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8B ednesday January 29 2014 // The Statemen
THE VISUAL STATEMENT: MY NIGHT WITH ANDI
Nicholas Williams photographed Andi Drogenous, a graduate student in the School of Social Work and a drag performer, performing at a club in Cleveland, Ohio.
On the surfacebeing in drag isonline. Bit-by-bit, Andi started to appear.
a "Look". When I firstebegan We chatted idly as ze worked and at one
exploring and documenting point as ze finished up zir eyes Andi said
-- Drag Queens I mostly viewed the life- almost to zir self, "Okay, Andi is here
style on an aesthetic level. It was not now." I did not notice a dramatic change,
i until I met Andi Drogenous that I began but there was something different: Andi
to see another side to drag - it is ayes- became sure of zirself, energ*zed and
sad tn disrupting agender binary. Drag ready to perform.
inspires a generation of acceptance and Andi performed a lip sync and dance
being is mnre than putting on a dress number that night. The audience at0
and walking out the door, it's about cre- the club ranged from gay club goers to
ating adynamic persona. troops of Midwesternobrides at theirw
I met Andi online, and when we bachelorette party.After zir perfor- U
met up for coffee, I was struck by the mance Andi navigated the crowd with 0
knowledge that ze (gender neutral ease, posing for pictures and drinking
-pronoun) had of drag and of zir energy. Long Islands as I kept taking pictures i5
- T ~Over winter break I followed Andi to zir and subtly re-gluing her handmade
- hometown of Cleveland, Ohio to watch atrylic nails.
zir performance at a club. Having total Today, Drag Queens are a visible part
accesto Andi's full process put into of popular culture thanks to shows like
perspective for me how much work goes Ru Paul's Drag Race ranking high in rat-
in to the illusionhbehind the scenes. gin- ings, but the most raw, and true perfor-
ken down, drag is sixty percent getting mances take place in the clubs. Whether
ready, ten percenteperforming and thirty on a realit show or a Drag performance
Spercent reigning as queen of the club, in Cleveland, Queens continue to be an
Andi spent four hours painting zir face, icon for liberation and freedom with
-erasing every manly feature using vari- one's body.a
00s techniques learned from friends or
-IOT'O 'i NICHOLAS WILLIAMS