After Saturday night's Guelph Pride event -- which I STILL need to write about -- I started thinking that getting back into drag shows might be fun. I stopped regularly going to shows for a lot of reasons, mainly to avoid the politics, the hassle of preparation, the endless waiting for the next number, the personal insecurity, and the sadness of dealing with occasional damaged people. Not to mention feeling like crap at my job the next day.
Tonight I wanted to see some of the Miss Tri-Pride pageant, and it was also a bit of a test to see if I could get back into Thursday night drag shows without suffering too much the next day. I saw four excellent performers, all with different styles, all whom I feel a great deal of affection for. I watched the well-known phenomenon of a crowd simply not responding in an obvious way to a great performance, which gives me cold chills and makes me start viewing all human beings -- myself included -- as a bunch of Skinner rats in an inbred social experiment that I prefer not to be a part of.
But I also see love, and creativity, and continuity, which I tend not to notice when I'm actually PART of an all-night open drag show. The good stuff is there, but I'm too busy worrying about costume changes and alcohol intake and blood sugar to just relax and have fun. Not to mention that, sometimes, when I have "fun" I become socially disconnected and relate to other people in confusing ways.
My boiled-down generalized point is that -- as always -- there are reasons for and against doing drag. I see a lot of happy things and a lot of sad things, and I also see the best and worst of myself, and the best and worst of the other performers and the audience. I'm struck by the extremely complex, multi-layered social event that is a drag show: competition, comeraderie, sexual attraction, gender confusion, insecurity, stupidity, creativity, viciousness, misunderstandings, jealousy, favouritism, booze & drugs, energy, adulation, honesty & fakery, fakery, fakery.
Do drag kings have it easier? I'm curious. How about strippers? Cage dancers? Karaoke queens?