When a Drag Queen Is Born … Boaz Stark’s book offers 700 ideas about what to name her. (Apocalypstic, anyone?)
October 3, 2008
by J. W. Arnold
A stroll down the aisles at Barnes & Noble or Borders soon reveals that baby-naming books are a booming industry. But what if you’re not giving birth to a little Britney or Justin? What if you’re giving birth to a bouncing baby drag queen? Where can you turn for that perfect name?
Australian author Boaz Stark found himself wondering the same thing and wound up writing his own wacky contribution to the genre: The Drag Queen Baby Name Book. With more than 700 names—all alphabetized and categorized — this is the ultimate reference book for the budding drag queen.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, Camp caught up with the clever Aussie writer to discuss the book and his adventures along the way:
JW Arnold: What was your inspiration to write the book?
Boaz Stark: My inspiration was simply a love of puns. A friend and I used to get together and dream up drag names for the fun of it. At some point I decided to start recording them, and when I had a couple of hundred in my collection, I realized I could do something with them. A baby name book for drag queens seemed to be the most logical place for them.
JWA: How much research was involved, or did you just think all these crazy names up yourself?
BS: I wish I had the creativity to come up with over 700 drag names on my own (from Ada Refugee to Zsa Zsa LaHore!) but I have to admit I had help. My friend and I continued to think up names together. It was a topic of conversation at pretty much every gay (and family) dinner party I attended. It’s funny when your 12-year-old niece is texting you with drag name suggestions. Other friends got into the habit of e-mailing me with names, and every time I saw a drag queen out on the town I’d accost her and ask her to identify herself. I did some Web surfing to see what was out there. And my partner and I never ran out of things to talk about – we’d just pick a girl’s name at random and spend hours seeing if it worked as a drag name.
JWA: Just as there are fads in baby names, have you noticed any trends in drag queen names?
BS: For sure! Drag names used to be all about glamour, like Danny LaRue, but a more modern approach to drag is to have a pun-based name, like Hedda Lettuce. Another very modern approach is to have a one-word drag name that is a hybrid of the two approaches, like Lypsinka or Apocalypstic. But it’s really all about personal taste. Anything goes, darling!
JWA: Have you ever done drag yourself?
BS: Yes, a few times, but I don’t find it the liberating experience so many drag queens describe it as. Once I get used to the heels and the tight-fitting wig, I just feel like me again and don’t really understand why I’m getting so much attention!
JWA: What’s your favorite name in the book?
BS: That’s like asking me to choose my favorite child! It honestly changes all the time. Today, I’ll say my favorite is Mimi Mee — but generally I have a soft spot for drag names that somehow reference the art of drag itself, like Candice B. Real, Donna Frock, Donna Wigg, Faye King, Iris Ikle-Wiggs, May B. Knott...
JWA: You lay out a wide range of names from vanilla to outrageous. Were there any names that were just too racy to print?
BS: Too racy? Never! Some of my favorite drag names could be considered offensive in some circles: Nora Cock, Cath Lick, Justine Ormous. But I did reject names that could be hurtful to some people, like Sarah Belle Palsey. I don’t see the humor in names that make fun of people with an unfortunate affliction.
JWA: Most drag queens are high maintenance divas. What happens if they consult your book and run into another girl with the same name?
BS: That actually happened! Here in Sydney, we have a fabulous drag queen called Sheila Blige, who ran into another drag who gave herself the same name. Let’s just say the fur flew and it wasn’t pretty. The imposter Sheila was sent packing and now goes by the name Donna Wigg.
What is your next project?
I have to admit I’m addicted to drag photo shoots – they’re hilarious! So my next project is a Drag Queen Calendar. I’m currently choosing the best 12 names to bring to life. I can already envisage Eve Zdropper in a cheap motel room with her ear pressed up against a wall, titillated by what she’s hearing. Can’t wait!
The Drag Queen Baby Name Book
$13.49 plus shipping and handling
Available online at www.insightoutbooks.com