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Christopher Logan is an actor and filmmaker with a passion for drag performance. With a memorable part as a queen in the comedic drag film “Connie and Carla,” as well as more traditional roles in “Saving Silverman,” “Tron Legacy” and “Alcatraz,” he has taken his love of the art and found a way to support his love of film as well. Logan’s glorious brainchild, the stunning coffee table book of the top drag performers shot by fashion and celeb photographers, "dr.a.g." was recently released from Tectum Publishers and is to raise funding for independent film production, including a musical drag fantasy film he is working on now.
The book features some of the biggest names in the New York drag scene (Lady Bunny, Joey Arias, Sherry Vine, Hedda Lettuce, Charles Busch), from the Vegas Strip (Frank Marino, Larry Edwards, Mr. Kenneth Blake), “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Nina Flowers, Raja, Chad Michaels, Tammie Brown, Jujubee, Bebe Zahara Benet, Shannel, Ongina) and icons like Jackie Beat, Miss Coco Peru, and Jimmy James. The photography from Austin Young, Magnus Hastings, Mike Ruiz, Peter Palladino and Jose A. Guzman Colon, among others, is nothing short of stunning.
Logan and I chatted about how and why he attempted such a wide-scoped project, the reactions of the female impersonator community and his own experiences with drag.
Hollis Hollywood: Congratulations on your beautiful book, Chris. I ordered an advance copy and was so excited when it arrived. Of course, it was only a matter of days before a drag queen ran off with it for a week! Every artist I’ve shared it with has completely flipped out. One thing I love about the book is that there are drag queens from all over the world included. Was there any particular criteria for which girls you and the photographers selected? Did you learn anything new about drag from the project?
Christopher Logan: The only criteria was great photos. It is a photo book, and it had to be about the images. It’s through tracking down these great images that I got to know a lot of the performers from around the world. Joan Jullian, Carlos Bieletto and Philmah Bocks, (Belgium, Mexico, Australia respectively) were all people I was not familiar with before, but drawn in by their photos. The same goes for the edgier drag stars, like Sal-E, Glitz Glam and Krystal Something-Something. The images really speak to their art and what they’re about. We ended up with quite a diverse cross-section of styles of drag and a book that is a great representation of the art.
If I learned anything from the process, it’s how generous, open and helpful people can be, when you allow them the choice. Let them be themselves, respect who they are, and everything else falls into place.
HH: How did you become interested in drag performance in the first place? Are you a drag queen yourself, obviously you are a huge fan of the art of female impersonation.
CL: I fell hard for Vancouver’s drag diva Myria LeNoir many years back and started doing drag in an amateur show she hosted. I placed and then began getting booked around town. I’m always been enamored of the live singers. Lipsinking is it’s own art and can be done well and throw us a curve we haven’t seen before with a song, but I was blown away by live performers like Joey Arias, Larry Edwards, and Jimmy James. All of whom, were gracious enough to be included in the book.
I performed on the circuit for about five years and then ‘retired’ from drag when my acting career (always in the works) started to flourish. It all connected when I won the role of a drag queen for the feature film, CONNIE AND CARLA, Nia Vardalos’ follow up to the smash hit MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING. I’ve done a few smaller roles, character parts, in drag but CONNIE AND CARLA was the most notable. Working on that film was wonderful. I got to work with the choreographers from Chicago, met and sang with Debbie Reynolds, and meet and work with one of my favorite actors, Toni Collette.
HH: The performers who appear in dr.a.g. truly represent the gamut of drag and female illusion approaches, from the far-out weirdness of Krystal Something-Something to the glamour of Erica and Roxxy Andrews, celebrity impersonators like Frank Marino and Jimmy James, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants and pageant queens. The photographers are equally varied and unique; how did you not only pick who you wanted to contribute, but talk them into donating their work? Did you choose the artists or did the photographers? What was the process of choosing the images like?
CL: I started with photos that appealed to me, performers that inspire me, and went from there. The performers connected me to their photographers, and the photographers always had suggestions of other never before seen photos that I never would have known about. Photographers Austin Young and Peter Palladino were great in helping fill out more than a few spreads in the book, and both were extremely generous with their work and helping me connect to some of the performers they had shot.
HH: You mention legendary female impersonator Larry Edwards aka Hot Chocolate as a key contributor to the book. As a longtime performer in Vegas, a TV and film actor and former Miss Gay America, Larry must know an incredibly diverse range of drag queens. Tell me about the doors she opened for you.
CL: Larry believed in the project from the get-go, and there was an instant easy chemistry between us. I think Larry just got the feeling I would do a respectful take on drag, and so he connected me with icons like Frank Marino and Mr. Kenneth Blake, and recommended others like Miami’s Elaine Lancaster. Those first recognizable name connections, is in large part what gave me credibility and allowed others to say yes.
HH: dr.a.g. was conceived as a fundraising project for independent films you are working on. In particular one that revolves around drag performance. Can you tell me about that project?
CL: I’ve never seen drag done in film the way I would like it. It’s always viewing it as if you’re in the club, watching the show on stage. But you’re not in the club, you’re at the movies…and there’s a lot more places we can take you. Our drag film will have more in common with Dreamgirls and Chicago, and films that have a fantasy element to their performance sequences.
HH: dr.a.g. is not your first book; you’ve written a children’s book and have lots of other book ideas. What motivates you to write books in addition to acting, plus writing and directing films? What are you inspired to write about in the future?
CL: Daphne (“The Penguin Who Wanted to Fly”) was a birthday gift to a friend. A lesson in how to let go of expectation, embrace yourself and allow the impossible into your life. Whether as a actor or writer or director, I am at heart a storyteller. A friend referred to me as that one day and it just made complete sense to me. I’ve embraced it as much as I can, and will continue to tell stories as long as I feel I have something worth saying and that there’s someone out there that needs to hear it.
I have another children’s book in the works, and several films I’ve written. Currently, after meeting a lot of the performers in the book on the mini book launch tour, I’ve started doing the final rewrites for a film on drag, which the book raises funding for.
HH: I know dr.a.g has been well received by the female impersonator community. Are there any reactions from performers that are particularly memorable for you?
CL: When I first showed the prototype book to Miss Barbie-Q in West Hollywood, she welled up. Edie, the host of Zumanity, gasped. Overall, the reaction has been great. I think the performers see the way the book is put together and truly feel the respect I have for them. Charles Busch, Dixie Longate, Elaine Lancaster and many others all wrote me wonderful notes saying they loved the book and our proud to be in it.
One of my favorite moments was when Larry Edwards was about to drive me to the airport in Vegas. He was chatting with Eddie Edwards, and Eddie was clutching the book close to him like a child at Christmas and they were both so lit up, chatting about it. It feels great to have that reaction. It feels like you did something good.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.