Kennedy and Gorgeous Jared pay homage to Scissor Sisters. Check out Scissor Sisters live when they open for Lady Gaga on March 19. Photo: Katie Panzer
Back in the day, I worked as a go-go dancer at a club in San Francisco called Litter Box. The DJ was none other than the amazing Nature Boy, and he made sure that his go-go clan was made up of the most beautiful freaks of the underground scene. On my first night, I shared a go-go box with a beautiful redhead wearing a floor-length, sky blue 70s Grecian-style dress whom I later came to know as Ms. Ana Matronic. In between her pop and locking, she mimicked slaving over a BBQ with her props of a spatula and BBQ fork (it was the Fourth of July). Ms. Ana Matronic made me realize that real girls could be drag queens, too. She is practically the one who paved the runway for all others.
Ana Lynch lived most of her young life in Vancouver, Wash., and later spent time in Portland before relocating to San Francisco. When I met Ms. Ana, as she likes to be called, she worked for the high-end skin care company Zia. Anyone who has a chance to study her porcelain skin will see the job was much more than a job. Ms. Ana spent her days practicing fierce lip syncs for San Francisco’s drag institution Trannyshack, playing “Witchy Woman” in the Presidio with friends and starting her first band, Tequila Gold, rapping an explanation for the moniker she chose: “My name is Ana Matronic, I smoke the fuckin’ chronic and I worship at the altar of the Woman Bionic.” Matronic’s heavy involvement in this underground wonderland made a notable difference in the world of drag by blurring the line of gender specifics.
Relocating to New York in the late 90s, Matronic took Manhattan by storm, starting a nightclub called Knockoff, meant to take the West Coast formula and make it Left Coast fierce. It was at this club that she crossed paths with the go-go dancer with the golden voice, Jake Shears (Jason Sellards), and musician Babydaddy (Scott Hoffman). With Shears’ vocal forte, Matronic’s comfort and stage wit, and Babydaddy’s know-how, they brought forth a light and airy electro-pop band called Scissor Sisters in a heavy post-9/11 Manhattan whose nightlife and legendary street realness were being swept off the island by fun-crusher Giuliani.
Their story is as old as time: Talent mixed with determination, good looks, fashion sense and “right place,” Scissor Sisters jumped on a rollercoaster ride of super-stardom in England, always on the front end of the music scene. Shortly thereafter, we in America were shaking it on the dance floor to the first single, “Comfortably Numb,” with “Filthy/Gorgeous” soon to follow. In 2005, I was asked to come to New York to be in the “Filthy/Gorgeous” music video with the crème de la crème of the drag world. I couldn’t have been more excited.
The song title comes from back in the 90s and is based on urban lingo specific to the drag and gay community. In a short explanation, we came up with a new meaning for descriptions. In this case, if something was good, it was gorgeous, and if it was amazing, it was filthy. The video was staged to give the vibe of the performance art scene in coastal America, the grit and overtly sexual settings of the clubs we hung in and how things that might otherwise be unappreciated find their fins in this subset. It stars Karis, an amazingly tight hoop artist who shows up to the club as a sort of flawed baby tranny but ends up taking the stage by storm as a fierce diva and leaving the masses gagging on her unexpected filthy gorgeousness.
The day of filming, we got to the set early at a small theater in Midtown Manhattan and waited for instruction from director John Cameron Mitchell of Hedwig and the Angry Inch fame. As we waited, we reveled in stories of New York icons. One story that stands out in my mind came from the huge tranny legend Sofia Lamar. Lamar told us how she rode a raft to America from Cuba in the 70s before clawing her way to the top in the “land of opportunity.” Another highlight of the day was getting to meet the special guest star of the video, Charlotte Rea, aka Mrs. Garrett from Facts of Life.
My friend Jordan and I were dressed to look like dominatrix milkmaids—black leather corsets and spiked stilettos. If you watch the video (which can be found online), you will see us at the entrance of the club in a cage, trying to attack the baby tranny. This is where we spent the first half of the day. I don’t know if any of you have done a film shoot, but it is the most painfully boring process imaginable. The phrase “hurry up and wait” is all too real in this industry. Knowing that we had guaranteed our screen time in the beginning of the video, we snuck out after dinner to go get our N.Y. nightclub on, as we left early the next morning.
The night was a typical Princess Kennedy fast-and-furious-party-night story for another day, but it ended with Jordan and me fleeing for our lives (literally) from a mafia-owned gambling speak-easy in Chinatown. Luckily, we survived to see the release of the music video.
I’m so excited for the success Ms. Ana has achieved, and I cannot wait to see her in a big stadium setting when the Scissor Sisters play Salt Lake City with Lady Gaga on March 19. Call me the Anti-Gay, but I’m way more excited for them. Although it probably won’t end with threats of being dumped into the East River, I know your night with the Scissor Sisters will leave you just as enamored with Ms. Ana Matronic as I am.