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The incomparable Coco Peru back to Seattle at Re-bar
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The incomparable Coco Peru back to Seattle at Re-bar

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

Miss Coco Peru
Re-bar
October 1-3


Miss Coco Peru will bring her special brand of comedy and cabaret to Re-bar, October 1-3. The 6:30 to 10 p.m. show is sure to be a smash; Coco is one of drag's most beloved stars. Performing as Coco since the early '90s, Clinton Leupp became a drag queen household name after appearing in the 1999 independent film Trick. Coco also starred, as herself, in the 2003 cult film classic Girls Will Be Girls and a cameo appearance in the 1995 comedy film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. Miss Coco Peru is a regular on the LGBT cable channel Logo. Recently, Coco hosted the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Warads at the Nokia Theater L.A., live in Los Angeles. Miss Coco Peru spoke with SGN about the origin of her drag name, Re-bar, and fish tossing.

Shaun Knittel: Thank you for talking with SGN. I've been a fan for quite some time and have often wondered, how did you come up with your name?

Coco Peru: Years ago, before I did drag, my first boyfriend was Peruvian. I traveled to Peru with him and met a drag queen named Coco. She was quite famous, and I was sort of fascinated in that, whereas being Gay was a huge taboo in Peru, she had crossed over into the mainstream and had people's respect. I was very inspired that she was celebrated in such a Catholic and macho society. It was then that I realized that there is power in drag. So later, when I decided to do drag myself and I started to write my first show, I called myself Coco, sort of as a working name until I could come up with something else. But, the name grew on me and then I stuck the Peru on it in honor of both the Coco that had inspired me as well as the country that I had been inspired in.

Knittel: You've performed at Re-bar before. What is your opinion of the venue and Seattle?

Coco Peru: Well, last summer, right before I traveled to Seattle, I met Dina Martina in Provincetown. I asked her what Re-bar was like and she sort of got this pained, nauseous look on her face, but still managed to smile through it as only Dina can do, and said, "Well, it's like performing in a urinal & a really friendly urinal." Her description couldn't have been more accurate! I absolutely loved my first experience in Re-bar, and the audience was one of my favorites. Who knew friendly urinals could be such a blast?

Knittel: While visiting Seattle, what else will you be doing?

Coco: Avoiding your very large seagulls! Also, I love walking, and the last time I was there I was sick, so I just stayed in the hotel making sure to get rest for the performances. So, this time around, I really want to explore the city. Anyone want to be my private tour guide? By the way, I can stare at hot guys tossing fish for hours!

Knittel: Within the business, who are some of the other drag queens you've enjoyed working with?

Coco: I loved working with the ancient Evie Harris and the hilarious Varla Jean Merman in the film Girls Will Be Girls. I'm still amazed that Varla actually fit on screen, and that Evie gives a great performance despite having died several years before the movie was made. The taxidermists in Beverly Hills are amazing!

Knittel: What can audiences expect to see at a Coco Peru performance?

Coco: It's always been difficult to describe my act. I guess you can call me a drag queen/monologist/world savior. Well, maybe not the world savior part, but it's important to have goals. I like to think that with my show, I create a safe environment where I can do what I do best: change lives. I guess that does make me a drag queen/monologist/world savior! See? If you just have goals, you eventually reach them. I just reached mine in a matter of sentences! It's also been said that Coco Peru is a drag show you can take your mother to, and I completely agree. Having said that, I'm not sure if it's because people want to share the gift of Coco with their mother, or it's their way of saying, "Mom, you may not be happy with me being Gay, but look: it could've been a lot worse. A lot worse!"

Knittel: Anything you'd like to let LGBT Seattle know?

Coco: Yes. I'm available for lunch.

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