Coming to theatres today, Friday, March 3:
KINGS, QUEENS, & IN-BETWEENS
Southern Circuit, Buffalo, Newark, LGBT fests in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Bern
Drag performers in Columbus OH explain gender, sex, sexuality, and drag.
Burton’s earnest project aims to assemble as varied a range of performers as possible to explore the spectrum of gender performance. While her subjects are overwhelmingly white, they do notably reflect a diversity of gender identity and performative perspective, and include drag queens, drag kings, trans men, trans women, genderqueers, bio men, and bio women. While all well and good, the problem is that the film otherwise retreads themes that have been explored countless times before in other docs, presented in a barebones survey. Subjects introduce themselves and their performance personae, and then proceed to explain familiar concepts to an apparently completely unschooled imagined audience who may as well be attending an LGBT/drag 101 course for the first time. In between a parade of talking heads footage in which the performers explicate the differences between gender, sex, sexuality, and drag, the film offers snippets from their unsurprising routines. While making the subject matter accessible is laudable, the project’s main audience is likely to be from within the LGBT community rather than from without, and would generally have somewhat of a clear sense of these concepts already. The most intriguing element here, the regional specificity of their Columbus location and the way that drag can create a sense of community, is unfortunately left under-explored.