With Janet Jackson and Madonna both playing Vancouver (but nowhere in Alberta), it was looking like travel was in order to get any kind of gay entertainment this fall. That all changed with the recent announcement that Margaret Cho is coming to Alberta for the first time. She brings her queer-based Beautiful tour to the Francis Winspear Centre in Edmonton on September 5th, and Calgary’s Jubilee Auditorium September 7th.
“I am finally coming to Edmonton and Calgary! I am excited, I don’t even know what it is like, I have never been there so I am thrilled.”
While Cho is excited, she admits that on tour she really doesn’t get much of a chance to experience new cities, and often goes home between weekend tour dates.
“In a sense, when you are on the road a lot of things tend to blend together. You are only at a place for a very short time. A lot of places turn out to be similar because you just see the hotel and the venue. I don’t think I will get to hang out and see much but I can’t wait to come. I generally try and come home between shows but will be there the whole weekend. I am not sure what I am doing in the two days between shows, I will have to find something fun to do.”
Cho was interviewed in the June 2008 edition of GayCalgary and Edmonton Magazine, but she always has something new to say and we jumped at the opportunity to speak with her again. Fans of Cho’s have previously had to travel to see her, and now will see this tour for the second time. While much of the content remains the same, Cho has made some changes in the show based on topics such as Barack Obama winning the Democratic Presidential nomination and other world events.
“I am sure things will have changed by the time I get there. It does change a little bit from time to time. So it will be different from the show you saw (in Seattle in May). There will be more added but I will still do things like my song.”
A new topic in the show is the lifting of the ban on gay marriage in California, which happened on May 15th, literally days after speaking to Cho for the June edition.
“I am absolutely thrilled, it is really really exciting. I have performed a couple of wedding ceremonies for acquaintances of mine. None of my friends have gotten married yet but they are starting to make plans of what they are going to do,” she enthused.
Not surprisingly the legalization of marriages left religious groups in an uproar, with many claiming that California would sink into the ocean or burn with god’s wrath. Yet Canada hasn’t had any major disasters since we made gay marriage legal in July 2005. “Canada is such a good example of what we could be if we let ourselves just be cool and support equal rights. It seems like it is such a big deal, I don’t get why some Christians make such a big deal about it.”
Unlike the aforementioned Ms. Jackson and Madonna, ticket prices to see Cho are very affordable from $28 to $45 – even compared to many other entertainment acts such as Jay Leno’s upcoming stand up shows, which range from $79 to $300. Cho said it is important to keep ticket prices reasonable.
“It is just me. I don’t have a whole bunch of overhead. I am not going to add pyro or anything like that. I like it just being me. I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles.
The first leg of the tour featured Liam Sullivan – the man behind internet sensation Kelly – opening. For the Canadian dates, FTM stand up comic Ian Harvie will be opening. (See our interview with Harvie on page 42).
“He and I met when I was doing my show The Sensuous Woman, he was in the cast for that show. I am really impressed by his comedy and think he is a really great example of what is going on in queer comedy these days. Queer comedy is experiencing a renaissance; there are wonderful comedians out there that are really doing something different and exciting. He is really in the mix for that so I wanted to bring him on board. I just wanted to do something and have somebody that I would have fun with, hang out with and laugh, and also a great opener. It is like a part of me up there as part of the show and I have to have the right kind of person.”
2008 has been a great year for Cho, who has experienced great success on her current tour and will launch her new reality show “The Cho Show” on VH1 this fall. She also reaches another milestone – turning 40 on December 5th.
“I haven’t even thought about it. I don’t really think too much about aging, maybe because when I was growing up I was fat. I think that when you are fat you think about that more than the aging, and you automatically don’t really have wrinkles. So I was ’blessed with fat‘ so I don’t have to worry about aging.”
If you haven’t experienced Margaret Cho, you need to come out to these shows. Seeing her live is something that should be on every gay man’s to-do list. Her show in Seattle in May had the crowd nearly rolling in the aisle, and the Alberta tour will have the same effect. Margaret Cho’s show is designed for the gay community, toward which she is so fiercely loyal and loving - a sentiment that is returned in spades.
“Come see the show it’s funny and fun and there are lots of cute guys there so you should come! The gay fan base is everything to me and so important. The whole show is for and all about them. I just can’t wait to come there, it is going to be awesome!”
Margaret Cho: Beautiful
Friday September 5th
Francis Winspear Centre, Edmonton
Sunday September 7th
Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary