Lea Delaria Q & A
Lea Delaria, exclusively for gomag.com!
Interviewing a woman like Lea Delaria is not easy. Her resume alone is enough to produce an awe-inspired silence. Pair that with her Lenny Bruce-esque reputation for saying exactly what she thinks, and any reporter would be nervous. From stand-up to Broadway, solo performances to soap operas, what do you say to a woman who, called First Lady Hillary Clinton “fuckable” on the steps of the White House and recently had her mic turned off and was pulled off stage at an AIDS benefit in Palm Springs for calling President Bush “pie faced dick nosed son of a bitch. ” Following it up with, “I hate him so much, I hate his twins, but I’d fuck em.”
It would be difficult to find an arena of performance that Delaria has not mastered: stage and screen, film, television, scatting to sarcasm,
Then there are numerous film and television credits. Oh, and don’t forget her packed house Carnegie Hall appearances and three jazz albums released with Warner Brothers.
So what do you say to a woman who has literally done it all? GO! Gave it a whirl…So, first of all, congratulations on twenty-five years of an amazing career. It’s quite an honor to interview you.
How did it start? How did it all begin?
I was living in
So you would say it was activism that brought you to
It’s hard to say, chicken or egg. That’s just what you did, the way that today people write music with acoustic guitars, you just did
Why performance and not neuroscience?
I’ve been doing it my whole life. My mom danced, my dad played the piano. I’ve performed, been singing, dancing, acting all my life. It came naturally to me. I’ve always instituted that into my
What about formal training?
I went to college for about five minutes. I got kicked out for eating pussy. This is a great venue to say that to, huh. I was a notorious lesbian, and too much for a conservative institution, so they found a way to get rid of me.
And you’ve always been out as a performer? Has that been difficult?
They knew when I walked on stage. I called myself fuckin’ dyke. I didn’t even call myself Lea Delaria, I said dyke.
You’ve never tried to pass as straight?
What was your
Are we still asking that? It’s 2007, who cares.
We like to ask it here at GO!
It was very, very difficult. Hideously hard. I was in the fucking tiniest little town in the
Where are you from?
Oh, I’m from
I love the
Do you feel more able to say and do the things that you do because you have such a strong queer base?
I feel empowered to say things I say because I love myself. I love my base so much. I’m hoping to affect changes. That’s the reason that I say these things, because I know people want me to say them. People walk up to me in the streets and tell me that. I don’t give a fuck what mainstream gay
Are you more of an equal opportunity offender, or have you ever toned down what you wanted to say for your queer base?
Never. I’m sure that there are a lot of people in queer
You clearly balance these two identities: activist and entertainer. Do you ever wish you could be less political in your career?
Instead of saying that I just do it, I prove that by having done that. I have three records off a major label. I’ve been on Broadway, film, TV, playing everything from straight, to gay, to men. And I also happen to be a dyke.
I wanted to ask you, we’re so into labels, these days. Is that how you identify, as a dyke?
I’m a butch dyke.
I guessed that was what you were going to say, especially considering the name of your album.
Oh, you mean the
Yeah, and thank you for being what you are. The loss of butch visibility is horrible in the entertainment industry, and as someone who reads very femme, I appreciate so much that you’re out there, and you’re butch.
I talk about it my show. I blame the L-Word for it. It makes me very sad. [Nobody on that show] eats pussy, nor does anyone strap on a cock and fuck someone’s brain’s out.
So you’re not an L Word fan?
(Laughs.) They’re not going to change. They’re not gong to do it because straight men are their target audience, and you can’t get a straight man to lick a stamp. They’re threatened. They’re threatened by my penis because my mine’s hard right now, and it’s under my bed in a box.
Do you ever feel obligated to coax your audience into what you want to say, or do you just get out there and say it, and if they get offended, it’s their problem?
I’m not a coaxer. I do what I do. You can
Are there any career goals you have yet to reach? Any major rocks you have yet to unturn?
I am desperately trying to get into Sigourney Weaver’s bed.
I like ‘em tall. It’s like mountain climbing for me.
Do you ever wish you could play
Interviewing someone like you can be intimidating. Having done so much with your career, I’m sure you’ve done a million interviews, and answered the same questions a million times. I wanted to give you the opportunity to go where no reporter has gone and give us a tid-bit about you that has never been reported in the media but you want us all to know.
Hmm. Interesting question. That I’m actually straight. Just kidding, but you totally believed me for a second.
Ha, well, I didn’t want to offend you. So, what keeps you in this crazy business of entertainment when it can be so difficult?
My answer to that would have to be, almost two fold. The first is politics, how important I think politics are. The other thing is just pure—I don’t feel
If you could end your career knowing that you changed one thing about our political atmosphere, what would it be?
The pure visibility of who we are as gay people, because I never saw a lesbian on TV unless you count Nancy Kulp and Beverly Hillbillies. Even she always chancing Jethro.
That’s right! You were the first openly gay performer on national television on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1993.I was on TV for 9 minutes, and I said dyke, fag, or queer 47 times. I didn’t just open that door, I blew it open. I kicked it open. I hand grenade-ed it op