I was going to review Kinky Boots today. That's the latest in that long line of films wherein blue collar British types do something zany to save themselves / their town / their souls. This one's about a struggling shoe factory and the friendship between a nice drag queen (dependable Chiwetel Ejiofor) and a businessman (bland Joel Edgerton). But, honestly, you wouldn't want to read it. Woulda been too bitchy. And not in the good way. That's the kind of mood the movie put me in.
T'was the kind of flick that made me think 'why would anyone make this?' or perhaps more specifically 'why would anyone make this a decade after the genre's prime?' Y'all know this kind of thing peaked with The Full Monty back in 1997. And it's 2006 now so can we please move on from the careful fantasy of the kind and asexual drag queen whose sole purpose in life (i.e. within the movie) is to enrich the lives of the straight people that said queen comes in contact with. You know the type:
Don't mistake me. I love drag queens. I just love them in the John Waters way. His famous quote: "I think families should run for their lives when they see a drag queen, not cuddle up to them. I like different kinds of drag queens. Psycho drag queens. Drag queens with chain saws."
Do-gooder drag queens are boring (not to mention unrealistic --ever met one?). Give me Jackie Beat. Lypsinka. Kevin Aviance. Kiki. The Lady Bunny. Sylvia O'Stayformore. Taylor Mac. RuPaul. Dina Martina. Etcetera. I'll have them all. I like my drag queens fierce, three dimensional, and even a little frightening, thank you very much. So, to wash Kinky Boots and its cipher queen "Lola" out of my head, here are my three favorite drag queens from motion picture history.
Hedwig. Don't you know her? She's the new Berlin wall baby. Try and tear you down. Bernadette. Terence Stamp did utterly nail his line reading of "No more fucking ABBA" in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. God, I love him. And of course there's Divine (RIP) ...in anything.
To all of these unforgettable celluloid queens and the best drag queens working, I sing you out with a Divine hit to thank you:
"Don't ever stop doing what you're doing. Don't stop. Shoot your shot."
related posts: An Illustrated History of Gender Bending
tags: Chiwetel Eijofor, drag queens, movies, celebrities, Hedwig, Kinky Boots, Terence Stamp, Divine, John Waters, queer,