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The Art of Drag

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Before RuPaul’s Drag Race propelled the cultural phenomenon into the global spotlight, drag had been around for thousands of years. Immerse yourself in the rich history of drag in this lusciously illustrated guide. The history of drag has been formed by many intersections: fashion, theatre, sexuality and politics—all coming together to create the show stopping entertainment Before RuPaul’s Drag Race propelled the cultural phenomenon into the global spotlight, drag had been around for thousands of years. Immerse yourself in the rich history of drag in this lusciously illustrated guide. The history of drag has been formed by many intersections: fashion, theatre, sexuality and politics—all coming together to create the show stopping entertainment millions witness today. In this extensive work, Jake Hall delves deep into the ancient beginnings of drag, to present day and beyond. Vibrant illustrations enhance the rich history from Kabuki theatre to Shakespearean, the revolutionary Stonewall riots to the still thriving New York ballroom scene. Nothing will go undocumented in this must-have documentation of all things drag.


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Before RuPaul’s Drag Race propelled the cultural phenomenon into the global spotlight, drag had been around for thousands of years. Immerse yourself in the rich history of drag in this lusciously illustrated guide. The history of drag has been formed by many intersections: fashion, theatre, sexuality and politics—all coming together to create the show stopping entertainment Before RuPaul’s Drag Race propelled the cultural phenomenon into the global spotlight, drag had been around for thousands of years. Immerse yourself in the rich history of drag in this lusciously illustrated guide. The history of drag has been formed by many intersections: fashion, theatre, sexuality and politics—all coming together to create the show stopping entertainment millions witness today. In this extensive work, Jake Hall delves deep into the ancient beginnings of drag, to present day and beyond. Vibrant illustrations enhance the rich history from Kabuki theatre to Shakespearean, the revolutionary Stonewall riots to the still thriving New York ballroom scene. Nothing will go undocumented in this must-have documentation of all things drag.

30 review for The Art of Drag

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    This was a really fun book! Not only are the illustrations super cute and bold and bright, but the writing also goes into the history and inspirations of drag, giving this a little more depth than a coffee table book. Although most of the content is Western, there were Eastern traditions included too (Kabuki theater, Kathakali dancers, Thailand's Miss Tiffany Universe, etc). I know nothing about drag history, and I spent a lot of time putting the book down and looking up the names, events, and m This was a really fun book! Not only are the illustrations super cute and bold and bright, but the writing also goes into the history and inspirations of drag, giving this a little more depth than a coffee table book. Although most of the content is Western, there were Eastern traditions included too (Kabuki theater, Kathakali dancers, Thailand's Miss Tiffany Universe, etc). I know nothing about drag history, and I spent a lot of time putting the book down and looking up the names, events, and movies mentioned. I love how the book also touches upon drag kings and genderqueer performs, and features so many women and people of color. I also love seeing the ties between drag and queer liberation history. This left me with a greater appreciation for drag culture and its impact! There's definitely a Western/American focus, but other traditions are included as well from Kabuki theater, Peking opera, the Kathakali dancers (of precolonial India), to Thailand's Miss Tiffany Universe competition and Thai Drag Race.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maia

    A beautifully designed, brightly colored coffee-table style book, informative and very pleasing to the eye! There's definitely a Western/American focus, but other traditions are included as well from Kabuki theater, Peking opera, the Kathakali dancers (of precolonial India), to Thailand's Miss Tiffany Universe competition and Thai Drag Race. Drag queens who have had particular culture impact, such as Divine, RuPaul and Lady Bunny, get features as does the involvement of drag queen in queer liber A beautifully designed, brightly colored coffee-table style book, informative and very pleasing to the eye! There's definitely a Western/American focus, but other traditions are included as well from Kabuki theater, Peking opera, the Kathakali dancers (of precolonial India), to Thailand's Miss Tiffany Universe competition and Thai Drag Race. Drag queens who have had particular culture impact, such as Divine, RuPaul and Lady Bunny, get features as does the involvement of drag queen in queer liberation movements.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    I just love the art of drag so much, it does things for me that nothing else ever will. Discovering the art of drag is what led me to finally feel free enough to be my true, authentic queer self and I will never be able to accurately express how much it means to me because of this. Watching drag made me feel seen, not because of the makeup and dresses but because of the heart warming, behind the scenes stories that the queens shared. Hearing their coming out stories made me feel like I could ope I just love the art of drag so much, it does things for me that nothing else ever will. Discovering the art of drag is what led me to finally feel free enough to be my true, authentic queer self and I will never be able to accurately express how much it means to me because of this. Watching drag made me feel seen, not because of the makeup and dresses but because of the heart warming, behind the scenes stories that the queens shared. Hearing their coming out stories made me feel like I could open up about my truth. Not only did it change my life in that incredible way but it also just made my life so much more beautiful. Drag is such an art form, from the makeup to the costumes to the choreography to the acting and everything else you could possibly imagine. Drag performers can truly do it ALL with unparalleled skill and that will never fail to awe me. This book is such a beautiful representation of the history of drag and it’s evolution over the years into what it’s become today. I loved getting to know more of the history of the art form I’ve come to love so much and this little dip only made me want to learn more. Queer or straight, drag is for everyone and I highly recommend this beautiful book no matter which spectrum you fall under!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    The artwork alone deserves a 5. This book educated me. I had to stop many times to google / YouTube…

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kazen

    The Art of Drag is pure joy, written and illustrated by queer folx. It's a book for the community, by the community that left a smile plastered on my face. The good: - It's an inclusive and all-encompassing look at drag from its history to the future of the art form. I especially love that we get to see drag from many parts of the world, including Eastern traditions such as kabuki and Takarazuka from Japan. - Artists of color and those that fall outside the drag queen mold are highlighted, includin The Art of Drag is pure joy, written and illustrated by queer folx. It's a book for the community, by the community that left a smile plastered on my face. The good: - It's an inclusive and all-encompassing look at drag from its history to the future of the art form. I especially love that we get to see drag from many parts of the world, including Eastern traditions such as kabuki and Takarazuka from Japan. - Artists of color and those that fall outside the drag queen mold are highlighted, including drag kings as well as androgynous and genderqueer performers. - The art style on the front is the entire book - bright colors, impactful spreads. Each chapter is done by a single artist and while their styles differ the cohesive color palette means everything hangs together. - Theoretically it's a one sitting book, but if you're like me you'll end up down delightful YouTube rabbit holes, watching Marlene Dietrich in classic movie scenes and performances by Lypsinka. The not-good-for-me: - This falls into the realm of personal taste, but I didn't gel with one of the artists. The faces were so exaggerated I wondered if x person really looked like that. I learned so much and delighted in every part of Art of Drag. If you have any interest in drag or queer culture this is an easy recommend. If you'd like to hear gushing right after I read it check out my February Wrap Up Part 1 on YouTube. Thanks to Nobrow Books for providing an advance copy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brionny Fox

    This book is beautiful. So much so, that it almost didn’t really matter what was written in it. I did learn about a few drag pioneers that I’d not heard of before, but let’s be honest, this coffee table book is all about the illustrations. In particular the cover artist Helen Li and her chapters on ‘Art of Freak’ and ‘Influence’. Sickening.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kay Russ

    This books is not only a reverent love letter to drag, it’s also an incredible intro to queer, trans, and GNC history. I learned new things and brushed up on some queer basics. The art work is beautiful, cohesive in its loud color palette but thoughtfully unique to each time period/persona portrayed. This is the benefit of multiple artists working together, in my opinion. I read this book out-loud in one sitting to my partner as we enjoyed some Sunday coffee, it was a delightful experience I won This books is not only a reverent love letter to drag, it’s also an incredible intro to queer, trans, and GNC history. I learned new things and brushed up on some queer basics. The art work is beautiful, cohesive in its loud color palette but thoughtfully unique to each time period/persona portrayed. This is the benefit of multiple artists working together, in my opinion. I read this book out-loud in one sitting to my partner as we enjoyed some Sunday coffee, it was a delightful experience I won’t soon forget. This book is meant to be shared, just as our queer history is meant to be shared. As I read, we made a list of all the films/documentaries mentioned and were left with quite the collection to dive into. Thats what this book is, a wonderful jumping off point. It has left me inspired to dive deeper into some corners of queer history I have not yet come to know. Would recommend, makes a great gift. This book is great to pass along to younger queers looking to learn more, or anyone who enjoys an accessible and inclusive approach to history or pop culture.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brittney

    What a great book! Even though this is considered adult nonfiction, it read to me like a nonfiction YA graphic novel because there was so much focus on the art, and I really liked it! I learned a lot about the history of Drag culture, and I had fun googling a lot of the people they talked about. Although it looks a little chunky it is actually a really quick read. Very fun, I recommend! RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO READ ABOUT: LGBTQIA+ culture, history, human rights, art, fashion, pop cult What a great book! Even though this is considered adult nonfiction, it read to me like a nonfiction YA graphic novel because there was so much focus on the art, and I really liked it! I learned a lot about the history of Drag culture, and I had fun googling a lot of the people they talked about. Although it looks a little chunky it is actually a really quick read. Very fun, I recommend! RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO READ ABOUT: LGBTQIA+ culture, history, human rights, art, fashion, pop culture.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    The Art of Drag is bold, colorful, inclusive, and so so much fun. As someone who held a fairly normative picture of drag performances, I thought this was really informative about the progressiveness of drag; some performers creatively subvert gender roles and gender conformity altogether. The authors took care to provide information about drag in other countries and touched on how many art forms helped shape drag.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    beautiful illustrations :') beautiful illustrations :')

  11. 5 out of 5

    Callum McLaughlin

    A thorough and engaging look at drag culture. I love how inclusive this is, showcasing the value of queens, kings, and nonbinary artists alike. It also incorporates drag styles, influences, and performers from across the world and throughout history. While it celebrates the fun and artistry of drag, it also explores the community's strong ties to activism, as well as the artform's intersections with important social issues, including gender expression, homophobia, racism, and transphobia. Gorgeou A thorough and engaging look at drag culture. I love how inclusive this is, showcasing the value of queens, kings, and nonbinary artists alike. It also incorporates drag styles, influences, and performers from across the world and throughout history. While it celebrates the fun and artistry of drag, it also explores the community's strong ties to activism, as well as the artform's intersections with important social issues, including gender expression, homophobia, racism, and transphobia. Gorgeously illustrated throughout, the book itself is suitably joyous and technicolour. The insight and warmth on show make this feel like a must for all queers.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    A wonderful primer on the subject (with bibliography and other mentions of media to further your knowledge) that is gorgeously illustrated. My thoughts about this book are in this wrap up video. A wonderful primer on the subject (with bibliography and other mentions of media to further your knowledge) that is gorgeously illustrated. My thoughts about this book are in this wrap up video.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mags C.

    There’s so much queer history out there that deserves to be not only taught but also celebrated, and The Art of Drag is definitely a celebration. The journey this book takes you on is progressive, accessible, and warmly personable and has something for those familiar with drag and new comers alike. The illustrations that accompany the texts are absolutely beautiful, and the colorful maximalist aesthetic of the art and bright pink pages feels like a luscious, luxurious nod to the magnificent drag There’s so much queer history out there that deserves to be not only taught but also celebrated, and The Art of Drag is definitely a celebration. The journey this book takes you on is progressive, accessible, and warmly personable and has something for those familiar with drag and new comers alike. The illustrations that accompany the texts are absolutely beautiful, and the colorful maximalist aesthetic of the art and bright pink pages feels like a luscious, luxurious nod to the magnificent drag creatures the book expound upon. There is a lot we can learn from drag and carry into our everyday lives that makes existing more free and more joyful, and I appreciate this book for delivering all that liberating goodness into our hands and making me want more. (My partner read this book out loud to me and we made a list of all the movies the book mentions as we went-I highly recommend this method of sharing for optimal experience!!)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I LOVED this! I found this in the bookshop I used to work in and the illustrations caught my eye. This is such a beautifully crafted book and would make a perfect gift and coffee table book. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, it covers quite a diverse history of drag. It is mainly US-centric but it does talk about the history of drag in other countries. I particularly loved the section titled "the future of drag" which focused on a few drag kings and queens and how they are shaping drag I LOVED this! I found this in the bookshop I used to work in and the illustrations caught my eye. This is such a beautifully crafted book and would make a perfect gift and coffee table book. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, it covers quite a diverse history of drag. It is mainly US-centric but it does talk about the history of drag in other countries. I particularly loved the section titled "the future of drag" which focused on a few drag kings and queens and how they are shaping drag and what they want to see in the future. It also has a brilliant bibliography for further viewing and reading which I also loved.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    Stunning!! A beautifully brightly colored, hardback book, chocked full with information and joyful illustrations. With a mostly Western focus, other traditions are included as well from Kabuki theater, Peking opera, the Kathakali dancers, to Thailand's Miss Tiffany Universe competition and Thai Drag Race. With a dash of Pantomime Dames and Drag Comics of the UK, to Drag in Hollywood films. (Mrs Doubtfire) Drag queens who have had particular culture impact, such as Divine, RuPaul and Lady Bunny, get Stunning!! A beautifully brightly colored, hardback book, chocked full with information and joyful illustrations. With a mostly Western focus, other traditions are included as well from Kabuki theater, Peking opera, the Kathakali dancers, to Thailand's Miss Tiffany Universe competition and Thai Drag Race. With a dash of Pantomime Dames and Drag Comics of the UK, to Drag in Hollywood films. (Mrs Doubtfire) Drag queens who have had particular culture impact, such as Divine, RuPaul and Lady Bunny, get features as does the involvement of drag queen in queer liberation movements. This is lovely starting point on the history of Drag, and i am very pleased it has been produced in such an artistic way.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Hennessy

    A phenomenal, vibrant and colourful book covering the history and art of drag. This book is inclusive on many levels, including drag Kings, and the History of drag through non-European cultures. A wonderful first read for LGBTQ+ History month!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Klassen

    Super beautiful, colourful, bold, inspirational book. From the first recorded instances of cross dressing to Shakespearean and kabuki theatre to RuPaul and her many, many children, drag is for EVERYONE.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul Orton

    Pretty western focused, but good initial history and incredible illustrations!!! Quick & fun read :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Schillemore

    Very comprehensive but kind of dry.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Skylis

    loved the artwork in this. wish it had been more critical of Drag Race and RuPaul. descriptions of racist things as "insensitive" also landed poorly. the bibliography was surprisingly short, and an appendix of media mentions for film, music, art etc would have been appropriate to include. but overall, an informative and pleasant read. excited to find more work by the many illustration artists and check out some of the historic media mentioned. loved the artwork in this. wish it had been more critical of Drag Race and RuPaul. descriptions of racist things as "insensitive" also landed poorly. the bibliography was surprisingly short, and an appendix of media mentions for film, music, art etc would have been appropriate to include. but overall, an informative and pleasant read. excited to find more work by the many illustration artists and check out some of the historic media mentioned.

  21. 5 out of 5

    B

    This has to be the best illustrated historical novel I've ever read.I learned so much about the history of Drag in all its many forms. Its diverse history intersects with so many other minorities and I never realised it. The pictures are lush and vibrant too. Each spread is brightly colored and beautiful. Perfectly unique, each image is used to illustrate its descriptive paragraph allowing readers to immerse themselves in history and art. Every page was like an adventure through time The book it This has to be the best illustrated historical novel I've ever read.I learned so much about the history of Drag in all its many forms. Its diverse history intersects with so many other minorities and I never realised it. The pictures are lush and vibrant too. Each spread is brightly colored and beautiful. Perfectly unique, each image is used to illustrate its descriptive paragraph allowing readers to immerse themselves in history and art. Every page was like an adventure through time The book itself becomes a work of art worth of any collector.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ally

    Not only is this book an absolute work of art, it does a great job of covering the fascinating history of drag, performance, and important figures of both past and present who refused to conform to gender boundaries and restrictions. I DEVOURED this book in less than a day and absolutely loved the artistic aesthetic: it was neon eye candy that was as over the top and fabulous as drag itself. Highly recommend as a coffee table book as well as an informed look at drag his(her)story!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura Bone

    That was an entertaining and interesting read. I have come to really enjoy the art of drag, and it was nice to read a book focused on that topic. The book was not super in depth, but rather gave a general outline for drag's history, and focuses on some key influencers. I liked the format, and it gave me some great starting off points for looking further into the history of drag. That was an entertaining and interesting read. I have come to really enjoy the art of drag, and it was nice to read a book focused on that topic. The book was not super in depth, but rather gave a general outline for drag's history, and focuses on some key influencers. I liked the format, and it gave me some great starting off points for looking further into the history of drag.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hayley Dunning

    An uplifting celebration and beautiful history.

  25. 5 out of 5

    that girl who reads

    Drag as a concept has always fascinated me. However, my knowledge of drag comes almost exclusively from watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. This book did such a phenomenal job at exploring the history of drag throughout several cultures as well as its intersections with politics, theatre, music and fashion. The whole design of this book is absolutely stunning! I am obsessed with its vibrant, gorgeous illustrations. I loved the fluorescent pink borders and sprayed pages, the iridescent details on the cov Drag as a concept has always fascinated me. However, my knowledge of drag comes almost exclusively from watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. This book did such a phenomenal job at exploring the history of drag throughout several cultures as well as its intersections with politics, theatre, music and fashion. The whole design of this book is absolutely stunning! I am obsessed with its vibrant, gorgeous illustrations. I loved the fluorescent pink borders and sprayed pages, the iridescent details on the cover and even the exposed binding of the pages is so so cool. I think the illustrations and cover design make it the perfect coffee-table-book to flick through in awe. Jake Hall ambitiously whisks us through such a vast range of topics at such a quick pace. It is a great introduction to drag’s many forms and influences, but definitely goes for breadth over depth. For me, this was exactly what I wanted, but I can see that anyone looking for a more in-depth discussion would be left hungry for more. I absolutely plan to make my way through the lengthy bibliography of documentaries and films to delve further into the sections that captured my interest most. I think that is probably the best way to use this book, like map rather than a completed journey. I think what I loved about this book most is its emphasis that “drag is for everyone”. It was such a brilliant celebration of all genres of drag, not just the commercially successful ones. As a RuPaul fan, it opened my eyes to what even RuPaul’s Drag Race is lacking and emphasised that there is more to drag than Drag Race, which I really liked. Like myself, there are many people who are ignorant about drag despite enjoying it. I think that understanding its roots has made me appreciate it even more as an art form. I particularly celebrated it’s focus on how women and BAME have been just as crucial in pushing drag forwards as white men have. Although gender is obviously discussed, this book goes beyond even that. It is about being human and celebrating self-expression, in whatever form that might take. I think for this reason, this book, and drag itself, really is for everyone. It carries such a powerful and positive message that we can all learn from. We can all apply drag to our own lives, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary you strive to be.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Art of Drag is a semi-graphic novel written by Jake Hall and illustrated by the team of Sofie Birkin, Helen Li, and Jasjyot Singh Hans. This stylish coffee-table/conversation piece illuminates the history of drag from its ancient roots in mime and traditional theater to the present day. This graphic novel covers such subjects as the all-male casts of Shakespeare plays, Kabuki Theater and the Peking Opera, the Kathakali dancers of pre-colonial India, and the Köçek, and young male dancers of th The Art of Drag is a semi-graphic novel written by Jake Hall and illustrated by the team of Sofie Birkin, Helen Li, and Jasjyot Singh Hans. This stylish coffee-table/conversation piece illuminates the history of drag from its ancient roots in mime and traditional theater to the present day. This graphic novel covers such subjects as the all-male casts of Shakespeare plays, Kabuki Theater and the Peking Opera, the Kathakali dancers of pre-colonial India, and the Köçek, and young male dancers of the Ottoman Empire. The lineage of cross-dressing performers is traced from Vaudeville and Pantomime to Jazz Age nightclubs, silent film stars, and the Harlem Renaissance, and to the key roles queens played in the queer liberation movements of the 1960s–1970s, overlapping with the founding of ballroom culture. The impact of prominent celebrity queens on popular culture is also highlighted, including Divine, Lady Bunny, and RuPaul. The American drag scene is more thoroughly explored than the rest of the world, though there are sections on Thailand's version of Drag Race and the country's Miss Tiffany's Universe competition. The Art of Drag is written and constructed rather well. With inset text in full-page illustrations, the pages glow with brilliantly colorful illustrations, capturing all the queenly glamour – hot pinks and moody teals are contrasted with butter yellows and acid greens. Wigs have never looked taller, nor eye shadow so excessive, but capture the art of drag wonderfully. All in all, The Art of Drag is a wonderful and colorful history of the history and art of the drag.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    First off, this book was informative about the history of drag, which is what I was seeking when I put this book on hold through my library. About a few weeks ago, I was thinking about race car driving, which led me to drag racing and how there are female race car drivers. This led me to the thought why is the term drag queens refer to men who dress-up/impersonate women, instead of female race car drivers? Where did the term "drag" come from and what does it mean? Then a few days later I discove First off, this book was informative about the history of drag, which is what I was seeking when I put this book on hold through my library. About a few weeks ago, I was thinking about race car driving, which led me to drag racing and how there are female race car drivers. This led me to the thought why is the term drag queens refer to men who dress-up/impersonate women, instead of female race car drivers? Where did the term "drag" come from and what does it mean? Then a few days later I discovered this book in my library's catalog. While this book did answer my question on where the term "drag" came from and what drag means now in the 21st century, I have more questions. In this book, it seems like drag is very tightly associated with those who belong to LGBTQ+, because it seems the people who perform drag identify as LGBTQ+ when they are not performing (is that the right term?). Which leads me to the question, are there people who perform in drag who do not belong to LGBTQ+? Unless, I missed that part in the book that did not seem to be answered. Under the section Drag for All, there was a definition of drag: "drag simply means using aesthetic and artistic tricks to disrupt our ideas of what it means to look like a man, a woman, or even just a person. Its the art of playing with gender." Does that mean it is acting? That's what the last sentence in the quote sounds like to me or at the very least performance art. Also led to more questions: is drag a hobby, a lifestyle, or both? While there must be a difference, using this definition of drag makes it sound like people who believe they are a different gender from their body could also fit in this definition in a way. I will admit the outfits are amazing, especially the gowns for the some of the are quite stunning! This leads me to the question: how are drag queens and possibly drag kings afford their wardrobes?! A good quality dress can cost hundreds of dollars. I cannot even imagine how much some of these ballgowns cost plus the undergarments. Good quality undergarments are also hard to find. Also are there special places to get shoes?! Even in America it is sometimes hard to find cute shoes in larger sizes. While a size 11 is not as hard to find as size 12 in women's, it is not easy to find cute dress shoes and I know women's 11 is the same as a men's 9, which I believe is small in men's. How do these drag queens find shoes? Are there specialty shops or is it all online? Thank-you for providing a bibliography! I really liked how this was organize, because it was by section. If I was to quibble then I wished there was citations, so I know which source belongs to which piece of information. For example, this is one of the first times that I heard about Josephine Baker being queer. I once read a book that included her when I was younger, but I do not remember it saying she was queer, unless it went right over my head. Verdict: This was an informative book with colorful pictures that could also be pretty.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    RuPaul Charles is said to be what drove the art of Drag (impersonating another gender) to Global Recognition. Some say that Stonewall Riots was the first introduction of Drag in the media. While both facts are prominent to LGBTQ+ History, this is not the whole story. Take a look, both ahead and behind, at the LONG history of Drag, spanning back prior to Shakespeare and Ancient Japanese Kabuki Theatre. A lush colorful, though not always positive look, at the Art of Drag. Told in a 7-part breakdow RuPaul Charles is said to be what drove the art of Drag (impersonating another gender) to Global Recognition. Some say that Stonewall Riots was the first introduction of Drag in the media. While both facts are prominent to LGBTQ+ History, this is not the whole story. Take a look, both ahead and behind, at the LONG history of Drag, spanning back prior to Shakespeare and Ancient Japanese Kabuki Theatre. A lush colorful, though not always positive look, at the Art of Drag. Told in a 7-part breakdown of the varying and International history of Drag, including about Drag Kings and crimes against it... the Glamour of the Vaudeville stars and celebrity icons... the war, riots and rights activists of the Drag and Queer communities... the "freaky" side of Drag in the 1960's and 70's with Rocky Horror Picture Show and John Waters films... the Charm of Drag, the history of Lip Sync... the influence on the world of Drag including Drag lingo... and finally the future of Drag.... Many of the older Historical figures (from Vaudeville days in the 1920's) I'd never heard of, but they are equally as fascinating as they are talented, intelligent and passionate individuals. Whether you're a History lover, a LGBTQIAP+ individual or Ally, a lover of RuPaul's Drag Race, interested in getting into Drag, regardless of Gender, or just looking for some really amazing talented people to read about, this is for you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    Hugely disappointing. From the very odd binding (text block attached only at the back cover) to the illustrations. Apparently the awkward binding is on purpose so the pages will lie flat. But only Most of them lie flat. Where the page signatures come together the pages are glued and don't lie flat. I thought most of the artwork was ugly, some more than others. A few gave me a hint of the gorgeousness of the original, but I was hoping for photos of real people, not somebody's cartoonish depiction Hugely disappointing. From the very odd binding (text block attached only at the back cover) to the illustrations. Apparently the awkward binding is on purpose so the pages will lie flat. But only Most of them lie flat. Where the page signatures come together the pages are glued and don't lie flat. I thought most of the artwork was ugly, some more than others. A few gave me a hint of the gorgeousness of the original, but I was hoping for photos of real people, not somebody's cartoonish depictions. I got a bit of the history and other cultures behind drag influences, but not enough. This is the only reason there's even a 2-star review. Except for the historical part and the minimal amount on Japanese, Chinese and Turkish influences, it rates only one star. The binding is especially a problem because I got my copy from the library. This won't last as long as library books are supposed to. Chapters are: The art of Performance, The art of Glamour, The art of War, The art of Freak, The art of Charisma, The art of Influence, The Future of Drag. There's a 2-page bibliography, an index, and brief biographies of the contributors. Of course, I'm not the target audience, just somebody curious to learn more of an unfamiliar culture. Based on this book, I'm not inclined to find out more. I certainly won't ever care to reread this or recommend it to anybody.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Harris

    A vibrant and informative book from innovative English comics publisher Nobrow, The Art of Drag delivers an inspirational history of gender bending performance from the ancient world to RPDR, illustrated in evocative and colorful style by a cast of dynamic artists including Sofie Birkin, Helen Li, Jasjyot Singh Hans. Whether jagged or curvy, their strong senses of style and visual ability make each page of the Art of Drag a delight, while author Jake Hall author Jake Hall details the subversive A vibrant and informative book from innovative English comics publisher Nobrow, The Art of Drag delivers an inspirational history of gender bending performance from the ancient world to RPDR, illustrated in evocative and colorful style by a cast of dynamic artists including Sofie Birkin, Helen Li, Jasjyot Singh Hans. Whether jagged or curvy, their strong senses of style and visual ability make each page of the Art of Drag a delight, while author Jake Hall author Jake Hall details the subversive and influential legacies of gender non-conforming costumes. Profiling a variety of important figures in the history of drag, from the Great Barbette to Lady Bunny, the comic illustrates the long standing presence of such playful yet striking work throughout time and across the world. Highlighting both the challenges faced by drag performers across history and the impact they have on popular culture, the Art of Drag is a lovely celebration of fashion and queerness that is a wonderfully positive reading experience for Pride Month or anytime.

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