The drag race: fashion finishes first

Print On the night of April 1, G3 had The Alley Theater's stage set, ready to receive performers from all avenues of the entertainment universe. I, however, was there seeking particular inspiration. As a part of my work on Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I've been taking in the local drag culture. For those not in 'the know', drag shows are performances (usually musical) by men dressed as women, or vice-versa.

The amount of preparation that goes into portraying the opposite sex, whether in an entertaining or convincing way (or both!) is a thing to behold. These ladies spend countless hours perfecting their makeup techniques, their dance moves, and – let's not forget – the fashion! Very often, the costumes are hand-made by the performers themselves, and are possibly the most striking visual aspect of the show.

I was fortunate enough to catch Felicia D. Knight before her performance, and ask her a few questions about what inspires her style. Like many in the drag culture, Felicia draws on classic diva-types; On this particular evening, the look was Lady Gaga. Clad in a gold-lamé mini dress and sweeping black chiffon scarves, Felicia accented her look with a black waist-cincher, flowing blonde wig, and mirrors adorning her face.  

Unlike many drag performers, though, Felicia also searches the dark side; she draws inspiration from shock-rockers like Marilyn Manson and the radical theatrics of famed punk singer Wendy O. Williams, dreaming of taking a chainsaw to several TV sets on stage. But, even with the incredible showmanship of these performances, in the end the clothes really do make the woman.

For more insight into the work of our largely un-sung local drag-fashionistas, check out Down & Derby this May, benefiting WINGS and the Louisville AIDS Walk. Guests include Victoria 'Porkchop' Parker, of Ru Paul's Drag Race. You can also catch one of the weekly shows hosted by The Connection (120 South Floyd Street) or Tink's Pub (2235 South Preston Street ). 

You also may enjoy: The Alley Theater is back with a vengeance

Photo: Rachel French
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