Drag Queens at the 801 Cabaret
In this lively book, Leila J. Rupp and Verta Taylor take us on an entertaining tour through one of America's most overlooked subcultures: the world of the drag queen. They offer a penetrating glimpse into the lives of the 801 Girls, the troupe of queens who perform nightly at the 801 Cabaret for tourists and locals. Weaving together their fascinating life stories, their lavish costumes and eclectic music, their flamboyance and bitchiness, and their bawdy exchanges with one another and their audiences, the authors explore how drag queens smash the boundaries between gay and straight, man and woman, to make people think more deeply and realistically about sex and gender in America today. They also consider how the queens create a space that encourages camaraderie and acceptance among everyday people, no matter what their sexual preferences might be.
Based on countless interviews with more than a dozen drag queens, more than three years of attendance at their outrageous performances, and even the authors' participation in the shows themselves, Drag Queens at the 801 Cabaret is a witty and poignant portrait of gay life and culture. When they said life is a cabaret, they clearly meant the 801.
Cast of Characters
1 Introduction: "What Makes a Man a Man?"
Section I: "I'm Beautiful, Dammit!"
2 Getting Dressed
3 Becoming Drag Queens
4 Being a Drag Queen
Section II: "Take Me or Leave Me"
5 The Conch Republic
6 On the Street
7 A Plate of Food and a Drag Show
8 "The Hero Would Be You"
Section III: "Life Is a Cabaret"
9 "She Works Hard for the Money"
10 Performing Protest
Section IV: "We Are Family"
11 "Crazy World"
12 The 801 Family
Section V: "Free Your Mind"
13 In a Long Tradition
14 "We're Not Just Lip-Synching Up Here, We're Changing Lives"
15 A Night at the 801
16 Theoretical Conclusions: Thinking about Drag as Social Protest