Perhaps the greatest gift (pronounced "jift" in Dina's soft palette world) she brings to a Manhattan audience is her Seattle and "middle American" sensibility that delivers a true American experience. So much of what we see and hear on New York comedy stages is influenced by the colorings of Jewish, Irish, Italian, Puerto Rican and other ethnic worlds — storytellers and satirists who have been traumatized by Jewish mothers, Mafia dons, and the Roman Catholic priesthood. It's refreshing to hear the ravings and rantings of a creature who is purely the victim of Nascar, chuck wagon culture, Piggly Wigglies, and tent revival meetings, a "woman" who believes that Las Vegas and network television represent the pinnacle of art and culture and that lightly stewed tomatoes are a feast.
Brilliant impresario Chip Duckett, whose manic demeanor and DJ fame belies an extraordinary eye and ear for great talent, dragged Dina from the obscurity of some flyover state and the mostly sunbaked brains of Provincetown to Manhattan's famous showplace for edgy talent — The Cutting Room. With any luck, Dina's performance at this club, owned by "Sex in the City's" Chris Noth, will gain her enough attention from "the influentials" that she'll be able to spread her legs for even wider audiences and earn the broader fame and fortune she deserves as one of this nation's greatest living satirists.
And, not to diminish the art of drag, but to call Dina Martina a drag queen would be like calling Mel Brooks a children's birthday party clown.
Grady West's relationship with Dina Martina goes back 18 years and it's about time his creation moved from the fringe of the entertainment world into the mainstream. Even though the folks she pokes fun at won't get it, the rest of us deserve the laughs and the liberation because a performance like Dina's is simply and absolutely liberating.
It's worth noting, by the way, that Dina, despite her frantic schedule as a performer and single mother of two young girls, Phoebe and Phoebe's ingrown Siamese twin, Goiter, finds time to support a number of worthy causes including Katie Couric's passion for "Rump Cancer." Dina even wears a brown pipe cleaner in Katie's honor.
Dina and her material are more than big enough for an Off-Broadway run and the fact that John Waters hasn't featured her yet in one of his projects is just short of a crime.
Her next gig will be back home in Seattle starting in November.