INTERVIEW | Dina Martina, “There was a time when I enjoyed gentlemen callers, but that time is done and we all die alone”28th September 2014
The incomparable and hysterically funny Dina Martina has described herself as a tragic singer, horrible dancer and surreal raconteur. Trust me she is all of those and more, but ever since she first exposed her bizarre performances to a startled world back in Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art in 1989 she has accumulated legions of devoted fans who have dubbed her “magically warped”, “hilariously unfortunate” and “utter genius”. She is in her own words totally ‘off the charts’.
Absolutely packed with ludicrous song, horrifying stories and overburdened costumes, Dina Martina’s shows are impossible to adequately describe, other than that they’ve become synonymous with jaw-dropping pathos and mind-blowing comedy. On her first trip to London ‘Time Out’ hailed her as ‘divinely funny’ and audiences have demanded she come back to the UK every year since. This unique and unpredictable performer is very much an acquired taste, but it’s one that we at THEGAYUK love to indulge in, so we were thrilled (and a tad apprehensive) when the great lady agreed to take tea with us as the summer drew to a close.
Thank you for taking Tea with me this afternoon Miss Martina, could you describe exactly where we are and what you are wearing for our readers?
Thank you. We’re in my suite at the Hampton Inn La Guardia and because this is a print interview, I am wearing jeans and a camisole. The camisole is from Victoria’s Big & Tall Secret.
How did you spend your summer this year?
I spent my summer performing in Ptown (Provincetown, Massachusetts), which is so full of tradition and heritages. It’s the first place the Pilgrims stopped in the US, but they moved on to Plymouth ’cause nobody goes there so parking’s real easy. Ptown is also the nest egg of American Theatre, so it’s crawling with celebrities. On any given day, you could be eating sandwiches with Joan Collins or disco dancing with Fatty Arbuckle and the Pointer Sisters.
You are back in Provincetown for your 10th season, what keeps bringing you back?
First off, two words: saltwater taffy and award-winning fudge! Second off, it’s such a charming little finger of land, it’ll steal your heart and your soul. A lot of the locals say Ptown’s best-kept secret is the great white sharks, but I think it’s the ticks. Oh, and the biting flies are always a perineum favourite.
You are quite unlike any other entertainer we have ever seen, how would you describe your own performances?
My mother told me if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all – so I don’t. But what I will say is that if you come to my show, you may or may not see the following: white carriages under the stars, live violin dubstep routines, shivering girls in short skirts and high heels, one of those old, beat-up school buses with chickens on it, and an elevator that only goes down.
Many poor scribes (like me) fail to do you justice, what is your favourite review?
I can’t pinpoint a specific review, but there are press quotes that stand out: “As graceful as a Coke machine moving about on a hand truck”, “She looks like Liza Minnelli and Liz Taylor hit with a brick” and “Dina comes from an alternate reality where female superstars resemble walrus prostitutes”.
After the show the other night many of the ladies and young men were talking about your unique fashion sense, do you have any tips that you could pass on?
For myself, I enjoy a snug fit to better showcase my ballpark figure. I find that if it fits like sausage casing, you feel more alive. Vive la tourniquet!
When you go home at night is there anyone else there to keep you company besides Phoebe your daughter?
One night, a few years back, there was a woman who was standing in the corner of my bedroom, but she left through the window when I turned my lamp on. Other than that, I’m just in love with Show Business. Of course, there was a time when I enjoyed gentlemen callers, but that time is done and we all die alone.
Why is it that of all the awards you have won, your movies that are part of your show have never ever been nominated for an Oscar?
I’m guessing it’s just a clerical error, but I can’t say for sure. Thank you for mentioning it, though.
As you write all your own songs (or ‘alter’ others) do you have a new album out?
Yes, I have a new just-released, soon-to-be-finished album titled Dina Martina: Haunted by Maritime Tragedies. I’m so proud of “Maritime Trads” because it’s got a real pan-Asian vibe; more so than my 3 previous albums (Dina Martina: Street of Dreams/Blunt Force Trauma, Dina Martina: Anthem of a Fur Trader’s Wife, and the Christian rock album, Dina Martina Deuterockin’ Me).
You’ve appeared at Soho Theatre in London 3 times now, if your British fans nominated you to be the next Queen, would you stay and accept?
Those are some mighty sensible shoes to fill. I think I’d rather start small, like Court Jester, and work my way up. There’s less dissension in the ranks when you’re promoted from within.
Will you come back across the pond and see us again soon?
Nothing would pleasure me more.
N.B. those Press Quotes are 100% real…..