Parents' Guide to

NightGowns

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Beautiful, emotionally deep drag docuseries charms.

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Eye-catching and surprisingly deep, this docuseries about a long-running Brooklyn drag show digs underneath the makeup and outrageous costumes to entertain compelling questions about gender and queerness. Drag performances are a classic form of LGBTQ entertainment, and though outsiders may view it with suspicion and contempt, Velour and her fellow performers aren't putting on a show just to freak out the normals. Instead, Sasha calls her drag "a transformation, not a disguise." She's not mocking women or pretending to be one; her unconventional gender presentation is instead an artful performance that allows her to express herself and, the root of all powerful art, to form connections with other people.

The fact that she does the job lip-synching Stevie Nicks in flowing gold silk rather than writing a novel or painting a portrait is unimportant; the medium isn't the thing, the message is. And the message of NightGowns is ultimately that elaborate costumes and performances, as cool as they can be to watch (and these drag performances are indeed inspired), are ultimately less important than what they cover up: fragile, hopeful humans who wish to be accepted as they are, as well as applauded for what they can do onstage.

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