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Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui

94102, San Francisco

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Drag show at Aunt Charlie's Lounge

Dear ——–,

In keeping with our new Thanksgiving tradition, we spent the holiday with Geoff and Steven in San Francisco. As soon as we got in the door, we started chopping herbs for a truffle mac & cheese. It was ready in time to accompany the 18-pound heritage turkey with Pilgrim-era DNA. (I liked the gamey-ness of the heritage turkey, though the dark meat was maybe too gamey.) To make sure we didn’t get too complacent this weekend, Geoff took us to Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, a dive bar on the fringes of the Tenderloin, to see the oldest living drag queen in America. And 76-year-old Vicki Marlane was pretty good — with a kind of shabby Sunset Boulevard charisma. The emcee informed us that she got her start as a sideshow act known as the Alligator Lady by pouring glue on her skin and letting it crack. But here, she was the Girl with the Liquid Spine, gesturing with her fingers just so during plaintive Celine Dione numbers. I felt an appreciation for how long she had been doing this, though there was also a sense that the world had moved on without her.

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Author: postmarkhere

I'm a journalist based in Los Angeles who has always said that writing postcards for a living would be a dream job. The posts -- short enough to fit on an actual postcard -- chronicle recent travels near and far. I could blab on about being inspired by epistolary novels, the short poems of Emily Dickinson, and the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" pieces, but I'll just say that I'm aiming to give you a sense of flavor of a place without boring you to death. Wish you were here!

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