Tag Archives: drag

Gay History – May 14, 1883: Julian Eltinge The World’s Greatest Forgotten Female Impersonator – RARE 1929 Video

May 14, 1883 – On this day of America’s foremost female impersonator is born in Newtonville, Massachusetts. Julian Eltinge was a stage and silent film star who few actually realized was a man. So popular was he that during the Korean War a troop ship was named in his, or rather, her honor.

After appearing in the Boston Cadets Revue at the age of ten in feminine garb, Eltinge garnered notice from other producers and made his first appearance on Broadway in 1904. As his star began to rise, he appeared in vaudeville and toured Europe and the United States, even giving a command performance before King Edward VII. Eltinge appeared in a series of musical comedies written specifically for his talents starting in 1910 with The Fascinating Widow, returning to vaudeville in 1918. His popularity soon earned him the title of “Mr. Lillian Russell” for the equally popular beauty and musical comedy star.

Hollywood beckoned Eltinge and in 1917 he appeared in his first feature film, The Countess Charming. This would lead to other films including 1918s The Isle of Love with Rudolph Valentino and Virginia Rappe. By the time Eltinge arrived in Hollywood, he was considered one of the highest paid actors on the American stage,

Eltinge was an intimate of the top Hollywood stars and a wealthy man, worth over $250,000. He built Villa Capistrano, one of the most lavish villa’s in the Hollywood area, where he lived with his mother and entertained lavishly. He also built a ‘dude ranch’ for men in Alpine, CA near San Diego But times were changing. The outrageous performances of female impersonators Francis Renault and Bert Savoy, and the drag balls and gay speakeasies of the 20’s “pansy craze” in New York made Eltinge’s style appear old-fashioned. He began to drink heavily and in 1923 was caught smuggling liquor from Canada. Despite a sensational trial and bad press, he managed to get an acquittal.

It was the beginning of his decline and with the arrival of the Great Depression and the death of vaudeville, Eltinge’s star began to fade..  Eltinge resorted to performing in nightclubs. Crackdowns on cross-dressing in public, a misguided attempt to curb homosexual activity, prevented Eltinge from performing in costume. At one appearance in a Los Angeles club, Eltinge stood next to displays of his gowns while describing his old characters.

On May 7, 1941, Eltinge fell ill while performing at Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe nightclub. He was taken home and died in his apartment ten days later. His death certificate lists the cause of death as a cerebral hemorrhage.

Julian Eltinge leaves a legacy as one of the greatest and most forgotten female impersonators of the 20th.century.

Raise a glass and remember Julian/Vestta!

“My heart is simply melting at the thought of Julian Eltinge;
His alter ego,
Vesta Tilley, too.
Since our language is so dexterous, let us call them ambi-sexterous –
Why hasn’t this occurred before to you?”

Dorothy Parker, “A Musical Comedy Thought” – Vanity Fair, June 1916

 

Gay History – October 19: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DIVINE! (aka Harris Glenn Milstead)

divine

October 19, 1945

Harris Glenn Milstead aka Divine was born to a rather well off socially conservative family on October 19, 1945, at the Women’s Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and would grow up to be the the most famous and fabulous Drag Queen of the Century. (Sorry RuPaul but you can’t hold a cha-cha heel to Divine!)  Divine weighed 320 lbs. and ballooned at the midriff like the south side of a hippopotamus. Add to all that a 40-lb. blizzard-blond fright wig, a face like a big, eerie, poster-colored subway graffito, and a set of humongous foam-rubber falsies—each packed with 50 lbs. of uncooked lentils. He called himself Divine and he was proud of his creation: a unique and hilarious high-camp cartoon.

Divine aka Milstead embraced the counterculture of the 1960s and became involved with Waters’s acting troupe, the Dreamlanders, starring in early Waters films Mondo Trasho (1969), Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble(1974). Hits on the U.S. midnight movie circuit, the films became cult classics. In the 1970s, Divine moved to theater, appearing with The Cockettes before performing in Women Behind Bars and The Neon Woman. Continuing cinematic work, he starred in Polyester (1981), Lust in the Dust (1985) and Hairspray (1988). In 1981, Divine embarked in the disco industry, producing Hi-NRG tracks that were mostly written by Bobby Orlando. He achieved global chart success with hits like “You Think You’re a Man”, “I’m So Beautiful” and “Walk Like a Man”.

Divine considered himself to be male, and was not transgender or transsexual. He was gay and damn proud of it and during the 1980s had an extended relationship with a married man named Lee, who accompanied him almost everywhere that he went. They later separated, and Divine went on to have a brief affair with gay porn star Leo Ford, something that was widely reported upon in the gay press

On March 7, 1988, three weeks after Hairspray was released nationwide Divine passed away in Los Angeles, California from cardiomegaly but has remained a prominent cult figure within the LGBT community, and has provided the inspiration for fictional characters, artworks and songs. Various books and documentary films devoted to his life have also been produced, including Divine Trash (1998) and I Am Divine (2013).

Philly Drag Queen Slammed for Performing "Springtime for Hitler" Musical Number at Gay Bar

Philly Drag Queen Slammed for Performing “Springtime for Hitler” Musical Number at Gay Bar

Oh Philadelphia.  You legend in your own mind. (You know they claim that the gay rights movement started there.) and bastion of utterly PC-ness.

Philadelphia drag performer Satine Harlow is facing grief for performing the musical number “Springtime for Hitler” from the musical The Producers while dressed as a Nazi SS officer.

Harlow’s Instagram blew-up after he posted a pic from the performance in which there was a a swastika on his back with the caption “Heil Hitler”

One audience member told Philadelphia magazine, “When I saw the musical number I realized Satine was inspired by the Broadway musical The Producers. But when I checked Satine’s Instagram page, how they promoted themselves was a different story.”

The bar in which Satine performed in iCandy had problems in 2016 after a tape surfaced of the owner Darryl DePiano repeatedly using the n word to refer to people of color.

 Ann Artist, another local drag performer, commented on Ziker’s choice to perform at the bar after its past history.

“I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. Choosing to perform at ICandy is a political statement,” Artist wrote on social media, according to the magazine. “Given the fact that this is the stance these performers choose I’m never surprised when they do anything that’s tacky and in poor taste like this. This level of bad taste is reflected in the name of the establishment and mirrored through the irreverence the performers have for their fellow community members.”

But Harlow — whose real name is Eric Ziker and who identifies as Jewish defends his performance.

“Are people really freaking the fuck out about a Jewish gay man doing an iconic number from a musical? Jesus Christ. Lighten the fuck up. It’s drag,” Ziker wrote. “We’re professional, some of us, pigs in wigs. Breathe. I stand by what I did…and if you disagree, unfollow me because you have no sense of humor.”

RuPaul ‘Probably’ Wouldn’t Accept A Trans Contestant On ‘Drag Race’, SJW’s Heads Explode

In a profile interview with The Guardian, RuPaul, host of VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, was asked whether he would accept a post-transition transgender contestant on the show.

Calling transgender drag an “interesting area,” RuPaul explained why he probably would not accept a post-transition contestant on the show.

“Probably not,” RuPaul said. “You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body.”

“It takes on a different thing; it changes the whole concept of what we’re doing. We’ve had some girls who’ve had some injections in the face and maybe a little bit in the butt here and there, but they haven’t transitioned.”

“It takes on a different thing; it changes the whole concept of what we’re doing. We’ve had some girls who’ve had some injections in the face and maybe a little bit in the butt here and there, but they haven’t transitioned.”

“At the core [drag is] a social statement and a big fuck you to male-dominated culture. So for men to do it, it’s really punk rock, because it’s a real rejection of masculinity.  You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body.” RuPaul added.

Of course this statement caused some social justice warriors heads to explode and none no more than that of Rose Dommu the infamous clickbait POPNOGRAPHY “writer” at OUT.com.

 Dommu writes:

These statements go to show how antiquated RuPaul’s conceptions of trans identity and the queering of gender really are. For someone who is deservedly lauded as an icon of genderfuckery, the fact that RuPaul still sees drag as a boys’ club is disappointing, not to mention the fact that he reduces trans identity to whether or not a person has had surgery. The notion that the only true power to be found in an art form that has expanded so much since RuPaul came up seems insulting in the face of the incredible female artists — both cisgender and trans — who are doing drag today, largely thanks to the influence of Drag Race.”

Dommu who does absolutely no research on what she writes and lets her Social Justice Warrior privilege dictate her posts refuses to understand that drag queens (first use in print, 1941) are stereotypically viewed to be gay men that dress in drag, either as part of a performance or for personal fulfillment. The term drag queen distinguishes them from transvestites, transsexuals or transgender people. Doing drag here often includes wearing dramatically heavy makeup, wigs and prosthetic devices as part of the costume.

Drag performance and cross dressing also has a very long history as performance art, actors in Shakespearean plays, and all Elizabethan theatre, were all male; female parts were played by young men in drag. Shakespeare used the conventions to enrich the gender confusions of As You Like It, and Ben Jonson manipulated the same conventions in Epicœne, or The Silent Woman, (1609)

Among contemporary drag performers, the theatrical drag queen or street queen may at times be seen less as a “female impersonator” per se, but simply as a drag queen, and the role of the queen existing as an identity based in neither mainstream male nor mainstream female conventions. Examples include The Cockettes or Danny La Rue.

Bottom line. Transitioning women ARE women.. Meaning they aren’t a drag queen.. When you start transitioning and transform your body into who it truly is then you aren’t exhibiting the art of the transformation. So I for one say THANK YOU to  RuPaul for keeping the performance essence and history of drag intact.

As for Rose Dommu she should keep her blatant homophobia and dragphobia to herself and OUT.com should have fired her privileged Social Justice Warrior ass after her infamous Dear Gay Men, Stop Telling Women They Can’t Be in Gay Bars post last year. 

Out.com must really need the clicks. 

International Comedy Festival Removes Barry Humphries (Dame Edna) Name From Award Over Transphobia

Dame Edna Trashes “Ratbag” Caitlyn Jenner, Calls Trans People “Self-Mutilated”. – Damn Edna!

Dame Edna takes on Bruce Jenner

Barry Humphries best known to all as “Dame Edna” is looking to resurrect his drag alter ego for a “Farewell Tour” by bemoaning the tyranny of political correctness by throwing his purse at Caitlyn “Bruce” Jenner’s genitalia or lack of it and stirring up some controversy in an interview with The Telegraph.

As an expat, Humphies is always grouped with fellow Australians Germaine Greer and Clive James. “I don’t mind; they’re friends,” he says. On the other hand, he disliked being linked to Rolf Harris. “He behaved evilly,” says Humphries. 

Greer attracted fury after claiming that “trans” women such as Caitlyn Jenner (formerly the Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner) are men “who believe that they are women and have themselves castrated”, with students at Cardiff University describing Greer as “transphobic” and someone who should make all right-minded people feel “sick to [their] stomachs”.

Humphries is supportive of Greer in the controversy. “I agree with Germaine! You’re a mutilated man, that’s all,” he says. “Self-mutilation, what’s all this carry on? Caitlyn Jenner – what a publicity-seeking ratbag. It’s all given the stamp – not of respectability, but authenticity or something. If you criticize anything you’re racist or sexist or homophobic.”

NOT a great way to make a comeback. Especially since the LGBT community. If he had just stuck to calling Jenner a publicity seeking ratbag and ended there.  But nooooooooo.

Damn Edna!

UK’s National Union of Students Passes Motion For Gays To Stop Acting Like Black Women and Outlaws Drag *SNAP*

SNAP

 

Oh Miss Thing!

The UK’s National Union of Students Women s Conference is going a bit cra-cra by today passing a motion for gay men to stop hijacking black female culture, and ironically against drag queens where much of the roots of black female culture can be found.

Via Gay Star News:

The UK’s National Union of Students has passed a policy to stop gay men appropriating black female culture. Delegates at the Women’s Conference today, many of them self-identified feminists, have passed plenty of motions. Just one of them was ensuring everyone at the conference understood that some behaviors were damaging. On Twitter, they announced: “Some delegates are requesting that we move to jazz hands rather than clapping as it’s triggering anxiety. Please be mindful!” A later motion passed was 503: “Dear White Gay Men: Stop Appropriating Black Women.” Put forward by the NUS LGBT Committee, they believe the appropriation of black women by white gay men is prevalent within the LGBTI scene and community.

“To issue a statement condemning the use of crossdressing as a mode of fancy dress. To encourage unions to ban clubs and societies from holding events which permit or encourage (cisgender) members to use cross-dressing as a mode of fancy dress.” This [motion] was given an exclusion to queer students who want to use cross-dressing in their everyday lives as a mode of expression and to those who want to cross-play by flipping the gender of a fictional character in fancy dress

And to think. All this time I thought it was black women who were acting like white gay men.

 

 

RuPaul’s Drag Race Sends A Message To Mary Cheney – Video





Nice Cliff’s Notes version of the history of drag and cross-dressing even though it dates far back to past Shakespearean times.

One small note thou just to to keep our overall LGBT history straight for lack of a better word.

While Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were involved in the 3 days of rioting because of the Stonewall Riots  in 1969 in New York City.  But neither Marsha or Sylvia were present at the actual police action at the bar itself.

Back rolls!

 

Satan’s Spawn Mary Cheney: “Drag Is Like Blackface”

Mary Cheney

 

“Why is it socially acceptable – as a form of entertainment – for men to put on dresses, make up and high heels and act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc.) – but it is not socially acceptable – as a form of entertainment – for a white person to put on blackface and act out offensive stereotypes of African Americans? Shouldn’t both be OK or neither?” – Mary Cheney,  on her Facebook page after seeing an ad for fRuPaul’s Drag Race.

Oh she’s just jealous! After all what self-respecting drag queen would want to dress up like Mary Cheney!

 

 

Federal Court Finds Divine’s Estate And Cha-Cha Heels Were Stolen Away From His Rightful Heirs

Divine

A federal court in Orlando, Florida  has ruled that the estate of Harris Glenn Milstead, also known by his stage name Divine was “illegally usurped” from the drag legend’s rightful family heirs.

Via the Hollywood Reporter

 The ruling is a black eye for Michael O’Quinn, who had befriended Divine’s mother, Frances, and become her business manager and later was named as a beneficiary to the estate in an addendum to Frances’ will. (The estate reverted to Mom after Divine’s death at 42 in 1988 from an enlarged heart.)

The court now has ruled that O’Quinn, who has worked as a costumer at Universal Studios’ Florida theme park, willfully ignored Frances’ will revision in 2008 that bestowed the estate to her nieces and nephews. Noah Brodie, a Warner Bros. studio lot VIP tour operator and O’Quinn’s former business partner in Everything Divine, which was set up to leverage Divine’s assets, discovered the shenanigans while in talks with a cosmetics firm in 2011 about a Divine-themed line.

“It’s such a unique and unusual intellectual property,” Brodie tells THR. “I was duped, but eventually [O’Quinn] got caught in lie after lie.” O’Quinn could not be reached for comment. For cosmetic and plastic surgery visit our website here Matthew Galumbeck, MD.

People magazine once described Divine as the “Drag Queen of the Century”

Michael O’Quinn, Divine has a message for you.