Fistful of Crinolines

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Location: Seattle, WA, USA

Started: 1983

Admitted to IAGSDC:

Status: Folded, ????

History: The members of Fistful of Crinolines began as students in Seattle's first gay square dance club, Puddletown Squares, and quickly tired of the caller's weekly complaints about the difficulty of calling to same-sex couples. After several less-than-successful attempts to solve the problem, a small group decided to take matters into their own hands. The solution seemed obvious: why not have a key square dressed in regular male and female square dance attire, thereby alleviating any visual confusion over who was dancing which role?
The "authentically dressed" key square's first performance was an instant hit. So enthusiastic was the reaction to their first appearance at a Puddletown Squares' class on March 9, 1983 that they were regularly invited to perform by a wide variety of gay organizations in Seattle and Vancouver, BC during the next year. After that first performance of "Honky Tonk Queen", Fistful of Crinolines grew to more than 20 dancers and continued to perform to wildly enthusiastic audiences. In their zeal, they stripped Seattle's thrift stores of used square dance clothing (well, the larger sizes anyway), became a discerning and regular customers at the local square dance supply stores, and gave new meaning to the word "colorful".
Fistful of Crinolines second year began with the St. Patrick's Day extravaganza "Erin go bragh-less" followed by a triumphant performance at the First International Gay Square Dance Convention held in Seattle in April 1984 (All Join Hands (Convention)). That historic convention performance featured two of the finest callers in the US, Paul Marcum and Elmer Sheffield, calling their infamous "Honky Tonk Queen" as their finale to the wild acclaim of the crowd and overwhelming amazement of the Crinolines!

This singing call spawned the (in)famous Honky Tonk Queen pageant at future conventions.


Fund raisers for several NW Aids Walks, Blood Sisters, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and other LGBT organizations in Seattle.  Several Puddletown Pub Crawls to promote Puddletown’s fall MS Classes as well as Puddletown fly-ins, most notably the "OPEC Fly-in.  Tacky Tourist Boat Cruises, Bump in the Night Halloween parties, various corporate (Alaska Airlines) and private parties.  An aerobic disco square at Studio 54 in L.A.  Two "Nutcracker ake" shows at Timberline and at Neighbors (both in Seattle and Vancouver, BC.)  

Members:

Performance name Name
Crinolines
*Patsy D'Klein Geoff Hamada
*Ms. Virginia Slim Gary Way
*Kay Mart Doug McPherson
*Florence Bovine Chuck Mitchell
*Georgia Peach George Gosselin
*Mary Hardman Bill DePew
*Miss Kitty Bordello Shelly Shelkofsky
Wella Balsam Bill Houghton
Golda Mae Showers Bill Schoenleber
Ana Lee Douall PJ Devino
Tammi Wynott John Mace
Patsy D'Klein Geoff Hamada
Muddy Bottoms Bob Thoms
Cowboys
*Jose Queerveaux Joe Clouse
*Chester Drawers Bob Jones
*Rod Hopper Agnes Smith
*Claude Hopper Dan Hinkley
*The Funpants Kid Harlan Kerr
*Seymour Butts Gary Berdeen
*Chunk Waggin' Don Lee
Pasture Puddin' Corey Taylor
Hop-on-Me Casually Bob Moritz
Malcolm Magnesis Lyle Boss
Hank Ever-ready Tim Murphy
Dickless van Dyke Marie Campbell
Miss Kitty Bordello Shelly Shelkofsky

* Founding members

Performances and cast

NutCracker Lake 1987 and 88 at Timberline, Seattle and Neighbors, Seattle and Vancouver
Geoff Hamada Emcee and Nutra-Sweet Fairy (Patsy D'Kline)
James Meader Granny Goose (Aura Lee Doall)
Shelly Shelkovski Malificent (Kitty Bordello)
Wella Balsam Clara and Mary
Steve Schoenleber Lead Swan (Golda Mae Showers)
Ross Stockton Swan and accordian (Meadow Muffin)
Corey Taylor Toy Soldier (Pasture Puddin)
Tony Lewis Swan (Pam Demonium)
Bob Thoma Swan (Muddy Waters)
Tim Murphy Soldier (Hank Ever-ready)
Lyle Boss Soldier and Joseph (Malcolm Magnesia)
Frank Jones Soldier (Sherrif Goodhead)
Bob Moritz Soldier (Hop on Me Casually)
John Vickers Prince (Sir Vix) aka Ben D’Hur
Marie Campbell Soldier (Dickless van Dyke)

1988 OPEC Fly-in
For Puddletown Dancers at Petroleum Museum on Pike street
Show: 1. Opening Number, 2. Mama Ghanoush solo, 3. The Girl with Starry Eyes square dance singing call, 4. Finale and Introductions

Cast:
Geoff Hamada as Shicksa Queen of the Urban Jungle;
Steve Schoenleber as Sue-Ez aka Salmonella Rushdie;
Bob Thoma as Miss Faux Facade;
Luis Lopez as Bactine ona BooBoo;
Tim Bennett as Her Hair is Odd;
Larry Meadows as Que Sahara Sahara; (Eva Destruction)
Corey Taylor as Omar the Sheath
Chuck Mitchell as Florence of Arabia;
Bob Moritz as Hussein-Husanna- Dana;
Ross Stockton (Lopton) as Fish-Fish;
John Vickers as Ali Ali Akbar Free;
Lyle Boss as Ayatollah yoMama;
Stephen James Meader as Mama Ghanoush.

Geoff Hamada: Choreographer Geoff began music and dance lessons at an early age, studying and performing through high school. After completing an undergraduate degree in music, he spent a year in Yugoslavia performing with the national folklore ensemble of the University of Belgrade. Geoff went on to earn an M.A. in Dance Ethnology from UCLA, where he taught courses in ethnic dance, dance research and notation before moving to Seattle. During the early 1980s, he taught courses in Yugoslav dance at the Northwest Folklore Center, and in 1982 helped found Puddletown Squares, one of the nation's first gay and lesbian square dance clubs. He was also an original member of the legendary gender-bending dance comedy troupe Fistful of Crinoline which he directed from 1983-89.

Photos