Jackie Curtis

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Warhol star Jackie Curtis

Some months back I was rewatching Trash, Women in Revolt and other Paul Morrissey / Andy Warhol movies. Jackie Curtis struck me as the most attractive of the transvestites in the movies. Not that I'd registered her or any of them watching them when the appeared in theaters. Joe Dallesandro's cheekbones and triceps were more interesting to me back then.

Why Jackie Curtis? I don't know. The prettiest (you shudder)? The sassiest? I haven't a clue. But it did cheer me to run across an image of Curtis sans drag. In a sense my strongest sexual aesthetic might be termed drag without dresses.


One of my regrets is that I’m not old enough to have seen one of Jackie’s plays esp. the 7 hour long ‘Vain Victory’ which had the song “You Never Hold A Winning Hand When You Hold A Man”.

I think it was restaged (edited down to one scene) with Blondie doing the music in the late 70s early 80s.

Whatever happened to radical drag agit-theatre?

Whatever happened to radical drag agit-theatre?

Too many transvestites want to look like Martha Stewart. And other gay men want to be as inoffensively normal looking as possible.

HI! About Jackie Curtis…

There’s a NEW documentary just out in SF now playing (I hope to see it this week) called SUPERSTAR IN A HOUSEDRESS: THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF JACKIE CURTIS! He’s the description from the castro Theatre’s website:

FRIDAY–THURSDAY AUGUST 6–12 SUPERSTAR IN A HOUSEDRESS: THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF JACKIE CURTIS Daily: 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:20 The legendary exploits of superstar Jackie Curtis are deftly brought to screen in Craig Highberger’s fabulous documentary Superstar in a Housedress. The son of a dancer and a marine who grew up upstairs from his grandmother’s Lower East Side saloon, Curtis found his place in the world of Andy Warhol’s Factory. He starred in Women in Revolt with Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn (a triumvirate immortalized in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”), appeared on The David Suskind Show, and almost made it on to Rhoda as a guest star. Curtis’s inimitable style comes across in this affectionate portrait and is summed up in his statement, “I am not a boy, not a girl, I am not gay, not straight, I’m not a drag queen, not a transsexual… I am just me, Jackie.” Written, produced and directed and edited by Craig Highberger. Narrated by Lily Tomlin. With John Vacaro, Penny Arcade, Joe Dallesandro, Harvey Fierstein, Taylor Mead, Sylvia Miles, Paul Morrissey, Ellen Stewart, Michael Musto, and Holly Woodlawn. “This bright, entertaining movie focuses on Curtis, but it is also a portrait of a scene, whose survivors look back with a mixture of pride and a screwball sense of mischief.”—Stephen Holden, New York Times. (2004) 95m


I was Jackie’s friend and made the film Superstar in a Housedress - In June 2005 Penguin / Chamberlain Bros. is publishing my book of the same name which includes the DVD with the uncut theatrical version plus almost 30 minutes of deleted scenes and extra footage! But it is the book I am really thrilled about - it is filled with incredible stories of Curtis’ wild life as remembered by friends and relatives, plus excerpts from his plays, and poetry - the first time any of these materials have ever been published! Excuse the shameless self promotion but anyone interested in the Warhol superstars and drag legends Jackie Curtis, Holly Woodlawn and Candy Darling will love my film and book!

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