She is the lady who came to supper.
With arms full of Tupper.
I was invited to Dixie’s Tupperware Party at Pittsburgh’s CLO cabaret by Dixie Longate, who kindly left Tupperware catalogs and order forms on my chair. How thoughtful—at 20% commission for each order she got from me and the rest of the invitees who she shipped in from senior housing and rehab centers to fill the house.
My mother used to use Tupperware. I think. I remember a pale green lettuce keeper with a clear snap-on lid. I think.
Even if I am right, Tupperware has nine zillion new shapes, sizes and colors . . . and prices must be so high that Dixie gets her hefty cut.
It was an interesting evening that began minutes before lights were dimmed. She freely roamed through the crowd, offering one and all one individually-wrapped, stale spearmint Lifesaver. When things got too tight and Dixie had too squeeze her skinny self past tables with women on the hefty side, she utters ribald remarks, fringed with her redneck white-trash Southern accent.
Dixie admits that she’s been selling the “fantastic plastic crap” for 13 years, and her party ends up being more than a Tupperware telethon. Yes, the darling gal, fresh from escaping an Alabama trailer park, showcases several new products, and offers tips and tricks about why we simply must buy them. Two women were lucky that they got to sit on a sofa right next to Dixie, who preferred to call the chicks “lesbians,” a term of endearment these femmes relished. The “lesbos” even won a Tupperware gadget after winning a contest between them and a husband and wife, who just happened to be sitting on the other side of Dixie.
Dixie was getting bored and asked us if we had any questions. I wanted to know her commission rate (that’s how I got the 20%) and then asked her if anyone, such as Richard Gere, had to be rushed to the hospital for getting a piece of Tupperware stuck in a bodily orifice. She said no, but I think she was too ashamed of answering a question she know a bit too intimately herself.
Closer to the end of the party, Dixie tells tales about ex-hubby Hector, who beat her. Hector was her third marriage, and one of her kids is named Absorbine Jr. This is the time when the party becomes the heart of Dixie and she admits life, for her and all of us, is nothing if not resilient.
I wanted to interview Dixie, but her taskmaster in Pittsburgh never answered my email.
Perhaps she thought I would reveal that Dixie is actually a man named Kris Andersson’, a playwright who wrote Dixie’s Tupperware Party, a show that successfully played in Chicago, New York (and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award) and in Los Angeles.
Interested side notes: Dixie/Kris admits that the Orlando-based Tupperware Brands Corporation doesn’t promote his/her show because “they want to treat all the sales force equally.” When he/she approached the head of Tupperware’s legal department for permission, “she said, ‘Yeah, go ahead and give it a try. They’ve been so supportive. They said, ‘As long as you’re talking so positively about the brand and making people smile, we wouldn’t want to take that joy away.'”
The company did give him/her its blessing—why not? Andersson began ringing up big sales since 2001, when he began appearing in drag in Sothern California living rooms to sell the company’s products.
Dixie/Kris keeps the party, like the products, crispy and fresh.
Dixie’s Tupperware Party ends on October 12. RSVP to the party at pittsburghclo.org/cabaret or call 412.281.3973