A course in drag HerStory, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Its Impact, is currently being taught by noted drag historian, Joe E. Jeffreys at The New School in NYC. As I posted before, in addition to the history of drag it will feature guest speakers. Well, guess who just dropped by for a surprise visit…
Professor Jeffreys tells it,
“This was a total surprise for the students and they were gagged. I advised them to meet in an alternate location that day for class but they had no idea what was going to happen. After class started I told them there were some people there that would like to meet them and out paraded from a side door all 15 contestants from the upcoming RPDR season 11. Pandemonium broke out.
After things calmed down we gathered around and the contestants were so open and generous answering the students’ questions. Topics covered included what was the biggest surprise so far being part of the RPDR universe, how many of them had been in drag pageants and how working on RPDR was like preparing for a pageant and tips for performing a lipsynch. In our class readings about reality TV authenticity is dissected as an important factor of the genre and the contestants addressed this issue with great insight. It was kind of like some sort of advanced Drag Queen Story Hour.
The queens, in turn, were curious what we were doing in the course. We told them about viewing The Queen with Flawless Sabrina paving the way for us all being there today and Paris is Burning. We see Wigtsock: The Movie this week and Linda Simpson is coming in next week to share The Drag Explosion slide presentation. We start reading some serious academic writing about RPDR soon found in two essay anthologies on the subject– editor Jim Daems‘ The Makeup of RuPaul’s Drag Race and editors Niall Brennan and David Gudelunas‘ RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Visibility of Drag Culture.
I am so grateful to all the contestants, everyone at Viacom, World of Wonder, MPRM and The New School for working together to make this happen. The experience was very special for the 20 students and it ruled. Quietly sneaking 15 drag queens in full glory into the busy student center was like bringing the circus to town but totally undercover.“
Check out the pics of the pandemonium and schooling by Ves Pitts below.