Jackie Beat home tour
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Photos: Drag queen Jackie Beat’s Highland Park home

Jackie Beat home tour
By David A. Keeps

From the curb, it looks like just another 1949 California ranch house. But walk past the plastic skulls planted in the flower bed several Halloweens ago and the American flag rippling in the breeze, and there it is, in your face: a lipstick-red front door monogrammed with a gold J and B. Jackie Beat, queen of all queens in Los Angeles’ drag circuit, has dressed up a once-boring Highland Park bungalow as a palace of vintage style, a house that throws on a wig and a gown 365 days a year. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Beat’s home office is filled with memorabilia related to the Stephen King novel “Carrie” and the subsequent film. “It’s not a perfect movie, but I saw it when I was 13, and it changed my life,” Beat says. “The message of ‘Carrie’ is: Don’t mess with the freak.” She mounted artwork on blood-red walls. A vintage chair with a Greek key pattern sits next to a skull lamp created by Beat’s friend O’Shay Nunn. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
The sensibility of the house is a mash-up of camp, Hollywood Regency, ethnic, modern and Gothic -- all on display with a vengeance. Beat sits on a vintage rattan love seat that was part of a set that included chairs and an etagere -- all purchased for $200 at a thrift store and spray-painted white in the backyard. “There’s actually Target and IKEA mixed in, but you gotta sneak it,” she says. “If you do your whole house in IKEA, it looks like a Swedish dorm room.” (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Beat sits beneath a mosaic portrait by San Francisco artist Jason Mecier, known for collage portraits made with subjects’ own belongings. Among the materials used in Beat’s portrait: a high-heel shoe, costume jewelry and false eyelashes. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
For help pulling rooms together, Beat turned to Jonamor Décor, the husband-and-wife team of Senor and Jonona Amor, who helped to find the fabric used for cushions, pillows and drapes. The faux Pucci geometric chain print in salmon, mint and cream came from the L.A. discount shop Michael Levine. The complementary paint selection: Crisp Green by Behr. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
The overall effect? “Jacqueline Susann’s apartment in Boca Raton,” says Beat, who has performed stage versions of Susann’s “Valley of the Dolls” in New York and Los Angeles. The finishing touch: naturally, a framed picture of the core cast of “The Golden Girls.” (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Outside the green TV room, Beat painted the wall black and hung a painting by Harry Blitzstein, whom she describes as “this crazy old artist who has a space on Fairfax next to Damiano’s Pizza.” The prop telephone (with a real cord) was created by Steve LaNasa, who did all the painting and wallpapering in Beat’s home. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Beat found miniature thrift-shop masks and mounted them using vintage fabric cut from old sample books, a little glue and vintage frames. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
The house may be over the top, but visitors will find a method to the drag madness. Collections are organized and displayed by theme or color: dog figurines in a shadow box in the hallway, glass objects catching sunlight here on the kitchen windowsill. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Ceramic owls serve as bookends for cookbooks. An advertising plaque from a bar lies above, also featuring an owl. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Personalized coffee mugs are put to use as planters for cactuses. They’re placed on candleholders at different heights to make the arrangement more visually dynamic. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Beat sits at her dining room table with decorators Jonona and Senor Amor. If the vivid blue wall and floral curtains aren’t enough, how about a ceramic ram as a centerpiece? When Beat bought the two-bedroom house in 2007, it was sage green and sky blue inside -- reminiscent, she says, of a Comfort Inn. Now each room in the 1,350-square-foot home has its own vivid shade and theme. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
On the left wall is an oil painting of a peacock, which is sort of a joke. “It’s beautiful, and yet there’s something a little tacky,” Beat says. Peacocks also appear on the vintage wallpaper and curtains. “For a drag queen, that is very appropriate,” Beat says. “The ostentatious male in full plumage.” In the far right corner, a mirror-clad bar shimmers with disco-era abandon. A mirrored octagon shelf on the right wall hangs with thrift-shop art and a metal wall sculpture. Liquor and bartending supplies are stowed in the vintage cart below. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
The living and dining rooms flow into each another, sharing a wall that’s painted pale eggplant and decorated with chinoiserie. Beat says the style of the house evokes a “world traveler who’s never actually been anywhere. It’s beautiful but funny. There are layers to it, and you can see something new every time you look at it.” (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Beat calls her Mexican Mod boudoir “surprisingly masculine.” The bed is dressed in orange linens and a faux fur throw created by Jonamor Decor. The headboard and a storage ottoman at the foot of the bed are contemporary designs, and much of the room’s furniture came from Craigslist. A boldly patterned vintage sunburst wallpaper found on EBay went up behind the headboard. “I had to have that on the wall behind me,” Beat says. Even a drag queen has her limits. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
The nightstand is a midcentury piece, backed by vintage wallpaper. The massive vintage pottery lamp with a Brutalist glaze came from Casa Victoria. The book next to it? “The Lonely Life” by Bette Davis(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
“One of the great things about this house is all the built-ins,” Beat says. Among the treasures on these master bedroom shelves: What look like books are actually keepsake boxes. Decorating to accommodate so many collections wasn’t easy. “Sometimes when I watch ‘Hoarders,’ I do see myself,” she says, laughing. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
A corner shelving unit bought off Craigslist holds figurines, photographs and a blacklit male bust. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
A prize possession is this unicorn mirror. Beat spotted it at the Goodwill store in Hollywood while buying a coffee mug. “I was getting out my 29 cents to pay for the mug, and the lady said, ‘Is that all for you today?’ And I looked down and saw that mirror and said, ‘No, I need that, too.’ I think it cost $50, but so many people covet it that it has already paid for itself.” (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
The guest bedroom, where Kent Fuher becomes Jackie Beat, is “my ‘Virgin Suicides'-Jan Brady room,” she says. “It’s egg-yolk yellow and has a youthful exuberance. Whoever stays here ends up in drag.” Beat acquired the large framed image of a cat at the Evidence Room, where her show didn’t do well. “At the end of the night, the guy who hired me handed me $37 and was so upset,” says Beat, who looked around at all the props lying around. She told the guy: “That’s OK. Just load that picture into my car.” (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Beat touches up her Bollywood Tammy Wynette look at the makeup mirror in the guest room. One of the reasons she loves the house is that it came with a built-in desk. Add a drag queen, she says, and it becomes vanity. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Just another suburban backyard with a white picket fence, patio set, lawn, fruit trees and extra-length false eyelashes. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
Jackie Beat home tour
Beat snuggles with Lil’ Sister, left, and Baby. She says her house “looks really grown up, but then I am not your average grown up. For all intents and purposes, this house is a movie set and I am the star of the movie.”

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