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Drag celebrates the fabulous current and historical influence of drag, and its talented and inspiring performers. Since man first walked the Earth...in heels, no other art form has wielded as unique an influence on pop culture as Drag. Drag artists have now sashayed their way to snatch the crowns as the Queens of mainstream entertainment. Through informative and witty essays Drag celebrates the fabulous current and historical influence of drag, and its talented and inspiring performers. Since man first walked the Earth...in heels, no other art form has wielded as unique an influence on pop culture as Drag. Drag artists have now sashayed their way to snatch the crowns as the Queens of mainstream entertainment. Through informative and witty essays chronicling over 100 years of drag, readers will embark on a Priscilla-like journey through pop culture, from television shows like The Milton Berle Show, Bosom Buddies, and RuPaul's Drag Race, films like Some Like It Hot, To Wong Foo..., and Tootsie, and Broadway shows like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, La Cage aux Folles, and Kinky Boots. With stops in cities around the globe, and packed with interviews and commentaries on the dramas, joys, and love that make-up a life in wigs and heels, Drag features contributions from today's most groundbreaking and popular artists, including Bianca del Rio, Miss Coco Peru, Hedda Lettuce, Lypsinka, and Varla Jean Merman, as well as notable performers as Harvey Fierstein and Charles Busch. It includes more than 100 photos--many from performers' personal collections, and a comprehensive timeline of drag herstory.


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Drag celebrates the fabulous current and historical influence of drag, and its talented and inspiring performers. Since man first walked the Earth...in heels, no other art form has wielded as unique an influence on pop culture as Drag. Drag artists have now sashayed their way to snatch the crowns as the Queens of mainstream entertainment. Through informative and witty essays Drag celebrates the fabulous current and historical influence of drag, and its talented and inspiring performers. Since man first walked the Earth...in heels, no other art form has wielded as unique an influence on pop culture as Drag. Drag artists have now sashayed their way to snatch the crowns as the Queens of mainstream entertainment. Through informative and witty essays chronicling over 100 years of drag, readers will embark on a Priscilla-like journey through pop culture, from television shows like The Milton Berle Show, Bosom Buddies, and RuPaul's Drag Race, films like Some Like It Hot, To Wong Foo..., and Tootsie, and Broadway shows like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, La Cage aux Folles, and Kinky Boots. With stops in cities around the globe, and packed with interviews and commentaries on the dramas, joys, and love that make-up a life in wigs and heels, Drag features contributions from today's most groundbreaking and popular artists, including Bianca del Rio, Miss Coco Peru, Hedda Lettuce, Lypsinka, and Varla Jean Merman, as well as notable performers as Harvey Fierstein and Charles Busch. It includes more than 100 photos--many from performers' personal collections, and a comprehensive timeline of drag herstory.

30 review for Drag: Combing Through the Big Wigs of Show Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Siona St Mark

    A great resource that talks about queer (mainly drag) history in America. Lots of references to drag queens that don’t get talked about a lot anymore than deserve some credit. Gonna have a lot to look up and follow up on.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    My cat-sitter is a drag queen, although he hates that title - "drag artist" is the preferred wording. And he is a phenomenal artist. Since he appears on the back cover, as well as in an interview and elsewhere in the book, I had to get it. The author calls it an encyclopedia of drag, and while it's not that exhaustive, it is a fun book to flip through. What I most love about the drag world is the raging, raunchy humor, which you get the instant you open the book and look at the endpapers, covere My cat-sitter is a drag queen, although he hates that title - "drag artist" is the preferred wording. And he is a phenomenal artist. Since he appears on the back cover, as well as in an interview and elsewhere in the book, I had to get it. The author calls it an encyclopedia of drag, and while it's not that exhaustive, it is a fun book to flip through. What I most love about the drag world is the raging, raunchy humor, which you get the instant you open the book and look at the endpapers, covered with drag names: Flotilla DeBarge; Hedda Gobbler; Scarlett Letters; Emma Roid; Karen from Finance; Ida Slapter; Chi Chi La Rue; Shanda Lear.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This coffee table book is gorgeous to look at and hilariously written. Lately, drag has become mainstream popular, but not everyone knows a lot about the non-Drag Race queens. It's great to read so much historical context -- I didn't realize that Tupperware Queens were a thing, for instance. The "big wigs" are profiled and plenty of fab photos abound, and I'd recommend this regardless of if you are new to drag fandom or if you've been into it since the early days of Darcelle XV (the titleholder This coffee table book is gorgeous to look at and hilariously written. Lately, drag has become mainstream popular, but not everyone knows a lot about the non-Drag Race queens. It's great to read so much historical context -- I didn't realize that Tupperware Queens were a thing, for instance. The "big wigs" are profiled and plenty of fab photos abound, and I'd recommend this regardless of if you are new to drag fandom or if you've been into it since the early days of Darcelle XV (the titleholder of World's Oldest Performing Drag Queen, according to the 2016 Guinness Book of World Records).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Davina

    Loved this book! I thought I knew a fair amount about the history of drag, but there were so many things I learned from this collection of biographies and articles. The oddest, most surprising thing was that there is a group of drag queens that earnestly make a great living selling Tupperware. Who knew!?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    Pretty thorough dive into drag

  6. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Coakley

    I want to say a lot about this book. For now, I can say this: Queer history has far too often been buried, so I'm grateful for works like this that chronicle parts of queer culture. With that in mind, I wish DeCaro would have actually focused on *queer* culture. The operative definition of drag in this anthology is "men dressing up as women," which means a lot of space is given to talk about straight men cross-dressing in stage productions or on TV, and not a lot of space is given to the politic I want to say a lot about this book. For now, I can say this: Queer history has far too often been buried, so I'm grateful for works like this that chronicle parts of queer culture. With that in mind, I wish DeCaro would have actually focused on *queer* culture. The operative definition of drag in this anthology is "men dressing up as women," which means a lot of space is given to talk about straight men cross-dressing in stage productions or on TV, and not a lot of space is given to the political movement of the 60s and 70s, to the club kid scene, ballroom culture, and other subcultures that gave rise to modern drag. DeCaro seems sold on the idea that drag is entertaining because audiences find cross-dressing novel. He doesn't give a lot of space to talk about the political and community-building nature of genderf*ck performance art, or how trans and gender-non-conforming folks have made drag what it is. In the first half of the book, many of the public figures he chronicles - in their own words! - don't even identify as drag queens, but as actors who happen to cross-dress for certain roles. Modern drag certainly owes itself in part to this tradition of cross-dressing entertainment, but it *also* owes itself to the underground queer community of our past. This book is an important addition to the library of queer history, but because it is titled "Drag" and not "Cross-Dressing for Entertainment," it's really only telling half the story it claims to tell.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kerri Turner

    A very interesting and informative book on the history, as well as a look at the modern-day art, of drag. I particularly loved the section on musical theatre, and learning about Tupperware drag queens. And the selection of interviews was enjoyably wide-ranging. There was one small mistake in the section on RuPaul’s Drag Race (the C in the acronym is Charisma, not Creativity), and I do wish they’d delved a little deeper into why drag kings aren’t as mainstream in comedic drag history instead of wr A very interesting and informative book on the history, as well as a look at the modern-day art, of drag. I particularly loved the section on musical theatre, and learning about Tupperware drag queens. And the selection of interviews was enjoyably wide-ranging. There was one small mistake in the section on RuPaul’s Drag Race (the C in the acronym is Charisma, not Creativity), and I do wish they’d delved a little deeper into why drag kings aren’t as mainstream in comedic drag history instead of writing it off as ‘because women in men’s clothes are sexy, whereas men in women’s clothes are funny’. There’s a whole lot of discussion and literature about traditionally female things being considered lesser and male things being considered more valuable or admirable, and this is never touched on as a reason why historically people might have found the very notion of men in female garments funny. There’s so much ground to be covered in the history of drag though, so it’s not surprising one book can’t do it all. And what is there is enlightening, celebratory and very educational!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Crupper

    I’m rather less than impressed by the author’s dismissal of transgender drag artists. Yes, they are included, but are always referred to as such with the term “transsexual” like in the sentence, “...the film served as inspiration for the hit FX TV series Pose starring Tony Award-winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots) and a bevy of transsexual actresses.” The author sure does respectfully feature trans women like the Lady Chablis, but the general framing of the book came off like a cis gay retelling o I’m rather less than impressed by the author’s dismissal of transgender drag artists. Yes, they are included, but are always referred to as such with the term “transsexual” like in the sentence, “...the film served as inspiration for the hit FX TV series Pose starring Tony Award-winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots) and a bevy of transsexual actresses.” The author sure does respectfully feature trans women like the Lady Chablis, but the general framing of the book came off like a cis gay retelling of drag history and left a question mark over the question of whether they thought trans (or cis) women could in fact be serious mentions in the world of drag. Drag kings are almost entirely forgotten, save for a last minute mention of Murray Hill... There is, however, a plethora of good information, and I certainly learned more about local legendary mainstays and the connection between drag and Tupperware. It is worth a read (in many senses of the word).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carla Y

    This book is a whistle-stop tour of the must know who’s who of drag and is absolutely fabulous. I loved it. It is possibly the first book I’ve listened to that I wish I’d read in print though just because I would have loved to have seen the imagery that went with it! I hear the photos are fantastic! It’s a quick, funny and also fascinating read, despite there only being a short amount spent on each Queen. There’s lots of names I did and didn’t recognise but it didn’t matter at all. Each had thei This book is a whistle-stop tour of the must know who’s who of drag and is absolutely fabulous. I loved it. It is possibly the first book I’ve listened to that I wish I’d read in print though just because I would have loved to have seen the imagery that went with it! I hear the photos are fantastic! It’s a quick, funny and also fascinating read, despite there only being a short amount spent on each Queen. There’s lots of names I did and didn’t recognise but it didn’t matter at all. Each had their own story to tell, which was wonderful. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who has a remote interest in drag. Or even those who don’t. So basically I’d recommend it to everyone!! Brilliant book so a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5 for me!

  10. 5 out of 5

    flaams

    Casually run across this and immediately loved, adored it! Before RuPaul became the Beyoncé of Drag, before she created a reality tvshow, before she was even born Drags were already all over American show biz panorama. This was an incredibly exuberant journey, I quite enjoyed delving in their lives and finding out their inspiring stories; I couldn't help but shedding a couple of tear at all of them, bowling at some, laughing hard at all of them... I was amazed by the Drag Kings section, though Casually run across this and immediately loved, adored it! Before RuPaul became the Beyoncé of Drag, before she created a reality tvshow, before she was even born Drags were already all over American show biz panorama. This was an incredibly exuberant journey, I quite enjoyed delving in their lives and finding out their inspiring stories; I couldn't help but shedding a couple of tear at all of them, bowling at some, laughing hard at all of them... I was amazed by the Drag Kings section, though pretty small, still as entertaining as the previous chapters. Thank you RuPaul and Valentina. Thank youn Chico's Angels and all the others! This was an incredibly useful way to tackle my reading slump.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gelo Arucan

    My exposure to drag began when we discussed Shakespeare in school (Year 2004). Hearing about guys DRessed As Girls (DRAG!) really made me curious. Since then, I've practically seen every movie that had drag queens and probably watched every documentary. However, I haven't seen a book that really tackled drag herstory--up to now! Drag by Frank DeCaro is THE encyclopedia of drag! It really discussed how drag started and features so many drag legends. I'm glad that it showcased so many underrated dr My exposure to drag began when we discussed Shakespeare in school (Year 2004). Hearing about guys DRessed As Girls (DRAG!) really made me curious. Since then, I've practically seen every movie that had drag queens and probably watched every documentary. However, I haven't seen a book that really tackled drag herstory--up to now! Drag by Frank DeCaro is THE encyclopedia of drag! It really discussed how drag started and features so many drag legends. I'm glad that it showcased so many underrated drag queens and not just queens from RuPaul's Drag Race. I really learned a lot of drag herstory from this book! A must-have for any drag fan!

  12. 4 out of 5

    A

    What an amazing celebration of Drag this book has been! It really captures the history of drag from the earliest/most famous recorded instances of drag to drag in present day. So detailed and entertaining. My only complaints are that there isn't an index, and that not all of those featured get a full page photo spread! Hopefully there'll be an updated edition with more photos and the evolution of drag since the book was first published! I also listened to the audiobook version by Frank DeCaro an What an amazing celebration of Drag this book has been! It really captures the history of drag from the earliest/most famous recorded instances of drag to drag in present day. So detailed and entertaining. My only complaints are that there isn't an index, and that not all of those featured get a full page photo spread! Hopefully there'll be an updated edition with more photos and the evolution of drag since the book was first published! I also listened to the audiobook version by Frank DeCaro and Lady Bunny. Never a dull moment! I love this book so much 😍

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carina

    Great compilation of drag from its start to the present time. The audio book makes it hard for me to remember which drag queen is currently discussed, I will definitely come back to this multiple times re-reading single chapters. Calling it an encyclopedia is maybe a bit far fatched. Narrative by Lady bunny is fine, I wish she would have brought some of her personality into it, then it would have been hilarious.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    A fun read for those who love all things drag. If you aren't deep into drag culture already, this might be a bit dry. The interviews with a good variety of queens were interesting. I also appreciated the early history of drag. A fun read for those who love all things drag. If you aren't deep into drag culture already, this might be a bit dry. The interviews with a good variety of queens were interesting. I also appreciated the early history of drag.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    I happened to catch the author when he moderated a local panel of drag king/queens while promoting the book. Nicely done. Of course it includes our local celeb Miss Richfield 1981, who was also on the panel.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    If you love drag queens you will love this book. It discusses all the drag queens through the ages. It really is a good book and has awesome pictures. It was an easy and relaxing read. I truly enjoyed it, but then again I love drag queens.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rosie Lee

    Great fun to listen to on audio - if you’re a newbie drag fan this is a decent place to start.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cynyth

    A rich and fascinating herstory of Drag. Loved it!

  19. 5 out of 5

    SJ

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Linz

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karla

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy

  27. 4 out of 5

    John M.

  28. 5 out of 5

    David

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda Klein

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

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