Day 60, and midnight finds me rushing out of a bar in West Hollywood, before my car turns into a very expensive pumpkin. I had parked in a vast silent monstrous robot. You drive your car into its mouth, and then you push a button. A system of rolling slick belts and velvety pumps, tongues and teeth lift your vehicle into a cavernous stomach. It sits coldly packed in unimaginable darkness besides all the other cars that have been ingested. When you return you tickle a steel aesophagus with five dollars and it spews the car back facing the other way. But after midnight the fee doubles. And I am down to my last 25 dollars. So I am forced to wrench myself away from the cabaret. Damn shame.
Lyndon and I have been to Hamburger Mary’s. I am friends with Dolly Levi, and this is where she works every Tuesday. It’s a burger bar. When we were in the Korean Clay Room at the free spa yesterday we mentioned that this was where we were going. The girl in the room with us immediately defrosted into an easy silly fun conversation. Now I know why that information helped her relax in our semi naked presence. It’s a beautifully gay burger bar. Lyndon and I make a lovely couple. I’m the bear.
On Tuesday nights, Hamburger Mary’s does drag cabaret. The stage is tiny, but the tables around it are loaded with same sex couples out for a fun night. And they’ve come to the right place. After a very skilled and competent host warms us up gloriously, Dolly is the first act. The presenter has got a lot of mileage out of telling us she is 59 years old. Age is just a number. She is fabulous. It’s a point perfect dance routine, set to Let It Go. Dolly transforms mid song, with an almost impossible quick change. Her lip syncing is bang on. We are in the presence of a Disney princess, in the flesh. It is the only possible solution. As we scrape our jaws off the floor she is effortlessly busting out standing splits against the pole, she is spinning on point, her dress is whirling easily around her. Dolly Levi is the hottest lady in Hollywood. And the crowd goes wild.
These ladies work for tips, and Dolly knows her crowd as well as she knows her set. There are hands all around us thrusting bills at her. People actively want her to take their money. The music is still playing. She gathers the cash efficiently – gracefully – never missing a beat of her lip sync. She really is singing it to us, it seems. It’s wonderful, artful and honestly entertaining. I’ve never seen Frozen and now I don’t have to. She caps off her set dancing with a huge fan of our dollars. Our cash has become part of her pizzazz.
After Dolly, the rest are good, but having only ever met Dolly as a man I’ve been blown away by her mastery. We are lucky in that we are able to catch both halves of her set before we have to rush for the car. The second half is as fabulous as the first. This is likely to be my last night out in Hollywood, but what a way to have ended it. Drag done properly is a beautiful thing. And I was glad that there was one act out of the six performing as a man. He came on first as a leprechaun with a pot of gold and then as rapping Albert Einstein. It’s such a shame that they closed Madame JoJo’s in Soho. It was such a great memorable fun evening. Anyone passing through Hollywood should pop in to Hamburger Mary’s on a Tuesday and check out Dolly Levi and co.