The Culture Hustler

Musing for modern minds.

Cultural Heritage, Art, and the 21st Century Exhibition

LA Times art critic, Christopher Knight, recently descried the increasing nationwide commercialization of museums.  At issue in the examples he cited were real or perceived conflicts of interest.  For example, in February the Princeton University Art Museum hired the curator John Elderfield.  As a Princeton curator, Elderfield continues to be a consultant for the for-profit Gagosian Gallery.  To queries about potential conflicts of interest, in

See you in September!

Currently on hiatus until late September.

Thank you for checking in and please return this fall to read the latest musings on dress culture and museums.

Review of Costume by Pravina Shukla

Costume: Performing Identities through Dress (Indiana University Press, 2015) by Pravina Shukla Associate Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University Bloomington, examines context-specific costume from around the globe.  Regular Culture Hustler readers will recall that Pravina Shukla refers to dress generally as body art.  In Costume she addresses the dress sub-category of costume.  The book is divided into six chapters: “1 - Festive Spirit,” “2

What is Glamour? (part 2 of 2)

In part 1 of “What is Glamour?” I said glamour is characterized by aloofness and distance in performance.  Yet there is more to glamour than being removed from one’s audience.  Generating a measure of mystery and inspiring interest also characterize glamour.  Further, all of this must be balanced with the appropriate appearance.  There is no fixed visual lexicon for what constitutes the right appearance yet one can expect heightened theatricality, originality, attention to details, and polish.

What is Glamour? (part 1 of 2)

I’ve written a great deal about drag queens and used the term “drag” primarily to refer to men who cross dress as women in a highly theatrical fashion.  In the past I have also used “drag” to refer to any sort of identifiable social category achieved through dress and performance.  In short, I use the term loosely and do not object, for example, when Michelle Visage describes herself as a drag queen. 

Yet what of drag kings? 

Part 6: Parody, Realness, and Tales from the First Drag Con

Drag Con’s one overtly religious session was the Sunday service, which began at 11:30 and was led by Christ Chapel of the Valley featuring the Selah Gospel Choir.  It was still going strong when I left “Women Who Love Drag” so I decided to poke my head in.  “Can I Get An Amen?” was sparsely attended and seemed that much more bleak for being held in the largest session hall.  Though the amplified gospel music was a siren call for the curious, passersby paused only momentarily in the open doorways and then wandered off.  That Paris is Burning (Saturday 3pm) and the Sunday service wer

Part 5: Parody, Realness, and Tales from the First Drag Con

By day 2 of Drag Con I was feeling up to the task of meeting queens and exploring the exhibition hall.  The first order of business, however, was to drop into the 10am session, “Face, Face, Face: How to Beat That Mug to Perfection.”  The panelists included queens Tatianna and Trixie Mattel along with makeup artist Kevin James Bennett.  As someone who wears as little makeup as possible, I was curious to learn what sort of advice the panelists would offer.  The room was ¾ full with about 100 in attendance—a good turnout considering that the same panel had been held the previous day. 

Part 4: Parody, Realness, and Tales from the First Drag Con

Late Saturday afternoon found me bleary eyed and dumbly stumbling upon a photo opportunity with RuPaul (out of drag).  The professionally photographed event was not cheap but I figured, anything for Ru-search, right?

Part 3: Parody, Realness, and Tales from the First Drag Con

Shyness in the company of queens is real.  One way to combat such Drag Con anxiety is to take a seat in the audience for live tapings of “Wait a Minute" with TS Madison and “Alyssa’s Secret,” held consecutively on the first day of Drag Con. 

Part 2: Parody, Realness, and Tales from the First Drag Con

Signs direct fans to the convention
Convention goers avoid confusion by following the pink signs

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