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Stirring portrait of aging drag queens at the last gay bar in the Tenderloin
12.08.2014
01:23 pm
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Stirring portrait of aging drag queens at the last gay bar in the Tenderloin


Donna
 
San Francisco has changed both rapidly and radically over recent years. As it’s become more appealing both for cosmopolitan urbanites and the exploding tech sector, gentrification has blessed The City by the Bay with the most expensive one-bedroom apartment in America, even surpassing New York. Many mourn the loss of an earlier San Francisco and its formerly affordable counterculture and queer subculture, while San Francisco documentary photographer and filmmaker James Hosking manages to actually catch some of the twilight.

For his series, Beautiful by Night, Hosking documents the lives of three senior drag queens Donna Personna, Collette LeGrande and Olivia Hart, performers at aunt Charlie’s Lounge, the very last gay bar in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. The notoriously seedy Tenderloin has managed to mostly resist gentrification on the merits of its reputation and a concerted effort by inhabitants. Still, without the surrounding culture of a former San Francisco to sustain it, the once vibrant queer scene has faded.

Hosking’s photographs are intimate and unflinching, but the mini-documentary is also an amazing portrait of three drag foremothers. Their reflections and reminiscing are complex but disarmingly at peace, and their performances and beauty rituals are (as expected) hypnotic.
 

Olivia
 

Collette LeGrande
 

Olivia
 

Collette
 

Olivia talks to shopkeeper
 

Gustavo at home
 

Gustavo/Donna
 

Gustavo/Donna
 

Collette performs Ke$ha’s “Tik-Tok”
 

Donna backstage between sets
 

 
Via Feature Shoot

Posted by Amber Frost
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12.08.2014
01:23 pm
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