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The best kept secret in music


"Show Trash"

July 15 and 16, by popular demand "Lypsinka! The Boxed Set" returns to Guild Hall in East Hampton, along with "Show Trash." Lypsinka, Friday, July 15 at 8 pm and Saturday, July 16 at 7 pm. "Show Trash" is Saturday, July 16 at 10 pm. See both shows at a discount ticket!

Backstage says of "Show Trash": "A funny, often touching autobiographical revue."

The Washington Post says: "Now that's great SHOW TRASH!"

Washington City Paper says "Show Trash" is "warm and wistful here, acerbically funny there."

Don't miss this rare performance of "John Epperson: Show Trash" which, according to Washington City Paper is "peppered with guilty-pleasure anecdotes involving the famous (and semi-famous)!" The show they call "appealing" and "lively," and which The Washington Post says is "funny," "accomplished," "charming" and "delicious," is accompanied by still images, motion pictures, and home movies.

Directed by Barry Kleinbort; special lyrics by Tom Orr.

- Reviews

"Lypsinka - The Boxed Set"

By Jane Horwitz
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, July 9, 2002; Page C05

John Epperson doesn't consider himself a drag queen or a transvestite. If a label is required, he suggests "drag entertainer or drag performer, or if you're really kind, a drag star."

In his dressing room at Studio Theatre on Friday, Epperson looked like none of the above. He hadn't begun the process of turning himself into Lypsinka, the big-haired, bare-shouldered, ultra-glam cabaret diva he invented 20 years ago in New York. His show "Lypsinka! The Boxed Set" runs at Studio through Saturday.

John Epperson as the sultry cabaret diva in "Lypsinka! The Boxed Set" at Studio Theatre. (Austin Young)

As Lypsinka, Epperson does, in fact, lip-sync to a lightning audio montage of Hollywood dames from the golden age of screen and song, while he sashays, struts and re-creates their gestures with near-military precision. Backstage, though, the 47-year-old actor was just a mild-mannered, fair-haired man in slacks and shirt, whose voice bore little trace of his native Hazlehurst, Miss.

"The thing about drag is it scares people, but if it didn't, they wouldn't be fascinated by it," he said of the growing straight audience that seems to be joining his gay fans. "I'm sure people, when they watch the show, they're thinking, 'The guy's really twisted.' But I totally don't feel that way. It's a job."

Of the show's obsessively researched and sometimes "pretty obscure" movie references, two of Epperson's favorites are Dolores Gray, who appeared with Gene Kelly in "It's Always Fair Weather" and whom Epperson got to know before she died June 26 in Manhattan, and Kay Thompson, who starred in "Funny Face" with Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn and wrote the "Eloise" books for children. Few in the audience will fail to recognize Liza Minnelli belting or Gloria Swanson and Bette Davis in dramatic film moments.

The "Boxed Set" subtitle has two meanings for Epperson. First, the show is made up of "bits and pieces" of six earlier Lypsinka evenings. Second, it hints at how the dame he's created has "boxed me in" in terms of being considered for non-drag roles, though he's trying to branch out. "I'm married to this person," he sighed. - The Washington Post


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


John Epperson, the creator and performer of the glamour goddess Lypsinka, was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. Mississippi is, of course,a long way from the exciting worlds in which Lypsinka travels: movies (the HBO film WITCH HUNT); television (hosting movies on TRIO); fashion shows in Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles; advertisements (for The Gap, LA Eyeworks, Naya Spring Water, Ilford Film); publishing (Rizzoli Publications); and theater in London, on Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway. Epperson and Lypsinka are the subjects of an Emmy-winning television documentary for PBS. Formerly a rehearsal pianist at American Ballet Theater, subsequently the composer/lyricist/book writer of two musicals at LaMaMa ETC -- BALLET OF THE DOLLS and DIAL “M” FOR MODEL -- and now the proud owner of, Epperson’s theatrical career as Lypsinka was launched in I COULD GO ON LIP-SYNCHING! which ran for a year Off Broadway and later played in Los Angeles, a production partially financed by drag-friendly Madonna. He continued to confound audiences in THE FABULOUS LYPSINKA SHOW, LYPSINKA! NOW IT CAN BE LIP-SYNCHED, which received the Manhattan Association of Cabaret’s Award for Major Musical Performance and LYPSINKA! A DAY IN THE LIFE, which was produced by the New York Theater Workshop and received two Drama Desk nominations, including Most Unique Theatrical Experience. The show was revived in 1993 at Off Broadway’s Cherry Lane Theater. A fifth show, LYPSINKA! AS I LAY LIP-SYNCHING, premiered in 1994 and has been produced everywhere from San Diego to the Edinburgh Festival. The controversial LYPSINKA MUST BE DESTROYED! has only been seen in San Francisco. Lypsinka has appeared in the Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles fashion shows of haute couture designer Thierry Mugler, with Ivana Trump, Jeff Stryker, Sharon Stone, Lesley Ann Warren and Julie Newmar. “The Lyp” has also modeled for Valentino, Pauline Trigere, Barneys New York, I. Magnin, LA Eyeworks, Ilford Film, Matsuda, The Body Shop and The Gap, and helped launch lines of cosmetics for Prescriptives and Isabella Rossellini’s new makeup, Manifesto. She appears in the George Michael video, TOO FUNKY, and in three HBO specials: ONTHE LEDGE, SANDRA AFTER DARK with Sandra Bernhard, Roseanne and Tom Jones, and DRAGTIME. She has also been active on the benefit circuit, sharing the bill with Ann-Margret, Harry Connick, Jr., Pia Zadora, Patti Labelle; lip-synching duets with Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine and Mrs.Judith Beasley; and appearing as Joan Crawford with her adopted daughter, Christina. Lypsinka has been fortunate enough to appear in such hallowed venues as Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ballroom at The Waldorf-Astoria, Drury Lane Theatre Royal in London, the Castro Theater in San Francisco, and the Tupperware Auditorium in Orlando! Mr. Epperson has been seen in the film VAMPIRE’S KISS with Nicholas Cage; as the madam of a house of ill repute in director Paul Schrader’s HBO cult favorite WITCH HUNT, which also starred Dennis Hopper and Julian Sands; in WIGSTOCK: THE MOVIE; the dramatic feature RED RIBBON BLUES; and in THE UNITED STATES OF POETRY on PBS. In New York,Mr. Epperson directed the comedy troupe The Nellie Olesons. Lypsinka made her speaking debut onstage in the acclaimed 1998 TWEED production LYPSINKA IS HARRIET CRAIG! She appeared in the 1998 Ethel Merman tribute, DOIN’ WHAT COMES NATUR’LLY, at The Richard Rodgers Theater on Broadway with Bette Midler, Elaine Stritch and Patti LuPone. In May of 1999, Lypsinka appeared in Jerry Mitchell’s Broadway Bares IX at Roseland. Summer of 1999 brought Epperson’s dramatic stage debut in MESSAGES FOR GARY at The New YorkFringe Festival. Recently, THE FABULOUS LYPSINKA SHOW played for two weeks at the Seymour Theatre Centre as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival (Australia). More recently, The Goddess of ShowBiz found herself opening for John Davidson at Disneyworld. Yes, it’s true. Most recently, LYPSINKA! THE BOXED SET ran off and on for 5 months at The Westbeth Theatre Center in Manhattan (Drama Desk nomination) and several months on tour in various cities including Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. (one Helen Hayes Award win for Outstanding Non-Resident Production and a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor) and in Los Angeles where Epperson won a Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Sound Design and the L.A. Weekly Theatre Award for Best Solo Performance. His autobiographical/impressionistic cabaret performance, JOHN EPPERSON: SHOW TRASH played at the New York nightspot Joe’s Pub. Mr. Epperson is an occasional contributor to Interview and The Guardian(UK). He provided the preface for the Rizzoli photo book PERSONA and he is the author of a play, MY DEAH, the Medea tale set in The New South and a new screenplay – PICTURE PEOPLE.