Queer history buffs, and fans of drag culture alike, are in for a luscious treat this week as Sasha Velour releases Faces of Drag, a new series of short videos celebrating history’s drag icons.
The clips were released on Sasha’s YouTube channel and Instagram page through which she introduced her new project:
“This series of 10 papier-mâché masks celebrates the world history of drag. I pieced them together this summer using newspaper, wire, clay, and paint! These stories make me feel so proud and humbled to be a part of the legacy of drag.”
In each feature, Sasha and her House carefully feather dust and polish up a mask in the likeness of a drag icon of world history. Sasha herself narrates the life and story of each queen featured with a backing track of music from the time period in which the queen lived through.
Each clip ends with the studio lights dimming and the eyes of the likeness suddenly glowing bright as the mask comes to life; a powerful visual statement telling the audience that the queen and her legacy lives on.
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The stars of the series are Izumo no Okuni, Rebecca and Her Daughters, William Dorsey Swann, Mei Lanfang, Barbette, Josephine Baker, Coccinelle, José Sarria and Divine.
Your ears might perk up when you watch the feature on Rebecca and Her Daughters as Sasha describes the White Boys (na Buachaillí Bána) of Ireland in the 1760’s. A secret organisation of men who would dress in white smocks and take to violent tactics to defend farmer’s land rights in their nightly raids.
Sasha has continued to find new and innovative ways to celebrate queer culture the best ways she knows how, despite the live performance industry being tackled so harshly due to the pandemic. Just last week, she premiered a prerecorded showing of Nightgowns: The Musical on her website, recorded live this summer from New York City.
The drag star is also bringing her critically-acclaimed theatre show Smoke & Mirrors back to Dublin’s Bord Gais Theatre in 2022. Sasha performed the show in the very same venue on March 11, 2020. Though unbeknownst to Sasha, and the audience, it was to be her last time performing the show in its current leg as the pandemic forced the world into lockdown just a few days later.
Sasha spoke to GCN before her arrival in Dublin for her 2020 Smoke & Mirrors Tour. In the piece, she talks about her approach to her stage show; an approach that absolutely aligns itself with this new series.
“I think understanding that what I am doing with this art form isn’t something new, isn’t something strange at all, it belongs to the oldest tradition of art and the very origin of human identity and self-expression.”
Watch Faces of Drag by Sasha Velour below and keep up to date with her latest projects through her Instagram here.
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