TransVocalizers — Jackie Beat

| Apr 23, 2012
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Last month, TransVocalizers posted Part 1 of our exclusive interview with David de Alba.  The original plan was to present Part 2 at this time.  However, since David will be presenting his show entitle “Finocchio Backstage Memoirs The Final Chapter” on June 17th at The Onyx theater in Las Vegas, it was decided to hold that part of the interview until our May posting in order to make David’s extraordinary career and talent fresher in everyone’s mind closer to the date of his show.

Jackie Beat

Back in July 2008, our editor, Angela Gardner, approached me with the idea of starting this column where the focus would be on drag queens who can actually sing. It was also Angela who suggested Jackie Beat as our first victim . . . er, featured artist.

I found Jackie to be incredibly personable, very professional, and also quite an accomplished all round entertainer. Originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, she now lives in California and has been performing as a drag artist since 1989. Along the way, she has developed an amazing reputation as a comedian, writer and performer of song parodies, has numerous TV and film credits, and has written and starred in several plays. Musically, she is one third of the techno-dance band Dirty Sanchez, and has several album releases under her own name.

Recently, Jackie has added a new item to her already extensive resume. She is now part of the writing team for Joan Rivers Fashion Police. (Friday nights on E!) It’s kind of unfortunate that it’s taken us this long to catch up with Jackie Beat, but we’re extremely lucky that she’s been gracious enough to grant another interview with TGForum/TransVocalizers.

TGForum: I’m not really clear on where you’re located now. I know that a lot of your up-coming gigs are on the West Coast.

Jackie Beat: I have a beautiful home in Highland park, California. This is not to be confused with Highland Park, Chicago. When tell people I live in Highland Park, some of them think I mean Chicago, and I guess this is a very ritzy neighborhood. My Highland Park is dotted with taco trucks and discounts plus-sized clothing stores. I love it!


Dirty Sanchez

TGF:You were the first artist featured in this column when it debuted in 2008. At that time, you mentioned possible new work with the band Dirty Sanchez. Have you recorded, and or, performed with them since then? If so, any future plans you can share?

JB: We are still together and I get emails and Facebook messages everyday from people asking when new music is coming, but we are all so busy with our lives and careers that it’s really hard. I may have already said this, because it’s kind of my “stock answer,” but I can make good money all alone with my solo comedy shows or crappy money split 3 or 4 ways with the band, so guess which takes priority? Can you say, “Money grubbing bitch?”

TGF: You also mentioned a play called Whatever Happened To Busty Jane? I found a 7 minute video of it, plus mention of a performance at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Were these the only performances of the play? Also, any further plans for this project?

JB: The entire show is on YouTube, in chunks. I have done many plays, quite a few of them with my Dirty Sanchez band mate and BFF, Mario Diaz, and wanted to do another. I thought that the combination of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? and 1980s porn would be something the gays would flock to. And I was right! We did it in Los Angeles and NYC and we may shoot it as a movie.

TGF: How did you get the joke writing gig for Joan Rivers on Fashion Police?

JB: One of my best friends, Nadya Ginsburg, is a writer on the show. We met years ago when she was starring on a show called Hype on The WB and I was a writer. She is hilarious! She does the BEST Madonna impersonation ever! She also does a great Cher, Lady Gaga, Winona Ryder and a whole lot of other celebrities and originals characters, too. Everyone must go watch her on YouTube, now! Anyhoo, Nadya also played the maid, Concepcion, in Whatever Happened To Busty Jane? So we are comedy sisters and she helped get me the job. It’s been great fun, but a lot of work. You have to chuck a lot of unfunny oysters to find the comedy pearls!

TGF: How does the writing process for this show actually work? Do you meet with the show’s producers on a regular basis, or do you submit material in another fashion?

JB: If it’s an awards show, I actually go to Joan’s house and watch the red carpet with her, another writer, and the head writer. We just blurt out jokes and generally be bitchy. Then it’s of to the E. Studios where we work until 7 a.m. writing and re-writing. It’s bonkers! “Normal” non-awards show weeks we go to her house and sit around a big tale and pitch jokes — which means read them aloud — which is not much fun when no one laughs, let me tell you! Then we each go home to write more for certain things. The fashions are constantly changing, some are cut and new ones are added, so you just have to roll with the punches.

TGF: How much of your material actually gets on the air?

JB: It depends, but I have been very fortunate that many of my jokes have made it on the air. I am funny, and more importantly, I feel as if I have learned how to write in Joan’s voice.

TGF: I also understand that you’re really into thrift store shopping. Personally, I love thrift stores. How much of your stage attire comes from thrift store? Do you have a favorite store?

JB: Quite a bit of my wardrobe — male AND female, on stage AND off-comes from thrift stores. I cannot tell you the secret names or locations of them, sorry. I will take in stray dogs and cats, feed the homeless and donate a kidney to a complete stranger, but I will NOT share my precious thrift stores!

TGF: There’s a whole boat load of new female singers out there now. Anyone in particular you plan to parody soon?

JB: I am working on a parody of the new Madonna song, of course. I adore Adele and I would also like to maybe make fun of Lana Del Rey.

TGF: Any thoughts on the current state of drag as represented in the media and during live performances?

JB: I was hoping that RuPaul’s Drag Race would really raise the bar for drag, but it has not. Yes, the girl’s looks are fierce, but almost everywhere I go to perform the club owners or managers tell me, “We had so-and-so here from Drag Race and she lip synced one or two numbers . . .” They love that these girls can pack the place because of their fame, but I do a show that’s over an hour long and filled with stand-up comedy and live singing. Let me tell you, it’s hard to be more talented than famous!

TGF: In closing, and final thoughts you really, really want to say?

JB: Yes. I would like to ban the word “haters” from the Internet. Someone who makes a living skewering pop culture and the world at large through carefully chosen, well-written words is NOT a “hater”, okay? This is my job, dammit! And I do it very well, thank you very much!

For more information on Jackie Beat, check out her website. She has a lot of video on YouTube, and is also on Facebook and Twitter.


Storm Miguel Florez will be performing at Second Story Arts Collective, 2525 Taft Street, in Sacramento, CA, 7:30 p.m. on April 29. Guest performers include Eli Conley and Joe Stevens. Visit their website for more information.

Texas musician, singer/songwriter Beth Isbell has several new YouTube videos, one announcing the formation of a new band. Check out her website; also on Reverbnation, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

Calpernia Addams has two new interesting entries on YouTube. One is a horror film trailer (of sorts), called The Drunkening and the other is a compilation of live performance footage called Goddess.


New artist Kat Graham has just released the new single Put Your Graffiti On Me. Graham is best known for her role as Bonnie Bennett on the CW’s The Vampire Diaries. A remix disc has just been released for the single, which includes the original version of the tune along with 12 remixes.

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Category: Music

Pam Degroff

About the Author ()

Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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