(Via Georges LeBar)
I spent (roughly) the last week of 2011 with RuPaul at his place in the "Birds" section of the Hollywood Hills. He was a generous host, and not just with his time (he was inclined to pay for everything, and also gracious and unwilling to engage in one of those considerate play fights when I wouldn't allow him to). As a result, I wrote a profile for work, "The Tao of Ru." Of course, there were several things that couldn't make it into the article and so below is a brief list of outtakes...
- A gaunt man in his 30s with stringy hair down to his shoulders, a beard, a white robe and sandals (Jesus drag, if you will) chased Ru down on Melrose. After pictures were snapped, he told Ru, "Keep up the good work," which is a divine compliment coming from Jesus, I think.
- His voice mail is a brief snippet of wordless vocalizing from an acapella of Whitney Houston's "So Emotional."
- The conversation I had while there about the transient "E" in Dionne Warwick(e)'s name was the gayest conversation I've ever had that didn't touch on actual homosexuality.
- He sometimes drives a 1979 Cherry red Volvo that once belonged to his mother. He has since tricked it out with a crazy sound system.
- His favorite food "might be" toast.
- We had bread pudding for dinner on more than one occasion.
- There was so much activity (out and about during the day, small get-togethers at night) that by Day 3, I wondered if I'd ever get to sit down with him and get his words on tape (I did, though, obviously).
- One morning, Ru came in while I was waking myself up with coffee at his kitchen counter (Ru wakes up at, like, 3 am). He blasted the original version of Mariah Carey's "Heartbreaker" and danced until it was over.
- In addition to, "Honey badger don't give a shit," one of Ru's go-to refrains was, "You better sissy that walk, girl!" -- the first line of my piece about judging a beauty pageant (I had told him that was my No. 1 takeaway when recounting my experience one night). If it makes it onto an episode of Drag Race, not only will I die happy, but so will the entire concept of pageantry.
- "Sasquatch" was our code word he decided we'd say if we spotted any celebrities on our hike to and around the Hollywood sign. It would turn out that Ru was the only openly mythical creature on that path that day, though.
- One night we went to IHOP and Ru got a patty melt and a black and white milkshake.
- Among the other porno puns on pop culture titles that kept Ru in stitches: The Cunt for Red October, Mary Poopins and The Prince of Turds.
- An incomplete list of songs we listened to in his car driving around that week: Boy Meets Girl's "Waiting for a Star to Fall," The Pussycat Dolls' "Whatcha Think About That," Dusty Springfield's "In Private," Paula Abdul's "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow (Soul Seekerz Club Mix)," Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On (MPG Groove)," Prince & the NPG's "Diamonds and Pearls," Michael Jackson's "Why You Wanna Trip On Me," Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight (Extended Remix)," Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation" and "You Want This," Aretha Franklin's "Jump to It," Tanya Tucker's "We Don't Have To Do This," Luther Vandross' "I'd Rather," Madonna's "Who's That Girl," and SO MUCH Bee Gees, especially their work for other artists like Kenny Rogers and Barbra Streisand."
- And finally, some unused quotes:
"This path [of drag] was the path I was supposed to take. No accident. My mom named me RuPaul. My facial features allow me to do that with them. My father loved the girls. He didn't have a lot of interest in what I was doing, so I always wanted to get Daddy's attention, so I decided, 'I'll be the prettiest of all the girls,' which I of course I am!"
"The drag part is what I do for work. When I got famous for drag, that's when it started feeling like work. I had fun with it before I got famous. There was this certain power of getting into drag, dropping a Quaalude and just walking around the Village."
On the thousands of dollars it costs for him to get into drag: "There's a certain look I've come to be known for. If I'm going to do it right, Matthew Anderson will do my makeup and hair, Zaldi's going to custom make an outfit for me, Joelle, who's worked with me since '96, is going to be there to facilitate and there's going to be a car service. It's a big production. It's not like I'm 16 and can throw on some lip gloss and a pair of coochie cutters."
"It always felt like I couldn't do enough drugs. I felt like I was on an operating table, like, 'Hello! I'm still awake!' I knew I needed something other than drugs to deflect the feelings that didn't feel good, or pain. And that came in the form of consciousness. Of adding another element to the scenario. If there was pain, if there was too much feeling, I had to add another element. And that wasn't a superficial element like drugs. It had to be a consciousness of who I am. I am not the pain. When I meditate, I say, 'I am not my feelings. I am the awareness of my feelings.' Immediately, there is a separation. Immediately, I can observe it and at that moment, I have a choice."
On his boyfriend, Georges LeBar: "I would love to be with him more. I miss him. We fit well together and I never get sick of him. I don't know how that happened, I get sick of most people. We lived together many, many years. It changes. I think it's just maturity. I've been alone most of my life. I take it for granted that's just the way things are."
On his upcoming tour that will inevitably be captured via cell phone video: "[Cameras] don't allow me to be really uninhibited and have a good time. I have to think about, 'Oh, this shit's gonna end up on YouTube.' It's crazy. Like the Michael Richards thing. He was in a fuckin' comedy club. If people heard some of the things I say in the right setting... I say everything, because it's all bullshit. People take things too fucking seriously. If you get offended by bullshit, what you're offended by is the least of your problems."