SF Drag “Golden Girls” Share the Spirit of Christmas By Kevin M. Thomas

Golden GirlsMost of the original “Golden Girls” are enjoying their time with the ghosts of Christmas Past. But the San Francisco drag “Golden Girls” are keeping the spirit of Christmas Present alive and well at the Victoria Theatre Dec. 5-22.

“Golden Girls Christmas” will enjoy its eighth year bringing its fierce fun and campy Christmas antics to two holiday trans-ed up episodes of the famed TV series.

In the hands of Heklina, Matthew Martin, Pollo del Mar and Cookie Dough, San Franciscans have come to love our very own “Golden Girls.”

This year, we’re getting two new live episodes in which the original episodes have been camped a bit. The first one deals with Rose and Blanche on a double date at a Christmas dance in which Rose hits it off and Blanche has a dud. The second episode focuses on the girls on their way to a fund raising post-movie premiere event but get hauled off to jail after they’re mistaken for prostitutes. (Likely more believable with our queens.)

Heklina says they are thrilled to introduce these new episodes to their fans that have followed the show “from our friend Mike’s house” to the Victoria, with two other theatres in between. Four venues in eight years, Heklina says they’ve “found the perfect fit” at the Victoria.

While many come to the show just for our great ensemble, Heklina says they have a good number of guest stars to make the fun even more festive. Dec. 5 has Donna Sachet, who is also a San Francisco icon and Heklina dubs “the drag hostess with the mostess!” Dec. 5 will feature Fernando & Greg, the gay radio show hosts on 99.7 Now. Then, Dec. 6 has Sister Roma from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Heklina says “is the most photographed nun in the world.”

Heklina also says opening night is a benefit for AIDS Housing Alliance.

While locals wait all year for this guaranteed evening of fun, Heklina says the show has actually also played out-of-town. “So far we’ve taken it to New Orleans and to the Russian River. But it’s a very difficult show to travel with,”  she says, “as we insist on doing lots of costume changes. Who knows, maybe there are more travels in store for us. My aunt Cyndi wants us to take it to Missoula, Montana!”

Heklina doesn’t know if Betty White, the only surviving “Golden Girl” and still going strong, has seen the show.  “We’ve never dared try to get ahold of her, but of course it would be a dream come true.”

If you’re not fast enough to snap up tickets for one of its limited 12 performances (which always sell out), there’s always next year as Heklina says they will be doing it “until we ourselves are Golden Girls. They’ll be wheeling me out there in an iron lung.”

Also, between their annual “Golden Girls,” our four queens can be seen about town in many shows. Heklina has done several other TV shows live including “Sex and the City,” “Designing Women” and most recently “Friends.” Martin does a one person show saluting dead divas but he also can be found in the role of Mrs. Roper in “Three’s Company,” which often plays late spring at Finn’s Funhouse.

Cookie Dough is the creator of the popular “Monster Show” but still has time to find roles in many of Heklina’s “TV” shows as well as San Francisco plays. Pollo del Mar lends her drag grandness in many events that mostly are fund raisers and to create awareness.

For more information, visit: www.TRANNYSHACK.com and www.COOKIEVISION.com.

This event will definitely sell out,  so get $30 tickets now at www.goldengirlssf.eventbrite.com.

Check out our conversation with the cast from 2011: