Legends of Drag: Queens of a Certain Age features 80+ pioneers who have shantayed –and stayed!– for decades dahling!
Created by performing artist Harry James Hanson and writer Devin Antheus, the hardcover book includes portraits and pearls of wisdom from these legendary entertainers with a preface by Miss J and a foreword by Sasha Velour.
The project began as a feature on vogue.com in 2019, Legends of San Francisco, which, according to Hanson and Antheus, was inspired by a performance of the Hot Boxxx Girls — in which veteran queens give lessons in shade at the historic Aunt Charlie’s Lounge in San Francisco. The “overwhelmingly positive” response led to the book, just out on June 21, plus a 16-city tour.
Each portrait is a collaboration between artists and model, who together select the location, styling, and blossoms. The floral elements are a unique touch that links these wildly different artists.
Hanson and Antheus say there is a lot for the younger generation to learn.
We [strove] to record and share many lessons from the legends
but one of the most consistent refrains from the girls has been a desire for the younger generations to study the history of the art form: the role of queens in the riots that kicked off the queer and trans liberation movements, [such as] Stonewall, Compton’s Cafeteria, Cooper Do-nuts.
We hope the book piques interest in the many revolutionary groups and traditions of which our models have been members and participants: the Gay Liberation Front, Queer Nation, Act Up, the Cockettes, the Radical Faeries, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
We discovered that drag, though impossible to strictly define and comprised of distinct lineages, is a longstanding tradition of joyous survival
We learned that queens, especially those who carry the stories of drag’s underground roots, are among the most resilient creatures in existence.”
A selection of the portraits are also on display at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in Downtown Milwaukee through August 21, 2022.
You can get a copy Legends of Drag on Amazon at Abrams Books or at your local bookshop.
(Photo, Harry James Hanson & Devin Antheus; via Out)