(*homocinematically inclined)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reverend's Interview: A Conversation with Coco

The indomitable drag legend Miss Coco Peru has been all over Southern California this month, culminating in the eighth installment of her ongoing Conversations With Coco tonight at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s Renberg Theatre.

Liza Minnelli will be Coco’s very special guest at the Renberg. Minnelli, in addition to being Judy Garland’s oldest daughter, has had her own Oscar-, Tony-, Emmy-, Grammy- and Golden Globe-winning career. The legendary actress-singer will also be making her Disney Hall debut while in Los Angeles on March 25th. Coco’s past celebrity guests have included Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Charles Busch and the late Karen Black. “Conversations With Coco,” she said, “is sort of like Inside the Actors Studio, only it’s much more fun and I’m prettier than James Lipton—sort of.”

The divine Miss CP recently spoke with Reverend during her weeklong run in Puerto Vallarta.

CC: You are a busy lady! How do you maintain your energy and figure?
CP: My figure is up for discussion. I’ll probably return from Mexico with a giant burrito around my waist. (Laughs) The food here is incredible. I exercise as much as I can and I don’t drink booze. I try to get eight hours of sleep. Oh, and I’m a big fan of naps.

CC: What can people expect at your San Diego and Palm Springs shows?
CP: In San Diego, I’m doing a best of show with both old and new material, and in Palm Springs I’m doing my “She’s Got Balls” tour. It’s the first time I’ll be performing “She’s Got Balls” in Palm Springs so I’m excited. I understand both Palm Springs shows are nearly sold out, which is wonderful.

CC: Do you ever tired of performing or of the “social whirl”?
CP: I have my moments when I think retirement’s going to be great, but then I have moments when I connect with an audience like I am doing here in Puerto and it’s magical. I get tired of the marketing, even though it’s much easier with the Internet; I don’t have to stand on a corner handing out fliers anymore. But with the Internet people are also more distracted.

CC: You are also going to be interviewing the one and only Liza Minnelli this month. Is there a particular question you are burning to ask her?
CP: When’s the last time you rode the subway? (Laughs) I really want to ride the subway with Liza. I rode in a helicopter with her years ago. We were over New York City together, now I want to be under it. We’ll do the city from both ends. (Laughs) Liza was really kind to me when I was just starting out. It made a huge impact.

CC: How do you get such fabulous stars for Conversations with Coco?
CP: The first one was Bea Arthur and she was a friend of mine, so she did it as a favor to me. That got me a bit of cache. Jane Fonda is a close friend of Lily’s so Lily got her. Some celebs are scared because it’s with a drag queen and they think I’m going to attack them, you know, but each conversation is a celebration of that person and what they mean to me.

CC: Is there anyone who you haven’t yet interviewed but hope to in the future?
CP: Dolly Parton, to complete the 9 to 5 trifecta. (Laughs) I’d also love to interview Shirley MacLaine. She turned me down once but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. You should never say no to a drag queen. (Laughs)

CC: Is there a past celebrity interview or moment during an interview that is especially memorable for you?
CP: One of the most memorable moments for me is when I see the celebrity, about 15 minutes into it, “get” the love for them that is in the room. They realize it is safe and then they really open up. Another is Lily Tomlin. Lily was out there fighting for gay rights in the 1960’s, decades ago. It was a very emotional interview for me and for her partner (now spouse) Jane Wagner, who was in the audience.

CC: Beyond March, what are you looking forward to? Where else can you be found this year?
CP: I’m looking forward to my summer in Spain on vacation and then I go to P-Town, which is always crazy but wonderful. Oh, and I’ll be in New York in May at Birdland, which is a new venue for me so I’m very excited.

CC: Anything else you’d like to say?
CP: Big thanks for all the support!

To keep up with Coco and for more information about all her upcoming appearances, visit her website. She can also be followed on Twitter @themisscocoperu.

Interview by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.

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