June 18, 2021
[Image description: Two people pose against a black background. On the left, Maiden China, an intersectional non-binary feminist drag performer, adorns a lustrous black patterned top with cut out shoulders. Back-lit by a yellow light, their shoulder-length dark hair flows as if in the wind. Their face is covered in white luminous foundation, their cheeks and forehead are contoured with blue and highlighted with fuchsia, and their lips a matching pink shade. Wearing red eye contacts with matching eye shadow, and large lashes, they stare into the camera. On the right, Skim, an emotional, unhinged being and drag performer, wears a black lace corset with loose and sweeping bright red sleeves. Their arms fold in front of their torso, hands posed to frame their face. Their left fingers have long red nails that barely touch their right hand—whose splayed fingers are covered with black nail gloves. Their face is contoured with magenta, and the colour extends up into their eyeshadow. A painted black whisker-like goatee frames their grape coloured lips. Their black hair is loosely bundled atop their head, and silver curtain earrings dangle from their lobes. They stare into the camera. End Image Description.]
ArtStarts on Saturdays is back with another edition of Drag Story Hour. On June 26, 2021, Maiden China and Skim will be reading a story to us, so be sure to dance along with them from home!
Visit the ArtStarts Facebook page on Saturday, June 26 at 11:00am PST to tune into the Drag Story Hour Watch Party, where Maiden China and Skim will be joining us for some free, interactive fun!
To get us excited for the show, we asked Skim and Maiden China some questions about their favourite children’s stories, the importance of drag for young audiences, and what Pride means to them:
ArtStarts: What is your favourite children’s story and why?
Skim: I think my favourite children’s story is Bark George by Jules Feiffer. I taught at an Elementary school in Korea and this was probably my favourite book that I read to them. I love making animal noises (I think I'm good at it too) and it was so fun to ask the students what the noises were in Korean and compare them to English.
Maiden: My favourite children’s story is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It was one of the very first books I remember reading as a child and I was completely obsessed with it! The green hardback cover is so vivid in my memory. I really love the emotion and sentiment behind the story, about selfless and unconditional love, and what patience and forgiveness looks like.
ArtStarts: Why do you think drag is important for young audiences?
Skim: I think drag is important for young audiences because of play. A huge part of drag is play, and camp and when young audiences see campy drag artists playing dress up and having fun they also experience that joy. In addition, young audiences don’t judge or have any prejudices until it’s taught to them so when they view drag at a young age without any biases, they truly see it from a sincere and fresh point of view. Drag doesn’t need to be explained to them. Young folx just get it. We need young audiences to continue the joy and experiences of what is drag.
Maiden: I think drag is important for young audiences because on a material level there is so much colour and texture that is just larger than life, and that kind of sensory stimulation is really conducive for learning and play. Drag is all about endless possibilities and boundless creativity and it’s something kids just really vibe with. They get it and they have fun with it!
ArtStarts: Happy Pride! What are some things that make you proud to be who you are?
Skim: Happy Pride! I’m not sure if I can ever say I’m proud of who I am because I think I’m constantly learning, growing, and trying to understand the complicated and messiness of what makes me human. I think something that took me a while to be proud of was my Korean-ness and queerness. It took me a long time to understand that my queerness and Korean-ness are not separate things. They are constantly in flux, and in action with one another. I am happy to be a part of a community and I think that having the support and love from other folx in the community makes me want to share love and support to others as well.
Maiden: Happy pride! I am constantly reminding myself of how incredibly blessed I am to be queer, and how proud I am to exist in the same world as so many fierce, powerful, resilient, and tenacious QTBIPOC folks. As we grow up and come out as queer people we are often shown and told how difficult our lives are going to be, and how much hardship we are going to endure, but we are rarely told how much happiness we will experience. Pain and suffering are very real lived realities for QTBIPOC folks, and obviously I am privileged to have found my queer chosen family, and I have endured hardships to get here, but now that I have community and family who cherish me for who I am I can appreciate how much of a gift my queerness and transness is.
A big thank you to Skim and Maiden China for their thoughtful answers! To learn more about them, tune into Drag Story Hour at ArtStarts on Saturdays, June 26, 2021. If you miss the Watch Party, no worries—the stories and dancing will be up on Facebook and YouTube until the end of July.
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