The pandemic threatened to cancel one of the beloved holiday traditions of the San Francisco LGBTQ community, "The Golden Girls Live: The Christmas Episodes." But D'Arcy Drollinger, Heklina, Matthew Martin, Holotta Tymes, and the Oasis crew decided to recreate the Golden Girls set at Oasis for a multi-cam telecast experience instead.
"Picture It: San Francisco, 2020. A pandemic hits and we can’t host our beloved tradition of The Golden Girls Live at the Victoria Theater," Drollinger writes on Facebook. "So we recreated the set at Oasis, built a tech setup for a multi-cam livestream, and it opens tonight! Do you have your tickets yet, pussycat? See you in Miami!"
The tradition of having drag queens reenact holiday episodes from the beloved TV show about four women aging gracefully in a Miami ranch house goes back well into the last decade in San Francisco, with Heklina always tasked with taking on the Bea Arthur role of Dorothy. The schtick has been much imitated — in particular by some queens in LA — but the SF crew was the first to do these loving send-ups of Blanche, Rose, Sofia, and Dorothy, using original scripts and even projections of vintage ads from the late 1980s as interludes.
Golden Girls mega-fans will be quick to point out that in the show's seven years on NBC, the ladies only shot two Christmas episodes. But that hasn't stopped Heklina, D'Arcy and her crew, who have been reviving this show for the holiday season for years, always trying to keep it fresh. As Heckles told QueerForty a couple weeks back, this year they are doing episodes titled “The Triangle” and “Zborn Again,” and doing what they've done before — splice in some Christmas. (She says that parts of the 1986 episode "Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas" have been spliced in this time.)
Each night of the show's run — which opens tonight, Thursday, December 17 and runs through Monday, December 21 — the queens doing their thing will be streamed live from the set they've built at Oasis. People who purchase tickets for each live performance will also get to view a recorded version for an unspecified amount of time after the performance ends. And because they're actually performing this in real time each night for three nights (plus "matinees" on Sunday and Monday), each performance will be a little different.
Tickets are $30 — and this is a terrific way to show your love and support for Oasis, D'Arcy, Heklina, and the whole Oasis community after they had to shut down the only outlet they had for operating the club, which was outdoor dining on the roof for two months this fall.
"I have missed these girls so much!" Heklina says, adding that "just getting together to do these shows live will be great energy," even if they won't have the benefit of a studio audience. (Instead, there will be a laugh track.)
When asked about how everyone has been doing during this pandemic year, Heklina tells QueerForty, "People got tired of me plugging my Venmo all the time. The truth is I’m fine, just hemorrhaging money like everyone else, with no 'real' help from the government. Book me on Cameo!"
Get tickets for "The Golden Girls Live: The Christmas Episodes" here, and watch from the comfort of your couch tonight or this weekend.