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January 27, 2007

'I Wanna Be a Republican'

San Francisco Chronicle (CA):

Musical comedy. Directed by Ken Bielenberg. With Ben Schatz, Irwin Keller, Chris Dilley, Jeff Manabat. (Not rated. 87 minutes. At the Roxie.)

One wonders what the Log Cabin Republicans would think of "I Wanna Be a Republican," a concert film by the Kinsey Sicks, a four-man in-drag a cappella comedy musical troupe, which skewers the GOP in a series of breezily entertaining songs and skits. Chances are these cross-dressers won't cross over to a mainstream movie audience, but it's doubtful they want to. They do an excellent job of connecting with their base.

The film, ably directed by Ken Bielenberg and produced by Alonzo Ruvalcaba, two Hollywood special-effects guys who started Eyethink Pictures in Burlingame to help meet the demand of the gay/lesbian market, was shot over two nights at the Broadway Studios in North Beach. That brings the Kinsey Sicks back to their roots -- they began on a Castro street corner a dozen years ago. (The movie premiered at the Castro during the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival in June.)

Colorfully dressed and supremely talented, the Kinsey Sicks are Rachel (Ben Schatz, who authored then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton's HIV policy), Winnie (Irwin Keller, a former lawyer who authored Chicago's gay rights ordinance), Trampolina (Chris Dilley) and Trixie (Jeff Manabat). In their show, which they claim is a fundraiser for the Republican Party, they sing such songs -- many original, others are "Weird Al" Yankovicked from other tunes -- "We Are Over-Taxed" (sung to the tune of "We Shall Overcome") and the title anthem, which notes that "global warming is good for my tan."

The stage version of "I Wanna Be a Republican" played in Las Vegas and off-Broadway -- and even toured some red states. The film version, like many concert films, is probably not as captivating as the live event, but the end note of "hope," "We Arm the World," ("We Are the World," get it?) couldn't be any funnier.

Posted by acapnews at January 27, 2007 12:13 AM