[First Impressions: Interview]

Raw footage of interviews used for the documentary First Impressions, about the performers at a Denver drag bar.

00:26Copy video clip URL A drag performer sits backstage, preparing for his performance. He talks about his start in drag. 

01:11Copy video clip URL After a question from videomaker Pat Lehman about whether he have any desire to be “transsexual,” the performer corrects her, explaining the difference between performing in drag and being transsexual or being a transvestite. He clarifies that he is an entertainer. 

02:12Copy video clip URL The performer discusses his history as an entertainer and his vision for the drag club, which he’d purchase. He “decided the only thing that would make this club go would be to have a nice show bar, because there isn’t one in this area. So I got out the old clothes and started working again and it’s become quite a success here in town. We’re very pleased with it.” He discusses the uniquely pleasant, quiet atmosphere of his bar, as opposed to the “cruise-y” clubs with loud disco music that one mostly finds in the area. 

03:27Copy video clip URL The performer discusses his make-up regimen, demonstrating as he applies. “This business is not cheap. This make-up costs $28 a bottle.” 

05:45Copy video clip URL Discussing the bar’s previous incarnation as a seedy, often dangerous straight bar. “We’ve been very well accepted by the police and by the different organizations in town. First of all this bar wasn’t a very nice bar. This bar was a bar where you could come and get knifed quite easily when it was a straight bar and we’ve turned it into a really nice club which takes care of itself and has no problems. So the police are very appreciative of what we’ve turned the club into and they’ve been very nice to us.” 

06:13Copy video clip URL Needing to sue for basic civil rights. The slow process of acceptance within the city beginning by working to change harsh laws that outlawed biological men from wearing clothes associated with women. Picketing the city council building and eventually being listened to by members of the city council. Asserting there are now “no problems.” 

07:57Copy video clip URL Ambivalence towards “impersonation” within the larger gay community. The activism of drag performers being central to the repeal of anti-homosexuality laws in Colorado. 

09:20Copy video clip URL Another performer, Tammy, talks about their history as a drag performer. Getting started because they had friends who performed as female impersonators. Another, Nina, briefly talks about theirs. The own says he found Tammy working in a bar in Colorado Springs. 

10:42Copy video clip URL The business being extremely expensive. “It took me five years to break even on the clothing that I wear in the show and make-up and stuff like that.” Low pay, building up one’s pay over a long time. 

12:30Copy video clip URL How long it takes to put on make-up before a show. 

13:13Copy video clip URL Going out to breakfast after a show and being stared at by straight people in the restaurant. Most of the bad responses come from women, who see the performers dressed up and “feel like the last frowsy housewife.” 

13:58Copy video clip URL Straight people coming into the bar. All are welcome, as long as they cause no problems. Never having a problem with rowdy customers. 

15:30Copy video clip URL A question about jealousy. The owner asserts that there’s no real jealousy engendered by being a drag performer. 

16:30Copy video clip URL Discussion of another performer, Doug.

17:25Copy video clip URL This being one of the “nicest gay show bars in the country” because of the care and familial ethic they practice. Being close with their co-workers, spending time together on their off-days. 

18:10Copy video clip URL Doing “the unpopular thing in this town, which is opening a different kind of gay bar.” Growing closer because of resistance from other gay bars. 

19:02Copy video clip URL The biggest expenses in running a drag bar. Sewing and mending costumes themselves. Thinking about retiring from performance and the day-to-day running of the bar in the near future. 

21:10Copy video clip URL Shopping for dresses. Finding stores that are helpful and supportive. 

22:10Copy video clip URL Customers flirting with performers being slightly unusual because the club is not “a pick-up bar.” Straight people coming in thinking it’s a strip club. 

23:10Copy video clip URL Coming out to his parents. “How did you tell your parents?” “They told me.” Tammy discusses telling her mother she was gay in high school. Her mother being very supportive. 

25:16Copy video clip URL Not going out in drag during the day. “Can you imagine looking at this much make-up at 6 o’clock in the morning?” A story about a performer who was sent an airplane ticket in their female stage name, which required dressing up in drag at a time when doing so in public was illegal in Denver. 

26:12Copy video clip URL Collecting over 80 wigs over the years. A hairdresser who comes in every night to help prepare for the shows. 

27:42Copy video clip URL Formerly being married to a woman, having a child. The end of the marriage. 

28:57Copy video clip URL Tammy and Nina discuss their lives before becoming drag performers. “Angel of the Morning” plays in the background on the radio. 

30:42Copy video clip URL Drag as an artistic outlet. 

30:55Copy video clip URL Lesbians adoring drag performers. A story about gay women forming a protective barrier around the stage when his father showed up to a performance and the women thought he might be violent. 



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