The New York TimesThe New York Times

Is This the Golden Age of Drag? Yes. And No.

By Isaac Oliver

17 Jan 2018 · 15 min read

The tour bus full of drag queens sped through rural Wisconsin on a brisk afternoon a few days before Thanksgiving. Mimosas were poured (and refilled) and hair was let down — or taken off. “A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour” was underway: a 30-city, cross-country trek featuring stars from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” the Emmy-winning hit reality show on VH1.

The bus wasn’t exactly spacious — it slept 12 in coffinlike bunks and the shower was a standing M.R.I. — but it was still symbolic of a new status for drag, an often-misunderstood performative art. Popping corks on rock band buses and finding fans across America — not just in major cities — is a turn that one of the queens, Eureka O’Hara, never imagined growing up in Tennessee, so nervous the first time she performed that she carried her purse onstage and shook.

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