Traveling full time means spending most of the holidays away from family. Birthdays, Easter, and Christmas are celebrated via Skype. To feel at least a bit festive I usually buy a plastic Christmas tree and hope that it will bring a little bit of the festive feel. The good thing about being away for holidays though is that you try to find and invent new traditions, and sometimes the new traditions find you on their own.
A couple of years ago Steve (my partner in crime) and I spent the Christmas season in San Francisco. We rented an apartment in Mission for a month, and we enjoyed every moment in the city. Our temporary home was just a couple doors down from the Victoria Theater, which looked like it might still be in use, or it may not have hosted a show in years. We were in the city for about a week when the theater put up a poster for “The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes.” Some who know me, are familiar with my great admiration of this cult 80s TV show about five ladies living together in Florida. And since I am bearing my soul, I also love the musical legacy of ABBA.
The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes, is a theater show where famous drag queens from San Francisco, play out two episodes from the beloved TV series. What started as a silly idea in one of the performers living rooms, has now become a Christmas tradition in San Francisco. On the first performance, they prepared for the public, about thirty people were attending the show. Nowadays, eleven years later, this fabulous show runs for six days in a row and is sold out each night.
I attended the show on a Thursday evening. The atmosphere in the theater was delightful. Everyone was in a holiday spirit enjoying the drinks that were served by pretty hostesses. On the edge of the stage, a cheerful gentleman was playing Christmas songs, and the audience sang along. The lights went down, and the talented performers took over the stage. The drag queens were fabulous in outfits that even Dorothy, Blanc, Rose and Sophia would envy. They followed the original script of the TV show to about ninety percent, and the remaining ten was filled with witty remarks, funny comments and a lot of flirtatious winks. A delightful evening all around. After the show, I went home feeling joyful and ready to turn on the lights on our plastic Christmas tree.
Later that night still under the impression of the performance I was thinking about my family and our Christmas celebrations. It is certainly very important to carry out the traditions that got passed from our parents to us. For me, I believe it will never truly feel like Christmas without beef tartar being served at the table. But it is also important that we create our new traditions. Mine is setting up a plastic Christmas tree in the hotel room. The drag ladies thought bigger and better; they started their own theater show.