Do you find the Stars on 54 cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s classic “If You Could Read My Mind” just terrible? I do. In the end, I hope it added a nice chunk of change to Lightfoot’s bank account, but I could really do without the dance version and its many remixes.
I happened to express my dislike for the song on Facebook, which garnered replies from many of my gay friends and drag queens. “That song is one of our Gay National Anthems. Watch your mouth,” said one. “Drag queen riot,” said another. A few others: “Umm That is one of our drag numbers! LOVE Stars on 54,” and “YOU LEAVE STARS ON 54 OUT OF THIS,” yelled another friend via caps lock.
Clearly, I am not up to date on drag anthems, so I thought it was about time to get more familiar. Vancouver’s Isolde N. Barron, host and co-producer of East Van Drag Show Apocalypstick!, helped me out.
“Although I actually haven't performed any of these, they are all iconic drag anthems. To me, drag queens have always been part cheerleader part foot soldier for the community. These songs all provide a sense of hope and excitement, at the same time display[ing] the yearning that we as a community were feeling at the time that these songs became popular. One can see how much we were and still are searching for love, searching for place and affirming our right to be here and be together.”
Isolde N. Barron’s drag anthem picks
1. Sister Sledge, “We Are Family”
2. CeCe Peniston, “Finally”
3. Weather Girls, “It’s Raining Men”
4. Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive”
5. Judy Garland, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
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on May 09, 2012