[Originally published in issue 8 by Kent Martin (2005)]
Back when Bush Senior was in office, writer and artist Diane DiMassa started comic sketches of Hothead Paisa: Homicidal Lesbian Terriorist as a therapeutic exercise in her journals. Years before Michael Moore wrote Stupid White Men, DiMassa's creation was (literally) taking an axe to "white guys in suits," gleefully incinerating misogynistic offenders. DiMassa was encouraged to make her stories into comic books and, when published, Hothead Paisan touched a nerve with scores of young dykes everywhere. A cult-like following developed around the comic books for a generation of lesbians coming of age in the '90s. More than 10 years later musician Animal Prufrock turned DiMassa's comic into a musical which premiered last summer at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.
Velvetpark spoke with DiMassa right after the premiere. The lean, attractive, street-chic DiMassa shared her thoughts about the musical, her work, and gender politicking in the queer community.
So what'd you think of the musical?
I was really, really tickled. I think that the music was fantastic, the casting was spot on, there's a lot of talent up there and I think it's really going to go somewhere.
In terms of casting, what did you think about the choice of pairing the performer with the character?
I am amazed at the people that Animal came up with. Sharquee [played by Suhir Blackeagle] was unbelievable. When I first met her my jaw droped 'cause I thought it was really her standing there. Raz [played by Rhiannon] absolutely blew me away, looked just like her. I thought Daphne [played by Kate Wolf] was very, very sweet, but honestly I'd like to see a little more androgyny there, I mean, her voice and her personality were really very good but maybe the presence was a little...I'm not sure.
You wanted Daphne to be a little less sweet, more androgynous?
Yeah, because Daphne is an indeterminate gender, and I've hinted that she's going through some sort of transition, but I haven't said what, and a lot of people have written their own interpretation into it, which caused a little bit of, hmmm, what do I say [laughter] dialogue?
It can be interpreted that she's female?
We call her she, but I mean, that doesn't mean anything anymore.
Right, because I think it's been interpreted in the transgender community as FTM.
Absolutely and I can see why. I left many holes open. You know at