"Hey darlin', this is Dixie, your Tupperware lady!"
The Alabama accent comes in thick and fast on a phone call with Dixie Longate. The ex-convict has been selling the famous food storage brand worldwide for 11 years. She got into the home party business at her parole officer's recommendation.
‘Dixie’s Tupperware Party’
WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19-23; 2 p.m. Feb. 23-24
WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville
COST — $25-$45
INFO — 443-5600, waltonartscenter.org, dixiestupperwareparty.com
"She said, 'You need some sort of a job in order to get your kids back.' And I thought, 'I don't want 'em back!' But they made me take them. It's a law I think needs to be changed," Longate quips. "She said, 'Why don't you sell Tupperware?' And I thought that was only for old ladies. But then, oh my Lord, I did my first party, I had so much fun. They gave me free drinks -- who's going to turn that down?"
Inspired by the incentives and recognition, Longate "worked her tail off" and became one of the top-selling Tupperware ladies across the U.S. and Canada. No, really -- Longate may be the drag persona written and performed by Kris Andersson for his stage show "Dixie's Tupperware Party," but he/she/the show really did become one of the brand's top sellers. Audiences really can purchase the pieces from the show at any of the seven performances coming Feb. 19-24 to the Walton Arts Center.
"A lot of people think, 'Oh Tupperware, that's just old bowls and stuff.' No, it has changed so much; it's gotten so great. And when you see, your jaw's gonna pop open like a junior prom date. You're gonna be like, 'I've never seen nothing like that in my life!'" Longate promises.
"I have this thing that's meant for taking cupcakes and stuff with you, but I put Jello shots on it and take it to church," she illustrates. "It is so nice; it just gets you through that sermon so fast, especially if it's one you've heard before. And I have my wine bottle opener that is just a thing of beauty. I actually have two of them: I got another one in the glove box so that when I'm driving and I get real parched, I can reach into the stash of wine that I always carry with me in the back of the truck. I can grab that wine bottle opener and it's so easy! Before the red light turns green, I can get right through opening up that wine and get started sipping."
Jokes aside, Longate really does love the products she is demonstrating up there on stage. There's a reason, she says, that everyone's grandmother or mother has pieces from the '50s, '60s and '70s still around: Tupperware is a premier product. The lifetime warranty is just icing on the cake. Buying pieces at a house party -- the model started by Tupperware that has been copied by every other direct-selling company since -- imbues the product with meaning that doesn't exist when one picks something up off a store shelf, Longate says,
"If you get it at a party, you remember the party, you remember the people you were with, you remember how much fun you had. You have a relationship not only to the actual event, but you then have a relationship to what you got," she shares. "So I always call Tupperware parties the original social network -- because it's a way for people to get together and have a good time and be friendly. And then, to boot, they got a great little product out of it."
Since taking her party out of friends' living rooms and onto the open road (following a stint Off-Broadway), Longate has noticed a change in her audiences. Though Longate's performance is a real Tupperware party with games, prizes and demonstrations, there is an uplifting story woven through her outrageous presentation, and the show's package is not solely for the ladies.
"Men want to go out, men want to have a fun time, men are getting more interested in the sort of storytelling that you see at the the-a-ter," she says, pronouncing the word in three syllables. "I think a lot has changed in the world, so people want to see that reflected in what they see on stage. My goal is just to make everybody smile and make the world a little bit shinier, so that's what I to do."
NAN What's Up on 02/17/2019
Print Headline: A Bowl Full Of Laughs