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The Queen

The Queen
Documentary | 1968 | G. 1hr 8min
CAST: Jim Dine, Jack Doroshow, Bruce Jay Friedman DIRECTOR: Frank Simon PRIDE FILM SERIES | CLASSIC FILM SERIES

More than 40 years before RuPaul's Drag Race, this ground-breaking documentary about the 1967 Miss All-America Camp Beauty Pageant introduced audiences to the world of competitive drag. The film takes us backstage to kiki with the contestants as they rehearse, throw shade, and transform into their drag personas in the lead-up to the big event.

Organized by LGBT icon and activist Flawless Sabrina, the competition boasted a star-studded panel of judges including Andy Warhol and his superstars Edie Sedgwick and Mario Montez. But perhaps most memorable is an epic diatribe calling out the pageant scene’s racial bias delivered by Crystal LaBeija, who would go on to form the influential House of LaBeija, heavily featured in Paris Is Burning (1990). A vibrant piece of LGBT history, The Queen can now be seen in full resplendence thanks to a new restoration from the original camera negative.

Join us for a discussion after each screening facilitated by the Pierce County AIDS Foundation.

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The Queen is an extraordinary documentary.
Renata Adler, New York Times
Whether pushing the camera close to the performers or zooming in from afar to survey them intimately, Simon captures the lavish life of theatrical imagination that inspires them and makes gender itself seem like an urgent performance.
Richard Brody, New Yorker
A hilarious behind-the-scenes look at the Miss All-American Camp Beauty Pageant... The Queen is one of the earliest queer-focused documentaries and includes famous faces like Andy Warhol mingling with drag queens like Crystal LaBeija.
Glenn Dunks,
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