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Dina Martina talks Turdinkies, funneling booze and what she's most thankful for

Seattle's demented diva gives us a sneak peek inside her twisted home life and helpful tips on surviving Thanksgiving

By Ben Lerman |
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Dina Martina
Dina Martina

Like an elegant rodeo clown, drag queen Dina Martina has lumbered onto stages across the country, making a name for herself from Seattle (where she won a Genius Award from the bible of the local scene, The Stranger) to Provincetown. John Waters said, “Dina Martina goes way beyond drag into some new kind of twisted art.” It’s a crime that she is not more famous, but her style of meta character comedy probably would not translate to the format of RuPaul’s Drag Race. There is only one solution: Dina Martina needs her own TV show. We caught up with Dina to ask some questions about how to get through the holidays with family, and we got a rare look inside the personal life of this American treasure.

RECOMMENDED: A full guide to Thanksgiving in NYC

Do you have a big family?
Not really, it's just me and my adopted daughter, Phoebe—although my best friend Doreen is at my house so much, you'd think she was part of the family. She's my "Gayle." She's also the heir to the Kotex fortune.

What is Thanksgiving like at the Dina Martina household?
Sumptuous, if at all possible. It's a happy, festive scene with children laughing and playing and old people slipping in the bath tub and falling. Don't ask me who they are, but they're there every year. My house isn't very secure.

What's a fun craft project that the whole family can do together and make the house look more festive?
I think a bris can bring the family together like nothing else, plus you can hang the leftover trimmings and really save on bunting.

Turkey and stuffing can be a little boring. How do you make the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner more exciting?
With two exciting dishes: Turdinkie, which is turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with Twinkies. I also serve an old family recipe of raisins, butter and Crisco, just in a bowl. Faces really light up.

How do you avoid overeating?
I don't really avoid overeating, I deal with it. I wear a blindfold so I don't see it happening.

If guests don't tell you they are vegetarian until they show up for dinner, what should you do?
Not a problem, I always have plenty of carrots on hand. And on the off-chance I'm out of carrots, I just heat up whatever's in the compost can and garnish it with a couple of black olives.

Is it OK to discuss politics at the dinner table?
Sure, and it doesn't matter if we disagree on politics because none of us vote.

What are you most thankful for?
Memory fabric.

What does your family like to do after dinner?
We like to make room for dessert by putting on bigger clothes.

Spending time with family can be stressful. How do you cope?
It's never really been stressful for my family because we view interaction as an absolutely last resort.

What do you do if your family members start fighting at dinner?
I quickly place a bet.

What do you do if one of your guests has had too much to drink?
I try to catch up by doing that funnel thing.

If you put together a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, what would it look like?
It would look like me, with a long string.

How do you navigate Black Friday shopping?
I cartwheel through the crowds wrapped in razor wire.

Have the holidays become too commercial?
Not if you like products.

What's the best way to deal with overbearing, nosey in-laws?
Divorce.

Should children be allowed at the dinner table?
Not at the main dinner table, but rather at the one in the dining annex, which is located in the garage.

What would you recommend to help someone climb out of a crippling holiday depression?
I'd tell them to look on the bright side. My friend Doreen gets depressed a lot, but she's also resourceful. I mean, cut off her arms, and she'll slit her ankles.

If you murder your entire family on Thanksgiving, how can you still get expensive Christmas gifts?
By pooling the cash and other monetary devices in their wallets and purses.

See the show

Dina Martina
Photograph: David Belisle
Music, Cabaret and standards

Dina Martina's Christmas Show

You might mistake her for an elegant rodeo clown, but superstar drag artist Dina Martina is a hilarious genius. She blends the traditional elements of a drag show—singing (sort of), dancing (in a way), jokes and stories (stream of consciousness)—into an intoxicating cocktail of demented glee. Her new Christmas show features "overburdened costumes" and accompanist Chris Jeffries.

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