When I was in sixth grade, I used to stuff my bra. I did a horrible job -- the toilet paper was always uneven, so I perpetually looked like I had one exceedingly droopy breast.
I wish I'd had the guidance of someone like local drag queen and performer extraordinaire Pandora DeStrange (nee Scott Pierce), who wore the most incredibly realistic-looking fake breasts at her weekly "Follies" drag show at Ice Pics on Saturday night.
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Saturday night was also the night of the Lady GaGa concert at US Airways Center, so everybody from Pandora's usual cast of performers was either at that show or at a pageant somewhere. That left Pandora to essentially hold up a two-hour drag show on her own, which she did with aplomb, treating her sizable audience to a multi-media camp fest that included video clips and hilarious banter recounting everything from Pandora's days doing drag in New York alongside RuPaul ("When RuPaul was still Star Booty") to furry animals falling out of vaginas.
The show began with Pandora, dressed in a leather bustierre with a long black ponytail affixed to her bald head, singing two songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack, "Sweet Transvestite" and "I Can Make You a Man." For the latter number, she brought out a hunky blond guy to lift weights, and seemed to take much delight in molesting him throughout the song.
Pandora is one of the most prolific and edgy figures in Arizona entertainment. In addition to her reputation as an outrageous, mouthy drag performer, Pandora's also a co-founder of Grand Avenue gallery Soul Invictus, glam-punk cover band The Insignificant Others, and Artists Theatre Project.
Between performances, Pandora talked about her experiences, including an outrageous production she'd done with ATP called Titanic: "I played Victoria, who was having a bizarre love affair with her daughter/sister," Pandora said. "And my daughter/sister would keep wild animals in her vagina, because she wasn't allowed to have pets."
In addition to more interesting anecdotes (like the fact that Pandora wrote a paper in high school about wanting to be Harriet Tubman when she grew up), the audience -- which consisted of about 16 women and a dozen or so men -- were also treated to an array of video clips. One clip showed Pandora's band performing with John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch); another was a three-part skit called "Bitch, Have You Lost Your Mind?" But my favorite was Pandora's three-minute remake of Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space, a deft spoof complete with a screaming chick running in circles and tripping over Styrofoam gravestones.
This Saturday, "Follies" will go back to its usual cabaret-on-crack vibe and cast of eclectic queens, but Pandora's proven she can more than hold her own.
"Follies" takes place at 10 p.m. every Saturday at Ice Pics Video Bar, 3108 E. McDowell Road. Visit www.icepicsvideobar.com or call 602-267-8707 for more information.