Partying with the Tupperware Queen

I'm not sure Tupperware executives are thrilled to know that someone is out there demonstrating the many unlikely bedroom uses for their products, nor that the tumblers with no-spill straw seal are perfect for drinking and driving… And those cute Forget-Me-Not containers ($10 (U.S.) for a set of two), sold as storage devices for half an onion or half a tomato? They make perfect falsies.

The Globe and Mail
November 27, 2004

Partying with the Tupperware Queen
Simon Houpt

If only Willy Loman had been an aggressively tipsy drag queen with a coarse tongue and a suitcase full of Tupperware, things might have turned out so much better.

He thought he had problems? He should have met Dixie Longate, who popped into New York this weekend from Mobile, Ala. Oh, Dixie'll tell you her troubles, all right, if you let her (and even if you don't). She'll tell you about her three children who are so out of control that she has to chain the youngest two to the front of her mobile home and supply the third with a case of condoms to help ward off too many STDs; she'll offer multiple demonstrated examples of her pathological relationship with alcohol; and she'll cry over her three ex-husbands, all of whom died under mysterious and violent circumstances, including number two, who perished after a key party gone awry.

But just like Arthur Miller's salesman, who made his way through life on a smile and a shoeshine, Dixie will insist on looking on the bright side of things: She'll beam as she tells you that she's never been indicted for any of her ex-husbands' untimely passings.

She'll do all this while fluttering from one space-age modular food storage device to another, lustily describing the brilliant innovations that make Tupperware the unbeatable brand that it is. On Wednesday, Dixie took to the stage of the East Village cabaret Fez for a pre-Thanksgiving late night performance of her show Dixie's Holiday Tupperware Party, which wraps up a three-show stint tonight.

If you're a little confused, I should clarify: Dixie Longate is a drag queen from the mind of the Los Angeles actor Kris Andersson. In green gingham dress, flaming red bouffant 'do, frosted blue eye shadow, Tupperware apron and white high heels, she is a hirsute picture of the perfect fifties desperate housewife.

She is also apparently one of the top-selling Tupperware ladies for the United States and Canada. Really.

Three years ago, Andersson accepted a friend's dare and started doing Tupperware parties around L.A. as Dixie, turning the direct selling institution on its square head and quickly shooting to the top of the company's personal sales rankings. Last summer, Andersson ironed out his party patter and presented it as a 75-minute stage show at the New York fringe festival, where he won a performance award.

Dixie's approach is, shall we say, unorthodox: I'm not sure Tupperware executives are thrilled to know that someone is out there demonstrating the many unlikely bedroom uses for their products, nor that the tumblers with no-spill straw seal are perfect for drinking and driving. What would they think of the Round Cake Taker being billed as ideal to transport 32 Jell-O shots to your next party? And those cute Forget-Me-Not containers ($10 (U.S.) for a set of two), sold as storage devices for half an onion or half a tomato? They make perfect falsies.

But with gay men and lesbians trying to settle down, get married and have kids, Tupperware surely realizes there's a massive untapped market of suburban wannabes, which probably goes some way toward quelling company consternation.

Dixie's enthusiasm borders on the pornographic — actually, sometimes it vaults over the border, with her orgasmic squeals of delight for the products — and her tongue is saltier than Lot's wife. True, you can see most of the jokes coming even before she stumbles onto the stage and pours her first vodka. Introducing the Season-Serve container, made for marinating meat or poultry, Dixie yelps cheerily, "How many men here are obsessed with their meat?" Holding up a tangerine four-cup FlatOut collapsible container, she tells the audience that the product is new this year, "fresher than a nun after a vinegar douche!" So, okay, maybe she figures that members of the Catholic League are already having their Tupperware needs met.

But if Dixie revels in offence, her enthusiasm is infectious, especially after a drink or two. And the bizarre sales pitch is evidently effective.

After Wednesday's show, Joe Passarella waited for a few of his friends to finish with their purchases while he boasted of his new Season-Serve container. "My mom has one, and I've wanted one for 20 years," he explained. He praised Dixie's approach, saying he'd never be caught dead at a traditional Tupperware party. "I'd rather stay home and watch CSI."

Meanwhile, Randi Greenberg waited in line to thank Dixie for her first Tupperware experience. "I don't think it'll be like this ever again," nodded Greenberg. "Dixie has ruined me for life." Still, though she's sold on the brand, Greenberg was planning to hold off a few days on her purchases. "We're gonna go drink after this," she explained. "Schlepping Tupperware around the East Village is not my kind of thing."

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