On Netflix streaming or I’m sure you can find it elsewhere online but I don’t see it on the usual legit documentary sites.
I have been to ONE drag show in my life. It was an accident actually, it was my friend’s birthday and she wanted to go to the local gay bar (yes, the singular gay bar, for those of you in bigger metropolitan areas) for dancing and drinking. First, you can tell how good of a friend she is by the fact that I went to a bar for her. But secondly it turned out that it was drag show night at the bar. It was primarily Drag Queens, but one King stood out doing one of the best Michael Jackson “impression”/lip sync and dancing that I’ve ever seen. He was fantastic.
Venus Boyz is about drag kings in Manhattan, but it’s even more about female masculinity. What does it mean to be a drag king? What does it mean to be androgynous, butch, or femme? Some of the women featured slipped back and forth, some identified strongly one way or the other. And watching someone very feminine face transform into a masculine one is fascinating. Some of the performers described it as charged with erotic energy and, I personally could feel some of that. Watching a king and a queen talking to each other in their street voices yet in their stage makeup is a mindfuck, but in the best sort of way.
Interesting was one woman’s experience becoming a black man and experiencing the racism directed at a black man – they’ll steal, they’ll harm you, etc. – rather than as a black woman. Another described his history as growing up the only black child with his mother’s family (Alaskan Native/European), his mother was a lesbian and poor and his father was black and Chocktaw with at least one cross-dressing pic of his own. He had just started identifying as trans. I need to stop telling people’s stories here! It’s fascinating though. His point was how on the margins he’d always been and walking those margins now was where he belonged. There’s also some really cool parts showing some women learning how to occupy space, walk, and even move your eyes like men.
Augh, enough! I can’t summarize the whole thing.
I have a fascination with androgyny and gender roles. I find people who cross those boundaries very appealing and often attractive. And there’s just something about a woman with a shaved head that I can’t quite explain. But the kings in this movie made it clear that it is about power and empowerment whether sexual, artistic, or social and that’s what makes this so awesome. Watch this, learn things!