Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thursday Triple: Drag Queens

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) 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,


OhMyTrill said...

I'm slowly becoming obsessed with Hedwig. I've yet to convert my friends...I guess they just don't understand.

NicksFlickPicks said...

All hail Hedwig.

Glenn Dunks said...

Hedwig was pretty brilliant, non?

Kinky Boots annoys me. I haven't seen it, but I hate seeing actors I like be wasted. Not only is Chiwetel Ejiofor doing this silly stuff, but JOEL freakin' EDGERTON! Anybody who has ever watched the Aussie tv series "The Secret Life Of Us" knows how mindblowing he can be. I missed the theatrical showing of that movie though, so I will see it on DVD.

On the matter of drag queens... wasn't Bernadette and transexual? Not a drag queen. Guy Pierce and Hugo Weaving were the drag queens. "No more fucking ABBA" is a brilliant, but so to is "a cock, in a frock, on a rock". I love that. That that MOVIE. It still blows my mind that it won the OSCAR for Costume Design. Like... whoa.

On the matter of men-who-dress-as-women-characters-but-aren't-drag-queens. Chris Lilley in "We Can Be Heroes". Ja'mai King = Classic.

tim r said...

With you on Edgerton, Mr Camel. He has scrunched charm. He was scarily good in an Aussie caper movie called The Hard Word, opposite Guy Pearce: ever see it?

I went easy on Kinky Boots for no very good reason, except that I thought Ejiofor was so damn dignified. And proud. Tis a real pity they made him so sexless...

Hedwig really was magnifique though. What's John Cameron Mitchell going to do next? He's been awful quiet since.

Anonymous said...

I adored Kinky Boots. Sorry. I wasn't over-thinking the drag queen ideology whilst I was watching it though; I just let it entertain the bejeezus out of me.

Ditto on the Joel Edgerton "Secret Life" praise too. He was terrific in that.



on the john cameron mitchell tip. he's been working on Short Bus forever. It's an explicit polysexual ensemble film and I keep hearing that it's nearly finished. we'll see if he can get it in theaters though.

Glenn Dunks said...

Wow, I didn't actually expect people to have seen "The Secret Life of Us". Especially non-Australians like Tim.

I liked The Hard Word mostly. That bit with Rachel Griffith's vagina wasn't very nice though. :)

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