ph: 412.953.0642

The drag queen has long been confined to the gay bar's stage, criticized as being hedonistic costuming and parody without meaningful dialogue. Shunned by mainstream art and theatre, (s)he has not been welcomed to define her own working parameters, or to find the limitations and powers of her own craft. She is only permitted to tell benign stories pre-approved by the audience, threatening neither society, art, or theatre. The queer community has always had an awareness of the drag performer's power and authority to invoke change, but it is only within the past few decades that this information has been translated into something understood by the public.

My work within Drive By Drag has two primary goals. First, with the cooperation of Veronica, I inject the public arena with something undeniably queer and non-normative. Unapologetically flaunting the aesthetics of drag, including but not limited to camp and glamor, we deny the public their long-held right to dictate where queen may perform. Simultaneously, we create a location, both physically and within the minds of viewers, where queer-identified people can be themselves - unabashedly and without fear. We foretell the future for which we strive.

Second, I perform to undermine the idea that the drag queen's repertoire, the topics on which she may speak, may be controlled by her viewing audience. Artifice and make-believe are crucial elements to drag, but the human being within those trappings is equally important and should be permitted to use the weapon of drag to carve his/her own spot in the art world. The work of the Leigh Bowery, Ron Athey, Martha Graham, Grace Jones, Coco Fusco, The Guerilla Girls, Marina Abramovic, and Carolee Schneeman have been influential in my drive to shape my "drag persona" into one which may speak candidly and directly to topics such as pain, death, sexuality, perversion, fetishism, inequality, and the queer identity. More than a simple storyteller, the drag queen is a radial witch - rejecting antiquated notions of a collapsing society, demanding to be given the status and power due to her and all other human beings, and reinventing existence.

Dani Lamorte