Kings, Queens & In-BetweensHD Closed Captioning
Gabrielle C. Burton
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About the Movie
Through the compelling stories of 8 performers in the thriving drag scene in the unlikely location of Columbus, Ohio, KINGS, QUEENS, & IN-BETWEENS dives into the next frontier -- the often misunderstood topic of “gender” itself. With humor and pathos, KQIB makes a complex subject approachable for mainstream audiences -- inviting viewers into a conversation about the distinct differences between gender, sex, and sexuality that has not been represented in film before. Giving rare insight into an underground scene, KQIB captures how an unlikely midwestern city full of vibrant performers tackles complexities of gender expression, personal identity, and human rights--all with humor, great music, big hair, and duct tape. Through an upbeat, entertaining mix of multiple voices and performances, KQIB invites the audience into a conversation about challenging common assumptions about drag as an artform, and ultimately about gender -- and identity itself.KQIB is an entertaining ethnographic documentary that provides a colorful look into a world few have seen up close. Structured like a Chuck Close painting, KQIB presents a large community in their own voices, rippling out to reveal the critical consequences of how gender divisions impact our culture and society—in areas from bullying, to marriage rights, to LGBTQ discrimination.KQIB peels back the layers of identity, highlighting the diversity of human experience. The film focuses on the West Family drag queen and Royal Renegades drag king troupes -- people who dedicate themselves to extensive rehearsals, putting their own money (up to $5000/show) into drag as creative expression, personal exploration, community involvement, and/or political activism: Andrew (Nina West) is a major local celebrity: raising untold funds for charities, a regular guest on the nightly news, headlining magazines, yet he was keeping his drag identity secret from his parents who hoped he would become a lawyer and Republican party member. Becky (The Rev), a magnetic leader of the drag kings, works tirelessly to incorporate political awareness within fun, inclusive, celebratory shows. Chris (Virginia West) is the 'mother' of the West Family drag troupe. He is terrific in the spotlight, and it would be hard to leave that and his best friends if he were to phase out his time-consuming performance schedule and stardom to start a family with his husband. Liz (Cool Ethan) didn't want to be a man but didn't want her bust-size either. She has a strong vision of crossing over the traditional divide between queens and kings. JAC (Midwest Gender Queer), a transgender man who transcends gender (sometimes wearing dresses and dying his hair bright pink), struggles on the one hand with confusion and incomprehension by some people who don't 'get' it, and pressure on the other hand from some members of the trans community who tell him he is 'messing it up' for the rest of them. Erin (Akasha O'Hara Lordes) is a transgender woman engaged to a straight man. Unlike the other queens, she feels she is performing as she biologically was meant to be–as a woman. When she completes her final operation, she feels she will no longer need to perform drag. Julia and Liv worked hard to have a child. Former heads of the drag king troupe, they don’t perform anymore, but serve as 'drag granddaddies' for younger kings, showing them new possibilities as a devoted, married couple and loving parents to their baby boy. Sile Singleton doesn't identify as a woman or a man, as gay or straight, as a queen or a king -- but as all of these. A founder of Columbus's International Drag King Extravaganza conference, she is dedicated to thinking through new possibilities for politics, performance, and gender.
Drag is political
I gotta say I love the feeling of civic pride I got watching this movie. I'm so proud of little old Columbus for having one of the most progressive and vibrant drag scenes in the country.
This movie makes what's driving people to get involved in drag very clear without being preachy or boring. It also highlights how spectacularly important self-expression is for human happiness.
Accolades for Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
This movie challenges and educates at the same time. Something that usually isn't done in this day and age. I know some of these performers personally and cannot say enough good things about their character, generosity, and sense of community. This documentary is a "can't miss" for sure!!!