Friday, January 19
Directed by Frank Simon
(1968) Behind-the-scenes tsouris of “The Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant” at NYC’s Town Hall, judged by Andy Warhol, et al. – as drag queens vie for the coveted crown. 35mm. Approx. 68 min.
“KEENLY OBSERVED. The show’s participants discuss, in remarkable hotel-room gatherings, the practicalities of gay life at the time—their ‘usbands,’ their relationships with parents and neighbors, the option of sex-reassignment surgery, and their efforts to deal with the draft during the Vietnam War. Despite its flash and glitz, the pageant comes off as difficult, exacting work; for all the camaraderie of the drag queens, the competition is fierce and serious. Simon reveals racial tensions among the contestants as well as the eternal conflict between life-worn troupers and talented young newcomers. Whether pushing the camera close to the performers or zooming in from afar to survey them intimately, Simon captures the lavish life of theatrical imagination that inspires them and makes gender itself seem like an urgent performance.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker