This week I got the chance to meet with an author of extreme talent, Brian Peterson. An author, playwright, artistic director, and stage manager mentor, Brian Peterson has written several books and plays, including his latest, “Invisible Masks: Essays on RuPaul’s Drag Race”. Luckily for all of you dedicated Not Safe 4 Werk fans, Brian is here with me to discuss his new book! Let’s get started!
Spencer: Thank you Brian for talking with me, and of course, congratulations on the new book!
Brian: Likewise! And thank you for speaking with me and on the mention about the book. I appreciate that.
Spencer: No problem! It is always my pleasure to share a conversation with creative people. So tell me, what is “Invisible Masks: Essays on RuPaul’s Drag Race” all about?
Brian: “Invisible Masks” are individual tributes to each season six contestant of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Based on interviews I had conducted with each contestant, with the exception of Adore Delano – that girl has been busy since day one! The whole concept was to show the person underneath the makeup, wigs, dresses, costumes, and heels. I wanted to stomp on the nay-sayers and haters of these queens because I have gotten to know all of them and I adore every single one of them. I have even included rare photography of the LA Red Carpet Premiere in Los Angeles (Roosevelt Hotel) by Seattle-based photographer Mike McAfoose of Urban Focus. I encourage anyone to check his website out and you can purchase those photographs personally from the photographer.
Spencer: This is such a fantastic idea. One thing that has always bothered me about the people who watch this show is that they seem to forget that there are real people behind the mugs. It’s not exactly fair to judge someone just by what you saw on television. Tell me, what is it about RuPaul’s Drag Race that fascinated you enough to put together this book?
Brian: I have been a press writer covering this show since season three (Seattle Gay Scene, New Queer on the Block Magazine, Frontiers Magazine) and I wanted to do something special for season six. RuPaul’s Drag Race is addicting for many fans and viewers, informative on our culture and aesthetically pleasing in every directing you turn. I think that is what has driven the success of this show. My previous Drag Race book was a compilation of interviews and recaps I had written over the course of three seasons, so for this book I wanted to focus entirely on one season. The best season yet!
Spencer: Indeed it was an amazing season! I think the only thing that it lacked was some Cher impersonations. Other than that, perfect. What do you hope your audience takes away from this book?
Brian: I want them to take away a sense of acceptance in our own community. Throughout this season I have sensed a lot of hate and fear coming from the community regarding this show. I want to remind people that these queens are people and not fiction characters on a sitcom or drama series. This is a competition. This is a reality TV show. I want people to walk away after reading these profiles and essays on these queens to not take this show too seriously. It’s drag, not the winter Olympics.
Spencer: You make an excellent point. This is not a scripted sitcom that is written to hang controversy over everyone’s head… It is a real life situation with real people, who bring up real subject matter. Now of course we all need to know, who do you hope to see on RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 2?
Brian: Well, my favorites that I think should be on the next season of All-Stars who were not in the first round.The cast I would choose for All-Stars 2 would be Phi Phi O’Hara, Rebecca Glasscock, Ongina, Tatianna, Morgan McMichaels, Alaska Thunderfuck, Roxxxy Andrews, Detox, Jade Sotomayor, Willam, Alyssa Edwards, Coco Montrese, MILK the Queen and BenDelaCreme.
Spencer: I think that is a pretty good selection. It seem’s like everyone I ask has about the same answer. Just throw in Mariah somewhere in there and you would have named all of my favorites. Now that this book is complete, what can we expect to see you doing in the near future?
Brian: In the meantime, I am relocating back to Portland where I will be producing two plays that I’ve spent the last four years writing with my company, Against the Wall Productions. I am looking forward to producing and making theater with my theater brothers and sisters once again. It is time for me to step back into the theater to dirty up my hands. In the midst, I am also working on a book of poems on HIV to help stop HIV stigma in our community and society. That book will be coming in in September via Amazon.
Spencer: Exciting! Sounds like we are going to have to have another conversation in the near future once these two plays open! Well I must say, you are great at what you do Brian and it certainly has been quite a joy to speak with you! I can’t wait to see what the future brings for you! Also I googled what Portland is famous for, and apparently they have good donuts… so you should be set.
Brian: Thank you so much! This was so much fun! Hope everyone enjoys this book!
Want to win a FREE, autographed copy of Brian’s book? Stay tuned for details on how you can score this amazing prize!
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Check out his busted website here!
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