NS4W is excited to cover this year’s re-release of dr.a.g – a pivotal collection of stunning photography covering the artful expressions of many significant contributors to the art of drag. Featured in the highly anticipated re-release are 20 new photos and some lovely new faces. The man behind the book, Christopher Logan, was gracious enough to unravel some secrets behind dr.a.g’s amazing content, in addition to highlighting his personal favorite aspects of the project. We highly encourage supporting our friend by heading to www.bookthefilm.com to get your hands on “The World’s Most Glamorous Book!”
Christopher, I do believe that adding these new pages to the book made for a wonderful addition to the book for its triumphant revival.How did the process of choosing the newly featured queens work?
It wasn’t as hard as you’d think. Most of them are performers we tried to get for the original edition, but they fell through, either due to timing or not being able to connect. It’s gratifying to see them in the book now, especially Morganne LaMorte Beauty of Chile, who was someone who really struck me the first time. We lost her photos, because I couldn’t connect with the original photographer to get permission. I know she’s a happy as I am to be back in the book.
Are there any queens or photographers that you would have liked to have seen included, but did not make it?
Most of the people who made it into the book did the work to make it happen. I didn’t know a lot of these performers personally before contacting them, so I had a rule of three: contact them 3 times and if I get no response or it doesn’t work out, let it go. That way I wouldn’t be harassing anyone. Detox (although featured as part of photographer Krystofer Reynolds spread) is one I wanted a two-page spread for, but we lost her twice. The first time, the photographer (the original one, not Krystofer) said no to licensing the photo we wanted, and the second time we just had missed connections. She was quite busy doing Drag Race and all that came with it at that time, so I’m sure my emails were buried under tons of fan mail.
Do you have any personal favorite shots?
I definitely do. I am rapt in the tribal beauty of that stunning Raja photo by photographer Austin Young, who also did the cover of Jeffree Star. I’m particularly drawn in by the ones that have some surprise element: Chad Michaels uncanny Cher-ness, same with Larry Edwards Tina Turner. But the subtle surprise I think most may not notice at first, is that some performers like Chad and Shannel appear twice in the book. Once in their own spreads, and later in ‘photographer spreads’ as a different character. Shannel’s Lucille Ball is a stunner.
Part of the book’s charm is that it is international, in a way – as a fan of the art of drag, I really appreciated this. What went into choosing queens such as Morganne LaMorte Beauty, from Santiago, Chile?
Like I said earlier, Morganne was an early choice that got away. There was a very captivating quality to her photos. The make up is exceptional, and there’s a gothic undertone that still seems classic and regal. Joan Jullian from Belgium is a beauty also, in a more seductive way. Both were chosen first by my coming across their photos, and then getting to know them through the process.
I also love that you were able to capture some beautiful images of legendary artists – Charles Busch, Jimmy James and Jim Bailey, to name a few -and incorporate contemporary artists such as Detox, Raja, and Courtney Act. Was it your aim to encompass drag as a continuously evolving art form?
I thought it important to have ties to the classic, and show the new faces of where drag is going. Showcasing the diversity within the drag community was an element I’m very proud of, in the book. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily a thought, the evolution of drag, but it was important to respect and honor those that made an impact.
I did note that the book is compiled through the help of photographers donating their work – how is it that you are able to reach out to such talents as Magnus Hastings and Edwin Irizarry?
I came across Magnus’s website originally and fell hard for his polished style and kiltered sensibilities. I fell hard for him in person too. He is the most charismatic man. Edwin was introduced to me through Yara Sofia. I mentioned that I would love to include someone else from Puerto Rico and she connected me with Edwin to get photos of Queen Bee Ho and Valeria Mendez for the new additions.
Will you be doing any tours for dr.a.g’s re-release?
This time around, we’re doing a ‘soft launch’ and building off the goodwill from the first edition. I will be hosting a launch party in Vancouver after our Pride parade here in early August at Chapters (the Canadian Barners & Nobles), and may do another signing in LA in mid-July. Just setting that up. (Editor’s Note: That signing is official now on Sunday, July 20th at 3pm at Book Soup on Sunset!)
What are you planning for the movie project on dr.a.g?
The movie is what started this whole thing. I wrote a drag film and wanted to find a way to fund it. By producing a book of drag to fund the film, all the money comes from people who love drag and it stays pure. We had a setback when losing our original publisher, so I’m kind of doing the first year over again…but the film is looking more and more possible as we get this edition out there. The cool part is after the book, all the performers will be in the film, if they’d like to be. Best drag cast ever.
Where do some of the book’s key quotes come from? I.e, “A great outfit or new hair color… can make you feel like a brand new woman,” and “Inside every great man… is a great woman.”
I completely made them up. I couldn’t figure out how to license a quote, so I created familiar-sounding ‘dragifications’ of them. But what is drag anyway, but a fresh new way of presenting the classics to a new audience.