The Ladies Auxiliary for Cultural Enrichment, aka LACE, are at it again. This time they're on YouTube warbling a holiday song titled "Down With Christmas," sung to the tune of a popular carol.
Every year at this time, Edna, Agnes, Maud and Pearl can be found lampooning America's commercially overkilled holiday season. Last year, LACE declared war on fruitcakes --you know the kind. Most YouTubers, young and old, are loving them and their message. But a few humorless reactionary souls miss the point and take furious umbrage at what they see as an all-out attack on religion.
Much more about the LACE grannies after the jump.
"You either get LACE or you don't," says the brain behind the Grannies, a veteran ad man. "We're not a gay or straight act," he explains, "We're just four old biddies having a ball! The folks who take offense seem to be religious zealots or homophobes, and yet we say and do nothing sexual or blasphemous."
Indeed, the Grannies conduct themselves in a "straight-laced" manner, which is what makes them so comical. And, by all accounts, LACE seems to bridge the gap between all genders and sexual orientations simply by being asexual. Although I know their identities, LACE prefers to remain anonymous behind their grey wigs and bi-focals in order to maintain what they see as their connection to everybody in American society..
However you perceive them, LACE is not a drag act. Instead, my guy friends are theater professionals who are seriously inspired by the old-time suffragettes who campaigned for peace and voting rights in the early 1900s -- women like my own greatgrandmother, who was every bit as socially imposing as the LACE ladies. The idea is to stretch that Victorian sensibility and dignity into post-millennial issues.
The Grannies are sartorially imposing as well. Their wardrobes are so authentic, they could have gone down with the Titanic in 1912. Years of research and vintage clothing expos have gotten them a collection of authentic gloves, purses, shoes, fans, magnificent hats, even custom-made bloomers. Not to mention that once-indispensable item that has gone the way of the dinosaur -- the lace dicky.
Before any event, makeup and wardrobe takes hours. The four elaborate face jobs, which were inspired by kabuki theater, win them a growing constituency of Asian fans.
Ever since their founding in 2004, LACE aims to "promote and support worthy causes nationwide, and to provide their own madcap brand of fun and humor to almost any event." In their own words, the Grannies also aim to "enrich our culturally bleak and artistically desolate society."
To date, the LACE Grannies have promoted voting rights, safer sex and, most recently, healthcare reform. Their tours around southern California include appearances at West Hollywood Halloween, L.A. Pride, the White Party and the famed Doodah Parade in Pasadena. As they roll along the street on their chair scooters (equipped with revolving lights and sirens) and do their tight drill formations, they always get wild cheers -- followed by hours of requests for photo ops, and sound bytes for the local news cameras.
However, this year, when WeHo Halloween organizers prohibited electric-powered vehicles due to overcrowding, LACE took the edict in stride--literally. They arrived grandly peddling a four-seat surrey bicycle shaped like a model T Ford!
For more info on how you can get the Grannies' grand old cultural expression into any culture wars fought by your organization, check out the LACE website .