Friday, September 19, 2008

This ain't your mama's Tupperware party, honey; it's Dixie's all the way | www.azstarnet.com ®

This ain't your mama's Tupperware party, honey; it's Dixie's all the way www.azstarnet.com ®

Accent
This ain't your mama's Tupperware party, honey; it's Dixie's all the way
By Kathleen Allen
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona Published: 09.19.2008

The world has gone all topsy-turvy.
Once upon a time, a play was a play, and a Tupperware party was a Tupperware party.
Not so at Invisible Theatre, which opened its season Wednesday with "Dixie's Tupperware Party."
At least there's truth in advertising there — you may be expecting a play, but this is most definitely a Tupperware party.

Only you pay to get in. No food is served. No alcohol, either. And you are sitting in a dry-cleaning shop turned theater, not a friend's living room.
OK, there are a few other differences. Not many Tupperware salespeople refer to the product as "crap." Or have an X-rated sense of humor. And most parties aren't hosted by someone as entertaining and outrageous as Dixie Longate.

But make no mistake. This is a Tupperware party. The message is buy, buy, buy.
Dixie, actually creator Kris Andersson in drag, has set up shop on the stage, with Tupperware in all sizes and colors on display. The backdrop is pink with big polka dots. At least they look like big polka dots. In any case, it's definitely pink and low-tech. At one point it seemed as though we were watching a cable access television show. Which, oddly, is part of the evening's charm.
As you enter the theater, you're given a name tag, a Tupperware catalog, order sheet and pen.
Dixie, in flaming red hair, lipstick to match, and a short gingham dress that exposes long, luscious legs, jumps right into hawking the goods.

She demonstrates each piece, plays with it, opens and closes the containers, drinks out of a no-spill Tupperware cup (Jack Daniels and Coke, or so it appears). And always, always, repeats the items' numbers, suggesting that we circle them in the catalog. "That doesn't mean you have to buy 'em," she explains. It just means that if you want to buy 'em, you've got the item already circled.
Then, after the show, you can just trot on out to the lobby, where Dixie has set up shop so she can take orders, and you can easily begin to load up on all the Tupperware you could possibly want. Or, even, the Tupperware you don't want.

Dixie speaks with an impressive Southern drawl, and her words spill out so quickly they are hard to catch. But you somehow sense that what she's saying is funny. And bawdy. And witty. And irreverent. And her timing is pristine. So you laugh. And if you are like a number of people at the opening night audience, you buy Dixie's "crap."
There's lots of audience participation at Dixie's parties, so don't sit up front if you want to avoid her attention. But if you like struttin' your stuff, Dixie will sense that, no doubt, and pull you up on stage with her.

You'll be the object of her jokes (as she often is herself), but there's never a cruel edge.
Dixie's got a big heart, and she implores everyone to believe that each of us counts. One never doubts her sincerity.

Or why she's there: for a good time, sure. But most of all, to sell you Tupperware.
● Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

'Tupperware Party' resealable fun on stage

'Tupperware Party' resealable fun on stage

'Tupperware Party' resealable fun on stage
CHUCK GRAHAM
Tucson Citizen

Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do. Like sell Tupperware, which is Dixie Longate's main passion even when she is onstage presenting "Dixie's Tupperware Party," a satirical comedy written by Kris Andersson. This talented lady can't decide if she is a performer who sells a little Tupperware on the side, or if she is a star Tupperware sales rep who does a little performing on the side.
Not that it matters. Invisible Theatre has booked three weeks of Longate's entertaining sales pitches on stage and seductive Tupperware displays in the theater lobby. There is simply no doubt Dixie and Tupperware go together like ham and eggs, steak and potatoes, tofu and veggies. You know. . .
"When I started out, I didn't know anything about Tupperware. But I always loved parties. I know how to bring the fun," Longate enthuses. "One thing just led to another.
"When I got out of prison, it was my parole officer who gave me this Tupperware candy dish that looked just like glass. Then she suggested I give the parties a try.
"That's when I learned Tupperware has become a whole different thing now. It's not like what your grandmother bought."
Longate goes on about the virtues of 21st century Tupperware's new designs. There are lines of pots, pans and kitchen utensils. There's a specially designed corkscrew for opening wine bottles. The company, it seems, has looked beyond its initial determination back in the 1950s to making everything out of plastic.
"Well, there's certainly nothing wrong with pouring a little wine in a plastic tumbler," Longate says, wanting to make it clear. "You never have cracked or chipped glasses, either. That's worth something.
"And wine in a sippy cup won't spill on the furniture. Believe me, I've tried."
Longate adds that most of her furniture is covered in clear plastic covers, but no matter. She is a woman on a mission.
"Tupperware wants to break out of the old mold," she adds with a straight face.
Back in 2004, Longate's dual career leaped into the public eye when she brought her Tupperware party to New York City as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. That led to an off-Broadway run of the forthrightly titled "Dixie's Tupperware Party" and the rest is history.
Not to mention several more years of hefty sales in those ever-expanding kitchen products. Longate was making so much money selling the stuff, she had to keep it in the act. So she comes onstage dressed like a 1950s housewife, telling both colorful and heartfelt stories, bringing the fun in resealable Tupperware containers - which she releases one bowl at a time.
Invisible Theatre is happy to be a part of the action. Life isn't always a cabaret. Sometimes all the world is a stage and we are but customers. Clearly, Dixie Longate is a big believer in the art of commerce.
(Editor's note: Dixie Longate is the creation of actor Kris Andersson, who likes to stay in character because that way he sells more Tupperware.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

'Dixie' promises to flip your lid | www.azstarnet.com ®

'Dixie' promises to flip your lid www.azstarnet.com ®

Accent
'Dixie' promises to flip your lid
Stories by Kathleen Allen
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona Published: 09.12.2008



"Hello?"
I recognize the airy voice with the Southern accent right away. It's Dixie. I had spoken to her not an hour before about "Dixie's Tupperware Party," which she stars in and is bringing to the Invisible Theatre. The production here launches the show's national tour.
"May I speak to Kris Andersson?" I ask. Andersson is the creator of the show.
He's also Dixie, a Tupperware salesperson disguised as a sassy, irreverent, ribald broad in a gingham dress, red wig, garish lipstick, and a deliciously over-the-top personality.
"Oh, this must be Kathy," Dixie says in her sweet-yet-kinda-deep voice.
"Kris is helping me pack for the tour. I'll get him."
She steps away from the phone and sings out, "Kris, it's for you."
A deep, muffled voice, sans any discernable accent, responds.
"I'll be right there."
This is just a bit surreal. I wondered, momentarily, if I was stuck in a "Boston Legal" episode.
Andersson is Dixie. I know it. She knows I know it. He knows I know it.
But when we asked for an interview, we were told we could talk to Andersson. Or Dixie. Or both. But not at the same time. The illusion that one was not the other must be maintained.
That in spite of the fact that Andersson has owned up to the double persona many times in print.
Ah well. Maybe it's the prospect of a national tour that has compelled him to draw a line 'tween Dixie and Kris.
Andersson hit upon the idea of Dixie about seven years ago, when he went to a friend's Tupperware party.
"It sounded hilarious — but my friend was actually supporting her entire family that way," he said in a 2007 interview.
"And I thought, 'What have I got to lose? At least I'll get free Tupperware.' "
He tried several personalities, settled on Dixie, started giving in-demand Tupperware parties and became one of the company's top sellers.
Finally, a director friend caught his act and persuaded him to make it a show.
That's what he told the New York Post.
Here's what he told us:
"I have written for a couple of other people," he said in the phone interview. "When I see people who make me laugh, I talk to them. I saw Dixie at a Tupperware party and I went up to her and said I wanted to work with her. I interviewed her and asked her tons of questions. Her life was so weird and eccentric. I started watching the way women react to her, and the way the women reacted to each other when she was there. They seemed to change as the party went on. … Dixie emboldens people."
Andersson's voice is tender when he talks about Dixie. She is another person to him. He likes her. A lot.
"I've baby-sat her kids," Andersson said, continuing the charade beyond the point that seems, well, reasonable.
"They are really great kids for having a mom as crazy as she is."
And it seems clear that Dixie is who Andersson isn't.
"I don't think I'm nearly as bold as she," he said.
"She's a spitfire and I'm a little clumsy. … I always marvel at the way she lets the big things roll off her back. I sort of wish I were that way."


Is your Tupperware supply low?
Stock up at "Dixie's Tupperware Party," opening at Invisible Theatre next week.
It's a play, sure. But it's also a Tupperware party.
You'll have a name tag, you'll laugh, and in the end, you can cough up some dough for the burping plastic storage containers.
Selling was the original intent of "Dixie's Tupperware Party," and Dixie has sold so much that she's one of Tupperware's top salespeople.
Which raises the question: How does Tupperware feel about its products being sold by a man in drag who uses the items as falsies, for Jello shots, and who often refers to what she sells as "crap"?
"I thought it would be safer to contact the Tupperware people," said Kris Andersson, the creator of "Dixie's Tupperware Party."
"If we were going to do something with a big corporation, I didn't want to do something that would get either of us in trouble."
On the contrary. The Tupperware bigwigs made the trip to New York to see the play when it played off-Broadway.
They all loved it, Andersson said.
"I think they thought it wouldn't be such a big thing. When it started to get press and a lot of attention, and Dixie started to get a lot of press, we'd check in with them. It blew us away when it went to off-Broadway. And Tupperware gave us about $30,000 worth of free bowls for the show."
We snagged an interview with Dixie Longate, top Tupperware salesperson and the star of "Dixie's Tupperware Party," which the Invisible Theatre opens next week. She spoke to us by phone from her "single-wide trailer" in Los Angeles.
Why Tupperware instead of say, Avon, or lingerie?
"I got out of prison, and my parole officer got me started. She had a candy dish, and I'd eat the candy out of this purty plastic dish. She told me it was Tupperware. I needed a job in order to get my kids back, and she said, 'Why don't you try to sell Tupperware?' She was able to get rid of some of the restraining orders against me so I could do that. I went to my first party, and talked about the plastic crap. I made money, and I just kept doing it. Aug. 31, 2001, was my very first party.
"I go into people's homes — to me, that's part of the fun. And I get to test new products. I make a lot of money and I have a good time."
Have you a favorite Tupperware piece?
"Oh my Lord, the Jello shots. It's really for cup cakes, but it's perfect for Jello shots. And then there's the can opener — it never gets dirty. And the wine bottle; you can give that to your kids."
What is your big passion, Tupperware or theater?
"I love Tupperware so much; it totally changed my life. Theater gives me the opportunity to talk about Tupperware. It's so excitin' and wonderful, and the Tupperware corporation has been so great to me. This job has given me so much free crap. Tupperware has provided my car, and I've had three trips from Tupperware, so my passion keeps growing."
What's your favorite use for Tupperware?
"I've been doing this for seven years, and for the first few I thought it was just for the bedroom; I didn't know it was for the kitchen."
How many pieces of Tupperware have you sold?
"That would take me months to figure out. I've earned $219,000 this year. I'm real close to hitting the million-dollar mark. I'll have a kiosk set up at the theater so people can buy it. I don't want to talk about this amazing stuff and then deprive people of havin' it."
You have three children. Do you think they'll follow you into the Tupperware business?
"I don't push it on them but I hope they do. If not, I just hope they stay out of prison."
What's the best part of selling Tupperware?
"I don't want the parties to be dull. The main word in Tupperware party is party."
Preview
"Dixie's Tupperware Party"
• By: Kris Andersson
• Director: Patrick Richwood.
• When: Preview is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Opening is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Regular performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 3 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 5.
• Where: Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave.
• Tickets: Preview is $18; regular performances are $25-$27. Tickets purchased one-half hour before the show are half-price. Subject to availability.
• Reservations: 882-9721.
• Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

● Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.

Tupperware for your pleasure - WildLife

Arts Preview - WildLife



Tupperware for your pleasure
By: Theresa Keeney
Issue date: 9/10/08 Section: WildLife

Dixie Longate isn't your average Tupperware lady. From the bedroom to the kitchen, she'll teach you how to use Tupperware in ways you've never dreamed of.

Dixie is the Tupperware lady from Mobile, Ala., who needed a job after getting out of prison in order to regain custody of her three children. Her parole officer suggested she start selling Tupperware.

At "Dixie's Tupperware Party," audience members can actually purchase the Tupperware Dixie sells. And she sells a lot. She was recently named the No. 1 Tupperware seller in this country.

"It is an enhanced Tupperware party, filled with heart, and lots of products and lots of hairspray," said Susan Claassen, managing artistic director of Invisible Theatre.

Oh, and if you think that you need to be able to bake something to use her products, you might be in for a little surprise.

Dixie's selling point on the easy-snap cake taker is the fact that it doubles as a Jello shot caddy. She also absolutely loves her ribbed tumblers with a dripless straw seal: dripless to avoid alcohol spillage, and ribbed for, well, take a guess.

The show, filled with off-color humor and audience participation, opens at the Invisible Theatre on Sept. 16.

"Getting to know Dixie Longate is a privilege and a pleasure," Claassen said. "And like we like to say, in this election year, isn't it refreshing that there's a party that everybody can support?"

"Dixie's Tupperware Party" runs at the Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave., through Oct. 5.