What could be better than a hundred drag queens? Nothing, really, but a book featuring hundreds of full-colour pictures of drag queens is just as good. British photographer Magnus Hastings is about to release a new coffee-table book called Why Drag? Inspired by the photographer’s renowned New York art exhibition. Why Drag? features Hastings’ gorgeous photos of the drag industry’s top talent, accompanied by short stories - marked by humor and, oftentimes, sincerity - on why they do drag. Some of the queens included are Bianca Del Rio, Courtney Act, Jackie Beat, Adore Delano, Jinkx Monsoon, Lady Bunny, Detox, and Sharon Needles. The legendary Boy George writes the book’s foreword.
When I first came out in the early '80s, I figured drag would eventually become extinct, a relic of an earlier less ‘out’ age, and for a while, there were virtually no gay bars in Toronto featuring drag queens. After Craig Russell died, it seemed almost over. What a fool I was. Drag is more important than ever, and keeps redefining itself. It’s not just the outfits - I also love the punny names. (My own ‘drag name’? Freda Slaves!) Some pills might consider drag offensive or passé, but fuck them. The only thing more fun than a guy in a dress is a guy wearing nothing at all.
Magnus Hastings’ Why Drag? will be released May 17 from Chronicle Books.