Longform

From Queer to Paternity

Page 5 of 5

Prior to their 1994 nuptials, the couple enjoyed a jet-set courtship, most of it on Troma's dime. As the sole surviving headliner of Vegas in Space, X, bride-to-be in tow, hit the film festival circuit, publicizing the movie in Cannes, Sundance and Los Angeles.

The Sluts' screwy contribution to sexual role-switching even earned the pair a trip to the First International Transgender Film Festival in Vienna -- a trek that inadvertently triggered almost as many laughs as anything that transpired during the screening.

"The people who were putting this thing on couldn't get it through their heads that I was actually going to marry a woman," recalls X. "Every time I'd have any communication with them about the trip, I'd mention 'my fiancée, Al'; as a result, they were convinced I was making the trip with a man. It was very confusing -- even after we got there." (While appearing with her husband in Dolls!, similar confusion earned X's wife her favorite review of her brief performing career: Thrown by billing that read "Al Farmer Jr.," the reviewer from a local daily dubbed her performance a "stunning facsimile of a woman.")

Despite X's theatrical gender gyrations, his oldest daughter clearly harbors no such misconceptions. As her doting paterfamilias carries the apple of his eye down a hallway, the child points at photos of Miss X's career highlights and hollers, "Daddy!"

Al rolls her eyes. "When my mother comes over, she's always trying to tell Lily that it's really Daddy's sister. She isn't buying it, though."

It's been a long road from late-night performances in basement cabarets to early bedtimes in suburbia, but neither X nor Al particularly misses their pre-parental past-life fast-tracking.

"Everything is of its time," says X, who claims he didn't mind trading in his three-inch heels for a new pair of sandals he just got for Father's Day.

Likewise, the wild revelries of the past have given way to more prosaic pursuits. On the rare occasions when they can sneak away from the kids, the couple might catch a movie, go to a tiki party or visit the costume exhibit at Phoenix Art Museum, where X recently enthralled bystanders with a dissertation on the dangers of accessorizing a bugle-beaded Bob Mackie with thread-threatening dangling jewelry.

Does this mean the world has seen the last of Miss X?

"Would I like to do drag again?" he asks. "Sure -- but where would I do it? The only place where it would make any sense would be San Francisco; it'd have to be some kind of 'Triumphant Return of Miss X!' appearance. Unfortunately, drag has become so mainstreamed that it isn't nearly as edgy as it once was. Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze -- is there any actor in Hollywood who hasn't done it?"

So for the time being, X feeds his performance jones right under his own roof, playing to a captive audience of preschoolers. "I sing, I make faces, I say lines from movies. The girls love it; they're a fabulous audience."

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Dewey Webb