“VEGAS IN SPACE”
A Cult Classic
It is hard to believe that Phillip R. Ford’s “Vegas in Space” is already twenty-five years old. Three soldiers are ordered to change their gender (by taking a pill) and are sent on a secret mission (undercover as show girls) to the capital city, Vegas in Space of the female only planet of Clitoris. ” Once they arrive, they must maneuver through complex politics and decadent parties, to uncover a plot to disrupt the most important pleasure planet in the Universe. We have gender-bending astronauts, an evil Empress, and an adventure that will take you to the farthest, most fabulous reaches of the galaxy.
“Vegas in Space” is an international cult classic and significant slice of San Francisco drag history. It is musical space odyssey like no other. It stars drag icons Doris Fish, Miss X, and Tippi.
Shot over the course of eight years, the film became a midnight movie darling, playing Sundance, Cannes and captured a very special place on USA’s television show, “Up All Night”. The film opened the door for a generation of films and queens to follow. Here is a film that was shot on virtually no budget with cheesy sets and unknown actors, tacky costumes and its own special effects (spaceships that are toy rockets pulled by strings, space cities that are comprised of glass orbs, spinning towers made of rhinestone earrings, and paper cutout buildings).
The film rises above its hurdles to keep us entertained with fun and camp and I, for one, can watch it over and over again.
Here’s my attempt at a synopsis (which might or might not be what the film is about).A group of male space rangers, led by Captain Dan Tracy (Doris Fish), are called for a mission to Vegas in Space on the planet Clitoris. Because men are not allowed there, they must take gender reversal pills, Dan Tracy is now Tracy Daniels, her two sidekicks (Lori Naslund and Ramona Fischer) are actually women who at first are play men who then become women called Debbie and Sheila.
They pretend to be showgirls from Earth and they meet with the Empress Nueva Gabor (Ginger Quest,) who requests their assistance in recovering rare Girlinium gems that somehow are responsible for the stability of the planet that is rocked periodically with earthquakes. Tracy Daniels hooks up with the police chief, Queen Veneer (Miss X) to solve the mystery. Understand that “Vegas in Space” isn’t about plot— it’s about glamour. Princess Angel says “Glamour first, glamour last, glamour always.” You will enjoy it so much more if you can get past the extreme low budget effects and obvious attempts at camp and kitsch.