"Doin' Dorian Corey"
an interview by Aaron Enigma

reprinted from CUT Magazine, Vol. 1 No. 5 November/December 1992

 
Hello, is Dorian there?
 
This is.
 
Hi. This is Aaron, calling from Chicago.
 
Oh, Hi!
 
So what are you doing with yourself these days?
 
Still trying to keep soul and body together, and doing a little part-time work down at Sally's ...
 
I've heard of Sally's. That's that show lounge there in New York...
 
Right.
 
Well, What do you have planned for the future?
 
Oh, gee... nothing really spectacu-lashing, that I know of. Things with me usually just pop up at the drop of a hat- one day I'm doing nothing, the next I'm booked to go to Las Vegas...
 
So, you do work out of New York?
 
Oh yeah. I'll work anywhere.
 
So, you've done Las Vegas?
 
Yeah, and Boston, Philly, Washington... oh yes and Cleveland... so many times... all over Ohio... I started touring with a show.
 
You haven't been to Chicago?
 
We never got to Chicago.
 
Ooh, I sure hate it! I mean, you did Ohio!
 
I've done Detroit... I've never done Chicago.
 
In Cleveland, what was that crowd like? 'Cause that's still pretty much the midwest..
 
That was quite some years ago... about 25... but it was midwestern then, too... but not really as bad as you think- at that time I was working with a black review, and therefore I was working black clubs. So when you're working in the black neighborhoods, towns are always hotter!
 
Ki-ki
 
It doesn't matter how seedy, run-down, country or western a town is... get to the black neighborhoods, and the soul music is poppin'. Its just that way...
 
I saw you on Donahue, When they were promoting Paris is Burning, and you had a lot to say about living in Harlem- how if they couldn't get ready for you, that was just too bad...
 
That's one thing this lifestyle will do to you- you get a hard shell, or you get beat up, put out or murdered, y'know...
 
What's going on with the Paris Is Burning scandal? I know a few people were trying to sue Jenny Livingston...
 
Well, I believe all these lawsuits have evaporated, faded away or just been given up, 'cause I don't know of anyone that's still trying.
 
What do you feel about the movie? Do you feel it was exploitive?
 
No, not really. Everything's exploitive, one way or another. The movie was an enlightenment. It really made the balls more famous... it made all those people much more well-known. It made them feel more a part of there community. Someone else just had the clever idea of doing it.
 
I was noticing the cat in the movie... that was yours?
 
Yes.
 
How many do you have?
 
None.
 
(Ki-Ki) What happened?
 
It was the strangest thing- when I got ready to move, no kitty. I couldn't find him.
 
Oh, my goodness!
 
I went back three days later, and still, no trace of him... he went back to the outside world, where I found him when he was a kitten.
 
Oh, he got grown...
 
Uh huh. This life of chaste living was not going to do...
 
What is the House of Corey doing right now?
 
Barely hanging together- I have the most absentee house in the world. I've got one member in- well, pretty good standing- in Jersey, who's giving an affair, I think in January, and then... most of the girls in my house are "theatrical", so they're out working the clubs.
 
So besides the balls, you have a lot of performances?
 
A few nights a week at the club . That's all I care to do right now- sticking close to home, or running to mad parties... like Madonna's...
 
You went to that S.E.X. kick-off party?
 
Yes. I was the only drag queen in there- other than a couple that were dancing for entertainment...
 
So give me some dirt!
 
Oh, it was a fabulous party- unlike the papers said- it was quite lovely- seeing all those celebrities there- Spike Lee and Naomi Campbell were there together... Ashford and Simpson, Grace Jones...
 
Ooh, no!
 
I asked Grace to come back to the club with me after the party was over, but she said she was getting back to her bed- her feet were killing her- she had been dancing crazy all night- the life of the party, and all of a sudden, when I asked her to come somewhere,"I'm tired". I said, "O.K., Grace!" But it was a fab party, very nice. Madonna made a showing around the place for about ten minutes, and then disappeared. So, I can't tell you what she did the rest of the evening... I've got a feeling there was a VIP room inside the VIP room...
 
Yeah, they were cracking me up the other day on the news- Madonna, Madonna, Madonna... These people are like, "Oh, this book is disgusting!" But look at you! You're on T.V., standing in the street, looking at the book, making comments!
 
And would you believe they interviewed me for that book? That's when I first met Madonna- but evidently I wasn't quite what she was looking for.
 
So, They did an interview and photos, too?
 
Yeah. It was an office full of people- you'd take a photograph, then you'd meet her. She'd ask you questions, then they say they'd get in touch with you- one of those sort of things. I think in my case- she wanted a drag queen- she'd seen the movie and talked to me about Jenny [Livingston] and everything, but I think when she saw me in person, she suddenly realized how much taller I appear in person than on the screen.
 
Oh!
 
On screen I look lusciously average...
 
You sorta looked on the tall side when you were standing next to Phil [Donahue]...
 
Without the first high-heel, I'm six-one... with heels- six-four, six-five. So you see how much I overpower her...
 
Oh, she wasn't going for that!
 
I don't think she could find a photograph compatible. I just hooped, though, but I almost made that scandalous book!
 
(Ki-ki) That would've been too much!
 

I also did a shoot for Steven Meisel for the November issue of Italian Vogue...

 
I'll have to look for that!
 
He's the one that did the photos for that [Madonna's] book. And all the while I was being shot, I kept telling him, "See, you shoulda had me in that book!"
 
What about this election- who are you gonna vote for?
 
Clinton, 'cause I feel that we need a change. They put too much faith in the power of the President. Think about history and realize it's Congress that can pass bills, with or without- he can't pass nothing without them, so it's Congress you better keep an eye on!
 
What do you think about Perot, though?
 
Oh, I just think the man had too much money and nothing to do. He's gonna save the country... he spent all [this money] on T.V. commercials, and he knows he can't win...
 
But he's stirring it up, though!
 
Suddenly, I get the feeling that with him, we'd be back to woodsheds, leather straps, and go to bed without dinner...
 
Oh-Oh!
 
...Turn the T.V. off at nine o'clock- you know.
 
Yeah. A lot of people get this weird feeling about him.
 
We don't need any Napoleans... You know my sister Pepper LaBeija?
 
Yes...
 
Well, Pepper and a fabulous singer from the days of the Jewel Box, named Carol Durrell, are putting together a show in January for the Apollo Theatre...
 
I heard about that at Paris' ball this year. Pepper was a judge, and she made an announcement about it. She was saying how they wanted to show that there's a lot of talent in the gay community.
 
That's gonna be nice... and don't be suprised if you- y'know- see me there. It's gonna be fab.
 
Are they planning to televise it?
 
I don't think so. You know what they do? They're clever... they did another one like this- they video tape it and they sell the video! I think they're gonna tour with this show- a five-city tour or something...
 
Is Chicago in they're line-up?
 
I would think so... If it isn't, it should be!
 
Copyright 1992 Aaron P. Brown. All rights reserved.
 
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