The Culture Hustler

Musing for modern minds.

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

Part 1: Parody, Realness, and Tales From the First Drag Con

Earlier this month Rupaul’s Drag Con descended upon the Los Angeles Convention Center for the “first drag convention in herstory.”  As a dedicated dress scholar and fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I honored my intellectual responsibilities and purchased a $50 pass for the two day event, held May 16th and 17th.  I planned to engage in serious “deep hanging out” and visit the booths, meet the queens, talk with fans, and attend panels, which had names like “Face, Face, Face: How to Beat That Mug to Perfection.”  As this is the first known drag convention, I wasn’t sur

#HelloKittyGirl

Only days after posting my museum exhibition review of Hello!  Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty, everyone’s favorite poor little rich kitty appeared on episode 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, season 7.  “Hello Kitty Girls!” includes not only a guest appearance by Hello Kitty but also loads of products for contestants to re-work in creating their Runway Eleganza looks.  Before announcing the show’s special guest, Mother Ru advises:

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