West Village, Summer 2004
It’s a beautiful afternoon. My friend Andy and I are killing an hour ambling around the shops on Bleecker street, wasting time before a show. Across the street, I spot a drag queen pulling off a spectacular Mary J. Blige impression. Big wig, big glasses, big bling, big Louis Vuitton handbag. I’m so impressed with how much the queen looks like Mary J. Blige, that I nudge Andy.
“Wow! Check out Mary J. Weave!”
I look at Andy’s face but it’s frozen in embarrassment.
“Joe, she heard you.”
I snap my gaze back across the street. The queen is standing there giving us an angry look. I’m mortified. Her thuggish looking friend whispers in her ear and for a moment it seems like she is going to come across the street and give us a vicious read, pier queen-style. Then they turn their backs on us and step into a coffeeshop. I exhale in relief.
“OK, that could have really sucked.”
Andy and I walk around for another ten minutes, talking about what we might have done if that queen had decided to come across and get in my face for talking smack about her. We agree that running away from her would have been a strong possibility. Then, stupidly, we enter the Ralph Lauren store, only to come right up against her again. My stomach sinks for the second time.
It really IS Mary J. Blige.