Glitter and Concrete: A Cultural History of Drag in New York City

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Sept. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781335449368. $30. POP CULTURE
Freelance writer Goodman has loved drag since watching To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar at the age of seven. Her reverence for the art form shows in her deeply thorough history of NYC’s drag scene, from the “gender impersonators” of the mid-1800s to the present-day popularity of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Goodman not only uses archival resources, but she also interviews several dozen drag performers to get firsthand accounts of important moments in drag history and to preserve their stories. The intersection of queerness and drag is explored in-depth, and the book examines how culture and laws have affected how and when drag can be performed. An extensive list of further resources—books, film, television, and digital media—is also provided.
VERDICT This book is extremely timely, as transgender rights and events such as drag queen story hours are constantly scrutinized in legislation and in the American media. A vital purchase for any collection.
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