It's hard to describe the Miss Wanda variety show. Is it a comedy show? Perhaps. Miss Wanda once asked a skinny audience member if her poops looked like rabbit turds. Is it a drag show? Maybe, except Miss Wanda, goateed and barrel chested, obviously wants everyone to know she's really a dude. Is it a talent show? Sort of. Miss Wanda's talks her amateur performers onstage where they dance, sing or tell jokes. Sometimes the talent can wow an audience, like the time Miss Wanda sweet-talked a mousy-looking girl on stage. "She was so quiet and shy until the music started," says Miss Wanda. "Once her booty started shaking, she brought the whole building down." But that's on a good night. Some performances are so bad, the audience cringes. And that's kind of the point. "You never know what you're going to see at the Miss Wanda show."
This Sunday, the loud-mouthed femme fatale takes on Dallas's reigning drag stage. "Miss Wanda vs. The Rose Room Girls" promises to be an evening of clashing personalities and hysterical performances. You can expect the Rose Room's typical lineup of drag performers: Valerie Lohr, Asia O'Hara and Layla Larue. "Except they'll have to do what I tell them," Miss Wanda chuckles. The show is an annual collaboration between Miss Wanda and Caven Enterprises to celebrate Dallas Southern Pride, the city's premier black gay pride event. We caught up with Miss Wanda's alter-ego Ronnie "Jasper" Lightsey and asked him a few questions.
Who is Miss Wanda?
She came from the character Jamie Foxx created, which I used to love on "In Living Color." I did her once for a show and people went crazy over it. Miss Wanda is real; she tells it like it is. She's been known to hurt people's feelings, but she's just outspoken. She doesn't mean to. She's not afraid to say, "Girl you look a mess," or "Damn, you got some big old feet."
What is Dallas Southern Pride?
It's been going on for over ten years. It started out as an all-black event, but now it's more inclusive. It used to be a small party downtown and we always had it at the same time as the Grambling vs. Prairie View football game. It's not just a party. We do HIV workshops, breast cancer awareness, we have celebrities come in and do seminars. Everything is designed to help the black gay and lesbian community.
Is there anything in your shows you haven't done yet, but always dreamed you would?
I always wanted to close my shows with a big production number. You know, Ellen opens her show with dancing. Well, I want my shows to close with a big, rehearsed number. It's just so hard to get people to work with you and practice.
What do you think about the government shutdown?
F*** that! If this is my last question, I want to give some shout outs. I want to thank some people that have helped make Miss Wanda last for 19 years. First, Donald Solomon from Caven Enterprises, who gave me my first show. And Caven Enterprises for letting me stay on there for ten years. Also, Havana Bar, they host the Miss Wanda show now. And a "heyyy" to all my fans. Y'all keep supporting me. Oh yeah, and eat more chicken.
Miss Wanda vs. The Rose Room Girls
The Rose Room (located inside S4)
3911 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, Texas 75219
Date: Sunday October 6th
Time: Doors open at 9 p.m.
Ages: 18 + welcome
For more info: Miss Wanda appears regularly at Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Avenue, Dallas, Texas, 55219; (214) 357-4375.