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TINA BENÉZ

Writer & Performer

I only wear Mr. David… or I wear nothing at all.

David’s outfits become different outfits throughout the years because you don’t have to wear them a particular way. When I did my reading on stage a couple months ago, he made me this beautiful dress with black cherries on it, very Marilyn in The Misfits with long sleeves. It was dark when I put it on at the club, and I couldn’t find the sleeves, so I just yanked it up over my breast, took the sleeves, and tied them at little knots at my hips. All night, people walked up to me and said, ‘My God, who made that gorgeous Hawaiian dress with the red cherries on it?’

David’s like, ‘See?’

This other time, David had recycled old dead monkey fur, a big fur collar, black cape, and black leggings with a little wrap-around skirt and more monkey fur on the see-through sleeves. This is ‘92. I came out on stage, and it goes, ‘Love, love, I could feel your heartbeat.’ David had pinned on the sleeves last minute—and that’s part of the magic. Maybe, if it was completely finished, I couldn’t turn them into several different things, because when I went, ‘Love, love’ on the stage, one of my sleeves expanded from my arm about 12 feet. It had a monkey fur ball on the end that went into the audience and hit a man in the head like this—boom!—and then bounced back to me like a yo-yo. David went, ‘Oh my God!’ I did the rest of the number like they were pom-poms.

I got a knock at the door, and it was the man. He goes, ‘Excuse me.’ I said, ‘I’m so sorry. You were the man I hit with my monkey fur pom-pom, weren’t you?’ He goes, ‘Yes, and I’d like to know if you’d model for me. I need a drag model for a illustration for New York Magazine,’ and David got me ready for that.

Anyways, the thing flew off and hit him in the head and David’s outfit got me a gig. David’s like, ‘See. If the pom-pom wouldn’t have hit him, you wouldn’t be on the cover. Tina, you’re in every newsstand!’ I bought every copy and sent it to my mother.

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