Getting Intimate With San Francisco's Drag Scene Pioneers

October 25, 2014 12:52 AM

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Getting Intimate With San Francisco's Drag Scene Pioneers

Aunt Charlie’s Lounge is a small, windowless establishment in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, an area once known for its nightlife and LGBTQ attractions. Today, the crime rate is 35 times higher than anywhere else in the city, and Aunt Charlie’s is the neighborhood’s only remaining gay bar. Still, its evening-length drag show continues, and, without a stage, the drag queens perform among the audience, making for an intimate show.

When James Hosking visited Aunt Charlie’s Lounge for the first time in 2009, after moving to San Francisco from New York, he immediately gravitated toward the older performers there, curious about their connection to a period when drag was “illicit and less accessible.” He was also driven to underst...

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