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DRAG RACE: First-ever Drag Variety Extravaganza brings art of drag-show to Norman

Laurence Meyers Reese
Fertile Ground Compost Service

NORMAN, Okla. – Having spent the past few years professionally organizing widely acclaimed events for places such as the IAO Gallery, Laurence Meyers Reese was recently given the Spotlight Award by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition. Inspired by his work and his newfound second life as “trash hipster” drag queen Marlene Schiedich, he’s found a way to combine the two in the name of performance art.

“I am currently producing a documentary about becoming a drag queen and putting together an audition tape for the TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Reese said. “Part of this is me trying to become a drag queen and the other part is me auditioning for a reality TV show. It’s an enthusiasm and love for performing and drag culture, as well as learn to organize these kind of events professionally.”

By “kind of event,” Reese is referring to his drag queen “coming out” party via the first-ever Drag Variety Extravaganza at 7 p.m. April 22 at Resonator, 1010 N University Ave. in Norman. Presented in conjunction with Haus Down Productions, the event supports the launch of Reese’s career in the drag world, as well as his documentary on becoming a drag queen, which will premiere in May at the Momentum Ada Film & New Media Festival.

Reese said the all-ages show will feature ten Norman drag performers, including himself, and will be different than most other drag shows because he is trying to appeal to an audience “that normally doesn’t go to these types of performances.”

“I’m trying to appeal to the kind of people who go to art shows, “Reese said. “It’s at an art venue in Norman, and I’m trying to get another kind of audience involved with drag to see it as an artform and not just as entertainment. My kind of drag isn’t the typical kind of drag, it is more performance art. I like the idea of transformation. Drag queens are kind of like jesters in modern culture, holding up a mirror to society while making people laugh.”

Describing his persona of Marlene Schiedich as a “low-class Midwesterner” performed with “high camp and low-budget glamor,” Reese is calling on his background in the avant-garde to shock people’s “preconceived notions of what drag is.”

“My goal with this to hopefully educate people,” Reese added. “We are trying to rebuild drag culture and performance art in general in Oklahoma. We want to build a scene for that here in Norman…there’s not a lot of drag shows going on in Norman at all, so this is a new thing that we’re trying to build and hopefully it will bring more art like this to Norman.”

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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