FOF #1220 – Marga Gomez’s Rainbow Road to Hell

Jul 20, 2010 · 39098 views

This August, Comedian Marga Gomez is sharpening her cougar claws, packing up her insect repellent, and heading off to the remote woods of the Wolverine State for the legendary Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.

You might think that this women-only event is just a genteel celebration of folk music, but for many it’s a wild adventure filled with hot sounds and sexy good times.

Today Marga Gomez shares with us her experiences at the event over the years, including her fear of porta potties and the time when bondage loving lesbians dropped pamphlets over the crowds from an airplane to gain acceptance at the event.

Join us as we talk with Marga about the legacy of her work as an innovator of the “one person show” and her role in the sci-fi thriller “Sphere” where she and Queen Latifah got eaten by a giant squid and jellyfish. Oh, Marga gives us the dirt on Queen Latifah!

Marga also takes us down the bumpy road of the gay rights movement, where diversity means we have to share spaces with skanky people and the commodifcation of Pride or as Marga calls it “the Rainbow Road to Hell.”

Featured Music:
Ferron – Impressionistic DOUBLE CD: iTunes

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    Comments

  1. Rachel from Tulsa OK says:

    Okay guys, this might have to be one of the funniest shows you’ve done in a long time! I do think that Pride is getting a bit sloppy, where everyone is drunk all over the street. Equality doesn’t mean acting like slobs! LOL

    • Marc Felion says:

      I think we need to change our expectation of Pride parades and ditch the political aspect all together. In fact, I don’t think we should let politicians ride in the parade at all because really, they are the most boring part.

      Haven’t we as a community earned the right to party like it’s 1999 already? Wasn’t that what Stonewall was all about anyway- the right to drink and party unmolested by the police?

      If you want activism- go to a rally! Or organize your own.

      • Marga says:

        Hey Marc,
        Are we gays really lacking in parties? What would make Pride any different than a huge Dinah Shore weekend meets Circuit Party if we didn’t include the history and the politics. I heard Stonewall was about Judy Garland and Toto too.

    • Marga says:

      Thanks Rachel. Good to have a friend in Tulsa. Check out my youtube channel or my website to see more of my comedy stuff.

  2. Alan says:

    Well, we had a kind of alternate pride celebration here (in Austin, Texas) this year, Queerbomb, and it was a LOT of fun. The standard pride event organizers have habitually tried to tone down visibility or transgendered community members in the parade, which, given how the gay civil rights movement started, I find pretty unforgivable.

    • Charles Ver33 says:

      Um, weren’t there a lot of gay men in Stonewall too? Gay men are always so happy to give other people credit for their hard work. How about we say that the gay rights movement, LGBT rights, Equality, etc… is built on the hard work of many people, trans and non-trans alike?

      Saying we have to bow down to every single demand anyone makes based on the myth that trans people were the only ones who participated in the Stonewall riots is silly, and also takes away from the hard work that came before and after that momentous riot. Hard work that was done by all kinds of people.

  3. Allan Spiers says:

    I have lost a lot of respect for these so-called ‘Pride’ parades, because there is nothing to be proud about. These parades are now made up of organizations trying to put their own agenda instead of coming together as a community, while the spectators get drunk and make a fool of themselves. I’ll bet anything that most people don’t even know what Stonewall is.

    Last year was the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and nobody recognized it. Not a single float or organization has mentioned Stonewall in recent years. And like I posted on a Facebook comment: ‘I have already seen a few Facebook posts from people saying that they thought it was a ‘cool coincidence’ that their Pride parade was on the same day as ours’ …seriously?

    So, instead of spending time, effort, and money into these parades of debaucheries, we should go back to what these ‘parades’ were originally meant to be, marches. And use it to educate people as well as the new gay generation, the ones that have no clue of the reason why we have these ‘parades’, on this day.

    And what do some of the organizations I saw on the parade have anything to do with Pride? Anti-Circumcision, Save a Stray, Planned Parenthood, etc… And yes, there are way too many politicians allowed to be on the parade! It also should not be about organizations or individuals pushing their own agenda or bars using it as an advertising tool, this is suppose to be the celebration of the beginning of the gay rights movement, something we are still fighting for.

    I used to be a top sponsor of the Pride festivities in South Florida for about 5 years, but after seeing their disrespect to their sponsors, internal issues, misuse of donations, and political agenda, I decided to not to continue to sponsor them nor offer my services in any way. Since then, these events have left me with a disappointing feeling that have yet to be restored.

    Then comes last year’s Pride incident, my partner Jeff and I were invited to be part of the KISS FM float and after a lot of thinking I decided to participate one more time in hope that my views on Pride parades would change. We got up early and went over to set ourselves up on their float, but after sitting there for two hours in the heat waiting for the parade’s kick off, shortly before their float got into position, we were removed from the float by the coordinators of KISS FM, only to be replaced by a couple of flaming twinks wearing make up and in speedos. To them, Jeff and I weren’t ‘gay’ enough or ‘loud’ enough, we just weren’t a straight person’s stereotypical idea of a gay male. That was the biggest slap on the face. What happened to diversity within our community? And why do these people tend to exaggerate their attire or have a non-existent one during the ‘parade’? These floats and people reassure the world of our stereotypes. They are NOT a representation of me. They are an embarrassment.

    There is nothing wrong with celebrating being ourselves, and I am not discriminating against anyone, but since when do we walk around in our underwear, speedos, dress up in revealing women’s clothing or have a ‘diva’ attitude when we go to work at the office or shop at the grocery store/mall? It is the lack of attention and perhaps low self-… See Moreesteem that makes some people over-act their personalities. Pride parades have become a popularity contest, it’s about which float has the most hot guys instead of making a statement through collaboration. And if we are so proud of how far we have come since Stonewall, why not have at least an acknowledgment of it during the 4-hour parade? And in my opinion, people should be who they ARE, not who they want to become.

    I am a proud gay business owner, but being gay does not define me nor defines the way I conduct myself or my business. So, if I ever have the opportunity to have a float, it would be to showcase my talent and my abilities as an artist so that everyone can see that I am not only the same as everyone else, but an artist that happens to be gay.

    I think the problem lies in the people organizing these events, they are just looking to make money, hence allowing just anyone to have a spot on the parade whether they have a message or just want to advertise. I don’t mind seeing gay businesses being part of it, in fact, I encourage it! But Skittles, Illinois Lottery, Bud Light? What happened to the organizations with the message like PFLAG? We are suppose to be sending out a message not use a milestone event as an advertisement tool. That’s why we have Pridefest and bar rags for. Leave the Pride parades to what it was intended for, sending out a message to the world!!

    Perfect example is the The Million Man March, KFC or Kool-aid did not use it as an opportunity to advertise nor were there any Black-American stereotypes being displayed. Yet, they still got their message across.

  4. Marga says:

    Hey there it’s me Marga Gomez. Okay was hoping to see more comments about my interview here but whatevs I had my wonderful time with Marc and Fausto. I’m admittedly jaded about Pride unless I get hired to emcee :) but it is what it is at this point. And I think it’s still very meaningful for all the queer youth and the old PFlAG folks. In between those groups there’s some dissatisfaction. Perhaps if the politicians wore speedos they could stay. And can we lose random contingents like the straight people dressed up like ponies and galloping along – with allies like these who needs homophobes even NAMBLA was embarrassed.
    I played the Dyke March in San Francisco this year and as much as I poke fun at it – it’s been a great model for celebration of the kind of rebellion that goes back to Stonewall. I imagine the transmarch is like that too. Let’s have more of that fellas. Raise your rainbow freak flag everyday.

  5. Curtis says:

    I’m not finished with the show yet, but wanted to get the name of the very funny big dyke who Marga talks about being a contestant on “Last Comic Standing”. Her name is Fortune Feimster and she KILLED on the show. I was actually kind of shocked that she didn’t make it to the next level. She was reaalllly funny.

    Fausto and Marc, you need to track her down and get her on the show. I was meaning to tell you about her anyway.

  6. Curtis says:

    Here’s Fortune at the Comedy Store

  7. Curtis says:

    Here’s what I would like to hear from you guys. Instead of making wild accusations that Chicago Pride got paid off by Chely Wright, why not talk to the selection committee or person who does the booking for Chicago Pride and ask them why they picked her. You repeated this accusation multiple times. Get a real answer to this question. I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to the Pride Committee or to Chely Wright.

    I love Marga, but let’s get real, if she had been the Grand Marshall of Chicago Pride there would have been just as many people saying “Who?” as did for the singer. I know who she is, but she’s not exactly a huge celebrity either.

    And your own suggestion after the parade for a replacement Grand Marshall, the Blackhawks player, doesn’t exactly resonate as a fantastic choice outside of the completely local and very ephemeral jubilation over the Stanley Cup win. He isn’t a Gay person either, and his relevance as a celebrity, or symbol to Gay Chicagoans wasn’t about Gay anything. He wasn’t even on the radar of many Gay people until the big win a week or two before the parade (rather late in the game to be booking Grand Marshalls), and his completely random (though wonderful and noble) personal decision to honor a gay boy who died in a car accident could not have been predicted. He wasn’t exactly working for Gay rights publicly before the day of the parade.

    I agree that the Lesbian Country singer is a big snooze as a choice, and even a rather cynical one, but it’s not like you’re suggesting anyone whose really more compelling or would have even been in anyone’s consciousness when the selection was made months before the parade.

    Perhaps Chicago could do what San Francisco does and have multiple Grand Marshalls to assuage the need for representation of all the constituencies in the community. There’s usually some LGBT Pioneer, a D list celebrity, a local hero, a trans person, a lesbian, some bi person, a politician, and a news maker. All the bases are covered.

    • I think we all agree that the process of picking a grand marshal is a pretty complicated one, right? There’s a lot of people that need to be pleased: the city, local business owners, parade attendees, other GLBT talent, and bloggers like us, LOL.

      Running a pride parade takes money, and its a big deal to be chosen as the grand marshall for any parade. Sometimes people get chosen who aren’t very relevant, but bring financial support so the parade can be financially strong. Running pride parades are usually run like businesses, and so they make decisions based on many factors, one of them obviously is money. Respect goes out to the folks who work hard to get the party started.

      I may not like the decisions they made, but the parade they throw is fabulous and obviously have a great time. It’s really a party with political meaning, not a political rally.

      When Chely Wright came out of the closet, the amount of money spent publicizing her coming out was a lot in ads and PR firms. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to suggest that she paid to become the grand marshal.

      I agree that having multiple grand marshals is a good idea, like a float or car with several types of people instead of one person who may or may not be very relevant.

      I think of the grand marshal as heroes and she-roes. Someone you may not know about, but was a trailblazer who has made tremendous achievements to bring our community forward.

      I don’t think of Chely Wright as someone like that. She’s a fearful woman who had one hit song and never came out until he career had long since faded. Most people still don’t know who she is. She’s done very little to advance our cause, except take advantage of the natural curiosity surrounding her coming out to bring some career opportunities for herself.

      • But you are right that it’s easier for me to criticize someone than it is to lift someone up, so I’ll definitely try to focus on the things I like, instead of what is wrong with something.

      • Derek says:

        But what’s the fun in focusing only on the good and not pointing out the flaws as well? ;) So long as it’s followed up by a suggestion for improvement of course.

        I like the idea of multiple Grand Marshalls for the parade.

    • Marga says:

      Curtis I’m glad you love me since I’m “not exactly a huge celebrity.” ; ) Not debating that but just want you to know I tried. I went after the Hollywood dream, had the CAA agent and all but I wanted to create different work and not live in LA. These days greater numbers in the LGBT community are more swayed by someone’s tv credits than what she has to say. I have been honored to be a Grand Marshall in St. Louis, San Francisco and San Jose. This year in SF the Back Street boys were the Celebrity Grand Marshalls. Wasn’t one of them accused of beating up his girlfriend? Why not call the Celebrity Grand Marshall just The Celebrity then then it would be simpler.

      • John says:

        I think being a “celebrity” means many different things today than yesterday. Print and tv celebs get a lot of gay pride attention, while most online celebrities get ignored by pride committees.

        And then there are celebrity based blogs, don’t get me started. Why do we even care about these losers? Guys who beat up on their girlfriends get attention from Pride commities? Man this is ridiculous.

        Marga Gomez for President!

  8. Tamster from Montreal says:

    I haven’t finished listening yet but I really laughed at “by the time I was in 3rd grade I knew how to jig but I didn’t know spanish anymore!!”

  9. Gina Morvay says:

    How come people are worried about how inclusive Pride parades are (and I share a lot of the concern about their commercialization) and no one even mentions how MichFest has excluded and disrespected trans women and continues to have a policy which prefers they not attend. Sorry Marga, I’ve seen your performances since the early 90s but, as a trans woman, I don’t respect your participation at MichFest and I won’t be attending your future performances. Nor do I buy people performing there claiming they’re against the policy. That’s like men golfing at the Master’s Tournament (at an exclusionary golf club in Georgia) while claiming they’re fighting racism. Nothing like having members of the LGBTQ community support your exclusion from a queer space.

    Bitch has been dropped from festivals/events for her support of the exclusionary policy… why is that different for a comedian? Is bringing this up rude… well so is exclusion!

    • Marga says:

      Dear Gina,
      Thanks for writing. Thanks you for your support in the past and I am sorry to dissapoint you now.
      But I respect your reasons. I’m very fortunate to have some tranwomen friends inspite of this situation. BTW Bitch was not dropped from Michfest and went on to make a pro transgender incusion statement on stage this year to applause.

      Marga

      • Gina Morvay says:

        I never said Bitch was dropped from MichFest. She was given the boot at the Boston Dyke March several years ago for her stated support of MichFest and the transphobia it represents. She was also given the book from an indy woman’s rock festival earlier this year after the organizers found out about her position (which was, at that time, still pro-exclusion). Since she’s first performed at MichFest she’s made some repeated nasty comments about trans women (as have people like Kathleen Hanna who’s also trying to backpedal because of lost bookings and complaints) and I have no doubt the only reason she made that statement was because she was afraid there were be more repercussions.

        I feel sorry for your friends to have to swallow their pride and self-respect just to keep you in their lives. What a shitty thing for you do to people you to people you call friends. And even more shitty you couldn’t acknowledge what you’re doing to them in the interview instead of trying to wiggle your way out of it talking about working out.

      • Sister Please says:

        And those nasty comments are? What’s the point of calling yourself Bitch if you can’t act like one? Hmm, wasn’t Bitch lovers with the trans Animal? Isn’t her current lover also a famous trans actor?

        Gina- what solution do you see here? Invite all people who identify as “female” into the separatist festival or boycott every single separatist event/organization/store and so on until feminist separatist is dead?

    • Sister Please says:

      So what you’re saying is you used to go see Marga’s performances not because you enjoyed them, but because you felt she needed your support, like a charity? Is this really a good use of your time and energy, personally attacking women like Marga who are obviously very aggressively pro-LGBT rights, including trans?

      Marga is a working comedian, and takes the gigs she gets. Mich does a lot of good for a lot of women, don’t throw out a good group just because of one thing they do wrong. Nobody is stopping you from really truly going, right?

      With fans like you, who needs enemies?

      • Gina Morvay says:

        Please re-read what I wrote, I don’t think you’re understanding it. I saw Marga’s performances because I enjoyed them and liked her comedy. I stopped seeing them when I found out she repeatedly performed at MichFest. Just the same as I stopped reading Ezra Pound when I found out he hated Jews and made anti-semitic broadcasts. See, I don’t excuse artists their decisions just because they’re good artists, I hold them to a standard of ethics and morality like the rest of us. Crazy, huh?!

        No, Marga is not a friend of trans women (even if she has a few trans women friends). Performing at a festival with that history, and which still doesn’t repudiate its policy of exclusion is not being a good friend. So let’s see, if Marga took a gig at a ‘right to life’ conference would you feel so cool about that? WIth allies like you who needs enemies. :->

      • Sister Please says:

        It’s just a comedy show Gina. Do you scrutinize everything else this closely? It is possible to like one aspect of a comedians humor and dislike another aspect of their politics or behavior.

        What you’re really saying is that there isn’t any value to seperatist feminism, and their interest in wanting to draw the line to what is female to biology, even when that line is fuzzy. I don’t agree with them, and I would never go to such a thing but I appreciate their decision to throw a party and invite whomever they like.

        A lot of LGBT people aren’t welcome at many hateful reggae music events, and we seldom see the public outcry against them. But I still enjoy listening to their music from time to time, but it’s not like I don’t speak out against them.

        As Fausto and Marc like to say, Sinead O’Connor was right! Fight the real enemy, i.e. the Catholic Church.

  10. Gina Morvay says:

    @Sister, there’s a big difference between people from outside your supposed community excluding you (believe me, trans people deal with that every day) and people from within your community… so-called allies doing the same. But what galls me is we’re supposed to applaud our “allies” who basically crossed a picket line and smile sweetly for them. There are a number of principled performers who refused to play at MichFest in solidarity with the trans women who were excluded. Them I applaud. So don’t tell me someone who went right ahead and played there anyway (and what the hell does ‘a comedy show’ have to do with this issue?) and then doesn’t have the forthrightness to even cop to it on that interview. No, be honest about your actions. Wouldn’t you want your friends to call you out when you’re totally full of shit?

    Your “party” analogy doesn’t work for me… a) because they allow trans men and trans masculine people to attend… which negates the trans identity of those men and the ‘womyn-only’ line they throw out and b) they’re enforcing a kind of phony binary biological determinism and getting righteous about it. Inviting would be… I like this person but I don’t like that person because they’re not my friend… not excluding them based on who they ARE applied in a blanket way. That would be discrimination. PS, don’t tell me who the enemy is… you don’t have a right to do that. I didn’t say Marga is my enemy, I said she’s a hypocrite and I wouldn’t go to her shows anymore. And Fausto and Marc, who were talking about “trannies” may kindly go f*ck themselves as well. :->

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