THAT AIN'T NO LADY...

Who doesn't love a man in a dress? Surprisingly enough, some are still resistant to this ultimate feat of acting. In an effort to pacify the scared public, here are three flicks to show why genderfuck is a thing of true beauty.

- Die, Mommie, Die (2003)--From the fractured mind of Charles Busch (Psycho Beach Party) comes a spot on homage to the female centered melodrama. Busch portrays aging singing star Angela Arden, who is hated by her children and mentally tortured by her husband. When Angela finally offs her nasty hubby, her daughter Edith (Natasha Lyonne) plots her own revenge against her Mommie--hence the title. Enter a kindly gigolo played by 90210 star Jason Priestley. Busch's exaggerated, yet nuanced, performance puts him in a drag category all his own, the "classic" queen. Ooh, la la!

- Girls Will Be Girls (2003)--This wildly acidic yarn follows the misadventures of Edie (Jack Plotnick), a near-mummified old bitch who's single claim to fame was starring in a never-seen Z-grade film called Asteroid; and her sad martyr maid, Coco (Clinton Leupp), who's obsessed with getting married to the handsome doctor who performed her multiple abortions 20 years ago. Things get crazy when Edie and Coco take on a new roommate, the buxom Varla (Jeffery Roberson), who's dead-set on taking Hollywood by storm. This sets the stage for tons of snipey drag queen banter about big asses, abortion, alcoholism, and rape!! Ha!

- M. Butterfly (1993)--Horror director David Cronenberg takes a dramatic turn with this cinematic reinvention of Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly and David Hwang's titular play. Jeremy Irons plays Rene Gallimard, a wormy American diplomat who falls in love with a gorgeous "female" opera star (John Lone) in 1960s China. An intricate web of intrigue, betrayal and Adam's apple hiding ensues, all played out for extreme dramatic effect. The acting is top shelf, especially Lone who convinces and charms as Song Lilang--but don't forget...THAT AIN'T NO LADY!
MICHAEL SVOBODA