Before I go on with my random stuff, a quick update about my sister: If you recall one of my posts from earlier this week, I talked about dropping my big pride parade plans to see my sister, who suddenly got a large pain in her back and was sent to the emergency room, where it was revealed she had a very large stone in her left kidney that couldn’t pass through her system. Well, I’m glad to say that first thing Friday morning (yesterday), Sis underwent a procedure called a lithotripsy to clear out that stone. There were actually two stones stuck in her kidney, the large one that completely blocked the ureter (which necessitated the procedure) and a smaller one right behind it. The procedure went fine, judging from the information Mom passed along to me yesterday. Now, Sis will have to rest up the rest of the weekend (her husband and daughters will make sure of that, according to Mom) and drink lots of fluids, just as she has been doing the entire week. I hope to talk to her sometime this weekend if she’s up to it. I’m so glad and relieved that those stones are out of her system and she’s going to be okay.
Now, let’s start of my random stuff with a little bit of a tease. Do you know who this famous face is?
Really? You don’t? Well, this person does look pretty different in this photo than how they usually appear. Even though this face and that hair has been all over the internet the past week or two, I’ll let you think about who it is for a while. (Please, no shout-outs from those who already know.) I’ll reveal this person’s identity in the last section of this post.
Here in Madison, one of the big issues that’s been plaguing the city of late has been that of homelessness. It’s not an uncommon sight to see people sitting on park benches or sleeping in front of the City/County Building with all their earthly possessions, or relying on the kindness of a church or homeless shelter opening their doors to those in need. One spot where the homeless have been known to congregate during the daytime has been Philosophers’ Grove, a pedestrian area found at the spot where State and Mifflin Streets meet the Capitol Square. The spot has been known to have several of the homeless congregate during the day, but it’s also been a known spot for criminal activity, including but not limited to assault, vandalism, and, yes, even drug dealing and prostitution.
Madison’s mayor and city leadership have been taking a hard line lately against the vagrancy and ill refute that has been occurring at Philosophers’ Corner; plans were considered as early as last fall and approved last April to improve the area’s conditions in response to complaints from nearby businesses and pedestrians. It’s not that the location is run down; to the contrary, State Street and Capitol Square is one of the most vibrant locales in Madison… though, truth be told, Philosophers’ Corner’s just-slightly-out-of-the-way position (a cul-de-sac surrounded by big buildings and shade trees) has made it the prime crime spot and safety risk it has unfortunately become.
The city’s plans have included new food carts; outdoor sidewalk seating for a couple of restaurants near the Corner; a series of summer hip-hop concerts; and even the removal of a bus shelter. Perhaps the most controversial move by the city (and what sounds like a last-ditch effort) has been the planned removal and relocation of a series of bronze and granite stones populating Philosophers’ Corner, some of which you see in the above photo. The stones were a sculpture piece created by a Wisconsin artist and added to the Corner over a decade ago; they’ve been common sitting spots for tired passers-by, people watchers, the homeless… and, yes, those doing illegal things.
While it’s all part of the city’s plans (and hopes) to reduce illicit activities in the area, the common refrain from the locals has been that the stones’ removal will not reduce the problem plaguing the corner, nor will it directly address the continued problem of homelessness. Even the artist commissioned by the city to create the stones disdains their removal, nor does she endorse their possible relocation (she has billed the stones as “site-specific”); she adds that they were intended to be a unique resting place for bystanders who don’t want to buy coffee or lunch at a street side restaurant just for the sake of sitting down. Whatever the reasons, a little bit of charm is about to be removed from its downtown perch.
If you recall back in June, I attended a performance of “Queer Shorts 10,” which was the annual production of short plays put on by the Madison-based LGBT-oriented theater company StageQ. I must make a personal admission here: I’ve always been fascinated by the acting/showbiz life. I say this even though I never took part in any plays in high school (I can’t act or memorize lines if my life depended on it), nor do I get out to a show or live performance these days (quiet nights at home are my usual preference). That being said, there’s something about an actor filling out a character or an improvisation performer making up a scene that I find so very alluring. (Maybe it’s due to my being a crossdresser, because I become a different character when dressing up. Just saying.) Heck, even the role of a stagehand doing their behind-the-scenes work is something that sounds so appealing to me.
So, with all that being said, and with the pleasant time at “Queer Shorts 10” still fresh in my memory, I decided to sign up for StageQ’s mailing list for any potential backstage volunteer roles they may have available in the future. It would combine my love of volunteering with working in an exciting atmosphere (showbiz) and supporting a worthwhile group. So far, I haven’t learned of or seen any volunteer opportunities for StageQ just yet; it is summer, after all, and their new season doesn’t start until October (as their new season poster at right will confirm). But it’s just as thrilling to hear about an open audition call, including one sent out this week for the third show on the list, a February performance of Psycho Beach Party.
So, if you’re in Madison and feel like attending a StageQ performance at the Bartell Theatre this season… well, first off, by all means, go. Secondly, take time to notice and appreciate the work of the behind-the-scenes folks… a team that, if fate and timing are right, just may include yours truly.
Okay, back to the mystery person shown earlier in this post. Have you made a guess as to whom this person may be?
Yes, that gentleman is indeed Alexander Skarsgård, who in addition to having the True Blood role of Eric Northman on his IMDB list also appears in the recently released film The Diary of a Teenage Girl. It was at the August 3 premiere event for Diary that Skarsgård appeared on the red carpet in full-on drag — flowing blonde wig, makeup, fake eyelashes, sparkling dress, the whole shebang.
Needless to say, Skarsgård’s full-drag appearance made headlines on the interweb. I first discovered his sashaying through a post on Pandora Boxx’s website (thanks, Ms. Boxx). Searching his drag appearance even further, I’m still stunned. Even this side-by-side comparison blows me away:
As to why he appeared in drag, Skarsgård later gave an explanation: The San Francisco crew for The Diary of a Teenage Girl featured several drag performers, the famous Peaches Christ among them. When Diary’s director wanted the queens to perform a number at the film’s San Francisco premiere (which took place at the Castro Theatre), Skarsgård wanted to join in on the fun and asked if he could appear on the red carpet all glammed up, a la Farrah Fawcett. He wanted to do it in part to show support and gratitude to the friends he made while filming. He even has a drag mother (Mercedez Munro, because she did his makeup) and a drag name, “Lady Libido Lushbody.” Yes, BuzzFeed, it’s a lot of name because he’s “a lot of woman” (great retort, Alexander *wink*).
Oh, this Instagram post is the source for the original photo at the top of this post, by the way. And here’s a few more photos:
A couple of things: First, this apparently isn’t the first time Alexander Skarsgård has dressed up as a woman; his credits include a 2006 film called Kill Your Darlings, in which he played “a 6-foot transvestite.” (He looks really cute in the role, judging from a photo at this link.) Secondly, the only downgrade about his red carpet appearance this month would be his arms and pits, since they do look at least a little bit unshaven.
Still, however, Alexander Skarsgård looks quite amazing in drag. As Pandora Boxx noted on her post, “I love that we live in a time a major Hollywood actor can come to a premiere in drag!” I’m in agreement with her on this; it’s awesome that Alexander can pull this off, create quite a stir in the showbiz gossip circles, and (perhaps more importantly) show his love and appreciation for those he worked with on Diary. I agree with Pandora, too, when she says he looks ready-made for a guest judge role on Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Ru should sign him up for the next season right away. Shontay, he stays… awesome!