Constitution Center Gets Its First-Ever Drag Performance
The National Constitution Center is going all out for Pride month, with it’s first-ever LGBT exhibit and tonight, at the exhibit’s grand opening celebration, a drag queen will perform there for the first time ever.
With so many drag queens in Philadelphia to choose from, exhibit spearhead and William Way Executive Director Christopher Bartlett says he went with someone whom he thinks represents the future of the queer movement—and that person is Bearded Ladies Cabaret founder John Jarboe. “He popped into my brain because the exhibit is about our history and our past, but it also inspires people to ask what we can do to take the LGBT community project to the next level,” Bartlett says. “John’s performance does the same thing, it envisions what a queer future should look like.”
Unlike virtually all drag queens in Philadelphia, Jarboe doesn’t have one particular persona or name. His drag characters run the gamut from the Scarlett O’Hara-inspired Dixie in Civil War Cabaret to, perhaps most famously, his Edith Piaf at the annual Bastille Day Celebration at Eastern State Penitentiary (the next one’s coming up on July 11th, put it on your calendar.) For this performance, he tells me he’s coming dressed as the American Flag. “I’m doing a mashup of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Movin’ on Up,” and “I’m Proud to Be an American.” He’ll be backed up by the Philadelphia Voices of Pride.
Bartlett tells me that the performance will be a small one, but “his energy and passion will translate.”
The grand-opening celebration takes place tonight, June 4th, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, go here.