Soft spoken, short and funny are the things that make Leslie Jordan so wildly successful and charming. But as a kid growing up gay in Chattanooga, Tennessee, it made him the target of bullies. He found refuge in the 1970s Atlanta drag scene at a club called the Sweet Gum Head. (“Before TV, Leslie Jordan was Miss Baby Wipes,” Bitter Southerner, Oct. 8, 2020; photo courtesy TheLeslieJordan.com)
“The town of Sweet Gum Head still exists, but it has no train station, no bus stop, no grocery store. Aside from a church and Ard’s Cricket Ranch, the town is hardly there, and hardly ever was. Though it exists mostly as a hazy recollection of a loose family of farms that dates back less than a century, it serves as a reminder that the queer history of America presents itself everywhere, even in the quiet, empty quarters of the South…” (“Underneath the Sweet Gum Tree,” Oxford American, Summer 2020. Photo courtesy Susan Raines)
Sheena Cassadine whirls across the crowded restaurant, her pool wrap funneling into a rainbow tornado. Limbs twisting, one knee ricocheting to her side at a 90-degree angle, she whips and drops back-first to the ground in what drag queens call a “death drop.”
The patrons at Twisted Soul’s inaugural Atlanta Pride drag brunch watch in awe: Lithe twinks rub elbows with hairy bears and mingle with beautiful femmes, while servers deliver waffles and syrup to genderfluid folk who wear beachy dresses and toast each other with bottomless mimosas.
I fear for Sheena’s wig as she spins, but she has it under control. And, really, if you haven’t lost a wig over a plate of collards and fried chicken, have you really even done drag? (“Your Fried Chicken Has Done Drag,” Gravy, Spring 2020)
TV’s most popular game show doesn’t just give away the small stuff. We went on set to find out how it’s been the best car show on TV since 1972.
The Jeep was always a part of Jamie Farr’s life during wartime in Toledo. Then it followed him to Hollywood. (July 2019)
When she found out the grisly truth about what happened to wild horses on federal land, Velma Johnston took up the fight on their behalf—and earned the nickname Wild Horse Annie. (December 2018)
Nobody needs a mustang, but the United States of America owns thousands of them. In the dun-colored hills outside Reno, some of those horses lose their freedom in exchange for a chance at a better life. (December 2018)
In an Arizona prison where wild mustangs are trained for adoption, the men don’t save the horses. The horses save the men. (December 2018)
I’m one of the army of workers in orange and blue shirts now, in charge of a part of the birthing process of your next 2019 Volvo S60. The cars crawl along like newborns down the assembly line, where I swing into step and join the dance already in progress.
I work the line.