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THIRSTY
by: Lisa Thomas

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Scott Townsend, the miracle child of a pregnancy that should never have happen in accordance to both parents efforts at preventing it, came bouncing forth, soul first on May 20th in 1967.  Ruddy but gleaming, the baby Scott,wrapped in a blue blanket that seemed somehow to contradict a certain innate girlishness, lay by his Mother’s side while at the same time, miles away, America’s superstar, Cher was turning 21. This convergence of the stars both heavenly and beyond would emerge as significant in Scott’s life to come.

Scott grew up in the projects of Cambridge, Massachusetts in a tightly knit community where the effects of poverty and ignorance made his neighbors, rough and tough around the edges.  Graced with a delicate body, a beautiful singing voice, an infectious sense of humor and a slippery gender, Scott admittedly did not fit in.  The youngest child of a single, drug addicted Mother, who even as her moods turned on a dime was the center of his precarious universe; Scott used performance to deflect danger and despair. 

In the late 1980’s in early his twenties, Scott began to exploit his feminine attributes and became a female impersonator adopting the name, Thirsty Burlington. Thirsty’s swift popularity in Boston and later in Provincetown.Massachusetts was largely due to her “spot on” impersonation of Cher.  After years as an underground celebrity, Scott’s innermost desire to settle the want and loss associated with
his past thrust him into a lounge act where he assumed the character of his Mother.  The act was a flop but like her mentor Cher, Thirsty is staging a big comeback.

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts