by Reba Douglas, New Orleans, Louisiana
Forbidden Fruit has gotten very busy lately with the opening of Some Like It
Hot. It was really hard for us all to get together to interview anyone so we are
each going to take turns interviewing for our column. In my search for the perfect subject, I decided to interview Lola Lasagna. Lola has been the subject in an article for Gambit, an original Gutter Girl, the leading lady of Tacy's Tantalizing Women of Illusion. The interview took place at Lola's home over cocktails.
RD: Where were you born?
LL: Cuba. I moved here when I was four.
RD: When did you know you were gay?
LL: At ten years old when I saw my first girlie magazine. I liked the wee-wees on the boys instead of the girls.
RD: When did you want to be a drag queen?
LL: When I saw you at Town Hall singing Son of a Preacher Man with this long red wig on.
RD: Who are Lola's idols?
LL: Alotta Malotta, even though she's a bitch, I learned a lot from her. You. Cheyene, she helped me with my name . Sable Starr, the best all around performer I've seen. She was my roommate in Memphis. She was a fabulous person. She taught me attitude: never let them see you're having a bad time.
RD: Any one else?
LL: Anyone from the sixties, Joey Heatherton, Nancy Sinatra, and of course our favorite--Bobbie Gentry.
RD: What about the Gutter Girls?
LL: The best experience I've had in my drag career. We were really cliquish. I worked my ass off to get in. We never let outsiders in.Alotta was a control freak. She forced you to have good hair and clothes. She didn't really care about your makeup. She wanted to be the star. If she thought your song was better than hers she yanked it out, very Tacy Higbee. I studied Alotta's pantomine and yours and got good at it. S he fired me for wearing a very revealing outfit-jealousy.
RD: Tell me about Tacy's Tantalizing whatever it is?
LL: Well honey that could take up the whole article. I worked with her at the door at the Parade. The drag started with a benefit at Pino's. She called me one day to say she was starting a show at Angles, that's how Lola came out of retirement. I did all of the work for the show: picked the music for everyone. She is another control freak. She tried to tell me what her idea of drag was. I mean she's a lesbian- if I needed a lawn mower I'd go to a lesbian. If I wanted makeup tips I'd go to a queen. She got rid of me, Reba, 'cause you booked a show "behind her back"--jealousy. There was this one queen who tried to sabotage the show by telling people not to come and she kept her word.
RD: Well enough of all about Tacy--she's tired anyway.
LL: Drag queens all take themselves too seriously. That's what I like about Stephanie Williams. If that girl is big or small- she takes herself with a grain of salt. She is there to entertain and she ain't phony. Tacy took me for granted- -I did all the work and she took the credit. Shows are never about one person in particular. I mean look at Teryl-Lynn Foxx--she's the best the city has to offer and she's still nice.You always see her out mixing with the crowd. That's why she makes the most tip money. Like you say, it's nice to be important and it's much more important to be nice.
RD: Or is it, "It's not the crown on your head,but the crowd in your heart?"
LL: Well I have other irons in the fire I'm a dj and I have a daytime job. My lovely husband and I are moving to Houston. I'll be back if Miss Reba will have me.
RD: It's not me; it's my husband JR.
LL: I like JR a lot even though other people tried to backstab him.I think he runs a good show. Even though I'm leaving, I'll still be back--I have found professionalism with Reba and her girls. Thank God you are not a control freak. I love my fans and I try to make them happy.
RD: I love your fans too-- they're good people. Any parting words for the people?
LL: Well of course honey: Let the drag queens be drag queens. There are men who are artists. They are creative. Let them be creative. Don't criticize. If they are not "pretty enough" or "skinny enough" so be it. Let 'em alone. YOU CAN ONLY STARE AT BEAUTY FOR SO LONG.