkable.

Drag queens have always fascinated me. Many of them patronize this branch and even if they are not in their full raiment they are still glamorous creatures to behold. It’s almost like they are a third sex – a combination of female and male, like angels are purported to be. Two like to come in the branch together. They are never seen without their platform heels which make them both about seven feet tall each. They take my breath away, like I'm in the presence of a fallen archangel or some larger than life being or royalty (they're not called queens for nothing). Their vanity, their star power, their overall fabulousness, their supermodel size hips, awe me. I also love their eviscerating humor. They have the feminine catty, cruel streak combined with a man’s physical power and ruthlessness. And they are not to be messed with, sister. They wouldn’t hesitate to rake their Mandarin length nails across one's face, and since they possess a man's strength, this would probably be mortal wound. I can understand why men like Eddie Murphy cruise them – it would be like having sex with some kind of fantastical creature. When they come in I always waive their fines because as that homosexual sage Buddy Cole cautions, "An angry drag queen is scarier than a minotaur!"

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