Save the wails!

RuPaul and other dance divas unite for the cause

"'Divas Rock Atlanta' was inspired from conversations on how Atlanta's GLBT community is divided, how we segregate ourselves," says Samuel T. Palmer, the co-organizer of the attitude-fueled charity event. "We wanted to put on an event to bring our whole community together."

What they came up with is a planned spectacular, where a host of interna-tionally known divas — including RuPaul, Deborah Cox, and '80s teen pop sensation Debbie, er, Deborah Gibson — will swing, sway, bump and grind in order to raise money and awareness for a host of worthwhile causes. These include the Atlanta Lesbian Cancer Initiative, In The Life Atlanta, Georgia Equality, Chris Kids, PALS (Pets Are Loving Support), and The Armorettes.

"I love being part of this show," says RuPaul, whose performance will be a homecoming of sorts. "I have a story attached to every square mile of Atlanta, I mean, from Union City to Doraville! I swear to God. From Snellville to Douglasville. But going back now ... it's like when an old friend you've known for a billion years has extensive plastic surgery. An extreme makeover. Chin implants, tits out to double Ds, DaVinci veneers, a brow-lift, everything done. It's the same person, but they look completely different."

The Civic Center, where Divas Rock takes place, is mere steps away from RuPaul's old stomping grounds. "10th and Juniper was the place where all the misfits ... gathered at this natural drainage area," he says. "We all lived in that area, and honey, we were a bunch of kids, trippin' on acid, wearin' miniskirts and combat boots and dressing up, using all the colors in the crayon box. It had nothing to do with gay or straight. We were a bunch of kids havin' fun. The police were so sweet to us. We'd be out all night long, in that area between Piedmont Park and Ponce. We'd wait outside of Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the light come on. We'd be all over that area, and we never had any trouble. Oh god, my eyes are tearing up, just thinking about it right now."

In those days, downtown Atlanta was plastered with posters announcing "RuPaul is Red Hot." It served as his calling card and official war cry. The title of his new album, RuPaul Red Hot, recalls those days. "I'm basically starting over again," he says. "I wasn't sure if I'd come back to show business, really. But now I'm back to square one. I had an astrologer do my chart for my birthday recently, and she said Scorpio is the sign that rises from the ashes. So I thought 'red hot.' The fire on the cover and everything really is indicative of where I've been and where I'm going and what I'm doing."

Basically Ru has returned to what the sassy entertainer has always done: exist in a state of ultimate diva-dom. "A diva is goddess energy to the umpteenth degree," he explains. "The ying and the yang. Both masculine and feminine energy all at once. A tsunami personified. The beauty and devastation of a storm all at once."

For RuPaul, Atlanta personifies the whole state of being a diva, which makes it an ideal setting for the concert. "A city that burned down and rose from the ashes is perfect for this show," he explains. "If anything can save this sort of new '50s morality thing of conservatism, it would be the age of the goddess coming in and saying, 'Don't be afraid, don't live in fear. Don't be afraid of love and new ideas and sexuality.' Because that's where are right now. Hopefully, we can all join forces to beckon a new age of the goddess."


RuPaul signs his new album, Sat., Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. at Ed's Records 1875 Piedmont Ave. 404-876-1557. www.edsrecords.com