Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dancing with a Voluptuous Star

Okay, I admit I delayed posting this to give my Barack Obama post some extra airtime. It was a serious post, but now it's back to gay gushing!

The latest season of Dancing with the Stars started on St. Patty's day. The uber-queen in me goes giddy for the sequins, tuxes, and almost over-the-top costumes. The amateur dancer in me wants to cha cha and foxtrot for a crowd, especially with a studly professional wearing the yummiest of outfits. When they announced the new cast, I knew I was hooked and that this season is likely to be pure candy for me.

Extra hunky men. Iconic women. And a few twists, that make me want to kiss ABC. They've been fabulous in the past, hosting men and women of all ages. From Jerry Springer to Jane Seymour, and Scary Spice to Mario Lopez. They've included people of color, athletes, actresses, and Hollywood icons. I was floored when Heather Mills, who wears a prosthetic leg, did a cartwheel. I was just as impressed when she fell on a different night, and not only got back up and finished like a champ but came back with renewed determination.

This season, as hot as some of the male celebs might be, my out of the gate favorites are some of the ladies. What gay man could resist rooting for a figure skating legend like Kristi Yamaguchi? I have long been a fan of Marlee Matlin, and have huge respect for the brass she's shown. I am going to LOVE watching her push herself and adapt to music she can't hear, and laughing at her AMAZING sense of humor. I can't imagine trying to dance by the feel of the beat and the count alone. And then there's Marissa Jaret Winokur.

She's best known for her Tony award-winning performance as the curvy and bossomy Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray on Broadway. She's now taking to the ballroom. She's the shortest contestant in the show's history, not even reaching five feet tall. She's also the biggest gal in six seasons, and they couldn't have picked a better rep for the bigger girls. She makes no apologies about her size, and expects none from someone who notes her girth. "It's just the way my body is, and that's okay." She quips "I'm here to represent all the girls who aren't a size 2!" And she does it with SUCH personality, energy, and heart. You can't help but love her!

She represents part of what has been missing on TV and in the media. She's a regular woman, who doesn't starve herself to fit into the latest runway fashions. She's got big hair and makes no bones about the fact that she's positively giddy to be ballroom dancing like the stars she grew up idolizing. Did I mention she's got some talent as well? In her first dance, she drew a standing ovation, and nearly endless screams from the audience. She looked GREAT doing the cha cha in her plus-sized sequined electric blue gown.

I can only hope Ms. Marti Gras looks and moves half as well as she did on night 1. I love that shows like Ugly Betty exist. They remind the not-so-pretty, the not-so-popular, and the not-so-thin folks out there that they're okay too. That they can DO. They can BE. That it takes all shapes and sizes. And colors. And sexualities. And religions. That we should always be proud of who we are, and always reach for the stars. Dream big and take risks. Even if you're trying to change or improve, LOVE YOURSELF.

It's one of the hardest lessons, and is one I struggle with every day. I think we all do in our own ways. In the end, I think that's why I love Dancing with the Stars so much. And the Olympics. The Oscars. They give us hope, and show us stories of real, everyday people who have achieved incredible feats despite overwhelming odds. They show us dreams DO come true. And so I say "Dance on, ladies, and kick some ass!" Show us what you can do, and better yet, show yourselves!

And if I have to watch sometimes shirtless hunks gyrating their hips in the process, I can suffer. ;) Speaking of curvy divas, I have one last gay gush. I've now been measured for a custom corset. It will be more comfortable, more durable, and MUCH more fabulous. Look out kids, Marti is planning to WOW at this year's Drag Queen Bingo (7pm, April 19th, Laramie Ho-Jo: more details to follow).

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