There was a time when seeing a drag queen’s genitals meant that she didn’t do a very good job of tucking. Whether it be a stray nut succumbing to gravity as it slides every so slowly outside of her panties or a cock peaking out of a frock like when the Wizard of Oz gets exposed after Toto pulls back the curtain, most times there’s nervous laughter from the audience and catty chuckles from all the other the drag queens in attendance.
In my experience, it’s the Cher impersonators that have the most accidents and, ironically, quite often while singing “Believe.” I’ve also seen Madonna’s nuts, Shania Twain’s pecker and whatever Liza Minnelli has down there. I’m still not sure what that was.
Apart from David Tillson, the manager of Victoria, BC’s infamous Rumours nightclub in the 1990s, who performed a stunning drag full-frontal strip to Marc Almond’s version of “What Makes a Man A Man,” and Teen Jesus Barbie and Miss Cookie LaWhore at the Skank literary smut cabarets I co-hosted in Vancouver, I’ve rarely seen intentional nudity at drag performances. And, friends, I’ve seen a lot of drag over the years.
Given it’s rarity, I generally don’t think about drag queen cock (that’s usually the point, right?) but, at a recent performance at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre by the gender fuck drag sensation Gartina, it popped back into my world.
In an evening presented by Andrew Harwood, most of the men performing pushed the boundaries of how masculine bodies can celebrate the feminine. From Harwood’s giant knit (or was that macramé?) orange dress to the mustachioed dancers in their 1980s inspired shiny dance outfits complete with bulging packages to Gartina in, literally, all her glory, it felt so much more real to see men spending less time trying to pass as biological women and more time enjoying the feminine within.
To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out why this evening intrigued me so much. It did not feel like men trying to be men, nor men trying to be women. This was not an evening of hiding the spandex clad bulges between legs or shaving arms and chests to pass. Quite simply, it was celebratory and laced (and laced) in reality as much as irony.
Gartina stands out because it’s as if she’s a body builder channeling Macy Gray standing up on stage in a two-piece bikini. Not only is her body super sinewy and muscled, but she quite often sings live. It’s a potent combination. And just when you think she couldn’t tease you anymore, off come her bikini bottoms as she swishes her cock around like a rhythmic gymnast with a ribbon — a thick ribbon. This should be an Olympic sport.
Thinking about Gartina reminded me of a story by artist Michael V Smith where he caused quite a commotion by attending an all-male naked party in drag. At first the volunteers at the coat check/clothes check from PCAN’s (Pacific Canadian Association of Nudists) New Year’s Eve party didn’t want to let him in as they couldn’t understand how a drag queen could be naked. After finally convincing them that he could be naked and in drag at the same time, he entered the party wearing nothing but a pink wig, matching high heels — and a lovely hand bag.
Here’s to the queens that show us their wieners on purpose!