The History of Drag is Right Here Between the Covers
WRITTEN BY KEVIN PHINNEY
June 21, 2019
Not too long ago, drag entertainers were seen as edgiest outsiders of society, let alone show business. Today, in tandem with society’s increased acceptance of gay culture and RuPaul’s Drag Race’s rise as a gather-round-the-flatscreen weekly ritual, drag has moved squarely into the entertainment mainstream.
So what better time to celebrate and trace the evolution of their art form? Drag: Combing Through the Big Wigs of Show Business (Rizzoli New York; $35) boasts text by funnyman Frank DeCaro and a forward by entertainment legend Bruce Vilanch.
This handsome little tome traces drag’s unprecedented blend of fashion and fun, illusion and extravagance through a dizzying series of milestones. Just a few of these include Bosom Buddies and Tootsie, To Wong Foo… and Hedwig, La Cage aux Folles, and Kinky Boots. It’s quite a journey in not such a long time that took us from scary pariahs like Divine picking up snacks from the sidewalk and Jack McFarland mistaking Cher for an imposter.
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Among the luminaries included, you’ll also find several recent nominees for the title of Metrosource’s “Legendary NYC Drag Queen We Love,” including the effervescent Hedda Lettuce and Lypsinka. Meanwhile, some of the other boldface dames who’ll grace the pages here include Bianca del Rio, Miss Coco Peru, Varla Jean Merman, and Charles Busch. With commentary, interviews, and pictures chronicling more than 100 years of drag around the globe, this is one lewk book no fan of drag should be without. rizzoliusa.com
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