So, what's up with drag queens?

Arts and culture, right? Well, anyway, I’d never been to a drag show before, but my boyfriend is working with somebody who wants to do this drag movie, and we went to see what it’s all about. (We totally had the best time.) But what’s up with drag queens?

One assumes they’re not trying to look particularly like women - the game is, they look like drag queens, right? I’m aware that not all drag queens are transvestites or transgendered people or any combination of anything, although I do recall that in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil The Lady Chablis was getting hormone injections. She certainly didn’t dress like a drag queen in daily life, however.

The show was really interesting - I’d pictured more of an evening-gown-ribbing-the-audience thing, I was kind of surprised to see how some of the performers were more…stripperesque, with dollar bills handed and such. Still, the sexuality to me seemed essentially like a big joke - like parody, and the performers and the audience were all in on it. Is that an accurate observation? It seemed that although the dancing was sexualized, nobody was particularly lusting after the drag queens in a real way, like in a strip club. The obvious difference being that nobody was embarrassed at all - the guys I’ve been to strip clubs with before always seem a little embarrassed once it all happens, you know? Because the sexuality, I think, is “real”, whereas this really didn’t seem that way.

In other words, except for some of the banter and a real girl who got up there and flashed her tits (Himself: “Bonus!!”) I don’t think I’d feel at all weird about taking my mom there. It was all just fun, and oddly kind of innocent. Also, they make an awesome gin and tonic, IMHO.

All right, I know some of it was a joke - there was a funny “crazy high Britney” dance. Am I reading the rest of it right as parody? Where does the whole “drag queen” aesthetic come from? What, for lack of a better word, is the “goal”? Why do people go to these shows, besides that they’re fun and funny? Community? Meat market? Or do they really consider the dancers sex objects? (It was weird - the whole thing made me feel… short. I’m not used to having a six foot tall woman sit in my lap, I guess.)

You should check out the awesome movie Flawless for an example of a film that shows the life of a drag queen (there’s others - but this one has DiNiro and Philip Seymor Hoffman in it)

Torchsong Trilogy is classic as well.

Drag will vary by location, performer and any number of variables. You’ll have the ones that are just trying to be funny and not really look female at all. (Scag Drag) You’ll have ones that attempt to emulate famous women, some go for over the top outrageous outfits, hair and makeup. (see RuPaul or Lady Bunny), some are transexuals. A friend of mine who did drag as her profession had surgery done, breast implants at the least.

At the heart of nearly all of these though is quite simply performance art. Most drag queens that I have known were in it to entertain and make some money. The bawdiness is nearly always just an element of the show.

Also, is there a way to tip the performers besides having them fawn for dollars? I know it probably varies by location, but I’d have liked to leave a twenty for them to split or something but wasn’t sure if that was done, and the Backstreet Boys remixes were too loud for me to ask anybody. (I have no idea how the bartender could hear “gin and tonic” - practice, I guess.)

I wouldn’t trust most drag queens as far as I could throw them. Expecting them to split a twenty is very likely a pipe dream.

I’ve sometimes tipped them after they perform or bought them a drink.

Oh, they didn’t need more drinks. :slight_smile: