This is the third in a series of blogs written by Tess DeMint (aka Professor Ed Madden), a contestant in the 18th annual Vista Queen Pageant, a fundraiser for our beloved Trustus Theatre.
Please support Tess by visiting Trustus Theatre. Each vote costs $10 and all money goes to Trustus Theatre.
You’ve never been back here? she asked, smiling.
No, I hadn’t.
I followed Brandy into the back room, a door just beside Chad’s office, upstairs at Trustus. Racks and racks slam-packed with costumes, dresses, jackets. Shelves of labeled plastic bins. Military hats. How far did it go? I couldn’t see the other end. The long-suppressed theatre queen in me starting trembling, giddy, overcome. (Theatre queen, not drama queen.) I ran my hand down a rack of jackets and fur.
It was my meeting with Brandy, who is helping with costumes for Vista Queen. We met upstairs, in a small sitting room filled with a couple of rolling racks of dresses. I had a couple of selections set aside from my first meeting with T.O., but Brandy was helping to augment and complete the look.
I had pretty good luck at my first drag consultation, and I even found something crazysexycool (and a little assymetrical) while shopping. But we weren’t set, we weren’t certain. There was one incredible black and blue metallic beaded gown that looked like Tammy Faye Bakker meets Loretta Lynn. It was heavy. It was tempting. It was too small.
And anyway, was it really the right look? Brandy and I talked about Tess, who she is, what she’s like. I said ebullient and awkward. We agreed: not church lady (that’s been done), but religious, perhaps awkwardly so. Brandy described a character from the movie Blue Like Jazz, someone she said was almost uncomfortable to watch. Uncomfortable. Was that Tess?
Earlier in the day, over coffee at Drip on Main with Cindi Boiter, we talked about Vista Queen. I showed her a photo of one costume selection. She thought Tess should be sexier. Should she? Showed the same photo to another friend: he burst out laughing.
Also ran into Phil Blair from The Whig. He’s sending me dates for Tess to do a Vista Queen fundraiser night at the bar. (Watch for more info! Also a donation site up soon!)
Tess is still a work-in-progress.
So when Brandy said, “Let’s see what we can find back here,” and opened the door to that magic back room of props and costumes, I wondered: Is Tess back here?
We looked for a while, laughed a lot, found a cow outfit, but didn’t really find anything that said Tess, found ourselves back in the sitting room with the same selections I’d already tried on. We talked about hip pads and bras. Brandy jotted down some notes, about how to alter and accessorize what I had already to make it more fitting (literally and figuratively) for the Tess we imagined.
Bert said that one item we found really really really needed a little brooch of some kind.
I’ve got just what you need, Brandy said. She pulled out a tiny heart-shaped pin with pink and blue gems out of her purse.