Oh, the Tupperware memories.
“Everybody has a grandmamma that had it,” Dixie Longate says of the famous plastic product, “and wrote her name with marker on the bottom so when she would go to the church social she’d say, ‘You can have my Ambrosia salad, but I want my damn bowl back.'”
Chances are your grandmother still has that bowl with the at-the-time revolutionary interlocking lid. But Tupperware isn’t just for grandmothers anymore. And Dixie Longate is certainly not your grandmother’s Tupperware lady — unless your grandmother’s a drag queen, too.
An Alabama native, Longate began selling Tupperware at house parties 13 years ago and eventually made a theatrical-style show out of her work. She took it to New York seven years ago, garnering a Drama Desk Nomination in the process. She’s been on the road pretty much ever since. Next weekend Longate makes her first trip to the D.C./Baltimore area for two fundraisers for Equality Maryland.
“I talk about the great true storage craft, and learn you everything about the history of Tupperware,” she says. During the show, she also works to “make everybody giggle” by sharing details about her stereotypically Southern, sordid life. (What part of it meshes with out-of-drag reality is unclear: “I always stay in the world of Dixie,” Longate says, declining even to share a real name.)
Games, prizes and audience-involving demonstrations of the many, multi-purpose uses of Tupperware also factor into the show. It’s all part of the sales pitch, and it works: Longate is repeatedly ranked a top seller of Tupperware in the U.S. and Canada, and she’s inspired others to follow suit. “There are a bunch of people now that have sort-of picked up the mantle [of] getting crazy doing something that’s a little bit fun, a little bit offbeat, a little bit creative.”
A Tupperware Fundraiser with Dixie Longate is Friday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m., at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center, 1101 Smithville St. in Annapolis, Md. Also Saturday, Nov. 8, at University of Baltimore Learning Commons, 1415 Maryland Ave. in Baltimore. Tickets are $45 each. Visit equalitymaryland.org/DixieLongate.
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