The show simultaneously embraces capitalism and activism at once. Queens are both encouraged to build their own brands, while also engaging with the ostracism and trauma they have faced from their families and wider society. A tragicomedy ensues, in which persecuted queer men are made to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get on with whatever bizarre task to promote their brand is in front of them.
Twelve economy size cans of Aqua Net or White Rain hairspray and a book of matches from Chasen’s. Not only will the hairspray keep your big drag queen hair safe from falling debris, but it will also double as a lethal weapon when teamed with a lit match, and you may very well need to fend off kinky, horny husbands who can’t find their wives in the rubble.
I felt like an outsider because I wanted to be a part of that group but I couldn’t afford it. I couldn’t go to Biarritz, I couldn’t go to Gstaad, I couldn’t go to St. Barts or to the places where rich people go to have fabulous luncheons and dinners, but I could afford to buy some cheap taffeta and make a ball gown and go to the clubs where those people went, and walk into them like I owned them.
The high heel race is a curious phenomenon that has emerged in the last ten years as a popular fund-raising activity. The events require competitors, women (and sometimes men as well), to strap themselves into a pair of stilettos for a 100m sprint across a finish line.
Desire. Intention. Ambition. If fashion has long been the crowning companion of the wealthy, it can also be a powerful accomplice to the disadvantaged through its sense of play and artifice. Assuming a persona can be empowering, and manipulating it adds to the irony. So what happens when the disaffected communities of New York take their dreams to the ballroom?