Jackie Curtis (1947-1985)
Superstar in a Housedress (2004)
Jackie Curtis was a superstar before Andy Warhol found him. And, as this entertaining documentary makes clear, the witty, wisecracking, son-of-a-Marine drag queen was an artist in his own right. Curtis was an innovator in gender-bent performance, taking on whatever part of drag suited him (torn stockings, shoulder pads on his already large frame) and ignoring whatever didn't (fake breasts).
He also created late-1960s stage shows like Glamour, Glory and Gold, which featured a then-unknown Robert De Niro. And his influence on his contemporaries was, if not always profound, at least great fun to hear about. Harvey Fierstein, Penny Arcade, Holly Woodlawn and Lily Tomlin share stories of the man whose larger-than-life manner is captured in vintage performance footage and anecdotes that inflate the Curtis legend. But Jackie was a messed-up, glittery persona who did everything big, so it fits perfectly...