If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've probably heard that I moved to Chicago earlier this summer, which was quite a change from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I'd been since 2006. But one of the most exciting developments is that I finally live in a city where I can regularly see, meet, and hang out with drag queens! Like, in real life! I know, kind of a big deal, right? I've already fallen in love with so many of these girls, and I've only been here a few months! It was hard to pick just five of my favorite queens to draw in this first batch, but rest assured that I plan to draw many more during my time in the Windy City.
Sissy is actually the very first queen I met in Chicago--in fact, she braved the crazy crowds of a comics convention to come meet me where I was exhibiting! (I think she dug seeing some of the more outlandish cosplayer makeup.) Sissy embraces a hard-edged high fashion style, which I just love. She cites Annie Lennox and Grace Jones as inspiration--gagging, yet? I love a queen who embraces androgyny and defies expectations. Plus, she's a hell of a performer, too!
My meager illustration skills cannot capture the full majesty of Kim Chi. She's impossibly tall, gorgeous, and she's an artist. Seriously, every one of her looks is a masterpiece. She adds to her skyscraper height with towering headpieces she meticulously makes herself. I couldn't even fit half of that amazing peacock creation in this drawing. (Helping her climb out of the cramped basement dressing room with that atop her head is a whoooole 'nother story.)
Kim is also kind, considerate, and lacks the ego you would typically find in a queen as talented as she is. She brings a really quirky, creative sensibility to her performances, and sometimes even... some fake blood.
Ruby is a queen like no other. She's got a smoldering, sinister look, but she's also widely regarded as one of the best performers among the Chicago queens. She consumes the stage, commanding your attention and doing highkicks like you wouldn't believe. Seriously, I like to get up close when she's performing, but there have been some times when she's up there and I'm all "OH GOD SHE'S GOING TO BREAK MY FACE!" But really, don't be afraid of Ruby. She knows what she's doing.
Pearl is a ravishingly beautiful blond bombshell who looks like she just walked out of 40's Hollywood... and also might be a robot. The first time I saw her perform, I thought, "My God! She's so GORGEOUS!" And then she started moving around the stage like a partially dysfunctional sexbot, and I was hooked. She combines an intoxicating beauty with a deranged wit and MY GOD SHE'S SO GORGEOUS!
Shea is one of the fiercest queens in Chicago. Period. Every single g*ddamn second she's onstage is electric. Once she starts dancing, you can't take your eyes off her. Seriously, I dare you to try.
She's got the moves, the style, and those eyes! Nothing like 'em. If you have a chance to go see Shea, you do it.
So if you're in Chicago, go see and support these queens! (And if you see me in the crowd of adoring fans, say hi!) All the incredible photos in this post are courtesy of FierceFinder Studio, and they were taken at events organized by Neverland, which puts on DRAG CARNAGE, a fabulous monthly drag extravaganza, and its monthly Neverland parties.
All these queens have also performed in DRAG MATINEE, a fantastic show hosted by the inimitable Trannika Rex every two weeks! So there are plenty of chances to go see these queens, and you should! Seriously, my illustrations don't do them justice.
Stay tuned for more art and more queens!