For Beautiful by Night, San Francisco-based photographer and film-maker James Hosking chronicles life in Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, the one and only gay bar left standing in the Tenderloin, a neighbourhood that decades ago was renowned for its thriving LGBT community. In tracing the nightly routines of three of its older drag queens - Donna Personna, Collette LeGrande and Olivia Hart - Hosking traces the rich history and uncertain future of drag in the crime-ridden area.And here is the documentary Beautiful by Night, for your delectation:
In recent years, the Tenderloin has seen thirty-five times the crime rate of surrounding areas, and its decline has come at the expense of a once-flourishing gay nightlife. Hosking was drawn to those queens who had experienced those early years of drag, those who pushed through their fears of prejudice and societal disapproval to practice what they love. Hosking was endeared to Aunt Charlie’s, in part because of its imperfect performances. The club has no windows and no stage, and the queens must wind in and out of the crowd during their sets, for which they choose their own songs.
More than just a means to making a living, drag is an enduring and lifelong passion. “I think they’d miss it if they stopped,” says Hosking.
James Hosking website