“I’m a Man in a Dress, and I’m Not Afraid to Show That”

“Beautiful by Night” captures the transformations of San Francisco’s veteran drag queens.

Olivia (a.k.a. Frank) says that drag is both a screen and a way of shedding her skin.James Hosking

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On a Saturday afternoon, Olivia Hart gets dressed in her pay-by-the-week hotel room before heading out to Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, one of the last gay bars in San Francisco’s tough Tenderloin neighborhood. Fifty-four-year-old Olivia is one of several veteran drag performers profiled in Beautiful by Night, a documentary and photo series by filmmaker and photographer James Hosking. Olivia (a.k.a. Frank) says that drag is both a screen and a way of shedding her skin. “Olivia and I are pretty much one and the same,” she says. But, she adds, “my thing is not being a female illusionist where I look dead-on like a woman. I’m a man in a dress, and I’m not afraid to show that.”

Beautiful By Night by James Hosking

 

Gustavo holds a photo of himself as Donna Personna. James Hosking
 

Gustavo puts on breast pads. James Hosking
 

Gustavo transforms into Donna. James Hosking
 

Donna in her apartment. James Hosking
 

Collette LeGrande. James Hosking
 

Collette in her apartment. James Hosking
 

Frank becomes Olivia Hart in his hotel room. James Hosking
 

Frank applies fake eyelashes. James Hosking
 

Frank, mid-transformation, pauses for a cigarette. James Hosking
 

Olivia, on her way to Aunt Charlie’s. James Hosking
 

Olivia nears Aunt Charlie’s Lounge. James Hosking
 

Donna makes her way down Turk Street prior to the show. James Hosking
 

Olivia fixes her jewelry backstage. James Hosking
 

Donna gets ready for the show. James Hosking
 

Donna prior to her number. James Hosking
 

Collette makes a final check before her performance. James Hosking
 

Collette performs “Sunny” by Boney M.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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