The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Last week after co-facilitating a Safe Space (LGBTQ ally training for faculty/staff) seminar, one of the participants began talking gay films with me.  We tossed around a few titles which I gave my usual opinionated comments about… mostly positive since I was in a good mood and had enjoyed teaching the class.  Then he brought up Priscilla and I immediately recalled the first time I saw the film.  It was 1994.  I was living in NYC.  My ex, Joe and two great friends of ours, Rosser and Bobby had come up from Atlanta for Wigstock (Rosser’s character DeAundra Peek performed nearly every year at the Labor Day event).  We went to the theater on lower Broadway (around 19th Street).  We had no idea what we were in store for.  I think the four of us screamed through most of the film… cheering, laughing, crying, and laughing some more.   We were in awe.  Years later a friend of mine said he heard from an acquaintance who found the banter between the three lead characters to be so nasty and after watching it again, my friend agreed.  I have to say I don’t mind the bitchiness.  Funny, I hate it in Boys in the Band, but for some reason I tolerate it fine with Priscilla.   What I really love is how the group becomes a family, both as friends as well as biological.  It’s an amazing story full of camp, poignant moments and punctuated with despair and even a bit of reality.  Of course it won the Best Costume Oscar.  How could it not?  It’s comfort food on steroids.  I never tire of watching it.  A feel good must-see!

1/29/2012:  Watched this for the umpteenth time on Sunday night with my baby, R.J.  What a perfect date film.  Still holds up after all these years.  Who doesn’t want to sing along to the outstanding soundtrack, laugh along with Hugo Weaving’s kookie Tick, Terrance Stamp’s insanely perfect performance as transsexual Bernadette and sexy boy toy (girl toy) Guy Pierce’s Adam.  A truly perfect film.

6/1/15: Blu-ray does Priscilla good. Crystal clear picture and outrageous audio for the killer soundtrack. 21 years later and this perfect drag road movie holds on to its legendary status as the mother of all drag films. Still in awe of this perfect film.


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