Cross-Dress to Impress

The Queen’s Head Pub embraces a different kind of royalty.

Hey guys—ever feel awkward walking into the Harvard College Women’s Center with a not-so-femme phallus? Just tuck it in! Last Sunday, the Women’s Center, in conjunction with the Harvard Trans Task Force and the Harvard College Queer Students and Allies, hosted a workshop on dressing in drag. Professional female impersonator Fena Barbitall, otherwise known as Ryan M. Carpenter, taught would-be drag queens to “grab, cup, and pull back” and would-be drag kings to pack themselves down there.

The seminar preceded next week’s drag show at the Cambridge Queen’s Head pub, where many of Carpenter’s protégés will perform. Some were not so new to the cross-dressing scene. At last year’s show, “Miss Patience,” a.k.a. James P. Alexander ’10, switched between two personas—a 1980s blonde bombshell and an Amy Winehouse-inspired vixen. He was joined by Marco Chan ’11, who bedazzled the stage in a cherry blossom Chinese dance costume.

“It’s funny that a conformist place like Harvard would have these opportunities,” Chan said. “I would never do this at home. I like it because it’s fun to play with all these different identities.”

On the other hand, some seminar participants were new to the life of pads, heels, glue and lashes. Jia Hui Lee ’12 plans to debut as a Balinese princess next week.

“I’m hoping for an exposure”, he says.

On the king side, Morgan L. Haven-Tietze ’10 has yet to set plans for her first show. “I want to make a glorious fool out of myself,” she says from underneath a gruff and virile porn-stache.

In the end, even for the pros, drag seemed to be all about community and fun.

“I will stop doing drag the second I consider it a real job,” Carpenter said. “It’s a great group of girls. And in the end, we’re all we have.” Carpenter affectionately referred to each of her colleagues as “that bitch.”

FM will definitely be there to see these contestants strut their stuff in the Drag Show at 9 p.m. on April 18th in the Queen’s Head Pub.