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Showgirls: Pageantry in Provincetown

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By GLAAD |
January 13, 2009

The new season of American Idol may have nothing on Showgirls, Provincetown, MA, which has its world premiere Thursday at the Palms Springs International Film Festival. This fun and entertaining romp follows the road to "Showgirl of the Year," and will surely have a healthy run on the LGBT film festival circuit.

During the summer of 2007 director, C. Fitz documented the legendary Provincetown cabaret show "Showgirls," and the engaging stories of those involved. A Monday night staple at the Crown & Anchor, musical performers, comedians, drag queens and those that could be described as "talent challenged" perform with the goal of winning $500 at the end of the night. Those that regularly rise to the top are profiled in this doc as they race for the crown — or in this case a bust of a pig!

Like Idol's host Ryan Seacrest, who introduces the audience into the lives of that show's contestants, Showgirls has Ryan Landry (left), the creator and host of the cabaret who guides viewers through the idyllic Cape Cod town and into the lives of its performers who have such stage names as “Deborah Downer,” “Della Cattesen,” and “Steamy Brown.” Such nationally known acts as Randy Roberts and Varla Jean Merman also try out their material on the Showgirls stage.

The contestants' passion to perform lights up the stage in an infectious "Hey gang, let's put on a show" kind of way. Interviews with the performers allow the viewer to get inside why they come back week after week, though there is one notable absence: One of the competition's frontrunners is often talked about and shown performing, but is inexplicably not heard from until the film's surprising ending. That would be like Idol not allowing its viewers to get to know a contestant like Clay Aiken. Okay, bad example.

Rich with pageantry and drama, the film's real star may be impresario Landry who turns no one away who wants to take the stage. The HIV-positive showman admits, "I've got a purpose in the world and that is to make the outsiders feel not so much on the outside."

Screening at the Palm Springs International Film Festival

Thursday, January 15, 6:30 PM
Palm Springs Regal 9

Saturday, January 17, 12:30 PM
Palm Springs Regal 9

Issues: