May #70 : Free to Be... - by Angelo Ragaza

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Table of Contents

Diagnosing In The Dark

The Gospel According To St. Rufus

What the World Needs Now

OI Vey!

Assume the Position

Catching Up With: Justin LiGreci

Free to Be...

The Art of the Matter

I Just Called To Say...

Sign Of The Times


Fertility Rights

Three Scoops

Change of HAART

Comfort Zone

Singing the Booze

Dubya's Debut

Brats 'R' Us

Almost Famous

Second Coming



Hearing AIDS

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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May 2001

Free to Be...

by Angelo Ragaza

(S)he's in there, men, your inner gender illusionist, just waiting to be unleashed. And How to Be a Drag Queen 101, the new how-to video by director Stephen Winter (Chocolate Babies), is your ticket to transcendence. Sure, the production values are pure Robin Leach (witty and warm hostess Sherry Vine spreads her, er, wisdom from the back of a stretch limo, swathed in mink). But with an earnest desire to educate, the video expounds on the art and science of gender illusionism in mesmerizing detail. From body-hair removal to "tucking" to synthetic vs. human-hair wigs, How to Be... shows that doing drag is like making the perfect omelet: There's far more imagination and skill involved than the end product suggests -- and, of course, you have to break those eggs. Along with the help of wig and makeup experts, drag "technician" Tobi Armstrong (HIV positive since 1995 and formerly a special-events manager at AIDS Project Los Angeles) transforms four nervous young men into larger-than-life divas who throw all caution to the wind. But the final stunning makeovers go deeper than skin: Drag frees the guys, physically and emotionally. Let's hope Armstrong and Winter make the sequel, How to Be a Drag King 101, and that they lavish as much silly and sisterly advice as they did on this smart, surprisingly moving video. Get How to Be... by contacting or 212.598.0074.

-- AR

Also check out The Eyes of Tammy Faye, a campy and strangely engaging documentary about Tammy Faye Bakker Messner. It tests the power of tear-proof mascara, especially during a mid-'80s clip in which she wails about the mistreatment of PWAs. Her former talk-show cohost, HIVer Jim J. Bullock, and POZ cover shutterbug Greg Gorman both preach their loyalty to the queen of televangelism. On video and Cinemax, or through the extras-packed (send a TammyGram to your favorite Christian!).

-- SNK

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