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Glamazon: A Different Kind of Girl

As docu portraiture goes, "Glamazon" has personality plus: Its subject is Barbara LeMay, a 62-year-old ex-carnival star of ambiguous transgender status.

As docu portraiture goes, “Glamazon” has personality plus: Its subject is Barbara LeMay, a 62-year-old ex-carnival star of ambiguous transgender status.

Returning to her native West Virginia after 30 years, Barbara (with such colorful enunciations as “homorphrodite” and “doclamentry”) is an amazing enough find to lend this otherwise sketchy, padded work some potential midnight aud appeal.

Born Sammy Hoover, Barbara regales the viewer with vague stories of her myriad “admirers” during a glorious “perfayshunnel” career as kootch dancer.

“I useta carry a hunnert dollar bill under both my knockers,” she notes. She more recently lived in Hollywood, where a zesty latter-day near-strip act and some less interesting “dramatic reenactments” (with younger actors) were presumably shot.

Barbara LeMay is relentlessly chatty, upbeat and entertaining. But the movie doesn’t even try to qualify her likely delusions of past grandeur, or impose a chronological shape on her reminiscences. There’s probably a more interesting real hard-knock history behind the cheerful facade.

While encounters with her former “rust belt” pals (exclusively female) are amusing, seemingly inevitable issues of homophobia are simply bypassed. Audience never finds out whether Barbara was a full post-op transsexual, or why she apparently died just after filming ended (noted only in a close-credit dedication). While “Glamazon” pretends to be a thorough portrait, its limited scope ultimately seems lazy and timid.

It’s also heavily padded, with pointless recurrent B&W countryside views and amateurishly acted “flashback” sequences. Among the latter, a narrative of carny-staff vengeance on a prejudiced co-worker is interesting if choppily told; the rest are pure low-grade vanity camp.

Tech qualities are fairly good, with suitably gaudy tones in the color sequences.

Glamazon: A Different Kind of Girl

(Docu -- Color/B&W)

  • Production: Produced by Maria Demopoulos. Directed, written by Rico Martinez. Co-producer , Jodi Bell.
  • Crew: Camera (color, B&W), David Morrison; editor, Jim Makiej; original music, Kristen McCord; production design, Kevin Adams. Reviewed on vidcassette, San Francisco, Feb. 10, 1993. (In the New Festival, N.Y.; Asian American Intl. Film Festival Showcase, S.F.) Running time: 83 min.
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