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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 25 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 43
Real-life Dreamgirls - 'Mimosas With Mama' changes things up at Unicorn/Narwhal
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Real-life Dreamgirls - 'Mimosas With Mama' changes things up at Unicorn/Narwhal

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Drag is a drinking sport. Whenever you find yourself huddled up to a bar and a drag queen is working the room for tips, chances are she is well on her way to being blitzed - and many members of the audience already are. It's a good thing, really. As long as you aren't drinking and driving, and as long as the queen is giving you her best, it's just another night on Capitol Hill.

Notice I said 'night.' Truth is, day-drinking has its time and place, and sometimes that can be a brunch. But more often than not, Gay boys have long been using this sacred meal between breakfast and lunch as a way to nurse that nasty hangover, a place to bring your mother when she's in town and so on. Brunch is, and always will be, one of our favorite meals of the week. And so it should come as no surprise that, aside from the obligatory mimosa, we like some razzle-dazzle with our low-carb (or bacon-smothered) midday meal. Enter Mimosas With Mama at Unicorn/Narwhal (1118 E. Pike St.).

Mimosas With Mama, produced by and starring Seattle's Skyscraper Hostess, the one-and-only Mama Tits, is Seattle's longest-running weekly drag brunch. Mimosas began in October 2011 at The Grill on Broadway, a Capitol Hill restaurant that, sadly, shut its doors earlier this year, ending a 25-year run. At the Grill, Mama Tits and company debuted, fine-tuned, and gained a loyal following. When the show moved to one of the Gayborhood's most eccentric venues, many wondered if that old magic would follow suit. It didn't. But it turns out that was a great thing - the show was better than ever! Buoyed by the superb dancing and co-hosting skills of the incomparable Tipsy Rose Lee (who also acts as the show's choreographer), the energy and amazingness that is DJ Disco Vinnie, and (then-) newcomers to the scene Isabella Extynn St. James and Bukkake London St. James, Mimosas With Mama wowed audiences all over again and gained Mama Tits and company an even larger loyal following with the addition of the very radical 30-minute Hairspray.

It was a ballsy move (pardon the pun!) that paid off for Mama Tits. Fans couldn't get enough and haters were silenced, as each and every Sunday the talented cast squashed the musical into a beautiful, funny, and deliciously entertaining condensed version. It was brilliant, and Mama Tits and Disco Vinnie told SGN they knew they were on to something and have big plans for the show next year. But for now, they promise to change the 30-minute musical part every couple of months.

This month, Mimosas With Mama did just that. Gone is the beloved Hairspray, replaced by & Dreamgirls. Wait. What?!

ARE THEY NUTS? When I first heard the news I couldn't help but think that Mama Tits and Disco Vinnie had finally cracked. 'They've lost it,' I said to myself. 'How in the world is a cast of all white 'men' - all of them playing women characters except for Disco Vinnie - going to portray an all-African American cast?'

I mean, Hell, the duo of 'Disco-Tits' are good. No, they are really good. But just how good is the question.

Well, if you are a fan of Mimosas With Mama and the Hill's darling drag queen Robbie Turner, then you'll be happy to know that filling in for Tipsy Rose Lee is Turner who, alongside Bukkake and Isabella, perform a perfect 30-minute version of Dreamgirls, the 2006 musical drama film directed by Bill Condon and jointly produced and released by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, loosely based on Motown in the 1960s. Everything from the costuming (gorgeous dresses!) to which songs to cut and which songs are performed, Dreamgirls gives all of you who know and love this show and its cast an excuse to take another look, because you'll have to see it to believe it!

Mama Tits plays a convincing Dreamgirls lead singer, Effie White. In many ways, the case could be made that Effie and Mama are one and the same, so the character is believable. It's nice to see Mama Tits branch out and play a serious character (yes, Effie is a bit camp, but she is also very staid). I don't want to give anything away but I can't help but say that the last dress Mama Tits changes into is absolutely stunning.

Disco Vinnie delivers another standout performance as he lip-syncs R&B star James 'Thunder' Early's songs from the film. Aside from his job as soundman and DJ for the show, he acts and dances in the production too! Vinnie really is one of the hardest-working DJs in town and I couldn't be happier for him.

Robbie Turner ain't exactly Beyonce, is she? And that's not a dig on Robbie in any way - I mean, she literally isn't Beyonce. But that doesn't matter because what Robbie Turner is, is talented beyond any means of mere review. Robbie does such a great job as Deena Jones you completely forget about the character from the movie. Robbie owns the character as if the part were penned just for her. Robbie, of course, is a wonderful dancer and so that, accompanied with the costuming and makeup job, makes for another outstanding performance by the much-adored Robbie Turner.

Isabella Extynn St. James and Bukkake London St. James are, once again, the best accompanying drag queens the audience - and, I'm sure, Mama Tits - could ever ask for. They look great, radiate happiness, and play their characters to a T as well. The show would not be the same without such a supportive cast.

Two unsung heroes of the show are DJ Klaudt and John Sterlin. 'You generally won't find these two on stage with the talented cast above, but you will feel their touches throughout the show,' says Mama Tits in a post on the show's official website (www.mimosaswithmama.com). 'Before and after you can find these two scurrying around making sure the stage is set and the Queens are prepped to bring one of the best shows in Seattle to the stage.'

Mimosas With Mama is a 21+ event. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and the price includes a mimosa!

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