Saturday the drag bombs exploded. A “drag bomb” is what punk queen Taylor Mac calls the revolutionary messages he sets off in his performances, one of which he gave Saturday night at Miami Beach’s Colony Theater. Mac is a drag deconstructionist, in the spirit of Ethyl Eichenberger, Justin Bond, or even Theo Kogan. He channels the channeling of divas, throwing in a mix of homeless savants and Jello Biafra. In The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac, he pummels and parodies post-9/11 paranoia. He also takes a hard look at his own emotional issues, singing pitch-perfect absurdist confessionals, with or without a ukelele — Tiny Tim meets Stephen Merritt. He pulled a typically buff, tan, “homo-genic” looking gay man from the audience and dressed him in a dirndl, then sang, “The revolution will not be masculinized.” The show was brilliant, deep, hilarious, disturbing, perhaps the best musical I’ve seen since Hedwig and the Angry Inch.Mac’s performance was part of the new Out in the Tropics festival, the kind of cutting-edge event that gives me hope for Miami.
Seemingly at the other end of the spectrum, but really not so different, was the Red Bull Flutag, earlier that day at Bayside Park. The Flutag is an infinitely silly event: Contestants devise flying machines that, after performing skits that show the widespread influence of Monty Python, they then send crashing into Biscayne Bay. The Flutag had none of the serious moments of the Beast, but with grown men parading in silly costumes, pretending to be Italian pizza makers or Mario villains, it was its own kind of drag show. It drew an estimated 80,000 people under the baking sun, as opposed to the 100 at the Colony. Both inspired me — to slip out of my gray shorts and crash land a dada party frock.