CORINNE LEA

I stood across the street from the Rio and watched the media huddle around the front door.  Every reporter and photographer in Canada was there. Hungry and waiting. The energy was electric. The sun was going down which made the tiny orange lights from The Rio sign burn even brighter. The occasional flashbulb that went off was the only thing that snapped me out of my daze. I finally had front row seats to a media spectacle!

Corrine Lea owns The Rio and is no stranger to making the news. She has fought the city on several issues in the past and wasn’t shy when it came to cameras. She is a fighter. A lioness protecting her den where she has the claws and the den is whatever the fuck she wants it to be. Corinne reminds me of Erin Brockovich. She looks you directly in the eye, has bouncy blonde hair (amongst other things) and lots of exposed flesh. Her sentences are a combination of politically charged statements and cutesy Lolita lilts. She exudes sex and makes you feel like at any moment she could pounce you, torture you with pleasure and make you beg for mercy. And thats exactly why every eye ball in the country was on her. She had recently pounced and everyone was grasping at the bits for her to dish on her latest victim.

On a rainy weekend in Vancouver a young and dashing Canadian politician who was experiencing a spasm of press decided to pop into The Rio for a quite night of entertainment. Somewhere he could get entertained without being the centre of attention. He could get to the theatre just as the show was starting wearing a baseball cap pulled low on his foreword, high collared jacket and a scarf.  It was fool proof. The perfect amount of disguise to let him get his ticket, a beer and take a seat without anyone recognizing. Or so he thought. Sure there was no fandom but the ticket person realized who it was and texted Corrine backstage.

“OMG MICK JAGGER’S SON IS HERE”

An inside joke between Corinne and her staff, Corinne knew exactly who they were talking about.

On this particular Saturday night The Rio was hosting a night of long form burlesque starring…you guessed it…the lioness herself. Corinne took the stage as planned and dazzled the crowd with her hair tosses and high kicks. She straddled a chair and threw various items of clothing into the audience. Before you knew it she was practically naked on stage in front of a sold out audience. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” blared through the speakers so loud the entire theatre vibrated. Just before the climax of the piece Corinne surprised everyone by jumping off stage .The Rio doesn’t have a spot light that can follow you into the crowd so no one knew what she was doing. But that didn’t matter, they would know soon enough. When she finally popped back onto the stage she wasn’t alone. Maybe it was all those years she spent working in the dark theatre or maybe it was her superhuman female sex power but Corinne was able to find the disguised politician amongst the sea of people and drag him out of his seat and onto the stage behind her. She paraded her new friend around the stage as the crowd cheered. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” ended and “Milkshake” by Kelis started as Corinne forced the tall, dark and handsome man from Montreal into the chair that sat center stage. Not missing a beat Corinne had her legs instantly wrapped around him as she grinded wildly and laughed like the some comic book villian.  After she was done riding him like a Mary- go -Round she hopped off and crouched down in front of him. In one effortless flick of the wrist his belt came off, she pulled him to his feet and tore his pants off . At this point the crowd was loosing their minds. Corinne was born to do this.  Surprisingly the guy who initially wanted to spend the night incognito took off his jacket and his shirt and tossed his hat into the audience. There was a giant collective gasp that came from the theatre. You could hear a pin drop. He was naked and everyone knew who he was. Corinne had gone from Erin Brockovich to Monica Lewinsky by the time the song had finished. It was incredible.

Suddenly the front doors of The Rio swung open and Corinne walked out in spiked heels, red lipstick and a leather jacket. Instant. Media. Frenzy. Corinne had become the ultimate political sex symbol.

“CORINNE WHY DID YOU DO IT? ” every reporter asked

“Because I wanted to. And its 2015”

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JANE SMOKER

Promoting excess has been done. Being a young hot blonde drag queen isn’t exactly ground breaking. And pulling inspiration from hollywood bad girls is a no brainer for any young gay artist these days. And yet with all this recycled material there is one queen who is still managing to make it seem fresh. So I guess the question is -if its all been done before why cant we keep our eyes off Jane Smoker?

The Serpentine Queen slithered onto the drag scene like she’s been there all along. Watching us. Stalking us. Waiting for the perfect moment to strike. And what started out as a one night only Lindsay Lohan tribute has turned into a full blown take over. Jane Smoker hasn’t been around the longest and she might not even be the best at anything in particular but she is undisputed kween of cool. Need proof? She is the most followed drag queen in Vancouver on Instagram. Probably BC. She’s got hipster blood and was an underground idol before snatching the oh so mainstream title of Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar. I remember sitting in the audience watching her win thinking it was almost like a joke she was playing on everyone.  She wasn’t from around here and yet she was slaying so effortlessly. Marking her territory in a place that didn’t really know what to do with her.  She definitely wasn’t going to be any cooler for dominating davie street but having her as their leader definitely brought Davie’s dying scene up a couple notches. Jane Smoker can go from old school davie drag party to an obscure underground rave and fit in perfectly at either. No one bats an eye. She can stand out and fit in. She’s the most popular girl in school and she’s not a total bitch! Shocking , I know!  She knows what the fuck is up. She is artistically present and has a brand that puts apple to shame. She looks expensive. Maybe not on stage- but on paper Jane Smoker is a multi million dollar media sensation. She is living and breathing her future success like its already happened. She isnt going to become a star, she is already a superstar. I guess thats why I relate to her so much. We were born famous. I used to wonder what it would be like if Parker ever met Lindsay Lohan but now I’m wonder if Jane Smoker would even notice that Lindsay was in the room.

I caught up with Jane at her Bel Air mansion to ask her how things have changed since she became a superstar. She had sent a car to pick me up from my hotel. A big white giant stretch limo. Even though I typically hated limos she some how made it seem cool. First of all the driver was some blonde girl with cleavage you could hide a baby in. Secondly the back of the limo was filled with pabst blue ribbon on ice. I giggled thinking that she must have added the beer cuz she thought it was funny. She could certainly afford to give me champagne. Maybe it was a nod to our hipster past. We were supposed to star in a reality show together you know! The Real Hipster Of Vancouver! I wasn’t cool enough for the show but she got pretty close. VHI eventually passed. Their loss!

The drive through LA was abnormally hot so I rolled down the windows as we made our way through West Hollywood. As I looked out of the car window I saw a giant Jane Smoker billboard. It was for her cigarettes. The first celebrity to have their own brand on cigarettes. She certainly got a lot of flack for that one but that was probably the whole point. No point doing something unless its gonna piss someone off! We drove by what feels like a million different mansions before the car finally slowed down at a gigantic white gate. The driver mumbled something into the intercom and the gates opened up. I felt like I was entering heaven. Only this heaven that had endless amounts of whiskey and cocaine. When I got out of the limo the driver took me around back. We would do the interview by the pool. There were giant floating champagne glasses in the pool and solid gold lounging chairs that lined the blue water.  Britney Spear’s blackout album blared through speakers hidden throughout the yard. I sat down on one of them and thought my skin was going to melt it was so fucking hot.

“PETER MUTHER FUCKEN BREEZE”

and there she was. Billowing smoke, bloody lips and heels to heaven.

“I’m so happy you’re here! Its been so long!”

“Thanks I love your place”

“I know, right! it was only $12 million”

“Oh thats it?”

We both laughed. Some things never change. Humor has always been the common ground for Jane and I.

We talked for what seemed like hours about her and career. Just like the old days except this time we were sober. At least I was. She told me how she finally decided to leave vancouver, her hit TV show, platinum selling album, celebrity party scene and of course….that relationship of hers! What struck me most about Jane wasn’t what she was talking about but that she was still just as excited talking about her success as she was before it all happened. I think thats what made her so special to begin with. Her raw, authentic passion. Even if it was for fame. It made her shine back then and kept her shining now.

her phone rang and we both glanced down

“LINDSAY LOHAN’s name blinked on the screen.

I looked at her in disbelief. Had she finally become besties with her teen idol? My eyes must have bulging out of my head I was so eager to hear about why Lindsay was calling her!

“That bitch owes me money” Jane said and hit the ignore button

Jane Smoker ignoring Lindsay Lohan. Wow. For some reason I wasn’t surprised. The A listers always avoided Lindsay. We both laughed and I looked up at her sprawling mansion and smiled. I couldnt help but wonder if somewhere in Vancouver right now there is a gay boy fucked out of his mind getting “SMOKER” tattooed across his arm.

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FAMOUS BLONDES

Famous blondes. My one real weakness. Their success, their glory, their peroxide.  I’m endlessly fascinated by the spectacle one famous person can cause. Have you ever watched a paparazzi video of Britney Spears going to Starbucks? Hypnotizing. The sounds of the grown men screaming her name, toppling over each other, burning the atmosphere with their strobing flashes.   I cant imagine anything more beautiful.  How comforting it would be to wake up and know there were 50 black SUV’s parked outside your house waiting to devour you.  A prison sentence for the social elite.  Millions of people donating huge chunks of their life to learning all about your dirty little secrets. The real superstar is the one with no where to hide and no desire to stop. The one who is pushed to the limits of sanity and forced to endure an experience only they could understand. Living on the outskirts of humanity. Torture disguised as glory.  Fame is the ultimate form self destruction. The only real way to live.