Reviewed by Lichen Craig
One of the most stunning coffee table books out there, dr.a.g. has hit the GLBT market with a bang. But the real beauty of it, is that it easily appeals to a wider audience. And there is more: dr.a.g. is a fundraiser – proceeds go toward an independent film project celebrating the same subject.
Actor of stage and film, drag entertainer, and author Christopher Logan worked for some time to assemble many of the most prolific and accomplished drag performers in the world. Then he solicited some the world’s best fashion photographers to capture them at their most visually fascinating. What resulted was a book of amazing photographs, showcasing the best of drag performance.
Each of the beautiful young men in the book has perfected his art; displayed is the unique characterization that typifies drag performance. As the introduction to the book explains, the word “drag” originates from notations in the margins of Elizabethan plays, where young men were regularly hired to play female roles: these roles were marked with the common acronym “dr.a.g.” for “dressed as a girl”.
Throughout the book, the author has scattered thoughts of, and quotes from, these performers about their art. Often these quotes are humorous, and they are always thought provoking. What I found the most intriguing about this book – besides the amazingly beautiful quality of the photos – is the class and dignity with which drag is presented. In 2013, we live in a society where drag performances are found almost exclusively in large cities. Even where we see the art form in film or television, it is presented with a sort of seediness, an implied perversion or debasing humor, which I believe has painted a consistent misconception for the viewing audiences in smaller towns. Drag is in fact a centuries-old art form, made of musical theatrical performance laced with comedy and visual illusion.
dr.a.g. is a true celebration of the best and most beautiful that the ART of drag has to offer, and because it is that, is a celebration of history, photography and performance art as well. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Visit the website to see more.
See Lichen Craig’s interview with author Christopher Logan
See also this short article on the history of drag.
Tectum Publishing, Antwerp, 2012
160 pp., hardcover in d/w: US$39.99 (€29.99)
Can be purchased at website and at Amazon and Barnes & Noble