Glitter and Concrete

A Cultural History of Drag in New York City

by Elyssa Maxx Goodman

On Sale: 09/12/2023

Glitter and Concrete

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Glitter and Concrete

A Cultural History of Drag in New York City

by Elyssa Maxx Goodman

On Sale: 09/12/2023


About the Book

*The Millions Most Anticipated List of 2023*

*A Vogue Best LGBTQ+ Book of 2023*

From journalist and drag historian Elyssa Maxx Goodman, an intimate, evocative history of drag in New York City exploring its dynamic role, from the Jazz Age to Drag Race, in queer liberation and urban life

From the lush feather boas that adorned early female impersonators to the sequined lip syncs of barroom queens to the drag kings that have us laughing in stitches, drag has played a vital role in the creative life of New York City. But the evolution of drag in the city—as an art form, a community and a mode of liberation—has never before been fully chronicled.

Now, for the first time, Elyssa Goodman unearths the dramatic, provocative untold story of drag in New York City in all its glistening glory. Glitter and Concrete ducks beneath the velvet ropes of Harlem Renaissance balls, examines drag’s crucial role in the Stonewall Uprising, traces drag's influence on disco and punk rock as well as its unifying power during the AIDS crisis and 9/11, and culminates with the modern-day drag queen in the era of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Including original interviews with high-profile performers, as well as glamorous color photos from exclusive sources and the author herself, Glitter and Concrete is a significant contribution to queer history and an essential read for anyone curious about the story that echoes beneath the heels.

"Deeply researched and featuring a cast of characters who can truly be described as fabulous, Glitter and Concrete is urban history on fire." —Thomas Dyja, author of New York, New York, New York

Critical Praise

"Every lawmaker who wants to ban drag should read this history... Convincing and heartwarming."—Washington Post
"[T]here’s possibly never been a better time for Goodman’s highly researched history of drag as a vital form of self-expression for the expansive LGBTQ+ community in New York City."—Vogue
"A cultural history of the art form’s groundbreaking impact in New York City."Elle
"A vital antidote to the tragedy of queer erasure, serving as a memory, benchmark, and guide to current and future drag lovers... this book demands we take [drag] seriously as a cultural art form that responds to, critiques, and is a crucial part of American history."—Hyperallergic

"Filled with vibrant character portraits and lesser-known histories, this is a comprehensive guide to New York’s long tradition of drag performance and queer activism.”—Publishers Weekly STARRED review
“Throughout this lively and celebratory book, Goodman portrays the dynamic forces of a fearless community bound by their love of performance and using ‘glamour as a potent force of resistance.’ An essential addition to the literature of both drag and queer history.”—Kirkus STARRED review
"Goodman parlays her ardor for drag into a uniquely comprehensive, vibrant, and eye-opening history of the art form in New York City. ... Richly enlightening, enthralling, and invaluable.”—Booklist STARRED review
"[Goodman's] reverence for the art form shows in her deeply thorough history of NYC’s drag scene...vital."—Library Journal STARRED review

"Elyssa Goodman has achieved the near impossible; a history of drag that is as entertaining as it is comprehensive. From Eltinge to RuPaul, all of the great personalities with their triumphs and tragedies are woven into a vivid and vibrant tapestry of the city of New York."—Charles Busch, award-winning playwright and author of Leading Lady: A Memoir of a Most Unusual Boy
"As drag is absurdly under attack by the right wing, along comes this well researched book that celebrates its glittery renown. Elyssa Maxx Goodman lovingly explores drag's trajectory in NYC from 1865 to the present, spanning activism, oppression, flamboyance and Emmy awards. Brava!"—Michael Musto, author and journalist for The Village Voice
"What a gift downtown nightlife fixture Elyssa Maxx Goodman has given us with her glamorous, giddy history! A love letter to New York City past and present, Glitter and Concrete celebrates drag's shimmering potential for community, self-expression, and pure joy."—Ada Calhoun, New York Times bestselling author of St. Marks Is Dead

"As drag's enemies attempt to eradicate it from public life, we'd do well to learn from its underground roots. Now more than ever, we need the stories of the artform's ancestresses. Glitter and Concrete provides a thorough and accessible introduction to this ancient tradition of resilience, resistance and divine shapeshifting."—Devin Antheus, co-author of Legends of Drag
"Glitter and Concrete is precise and comprehensive and beautifully written. It brings to life the whole long tragic-comic history of drag in New York. As a gay New Yorker I learned as much as I relived. It is indispensable!"—Edmund White
“Fascinating and delightful. Elyssa Maxx Goodman has written a comprehensive, thoughtful, yet thoroughly entertaining history of drag as experienced in New York from the Gilded Age to today.”—Paulina Bren, bestselling author of The Barbizon
"Glamor. Survival. Performance. Community—That’s drag… and that’s New York. And that’s why this remarkable book is so important. Elyssa Goodman takes us all the way to the 19th century and back to explore and explain the special role drag has played in making New York the place where the world comes to truly be itself. Deeply researched and featuring a cast of characters who can truly be described as fabulous, Glitter and Concrete is urban history on fire."— Thomas Dyja, author of New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation
"Glitter and Concrete is so much more than a simple deep dive into the glamorously complex world of drag in New York City; it stands as a testament to the art form's roots of revolution and protest. Combining exhaustive research and razor-sharp prose, Elyssa Maxx Goodman pays homage to drag’s vitally important, necessary role in the larger American consciousness and of its refusal to be culturally exorcised. I loved every minute of this dazzling book."—Alex Espinoza, author of Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime
"Hey babes, take a read on the wild sides, past and present, of NYC's prismatic drag scenes."—Joe E. Jeffreys, Drag Historian
"The drag history book we’ve all been waiting for. Goodman tracks the history of drag in New York City from the Jazz Age to the age of RuPaul winning Emmys. Fans of Paris is Burning will get the spiritual follow-up to the seminal documentary. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about queer history."—Debutiful -

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781335449368
  • ISBN 10: 1335449361
  • Imprint: Hanover Square Press
  • On Sale: 09/12/2023
  • Pages: 464
  • List Price:41.00 CAD
  • BISAC2 : SOCIAL SCIENCE / LGBT Studies / Gay Studies
  • BISAC3 : HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)
  • BISAC4 : PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism

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