Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up


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Allison snarkily watches the Macy’s Parade… but sees something fabulous

As I indicated in my previous post, one of my Thanksgiving Day traditions (if you could call it that) is to hate-watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from New York City.  Well, that is if I’m not preoccupied with something else on Thanksgiving morning such as, say, traveling to see my family, typing my blog, or… I dunno, just recuperating after a short but tiring work week.

Yeah, ever since at least my teen years, I’ve never taken too much of a keen interest in parades.  And when I watched the Macy’s Day Parade (whoops, I keep calling it “Macy’s Day Parade”), it was because Mom either wanted me to help prepare our family’s Thanksgiving lunch or just didn’t want me cooped up in my bedroom.

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Allison enjoys “Queer Shorts: Unity”

So, peoples, what did you do Friday evening?  I went to the theater.

Yeah, Male Mode Me took in a show Friday night.  And, yeah, I was tempted to get all dolled up as Allison, but a tight time frame after the end of my work day prevented that.  Still, I wanted to take in a show and support queer-oriented theater.

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Image credit here

Friday was the second-to-last staging of “Queer Shorts: Unity.”  Every year since 2006, Stage Q, the Madison-based LGBT-oriented theater company, has presented a showcase of short plays, usually 5 to 10 minutes in length and culled from a nationwide call for submissions, that showcase LGBT themes, characters, performers, and writers. Continue reading


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Allison digs “Die! Mommie! Die!”

18341715_1271087849678154_8705547964650114362_nWell, peoples, I got out of the house Friday night and took in a show, Stage Q’s production of Die! Mommie! Die!  The play was penned by the noted playwright, actor, and female impersonator Charles Busch, who portrayed the lead role in the play’s first staging in the late 1990s and repeated the role in a 2003 film version (which I didn’t know had been filmed until looking up that link on Wikipedia this morning).

I don’t intend to make this a full-on review of Stage Q’s version, which had its final performance on Saturday, the last day of its 2016-2017 season.  (Oh, the above image came from Stage Q’s Facebook page.)  However, I will highlight a couple of things that I thought made their production special in my mind further down this post.  Let me just say, though, that the production was a really fun, mightily campy romp (well, naturally), that the performances were perfectly done (joyously over the top and heartfelt when needed), and that I recommend you go see it if a theater company in your town produces it (hope they’ll turn up the camp as well).

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Personal postscripts about “Queer Shorts 2.1”

If you’ve haven’t yet read my previous post where I reviewed StageQ’s “Queer Shorts 2.1: Queer Love,” go ahead and do so by clicking on that post here.

[hums contently to myself]

Oh, you’re still here yet?  You mean you (*choose one* did/did not) read that post yet?  Well, I did redirect you back there not so much because you can’t read this post without reading that post first, but more to remind you that live, local, LGBT-oriented theater does exist, and that organizations such as StageQ put on great work, with “Queer Shorts 2.1” being evidence of that.

Rather than let that post go on for too long, I wanted to devote this follow-up to a couple of aspects of my evening at “Queer Shorts.”  One was a thrilling moment, the other an “oops” kind of moment, but both, for sure, were part of a pretty good night at the theater.

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Allison enjoys “Queer Shorts 2.1”

Just a couple of posts back, I noted that in these dark and scary times, it’s good to get away from it all and indulge in things that are nowhere near dark and scary.  And that’s exactly what I did Friday night.

The first thing I did Friday morning was reserve a seat for Friday night’s performance of “Queer Shorts 2.1: Queer Love.”  And as I indicated by the above tweet, it was indeed a pleasant evening to do so, weather wise; it was a springlike day in Madison (sunny skies, temperatures just above 50 degrees, not a drop of rain or flake of snow). Continue reading


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Allison looks up to “Musical Heroes”

So, it’s a Friday night.  You need to go out after a very, very long week.  And you need to get away from all that’s been going on in the world.  The natural thing would be to go out and perhaps see a show.  And that’s what I did last night (December 2), when after a long day and week of work, I went here:

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Image source here (not from me, sorry)

That’s the front marquis for the Barrymore Theatre, which is located in the Schenk-Atwood neighborhood on Madison’s near east side.  The Barrymore (named in tribute to the Barrymore acting family) has had a long and varied yet rich history since first opening in 1929 as the Eastwood Theater.  It served primarily as a movie theater for much of its first 6 decades, offering the latest Hollywood fare and even featuring an occasional live performance.  But competition from newer, multi-screen cinemas, combined with a declining neighborhood surrounding it, would leave the theater resorting to showing X-rated fare exclusively by the early 1980s.

New ownership and the adoption of its current name in 1987 would transform the Barrymore.  With it began a gradual transformation from a second-run budget cinema to the live performance venue it’s known as today.  The screening of films would stop completely by 1992, when its current nonprofit ownership began concentrating exclusively on concerts by various touring artists of wide-ranging styles (from rock and folk to world beat and stand-up comedy), along with an occasional art house film.  A much-improved Schenk-Atwood neighborhood has certainly helped, with many restaurants and small businesses sprouting up since the Barrymore’s revitalization.

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Allison thinks about “Casa Valentina”

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StageQ’s publicity poster for Casa Valentina (Image source here)

I got out of the house once again Saturday night and headed back down to the Bartell Theatre, where StageQ — the LGBT-themed theater group known for producing “Queer Shorts” shows like this and this — is offering its latest production, Casa Valentina.  (Note the present tense there; the show is running through next weekend.)  For those unfamiliar with the play (and I admit I was among them until I saw it in person), Casa Valentina is a Tony Award-nominated show about a gathering of crossdressing men in the early 1960s.  The play was written by Harvey Fierstein — yes, the Harvey Fierstein, whose Kinky Boots just had a Madison run earlier this month (damn, I missed it!) — and premiered on Broadway in April 2014.

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Allison reviews Queer Shorts 2.0

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The poster art for Stage Q’s “Queer Shorts 2.0” as found on the StageQ.com website

I had been putting it off for a few days, but last night I finally made reservations to head back to the Bartell Theatre downtown for Stage Q’s “Queer Shorts 2.0: The Reboot.”  I say “finally” because Old Lazybones Me had been planning to take in the show yet kept putting off buying tickets.  And when I did finally make my reservation yesterday, it was for this afternoon’s final showing.  Yep, it was a matinee performance; no Friday Night excitement has I had been planning for.  Still, though, attending “Queer Shorts” was worth it no matter the starting time.

If you don’t remember my description from my review of “Queer Shorts 10” from one year ago, “Queer Shorts” is a production of Stage Q, which specializes in the production and staging of LGBTQ-oriented plays and performances, including their mini-play showcase “Queer Shorts.”  Why did they call it “Queer Shorts 2.0: The Reboot”?  Well, it wasn’t a “reboot” of the show’s format of any sort.  Rather, each of the 9 plays had a unifying theme (some direct, others obliquely) about how technology and social media affects the LGBTQ community.

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Allison examine “La Cage au Folles”

Salutations, mesdames et messieurs!  On Saturday night, I bundled up, ventured out of the house (for once), and found myself in the grandest, bawdiest nightclub on the French Rivera — and all without leaving Madison!  How did I do that?  Easy peasy!

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Image source: MTMadison.com

Saturday night was the final staging of the musical La Cage aux Folles by Music Theatre of Madison.  Currently in its 10th anniversary season, MTM aims to produce and exhibit musicals that are unique, lesser-known, or not often performed — including some that had never previously been performed in Wisconsin.  They also emphasize local artistes performing in innovative ways and accessible locales.  What do I mean by “accessible,” you may ask?

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MTM staged La Cage aux Folles the past two weekends (Thursday thru Saturday) at Madison’s FIVE Nightclub.  Yes, the very same FIVE where I went out as Allison for the very first time many moons ago (when it was known as Club 5), and the same FIVE that was thankfully saved from closure just last year.

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Random stuff: Gender-neutral homecoming

Now that I’ve stepped down from my soapbox over the issue of what restrooms we may or may not be able to use, I want to talk up a couple of nice developments surrounding a school tradition: Homecoming.  I have previously gone on the record here as saying that I never went to homecoming or any other school dances when I was a teenager.  It wasn’t just because I was never a great dancer (and I’m still not one as an adult); I was awkward and not very sociable back then, worrying about my school grades more than some dance.  That’s not to say I ever disdained the homecoming or prom traditions, nor did I ever dissuade anyone from taking part.  There’s still a part of me that wishes I had gone to the dances back then, even if I had preferred to be the wallflower and stay on the sidelines.  There’s also a part of me that wishes I could’ve attended the dance as Allison.  No, I probably wouldn’t have been the best dressed girl at the dance, but considering the traditional community my hometown was then and still is now, I would definitely have made a significant statement.

Times have changed between the 1980s and 2015, and these days many schools and the students who go there are more open towards those who do not conform to traditional gender identities or sexual preferences.  That includes official student functions such has the homecoming dance.  There’s clear proof of that here in Madison, where students at Madison West High School have initiated a change in their homecoming tradition:  Next week, Madison West’s homecoming court will be gender-neutral, a move intended to make the school and its homecoming more open and welcoming to those who do not fit within the set gender binary.

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