Southern royalty – Dixie Queen

?Dixie Queen,? a documentary about N.C. drag queen group, is a realistic, raucous good time

Working as a drag queen is a fierce occupation anywhere, but being a drag queen in the small-town South requires a thick-skinned bitchiness that is not easily achieved or maintained.

Christian Daniels? film ?Dixie Queen,? a documentary about the delicately balanced lives of drag queens in Wilmington, N.C., was acquired by the National Film Network distribution company and released on DVD in April. The movie premiered in 2004 at the New York Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and subsequently appeared at Atlanta?s Out on Film gay film festival that year.

One of the main subjects in the film is Eddie, whose drag name is Tara Nichole. Eddie grew up on a tobacco farm in rural Beulaville, N.C., and was frequently mocked for his effeminacy and extra pounds. But Eddie?s grandmother came to the rescue by showing her grandson the magic of sewing.

Soon, he began creating costumes for Barbie dolls, and in one touching shot, his aunt shows off his first creation. This simple skill would become an essential asset when Eddie made a career out of being Tara Nichole.

The story comes to life as Eddie moves to Wilmington, and he finds more people like himself. Eddie gets into the drag scene, and suddenly, the reserved and almost morose Eddie becomes a hair flipping, sequin-wielding super queen.

The out-of-drag scenes reveal a person still struggling with how to be comfortable around his family back home in the country, and then Daniels cuts to interviews with Tara, done up in high drag and speaking without inhibition about catfights and silicone implants.