on saturday evening, i threw a drag themed belated birthday party at my house entitled "winter's a drag." i'm really trying to start this winter off on a good note, and face it with positive energy instead of "wah wah it's cold and winter and long and dead" attitude that i normally have. warm boots, good coats, nice hats, and most of all, affection from friends. movie watching, activist organizing, dance parties and warming our bodies with the wonderful exilir known as booze. i did all of the above this weekend, but the highlight by far was doing drag with some of my great friends. for many of them, it was their first time doing drag! i was very impressed.
the inspiration for my ensemble was my very favourite silent film chap, buster keaton. i threw my outfit together thanks to the thrift store i work at and some old suspenders i had never gotten around to wearing. so while i was looking at this picture for inspiration, i was trying to tuck my hair under hat to pass for a short haired chap. this has never, ever been a problem for me doing drag before, as i've always had a bob at longest or short hair. frustrated, i take all the bobby pins out and let my hair fall.
as i look in the mirror, my jaw drops.
i'm sam from benny and joon!
i'm sam from benny and joon!
which, if you've never seen the film, is ironic in itself since sam (johnny depp's character in the film) is an eccentric young man who models himself after buster keaton! so i decide to roll with it, even if it means i look more like a woman dressed as a man that as a full-fledged drag king.
but my friends, on the other hand! they were impressive. here we have aj, inspired by aj from the backstreet boys of course, but also a dash of justin timberlake a la "dick in a box."
yeah, you can totally see it, can't you?
it was a really lovely night and i feel pretty lucky to know all these great people.
this was the 6th or 7th time i've done full-on drag. the last time was in toronto, just before i moved to québec city, at the wonderful COLOUR ME DRAGG. it was a really wonderful event to showcase qpoc performers and i think it has been redone since! i tried to go as a greaser type character but it didn't really work out. i think my friend morgan has better photos but for the time being:
i'm the one with the beer in my hand and the other one covering my mouth, scandalized!
i helped organize and participated in drag shows in peterborough, ontario, and aside from my very first one, always went with my queer friends. on saturday, in québec city, i'm pretty sure nearly everyone at the party identified as straight, which made for an interesting atmosphere in itself. at first it was really hard adjusting to having left the queer communities i had found and felt at home in in ontario, but now that i feel comfortable enough with a lot of my newer friends i feel like i can do things like throw a drag party and everyone will have a great time.
there are a lot of ideas i'd like to unpack about drag; namely, this idea of feeling "at home" in a certain kind of clothing. there were a lot of discussions around ideas of comfort, like "i feel comfortable wearing a dress, but not makeup" or "sure, i'll put makeup on, but there's no way i'm putting on a dress." anne-marie, who dressed as a holly golightly inspired drag queen, wasn't even comfortable walking half a block in the hat and heels she was wearing. two female friends who took a cab to my house were called "monsieur" by the cab driver and corrected him, and we talked a bit about if we would feel "comfortable" walking around late on a saturday night in drag. where does the line between comfort and safety blur? or are they parallel lines that simply follow the same path?
we all have our own ideas of our personal sense of style and how we want to present ourselves, but when it comes to gender bending we have to confront ourselves with questions of our own choices and influences. why do we feel more comfortable in item x, and incredibly uncomfortable in item y? what wouldn't we ever wear, and why? is it our own embodied comfort, the actual physicality of it, or is it how we think others might see, or read us? and of course, is it simply a combination of both.
clearly i haven't quite fleshed out these ideas yet, but they are occupying my mind and i think the more i do drag the more i'll work them out.
i'd really like to start using flickr again, but i don't have a paid account. but feel free to add me as a contact, as with any luck i will be rolling in the dough soon. see all the photos from the set here.
last but not least, i recently made a mix of the songs i couldn't stop listening to in 2009. click here to download it if you'd like to hear it! i've shared it everywhere else, so why not here?
thanks for reading!