With all the new glitz and glam surrounding drag queens in the past few years, it's easy to overlook that many men have been donning dresses for decades at some of the seedier parts of the world. This summer, Out published "Tender(loin) Is the Night," a story and photo essay that followed three older drag entertainers at Aunt Charlie's Lounge, located in San Francisco's Tenderloin area, near one of the most dangerous areas of the city that is otherwise undergoing a major gentrification effort due to the tech companies and their employees flooding the streets.
SLIDESHOW | MEET SAN FRANCISCO'S DRAG PIONEERS
As writer Jeremy Lybarger wrote:
"Aunt Charlie's looks like a basement at the edge of the world. The production is ramshackle: CDs skip, wigs tilt, falsies ride up out of cleavage, and yet there are nights when the show is almost transcendent. Three or four strong cocktails help, but still, there's a sense that the place and its people are special. Most of the queens are middle-aged; a few draw pensions.
James Hosking, the photographer who captured intimate portraits of the drag performers, has created a short documentary that follows Olivia Hart, Collette LeGrande, and Donna Personna. It's an intimate portrait of three men who continue to plump, pluck, and pursue a dream--even as it continues to remain elusive.
"I'm living that experience," Personna explains in the doc. And now you can get a small taste of that experience as well. Watch "Beautiful By Night" below:
Beautiful By Night from James Hosking on Vimeo.