Jesus, Mary and Joseph Fiennes!!!!
It’s an appropriate blasphemy when it’s applied to the ongoing drama involving the cast and producers of the beloved and long running annual Xmas holiday show, HOMO FOR THE HOLIDAYS, staged at Oddfellows Hall on Capitol Hill for the last 32,378 years. The show, which includes a Jesus character in the cast, is a sweet parody of holiday variety shows but with a queer/drag/burlesque bent.
The show was created and produced by the team of noted and now very famous drag star BenDeLaCreme and the burlesque stars/real life married couple of Kitten LaRue and Lou Henry Hoover aka “Kitten ‘n’ Lou”. The adorable, very much DIY designed show quickly won the hearts of LGBTQ Seattle and allies who have a long history of supporting other great holiday shows like Dina Martina’s annual show at Re-bar, Lisa Koch & Peggy Platt’s “Ham for the Holidays” at Theater Off Jackson then ACT, and many others.
Unlike Dina Martina and “Ham” which both featured all new material (albeit with recurring characters) every year, Homo for the Holidays very much followed a formula familiar to burlesque…create a concept and add your various acts from individual performers, and you have a show. The framework and through line is the same and most of the acts with only cast changes creating very much in the way of new content. But, “Homo” has had a mostly consistent line-up through the years with BenDeLa as the host, Kitten and Lou as chief support plus beloved bio queen/performance artist Cherdonna Shinatra, resident beefcake performer Faggedy Randy, Jesus impersonator ilvs strauss (lowercase deliberate), boylesque stars like Waxie Moon, Paris Original, The Luminous Pariah and others, as well as other burlesque and drag performers like Jinkx Monsoon who appeared in the earliest incarnations of the show before becoming her own headlining superstar.
2017’s edition of the show was the usual sold out hit with performances throughout the month of December but some people involved with the show apparently considered it their FINAL appearance with Homo for the Holidays. One of those people was apparently main attraction/star/host BenDeLaCreme who casually announced this bombshell in an interview with Matt Baume for The Stranger on April 19th:
Matt Baume: Homo for the Holidays is such an institution.
BenDeLaCreme: Last year was my last year of Homo for the Holidays. I wish we’d had an opportunity to announce that ahead of time… We had a solid decade, and Kitten and Lou were incredible collaborators for a long time. They have a new holiday project they’re going to be doing at West Hall, and I’m working on something new with Jinkx Monsoon that’ll be a lot of fun.
That declaration was a big surprise to many and social media quickly began discussing this sudden announcement. Things got even more interesting when Kitten LaRue posted the following on her Facebook wall on April 20th:
Oh hey hello hi there Seattle! I know its 4/20 but folks *must* be high if they think that we’re planning on casually flushing years of our and our cast members’ and crew’s dedication, love, collaboration, and creative contributions down the toilet because someone has made the choice to move on to pursue other creative and financial opportunities. Since the local media have not asked the remaining 2/3 of the creators/producers of Homo For The Holidays what’s actually happening with the show, we are delighted to tell you now: it ain’t going nowhere. This show and what it means to the community is bigger than any one person. Originally conceived and created by two queer women in a small lesbian bar a decade ago, this show has had many incarnations and stewards over the years, and we (Kitten N’ Lou) are honored to be ushering it into the next chapter. Lots of new stories, new faces, new surprises, and the same mission as ever: to create a space and a tradition to celebrate and cherish chosen family during the holidays. Stay tuned Homos!
The chilliness of that statement led many to surmise that there were tensions behind the scenes at “Homo”, which was a surprise as the group of performers appeared to be a close knit chosen family of LGBTQ artists who generally liked and supported one another. BenDeLaCreme also notes in his interview with The Stranger his gratitude for Kitten bringing him into her burlesque troupe The Atomic Bombshells many years ago and thus launching him onto his performing drag/burlesque career.
Lou Henry Hoover also jumped into the debate on Facebook on April 21st with this statement which opened with: “There’s a lot of assumptions flying around about Homo For The Holidays based on one interview (that our voices were not included in.)” This is frankly an odd thing to state since BenDeLaCreme’s interview with The Stranger was about his entire career and not just one small aspect of it. It seemed presumptuous for Kitten and Lou to apparently feel excluded from an interview that wasn’t really about them. If one of the creators of a show announced that they were leaving the show and it appeared everyone involved was working on new productions: why would they need to be consulted for a comment?
As Kitten LaRue and Lou Henry Hoover kvetched on social media (with some support from others in the cast including Cherdonna) BenDeLaCreme made no pubic comments about the situation.
But, another male cast member has spoken up.
“Faggedy Randy” the male boylesque performer who has worked with Kitten n’ Lou and BenDelaCreme on many productions over the years took to his social media this week to vent his frustrations with the situation and express his unhappiness that Kitten and Lou seemed to be publicly blaming BenDeLaCreme for the “break-up” of the Homo For The Holidays family.
“While I’m at it. Does anyone know that not just BenDeLaCreme but half the cast of Homo for the Holidays are not returning this year?
When you are in a bad relationship for years, that makes you cry because you feel hurt and manipulated by your supposed friends/co-producers, leaving a show you feel so passionate about and love so much is one of the hardest things to do.
When a newspaper interviews you about what’s up next for you, and you give your ex-co-producers/friends a shout out about their holiday show even though you don’t have to? That is commendable.
When your response is an angry outlash because no one interviewed you about a situation no one knew about until they interviewed Ben?
WTF is that about?
When your outlash includes the lesbians who started the show the first year even though you used to talk shit about one of them while she was still in the show? Dood, WTF is that?…
When you call out someone about leaving a show and flushing everything down the toilet, you should recognise you are also calling out the other people who left the show. We all loved Homo, but it speaks volumes that 5 people quit the same year. I left because if I’m going to miss out on spending the holidays with my family, it better feel really good. And the past years didn’t feel good anymore.
We all love our community and our friends. I’m sorry if this is another “shocker” for anyone. But it’s time to put an end to this online garbage.
This post is spiteful, cry-babying, and deceitful all at the same time. Whatever you plan on making this year, best of luck to you. But it will not be Homo for the Holidays, even if you decide to keep calling in that.”
Please feel free to repost this far and wide!
To quote the great George Takei:
That led to Kitten and Lou firing back. And, then Randy responded and stuff started getting dragged out from perceived slights from long ago and each claim they tried to contact the other to discuss the situation like adults and then everyone started blocking each other and…
So, in a nutshell….there are some serious estrangements in the Homo for the Holidays/Gay/Burlesque world in Seattle right now with people taking sides and lots of bad feelings/juicy dish all happening at the same time. It seems like Homo for the Holidays IS continuing this December but with a new format and many new cast members since several cast members have left the show. BenDeLaCreme is working on revising his “Gaylord Manor” Halloween show he did at ACT last fall (which is a good thing because it was a bit rough in my opinion and Ben forgot to write funny stuff for him to do…but I digress). He’s also working on a NEW holiday show with Jinkx Monsoon. Yay on that.
Kitten n’ Lou also have their annual “Camptacular” show at The Triple Door over the 4th of July week…Randy is prominently displayed on all the posters so we’re wondering if they’re gonna put a sticker over his face?
It’s pricey to reprint stuff!
Hopefully, all this brouhaha will blow over and we can all be FRIENDS again!
About the Author: Michael Strangeways
*Beefcake Babylon • *Cheesecake Babylon • *Dragolicious • *Seattle Theaterland • #Theater and Stage • Arts & Entertainment • Burlesque • Cabaret • Christmas/Winter Holiday Events • Drag • Drag O'Tainment • Queer Theater • Stage
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I don’t get the drama here, is it that the Homo for the Holidays name will go on? I was confused as well by the interview until I read Kitten’s initial reply. It didn’t seem like an attack on anyone so much as a clarification.
Is it that Randy is worried about cannibalizing ticket sales by having two productions? The call-outs were extremely personal and disproportionate and claiming that K&L were “gaslighting” people… if there’s a business concern maybe describe the concern instead of hitting as low as can be.
I don’t get any of this but I love the talent and ability of all the players and hope bridges can be mended for these long time allies and collaborators. They’ve all brought me joy and it’d be a shame if this can’t get worked out.