After a swift rise to fame with her Nobel-nominated book Diary of a Drag Queen, DENIM’s Crystal is back. Bringing her pages to life through song, dance and writhing around in a children’s swimming pool. A tour-de-force show of a lifetime, 108-year-old Crystal reveals how to escape shame, escape the debt collector and escape James Franco who has been obsessed with her since 1996, with her new show, Crystal Rasmussen presents The Bible 2 (Plus a Cure for Shame, Violence, Betrayal and Athlete’s Foot) Live! Crystal spoke with The Fountain about her plans for the month.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how excited are you?
In truth I’m nervous. It’ll be the first time Crystal has taken the solo stage in 29 years, since her critically acclaimed BLONDE AMBITION tour. So this is my first fringe alone, even though I’ve done it the past two years with my drag sisters DENIM, and I’m psyching myself up to deal with the hordes of fans who, naturally, will be camping outside Belly Dancer at the Underbelly, as well as my house, for weeks just to secure a glimpse of the queen herself. In fact, I just got a tweet from a fan saying they’re pitching their tent, and they’re ready for a rocky July. August will be worth it.
TF: Your show certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
It’s the birth child of music, singing, comedy and a book tour. I released a book earlier this year with Ebury (Penguin) called Diary of a Drag Queen, and this show is an extension of that. The Anatomy of a Drag Queen, if you will. It’s about showing the journey to becoming a drag queen, not just showing the face of one which is what we often see.
TF: And what drove the project, where do your influences lie?
I love Celine Dion, Madonna, Liz from Atomic Kitten — you know, the greats — and I’m obsessed with the idea of stardom. Not being a star, that’s another thing completely, but the utter belief in yourself. That’s what got me through quite a rocky childhood — growing up in the North West and experiencing a lot of homophobia. And I wanted this show to demonstrate how one can get there, how you can overcome, and how you can be fucking funny while doing it.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?
Relax. Try to swim, or smoke, or sleep or party — whatever is your way of unwinding, do it. Also speak to people who are not at the Fringe to remind you there’s a world outside of the wee bubble. Take care of yourself, kill the show, and don’t worry if audience sizes vary — that’s completely natural, and it makes you a better performer. You can do it baby! Also come see my show, we can get a cocktail after!
TF: And what are your future plans, beyond the Fringe?
I am working on a second book, but I can’t really speak about it (which is so glam, I just love saying it). And I’m working on a few scripted TV projects which either look at the idea of class, or drag, or perhaps the intersection of both. Crystal is in the process of purchasing yet another private island, so that’s really exciting too.
You can see Crystal Rasmussen Presents The Bible 2 (Plus A Cure For Shame, Violence, Betrayal and Athlete’s Foot) LIVE! At Underbelly- Belly Dancer 1st-25th August at 5:50pm. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com