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May 31, 1980 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-31

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The Michigan Daily--Saturday, May 31, 1980-Page 9
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Judging solely by numbers, Tom
Simonds is the resident expert in the en-
tertainment field on homosexuality. In
the past three years he has written and
directed four musicals dealing with the
gay experience that have covered
everything from orange juice to sex in
monasteries. In his latest venture,
Drag, with some help from Theatre
Lamda, a gay theatre company, and
the blessing of the university's human
sexuality office, he speculates on the
lives and loves of transvestite drag,

particularly the show queens.
Simonds makes a good case for drag
shows as legitimate entertainment.
Much of his success can be attributed to
the talent of his leading "ladies", the
pixiesh Beneatha Sheets and the cool,
statuesque Velma, played by Stan
Webb and Galen Davis respectively.
Webb and Davis are frequently
featured in drag shows at the Rubiyat,
an Ann Arbor disco. Their proficiency
at drag performance holds up the show.
Most of the other chorus "women"
mince about the stage in an imitation of

feminity, but Webb and Davis revel in
the liberation from their traditional sex
THE BULK of Drag is made up of
musical numbers performed at Sam's
Golden Rainbow, a drag showcase club.
The songs are tied together by a series
of predictable scenes in the budding
relationship between Stanley or
"Beneatha" and George, a student
majoring in ancient Greek history.
Most of Simonds' humor is ludicrous.
Stanley and George meet at the zoo,
while Stanley is feeding the elephants.
When Stanley con'fesses that he is a
drag queen George says, "It sure beats
the shit out of the Peloponnesian
As seems to be common with Simon-
ds' productions, he flirts with a serious
discussion of homosexual relationships,
but at the crucial moments backs off in-
to silliness or changes the subject. In
Drag he raises the issue of what
motivates men to become drag queens,
but never deals with it directly. Simon-
ds certainly has the ability and
knowledge to write a serious play on the
homosexual experience but he constan-
tly shies away from it in favor of camp.
Musically, however, Drag shines.
Simonds is an exceedingly versatile
songwriter and can write on almost any
subject. The chorus number, "It's a
Drag," which opens and closes the
show, describes the hassles of a per-
forming in a drag show ("The dress is
too tight, the make-up's too dark . . .").
The song about clocks would be won-
derful if the singer could only remem-
ber the words, while Stan Webb's ren-
dition of the vampy "When Beneatha
Sheets Comes to Town" is near perfec-
tion. "Come On Over My Place" is a
great number but is marred by the un-
warranted entrance of a giant banana.
In "Mama, I'm a Queen," Simonds
throws in a line of tapping chorus
"girls" who keep the number from
being a show stopper through their
clumsy hoofing. Unfortunately this is a
problem throughout most of the produc-
Among the mostly indistinguishable
chorus members, watch out for the
anonymous performer portraying the
maid (a is Carol Burnett) who suddenly
finds "herself" in the middle of a
musical number. "She" throws down
her mop and takes over the song,
milking it for all it's worth. Although
Drag has its ups and downs, the
musical numbers alone make it worth
seeing, as this "woman" obviously
knows. And as Judy, Stanley's best
friend, sings, "You've got to take the
shit with the sugar."


5:15-7:30-10:00 (R)

Daily Photo by DAVID HARRIS
Loren Hecht, Kenyon Brown, and Mark Paron display the art of performing
in 'Drag', a musical playing at the Mendelssohn Theater tonight at 8 p.m.
and Sunday at 2 and 8 p.m.
A above average
in answering census

In sharp contrast to neighboring
Detroiters, Ann Arbor residents have
been "excellent" about voluntarily an-
swering the 1980 census, according to
Mike Berla, district census office
manager for Ann Arbor.
While the Motor City has been beset
with mail-back rates below 70 per'cent,
the U.S. Census Bureau puts Ann Ar-
bor's rate at 87.5 per cent, more than
two percentage points higher than the
national average.
Even college students, who some
census officials expected to act
frivolously towards census questions,
"have been in general quite respon-
sible," Berla said.
ONE PROBLEM Ann Arbor census
takers have encountered is the result of
a misunderstanding by college students
of a rule governing where they should
complete census forms.
According to the law, full-time
students are expected to fill out census
forms in the area where they are
enrolled in schoot,- not where their { .
parents live.

There are some students, however,
who filled out their forms at home,
Berla said.
Because Ann Arbor census takers
must track these students down and
have them complete forms here, over-
statement of regional census figures
invariably results from double coun-
ting, Berla continued.

5:00-7:15-9:45 (R)
5:00-7:15-9:30 (R)
FRI. and SAT. 12:00 mid.
FRI. and SAT. 12:00 mid.
3 THlE Sat.
STOOGES 12:00 Mid

(Peter Weir, 1978)
Cinema II presents the ANN ARBORPREMIERE of THE LAST
WAVE, a startling and remarkable film about magic; power
and the supernatural. RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN stars as an
Australian lawyer whose defense of five aborigines involves
him in a series of bizarre and inexplicable experiences. This
is a terrifying story of the confrontation between the primi-
tive force of the aboriginal tribes and the civilized world
which threatens them. (106 min)
ML 4a-,7:30 & 9:30 $1.50

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