The world of coincidence just got a wee bit kinkier when on the same day that I viewed Charliebebs Gohetia’s The “Thank You” Girls (cross-reference below), my preview copy of Andrew Saw’s documentary, Ladies Please! worked its way to the top of the review list.
Coincidental with the DVD release, it’s great fun (and instructive for those still new to the art-form of men wearing women’s frocks, makeup and heels in order to make their living by mouthing the lyrics of other people’s songs) to watch this trio of motion-picture inspiring dames (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) show-and-tell their rise to stardom.
Like the Guy Pearce (who also appears briefly) character in Priscilla, Ritchie Finger (a.k.a. Cindy Pastel) also has a son. Adam Miller seems oblivious to his dad’s outrageous occupation and is quite happy to pass along the wig on show-nights. “I guess it is a bit unusual,” he says “I just tell my friends he’s an entertainer.”
Cindy’s co-workers are Mark Fitzhugh (Strykermeyer) and Stuart Garskie (Lady Bump). The film chronicles their act (“A Day at the Beach” is a marvel of five buff studs providing the extra eye-candy while the girls work the appreciative crowd—often including supportive family members) and a spectacular send-up of Verdi’s divas (with such red hair!) during the extended sequence at Cannes.
Inevitably, the business of being professional “two-faced” dancers comes up on a few occasions (“We’re the people that make the money for them [club managers].”). Without a doubt, the widespread success of Stephan Elliott’s film forever-changed the knowledge and understanding of drag queens, but not always for the better, ”Priscilla has taken away some of the mystery.”
Like all artists, the need to perform and feel appreciated by the audience drives the energetic cross-dressers onto the stage and into many hearts. Without the dedication and ground-breaking courage of Aussies-like-these, the world would be a much more sedate and insecure place. JWR
Included in the extras is Luna and the Moon. The brief film packs a powerful punch as the courageous Luna (Luc Anthony) risks a night on the town, dressed to the nines, befriends James only to be brutally beaten by a group of cowardly thugs after finally being kissed by the first man who is not solely interested in a quick feel of whatever his/her panties might contain. Sadly, the 2005 production is still a cautionary tale for the present day where the unusual amongst us continue to bring out fear and loathing in the bigots and bullies that choose to demonstrate their ignorance with brute force. JWR