Queens of Heart: Community Therapists in Drag

Queens of Heart: Community Therapists in DragOVERVIEW

Genre: Feature Documentary
Language: English
Country of Origin: USA
Running Time: 48 minutes
Medium: Digital Video

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Director: Jan Haaken
Producer: Wendy Kohn
Co-Producers: Caleb Heymann, Jonah Loeb, Denise Morris, Page Ostrow
Executive Producer: Jan Haaken
Editor: Marie Loeb, Kelly McClean, and Caleb Heymann
Production Consultants: Gus Van Sant and Eric Edwards
Cinematographers: Heather Mosher and Caleb Heymann
Distributor: Cinemalibre
Producer's Representative: Ostrow and Company


"Amusing, affecting and enlightening...rich with astute observations on human nature"

- Willamette Week


Drag performers are often cast as hysterical-as funny, emotional, and highly dramatic. Queens of Heart brings to light the deeper side of drag queens through four years of observing Darcelle XV, the oldest surviving female impersonation club in the United States. In exposing the work behind the act, the film shows that there is more to drag than meets the eye. The performers are cast as skilled therapists, intervening in the anxieties and desires of patrons at nightly performances. Rather than asking the question of why men wear dresses, the film pursues the question of why audiences come. From the hysterical reactions of bachelorettes on their “last night out,” to the uneasiness of straight men who get turned on in queer places, to the gender complexes of almost everyone, Darcelle and Company artfully manage the madness that comes their way each night. And in reflecting on how childhood experiences are carried into the adult work of drag, the film tells the story of how these performers, like good therapists, must know themselves well enough to confront what they arouse in others. Including behind-the-scenes interviews with the famed Darcelle XV and fellow performers, the film is rich with astute insights on group psychology, sexuality, and gender. Queens of Heart concludes with lead performer and comic Darcelle XV, still vital and on her feet at seventy-five years of age, provoking, comforting, and offering insights on love and loss.