Thursday, January 31, 2019

ALL HAIL THE KINGS


With January coming to an end, it also brings Drag History to yet another year of installments. And to close the month out. I's be remised if we didn't feature some Drag Kings, who I feel never really garner the notiety and space given like us drag queens. And their history, is just as long as ours, but didn't reach it's main stream till much later. If you ever have a chance to catch a show, go see them. One of my favorites is the talented and funny Murray Hill, I adore his style.
Drag kings are mostly female performance artists who dress in masculine drag and personify male gender stereotypes as part of an individual or group routine.They may be lesbian, bisexual, transgender, genderqueer, or otherwise part of the LGBT community. They may also be straight. A typical drag show may incorporate dancing, acting, stand-up comedy, and singing, either live or lip-synching to pre-recorded tracks.Drag kings often perform as exaggeratedly macho male characters, portray marginalized masculinities such as construction workers, rappers, or they will impersonate male celebrities.While the term drag king was first cited in print in 1972, there is a longer history of female performers dressing in male attire. In theatre and opera there was a tradition of breeches roles .
Actress and playwright Susanna Centlivre appeared in breeches roles around 1700. The first popular male impersonator in U.S. theater was Annie Hindle, who started performing in New York in 1867; in 1886 she married her dresser, Annie Ryan. British music hall performer Vesta Tilley was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a male impersonator. And of course there was Stormé DeLarverie, who performed in male drag along with female impersonators at the Jewel Box Revue in the 1950s and 1960s, as documented in the film Storme: The Lady of the Jewel Box.DeLarverie was also a veteran of the Stonewall riots.
Adam All

Goldie Peacock

Crimson Kitty

Rocca D Amore
Unlike drag queens, who pride themselves on making individual names for themselves and creating a "lineage," drag kings tend to form  performance groups. While they may join houses and maintain a solo persona, this is increasingly rare in the drag king community. Many troupes are created out of the desire to forge a cohesive unit in order to book shows and performances. However, there are more and more drag kings now branching away from the troupe stereotypes, and performing individually. Drag king shows are becoming easier to find finally,  and individual kings are getting bookings outside of the 'king shows' and finally sharing the stages with their drag queen counterparts. But's it's taken a long time. 
Drag kings are largely a phenomenon of lesbian culture and can most often be seen at lesbian bars or festivals. However, not all drag kings are lesbians, and some participants in the drag king subculture are not otherwise involved in lesbian culture, society, or politics. Drag kings are a diverse group, making difficult to find something universal that all drag kings have in common. 
Buddy Bing

Elvis Herselvis

Landon Cider

Murray Hill
According to drag kings Lee VaLone and K. James the divide between queens and kings is a problem that pre-dates the age of RuPaul’s Drag Race and has badly damaged drag culture. As members of Switch n Play, a Brooklyn drag alliance committed to “creating safe space for drag, burlesque and other gender-based performance,” VaLone and James are well versed in the city’s drag history. In the 1990s, kings were very strong in New York,but then there was so much shaming from the drag queen community that the king movement stopped and moved elsewhere When queens gained power and popularity in the early aughts, they began to dominate queer spaces.. As a result, the king community in New York today is so small that it has been rendered nearly invisible. Of course, there are still a few highly successful New York kings like Murray Hill, but the rich community of kings behind them has all but disappeared.
It’s disappointing to hear about drag queens creating unwelcoming queer spaces, especially when they make such a fuss about celebrating diversity. Older friends of mine tell me that New York nightlife used to be a potluck where all kinds of drag and burlesque came together without all the segregation. Crimson Kitty has become a poster child for what she calls “drag equality,” and the infinite diversity within the drag world. I like her vision for a unified drag community, in which creative energy is freely exchanged among kings, queens, and everything in between. She imagines a drag culture where gender performers see only what they have in common. “Drag performers should realize we’re all doing the same job—nightlife...and it is our job, and our makeup is our uniform.”  
And I believe she would be right.  
Here's a fascinating video with three talented kings talking, not to mention some of Murray's funny commentary.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

ROSA PARKS OF GAY RIGHTS

The Widow Norton and the Imperial Court played a huge part in drag history.

By the 1950s, police had begun cracking down on gay-friendly establishments and enforcing anti-cross-dressing laws; in New York, for instance, men were legally obligated to wear no fewer than three pieces of male clothing in order to not be arrested for drag. Amid intensifying anti-gay hostility, in 1965, the Imperial Court System was founded as the first drag queen organization, and that kind of community building among drag queens would ultimately prove to be a valuable resource within the broader gay community that had begun making itself more publicly known. Even in the face of legal repression and social ostracism, drag queen communities began to organize more formally in the mid-1960s. In response to the police shutting down a string of gay bars, José Julio Sarria, and better known as  Absolute Empress I, the Widow Norton,  San Francisco's first openly gay political candidate and local performer, founded the Imperial Court System that united the drag queen and gay community at large for annual drag balls and other events. Chapters now exist in cities across the United States, Canada and Mexico and largely serve as philanthropic organizations that help support HIV and AIDS prevention and research.
Sarria was the only child of a Colombian mother; his father was a San Franciscan who had no role in his life. As a young man, Sarria served in World War II, becoming a staff sergeant. When he returned to the United States, he trained to become a teacher, but a morals charge closed that career path to him. Eventually he took a job as a waiter at the Black Cat Cafe in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. There he began singing while waiting tables and shortly thereafter started his long career as a drag performer. Soon his campy one-man versions of notable operas, peppered with local references and humorous commentary, changed the Black Cat from a bohemian venue into a world-famous gay bar and a place of community for gay men. As the political remarks in his shows increased and became more pointed, Sarria was revealed as a pioneer in gay political theatre and a full-blown political activist, outdoors as well as indoors. During a time of significant police harassment of the LGBT community, Sarria encouraged his followers to stand up for themselves and to reject second-class status. He was known for the slogan “United we stand, divided they arrest us one by one.” He encouraged his friends and admirers to fight back against police harassment—to demand a jury trial rather than seem to admit to guilt and pay a fine.
In the mid-1960s, at San Francisco’s first public drag ball, Sarria was named the Queen of the Ball, but, declaring himself “already a queen,” he preferred to claim the grander title “Empress” and the broader territory of San Francisco. He also appropriated the legend of the Emperor Joshua Abraham Norton, an eccentric 19th-century San Franciscan miner and rice baron who in 1858 had proclaimed himself the Emperor of the United States and Canada and Protector of Mexico. When he passed on 2013, it was one of the largest funerals in some time in San Fran.  His legacy was honored by the city of San Francisco with the renaming of a section of Castro Street  as José Sarria Court. The city also placed a plaque that notes Sarria’s contributions in the sidewalk in front of the Harvey Milk Memorial Branch of the San Francisco Public Library, located at 1 José Sarria Court
Because of Sarria's founding of the Imperial Court System, today it governs approximately 70 kingdoms in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Today, the International Court System is the largest LGBT organization in the country, second only to the Metropolitan Community Church. The biggest night for the court is the famous Night of A Thousand Gowns, where it is a must to donne huge hair and gowns, or come in black tie. The event is incredible. The Court is a social, fundraising organization which has raised millions of dollars for social service and health support organizations. In addition to their own fundraising, they often lend their support and talent to other organizations in their ventures by performing, volunteering or just adding beauty and style! The members are people who have chosen to make a commitment, get involved and make a difference in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. And the membership is broad and varied: lawyers, carpenters, therapists, ministers, stockbrokers, hairdressers, marketers, performers, accountants, teachers, florists, antique dealers, jewelers and more.
Our very own Regent Lady Finger and husband royale.


Maybe one year I'll go as the Empress Madeline Borghese I, theTemptress of peace, art and seduction ?

Monday, January 28, 2019

PORTRAIT OF A QUEEN

Lady Galore

Minnie Cooper

Alexis Mateo

Art Simone

Charlie Hides

Dusty Mae

Jan Sport

London Adore

Lypsinka


Mimi Imfurst

Nina West

Karen from Finance

Not a portrait, but Miss Shuga Cain takes after my own heart with style and walking that runway girl. 

MORNNIG COFFEE


I always take at least two crème puffs with my morning coffee.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

THAT MOMENT WHEN....

...you feel like you may cut someone reminding you of your age. Friday found me at my ever faithful Raven Resort for a night of frolic for the Woods Campground drag show and road tour. While at the bar, a queen remembered me from my early days in Harrisburg shows. This is how it went down.


Just you wait till I see her next time and grab her by the grey haired mustache.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

IN THREE WORDS

Tell us what comes to mind in only three words with our weekly guest. What with the new list of queens for Drag Race in yesterdays post, this week it be fitting to have the head queen.

In three words...
CHER!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

QUEENS OF ELEVEN

This is gonna be good bitches!



Just when I think to myself – ‘shedonealreadydonehadherses’ – a new crop of killer queens sashay their way into my heart and leave me gagging for more.  Dare I say, this might be the most sickening season of all time. I am familiar with or have  met or seen half the cast, and of the others, there is a invasion of drag daughters.... Seems we have the houses of Edwards, Montese and Davenport all doing battle. No premiere date for the new season has been announced, but fans of the show still have the ongoing fourth installment of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” which airs new episodes every Friday on VH1. I just hope Lattrice brings it now, but thinking though Manila or Trinity is taking that crown.  But this is about the next race hennys. Here's the queens, and the number behind the city is when I think they will get eliminated.
Read the full bios for each of the 15 queens below.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo RuPaul's Drag Race
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (Los Angeles, CA) #7
Miss Vanjie. Miss Vaanjie. Miss… Vaaanjie! Never have more iconic words been uttered by a departing queen. Despite being the first queen eliminated from season 10, Vanessa’s mesmerizing backwards exit inspired memes, tweets and celebrity shout-outs and an overwhelming demand to see more of this charismatic queen. She’s back with a Vanjeance, but can the queen live up to the memes? Having seen her perform now and know more about her, she will get much further, a middle queen... but I still don't see a win.
Yyvie Oddly RuPaul's Drag Race
Yvie Oddly (Denver, CO) #10

Denver’s “commodity of drag oddity,” shock queen Yvie bucked her boring local drag scene and brought conceptual artistry into the mix. Tall and weird (her words), Yvie draws inspiration from fashion muses like Thierry Mugler, and drag stars like Christeene. Known for bringing her brain to the table, anyone who encounters Yvie is guaranteed to end up with their jaw on the floor. She is unique, but do we need another avant gaude queen besides Sharon Needles and Sasha Velour? She'll make mid -way, the judges will want to see what she has.
Shuga Cain RuPaul's Drag Race
Shuga Cain (New York, NY) #6

A relative newcomer to drag, and I adore her!!!!! Shuga quit her sweet six-figure corporate job to become a full-time drag queen. But talent rises to the top, and within 18 short months Shuga has already established herself as a key fixture in the competitive New York City drag scene where she relies upon her performance background in opera and musical theater to stand out from the crowd.
Silky Nutmeg Ganache RuPaul's Drag Race
Silky Ganache (Chicago, IL) #9

The life of the party, you always know when exuberant “Big Silk” is in the building. But scratch the surface of this gregarious queen and you’ll find a softer side to Silk- one who was raised in the church, has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and is even on her way to becoming a Doctor of Philosophy. Let’s hope her accolades translate into success in the competition.
Soju RuPaul's Drag Race
Soju (Los Angeles, CA) #15
Raised in Korea, Soju brings Korean influences into her drag, be it colorful crazy K-Pop aesthetics or Taekwondo martial arts weapons. Producer and star of the popular YouTube show “Shot With Soju,” where queens spill the beans about their time on “Drag Race,” Soju comes into the competition fully prepared for her own shot at the crown. But I don't see a win.
Scarlet Envy RuPaul's Drag Race
Scarlet Envy (New York, NY) top 3

Southern beauty mixed with New York City grit, Scarlet pulls from references as varied as movie stars of the 40s, Andy Warhol superstars of the 60s and supermodels of the 80s. A self-described “natural beauty,” Scarlet has worked with fashion photographer Steven Klein, Harper’s Bazaar magazine and even appeared in a musical number on Saturday Night Live. Scarlett is one of my favorite queens, she is gorgeous!!!! She also does a mean Yma Sumac. I am going on a limb to say top 3.
Mercedes Iman Diamond RuPaul's Drag Race
Mercedes Iman Diamond (Minneapolis, MN) #13
This African princess moved from Kenya to the USA when she was 11, but Mercedes wasn’t “born” until 10 years later at the world famous Gay 90s club in downtown Minneapolis. All about the “body-ody-ody,” Mercedes owns any stage she sets foot on, dazzling the crowd with her graceful presence and the expensive bling she is named after.
Nina West RuPaul's Drag Race
Nina West (Columbus, OH) Top 3

I have been waiting for my girl Nina to get on!!!!! This comedy queen has a big reputation preceding her into the competition. Nina has won the national Entertainer of the Year pageant and writes and produces her own spectacular shows complete with show-stopping dance numbers, and over the top camp looks.She’s also an advocate and fundraiser for LGBTQ causes. If this is the season for a bigger gal to win, Nina should have a excellent chance. I can't say enough good things about her.
Plastique Tiara RuPaul's Drag Race
Plastique Tiara(Dallas, TX) Top 3

Originally hailing from Saigon, Plastique takes a lot of drag inspiration from Vietnamese pop stars. Stunningly beautiful, her popular Instagram drag photos have even been reposted by Tyra Banks. With none other than “Drag Race” superstar Alyssa Edwards for a drag mother, all eyes will be on Plastique to see if she can deliver in the competition. Straight men watching will be totally confused by how fem she is. She might just win.
Ra'jah D Ohara RuPaul's Drag Race
Ra’jah D. O’Hara (Dallas, TX) #14

Ra’jah is from Dallas, Texas, where everything is bigger, better and bolder. A dancing queen known for her kicks, splits and tearing up the dance floor, the “D” in Ra’jah’s name stands for Davenport: this season’s third cast member from the Kennedy Davenport dynasty. A high energy performer, Ra’jah warns her competitors to watch their backs when she is lip-synching.
Brooke Lynn Hytes RuPaul's Drag Race
Brooke Lynn Hytes (Nashville, TN) #5

Brooke Lynn Hytes grew up in Toronto, Canada before traveling the world as a professional ballet dancer. Much of her drag centers around dance and movement and she is a prestigious former Miss Continental pageant winner. Will Brooke Lynn dazzle the judges with the same polish she brings to the dancefloor? I have seen this beauy...she puts one a stunning show. She should go far this season.
Honey Davenport RuPaul's Drag Race
Honey Davenport (New York, NY) #12

New York City’s crown jewel, Honey is the second cast member hailing from the legendary House of Davenport and cites “Drag Race” alum Sahara Davenport  also as a mentor. She also happens to be Monet X Changes's drag mother. With parts in Off-Broadway plays, an electro band and 18 pageant crowns under her belt, queens know to bow down to this talented diva. I love Honey's style, but I don't see a win.
Kahanna Montrese RuPaul's Drag Race
Kahanna Montrese (Las Vegas, NV) #11
Las Vegas’s hip-hop showgirl, Kahanna merges edgy street influences with upscale high fashion couture. After seeing Kahanna perform just one time, “Drag Race” legend Coco Montrese adopted this spitfire performer and Kahanna’s drag identity was born. Will Kahanna finish the job that mama Coco Montrese started? Kahanna is also the lip-synch queen to watch out for.
A'keria C. Davenport RuPaul's Drag Race
A’keria C. Davenport, (Dallas TX) #4

From the legendary drag House of Davenport, A’keria’s slick, shiny look makes you sit up and pay attention. The current reigning Miss Black Universe, this super accomplished pageant queen is doing the Davenports and mama Kennedy proud with her signature aesthetic: “fit, fashion, mug and body.” Expect big hair, big attitude and big results from this competitor.
Ariel Versace (Philadelphia/Cherry Hill) #8
My girl Ariel!!!!! I have to root for my hometown gal! You may remember her Grinch picture I used this Christmas...that was her!!!!  A life-sized Bratz doll, this queen’s Jersey-licious/Philadelphia,  Disney princess aesthetic is already a hit on social media, where she has a significant following. But don’t be fooled by a pretty face with a poppin’ Instagram presence – Ariel can sing, act and put on a fully entertaining show. I have seen this bitch in action on many occasion. She is also the queen with the wig of many colors!!! Ariel and her boyfriend, another drag queen Chasity St. Cartier, own a wig company. You’ve been warned. I hope she would win, or make top three, but in this competition, I will have to place her in the middle at #8.

And here's a nice peak at the runway before the workroom. This is what drag is about right here henny's.
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