Behind The Scene(s) Write-Up of Dressed As A Girl's WORLD PREMIERE Day
March 26, 2015
Last Sunday saw the momentous world premiere of Dressed As A Girl at BFI Flare, and with it the coming together of some serious gay scene royalty - political activists, celebrity mavericks, Ru Paul's A-List and a Who's Who of all things Jonny Woo.
Jodie Harsh, Virgin Xtravaganza and Courtney Act [photo: Al de Perez]
The cast of Dressed As A Girl gathered in the BFI's press lounge. Director Colin Rothbart made a cup of tea for his special guest Lauren Harries (who would later be riding across the party on a giant disco ball lipsyncing to her song I Am A Woman). Jonny Woo – dressed head to toe in leather like a Lou Reed infused NYC stripper - was about to take a bite into a complimentary Konditor & Cook brownie when Ma Butcher, sporting a loose Barnardos blouse and prawn cocktail flavoured wig, noticed that John Sizzle was missing.
“Oh no. Were we meant to pick him up in the taxi?”
“This is like Gay Bingo all over again”
It was 2pm on a Sunday and the drama had begun. Holestar arrived in a purple turban, shaking the Southbank with the slam of a taxi door - “I’m not sitting in a cinema for two hours wearing a wig. It’s definitely a turban day” she announced, followed by Pia who wore a black suit and matching heels – completing the look with a signature rollie perched between her lips.
Amber then calls to say she’s lost somewhere inside the BFI... "I can see the river if that helps?"
“Wait” pipes up a BFI volunteer “I saw a really glamourous woman on the river side of the restaurant just now. Blonde hair and, er, large breasts?” - “That’s her!” chimes a chorus.
A search party is sent out and two minutes later the dazzling, fragrant Amber Waze comes up the stairs in an Oscar de la Rented gown, looking like she’s here to host the Golden Globes. A gorgeous man on her arm introduces himself as George, Ma Butcher's eyelashes are fluttering, Pia's found a bottle of wine.
A calm and collected Scottee emerges, dressed like the giant gay goth baby of a cruise ship entertainer, he knows the BFI like the back of his hand. And then in a flurry of caramel blonde, nylon and sunglasses John Sizzle turns in, drag bags in tow. "I've seen him before" says Lauren Harries.
Brian Robinson from the BFI takes everyone to the green room where a frantic poster-signing session commences. John Sizzle's natural leadership emerges, rolling his sleeves up and testing the felt tips he says "Come on then kids, let's do this!"
The BFI's Brian Robinson with director Colin Rothbart [photo: Al de Perez]
The premiere screening went down a storm, Mascara bled as audiences shed tears over the tough private lives of the film’s cast, all laid bare and exposed in the frockumentary. But the overriding expression was laughter. Dressed As A Girl passed its audience litmus test as both a serious documentary and a black comedy. We couldn't believe how frequently the crowd burst into fits of giggles, snorts and loud stitches, culled only by the need to listen further.
The Q&A consisted mainly of sheer praise and personal ovations. "This film is the bravest thing Jonny Woo and his lot have ever done" commented one viewer. Director Colin Rothbart and Holestar shared their joy over how a six year project, which started as an idea while swimming together in Vienna, had finally come to full fruition. Amber touched hearts saying that if the documentary inspires one trans person to find courage then her work is done.
Amber Waze speaking at the World Premiere Q&A [photo: Al de Perez]
THE AFTER PARTY:
Moving from the BFI to Atmos Lounge, guests were greeted by East London scenester Scarlet John Hanson, who some revellers recognised from The Glory’s LIPSYNC1000 contest.
Crowds were momentarily held up when Peter Tatchell arrived and was asked to talk on camera in the foyer. “Let’s all have another fag” blared Ma Butcher, rummaging in her clutch bag, “Peter Tatchell has things to say!”
Colin Rothbart, Amber Waze, Jonny Woo, Peter Tatchell and John Sizzle [photo: Al de Perez]
Scottee kicked off the party raffle with the sublety of a bailiff, taking the microphone into the centre of the party, arm out-stretched. “Give me a quid. YOU give me a quid. And YOU give me a quid. Everyone give me a f**king quid alright” None of these people actually received raffle tickets, but who cares, it’s Scottee performing!
Hot mess Karina Totti fell down the stairs into the party “I haven’t slept since the solar eclipse” she screamed, using the framework of Andrew Moore’s body to pull herself up again. “We can smoke in the kitchen right?” Holestar asked a bar boy, having swapped her turban by this point for a cascading red wig.
Holestar gets dirty on the dancefloor [photo: Al de Perez]
Holestar dueted “Dressed As A Girl” live with Jonny Woo onstage, their one-time “electro flop” now a riotous gay scene classic thanks to its namesake and inclusion in the documentary. Holestar pulls Jacqui Potato onto the stage, who proceeded to drift from left to right, toasting the audience and herself. Combined with Holestar’s Ursula-esque eyeshadow, the after-party is looking like an illegal rave in a rock pool.
The cerebral Jonbenet Blonde sits patiently to one side with a flickering smile. Her moment will come, it always does.
Later on John Sizzle takes to the masses, gallivanting backwards and forwards, and compiling a “tranny pyramid” – reminiscent of Amber’s "boobathon" party in the documentary. Amber herself managed to stay sober enough, almost, to announce the raffle winner – a delighted Spanish farm-hand called Miguel who stepped out from Ma Butcher's shadow.
Miss Lauren Harries kicks off the dancing [photo: Al de Perez]
People flocked to the Dressed As A Girl merchandise stand, where scenesters Beryl Burrell and Kacpar were running the trannishop, at which signed copies of the first edition DVD were being sold alongside t-shirts, cinema posters, badges and drag bags (all available now through this site)
The last thing we remember is Brian Robinson congratulating director Colin Rothbart and producer Chris Amos on a raging success of a day. Peter Tatchell ordered a double whiskey and coke, and then the drag pack piled off into Ubers to after-after-parties and the after-after-after parties that were after that.
All except Jonny Woo, of course, who does not drink, and who most probably had a badminton match in the morning.
Find the full set of party snaps and photos on the Dressed As A GirlFacebook page.
Jonny Woo sings a closing number to after-party guests [photo: Al de Perez]
The next screening of Dressed As A Girl will be at the Rio Cinema n in Dalston on April 18th.