Kind of a Drag

Lypsinka is much more than a drag queen

Epperson: I have to admit I'm very ambivalent about a lot of it. I hesitate to say that because Megan Mullally from Will & Grace is an acquaintance of mine, but it's really how I feel. I've never seen Queer Eye, and I don't need to. I get it -- they fix up a straight guy who apparently can't clean his own apartment or cook his own food. I got it. I don't need to watch it. The whole thing with this "gays-on-TV-every-night" movement is that it looks like they're laughing with the gay people, but of course straight audiences are laughing at the gay characters. I'm very ambivalent about gay people assimilating. If George Bush really wants gay people to disappear, he should let them marry because then they'd disappear like straight people do -- into the military, into parenthood. On the other hand, I don't want to be a messy, repressed, closeted fag, so I'm ambivalent. I'm a good liberal.

NT: You've been on Broadway and in movies and on TV, and you tour the country with your one-man show. Is your career really about revenge on all the kids who beat you up for being a sissy?

Epperson: I don't know that my career is about revenge, but I do sort of enjoy the irony that the thing people made fun of me for, which is being effeminate, is the thing I've made a living doing. When I performed in Mississippi and I got standing ovations and the show was sold out and all that, it made me feel like Sissy Spacek in Carrie. If I ever win a Tony award, I can say, "All the people who poked fun at me, look at me now!" You know, I did win the Helen Hayes award for Best Touring Show, and I beat out four Broadway shows to get it. I guess that's revenge.

Gimme lip: John Epperson turns drag on its ear.
Gimme lip: John Epperson turns drag on its ear.

NT: How is it that you've never performed in Phoenix before? I mean, you've opened for John Davidson.

Epperson: At Disney World, no less! My only image of Phoenix is from the opening scenes from Psycho. I want to stay in that hotel where Janet Leigh and John Gavin stayed. Will John Gavin still be there? Seriously, I'm coming to Phoenix because this is the first time I've been asked to. I just hope you guys are ready for me.

E-mail robrt.pela@newtimes.com

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