In the stratosphere of nightclub performers, Jimmy James is in a class of his own.It's safe to say Jimmy boasts one of the more colorful careers ever launched in San Antonio.
Born James Jude Johnson in Laredo in an undisclosed year, he started impersonating Marilyn Monroe on a whim in the early 1980s and perfected the act flawlessly enough to land in an Atlantic City revue that led to talk show appearances on Donahue to Geraldo, performances at high-profile events, and national advertising campaigns including L.A. Eyeworks and Kenar. Although possibly known better by younger audiences for his original club hit "Fashionista," James is a wildly talented vocal impressionist who shifts effortlessly between such iconic voices as Cher, Tina Turner, Billie Holiday, Elvis, Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and Eartha Kitt, Bette Davis and many others. From his iconic “Marilyn years” where his eye popping impersonation of Marilyn Monroe rivaled the diva herself, Jimmy James has had a very interesting career....and has been in the entertainment world for 34 years. When I first saw Jimmy he was most famous for his Marilyn though. Jimmy has come to the Raven several times and I had the pleasure of talking to him the several times when he's been here. He has long retired Marilyn back ‘97 though.
Now his shows are kind of like himself. While Jimmy still paints like a hooker, he's doesn't really do drag the drag itself anymore. He has since, in his words,"took the drag out per se, because for a while people were lip-synching and stuff. I’m androgynous.In drag I am only 5’5”,and in drag people think I’m a real woman,singing female voices. So that kind of ruined everything.I’m a guy doing women’s voices,so I didn’t want people to get involved or confused in all that. It’s just more fun for me to be myself. It’s self deprecating. The drag thing is so weird to me, because it just comes off like a woman, and I don’t know how to reconcile with that. I’ve been androgynous my whole life. People didn’t know if I was a boy or a girl. It’s how I was born." And to tell you the truth...he doesn't need the full drag....he is to be heard to be believed in these two amazing clips. He never fails to gives me chills when he's is in town. You won't believe these clips.
Now that's talent.