Won’t you be my neighbor?

BTL Staff
By | 2012-06-07T09:00:00-04:00 June 7th, 2012|Entertainment|

By Bridgette M. RedmanX

There is something endearing about a person who insists that you are “sweeter than poop.”
Maybe not the kind of endearing that makes it onto “Father Knows Best,” but little that Dixie Longate, one of the top-selling Tupperware ladies in the country, does would. She loves to talk about creative food storage, and calling their uses she promotes creative is a little like calling Rush Limbaugh somewhat conservative.
Longate, a character whom actor Kris Andersson created, uses toy sorters as sobriety testers and spill-proof tumblers with lids for taking martinis in the car on the morning drive to school. She shot to the top of Tupperware’s sales lists by throwing her unconventional parties which are part drag show, part stand-up comedy and part female-empowerment, audience-participation theater.
And now, Dixie is coming to Detroit for her second time ever. She’ll be performing up to six shows as a fundraiser for Affirmations at Five15 in downtown Royal Oak. Her first visit to the Motor City was last August when she won a Wilde Award for her Tupperware party performance at Mason Street Warehouse in Saugatuck.
“I had so much fun and everyone was so neighborly,” she says. “There was such an amazing feeling of community. How fun it must be to be a part of that community. It made my heart happy.”
The Wilde Awards made her put Detroit on the list of places she wanted to perform. She’s still looking for a venue to do her full show after doing the fundraiser at Five15.
“These people need creative food storage. I can’t shirk my responsibility and not come,” she says, adding that the pre-award show dinner sealed the deal when she tasted a peanut butter and jelly martini for the first time. “I never had anything like that in my life. It’s like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but it makes you take your pants off and there’s no crust.”
Working on her own, she said she doesn’t often get to participate in a community like the one found among Michigan’s theater folk. She does, though, get to participate in a global community, the one of Tupperware users ready for a different take on their mothers’ oh-so-polite home parties.
Dixie is just returning from a tour of Australia and Great Britain, two of the 10 countries where Tupperware is sold through home parties.
“People know exactly what it is. It is huge in Australia,” Dixie says, talking about the excitement that greeted her with every show. “There are different things I would talk about in the show and different pieces of Tupperware. (People in the audience would say) ‘I love that,’ ‘My momma had that.’ Different people had different connections and relationships to the Tupperware in every city, but everyone knows what it is.”
It was the first time she’d taken her show international, and she said that despite the differences in culture, her reception was the same everywhere.
“For the most part, the sort of comedy I do is fairly universal,” she says. “People are much more similar than you think. It isn’t that much of a stretch going from place to place. That’s what made it fun.”
While her shows could double for a sex toy party, she said she’s had nothing but support from the corporate folks at Tupperware, and many of them have come out to see her show.
“They’ve been real neighborly, saying they’d get whatever I need to get going, and they always put smiles on when people ask about it. They are so supportive.”
It’s that support and the products themselves that has Dixie committed to the brand, saying she can’t imagine leaving them as other products simply wouldn’t be as much fun.
“Half the stuff, I didn’t even know belonged in the kitchen. My reverend came in and said, ‘What’s that under the bed?’ It was so sweet. He showed me: ‘That’s something to put your cereal in.’ I was like, ‘That’s something you put your condoms in for a weekend.’ He showed me how to use a colander. I thought it was the big round thing with a stick on it for doing something unneighborly.”
She also doesn’t think other home party products would have the same international appeal.
“So many people around the world know what (Tupperware) is. If I had to go in to Russia and say, ‘Let’s talk about Mary Kay and how beautiful you can be,’ and I’m working with a lot of Russian ladies? Sometimes they’re not pretty – they’re real good in sports, but they probably don’t understand lip liners.”
Besides, the Tupperware products have served Dixie well both professionally and personally.
“Sometimes when I’m doing a party I end up having sex with people. It’s never intentional. You know what it’s like when you’re so neighborly. You never go seeking it out. You know what it’s like when you are so pretty and people throw themselves on you. It’s like, ‘Time out, senator, there’s enough to go around.’ You know; you’ve been there.”
For all those who have been there, and even those who haven’t, they can experience Dixie’s shows on Father’s Day weekend in Royal Oak. The number of shows will depend on ticket pre-sales, with a total of six possible shows at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday.

Tupperware Party with Dixie Longate
{ITAL A benefit for Affirmations presented by Equality for a Cause, Inc. and Five15, upstairs at Fifth Avenue
215 W. Fifth, Royal Oak. June 15-17
$25 general admission, $100 VIP}
http://www.five15.net/dixie

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.