BY AARON STELLA Sex Dwarf, DJ Robert Drake’s monthly gay bash, just turned five, and to honor such a joyous occasion, the Dumpsta Players — Phawker’s favorite wild wig-headed trash-glitz drag troup — put on a lip-sync dance tribute to New Wave Saturday night at Fluid. In the words of Miss Lisa Lisa, host of the longest-running drag show in the city at Bob and Barbara’s, “they bring the glamour with the clamor.” Drake channels his passion of New Wave 80’s dance music through the festivities of Sex Dwarf, as fans of New Wave — and of Drake — flocked to Fluid decked out in clunky go-go boots and red and black caparison. Drake’s been working in the media for more than 20 years. He started off his career in radio in 1988 on WXPN, and now he’s one of Philadelphia’s premier DJs. He and Ricky Paul, founder and visionary of the Dumpsta Players are buddies from way back. With their combined efforts, the mood hovered right below combustible until it exploded with the Dumpsta Players invigorating drag tribute to New Wave. The party was a time bomb begging to go off. At two bucks a pop for beer and well drinks, the shot marathons started before the clock struck 10, keeping the mood well-lubricated.
It’s been 12 years since Ricky Paul invented the Dumpsta Players out of pretty much thin air and a few friends looking for a gay old time. The name reflects the method by which the troupe’s costumes and wigs are acquired: literally, out of dumpsters. The trash-picked costuming complements the bleak representations of American society and political satire that the Dumpsta Players deliver with visceral in-your-face theatrics. For Paul and the rest of the troupe, the critique and commentary are a huge part of who they are what they stand for, and in my opinion, something that sets them apart from other drag troupes. At the stroke of 12, Drake turned the show over to the Dumpsta players. Lip-syncing to beloved New Wave chestnuts behind painted on faces spackled with bright, tacky pastels and clad in the finest the bin has the offer, the crowd didn’t stop cheering until the last act was finished.
If you missed it, I guess you’ll have to wait until their October 15th Halloween show, “Last House on the Right,” (slated for Bob and Barbara’s, more on that in a sec) which will invariably be sending up the horror show of Fox Americana. As I’m sure ya’ll already know, Bob and Barbara’s remains closed with no word when they’ll reopen. Supposedly, the impetus for the L&I bitchslap were the obligatory fire and safety violations. Curiously, it was only minutes after Bob & Barbara’s was shutdown that Tritone, located directly across the street, fell victim to the same fate. Bob and Barbara’s is the unofficial home of the Dumpsta Players so we will wait anxiously and hope for the best. Keep asking questions, folks. Until next time, stay gold, pony boys.