Parallel lives: an inside look at drag

Parallel lives: an inside look at drag
Tony Cook puts on makeup before performing as a drag queen.
Tony Cook (right) helps a drag queen performer to get dressed before a show.
Costumers eat at Hamburger Mary’s in Chicago, IL.
Tony Cook (Center), dressed as a drag queen, talks to the staff of Hamburger Mary’s.
Tony Cook (left) prepares jello shots.
Tony Cook and a coworker smoke before performing.
Tony Cook puts on makeup before performing.
Tony Cook greets his fans after performing.
Tony Cook enters the room to perform.

Tony spends time working as a restaurant manager in Hamburger Mary’s in Chicago, Illinois. Openly gay, this man makes a complete transformation into a drag queen once a week. Tony calls himself a manger by day and Tasha Salad, a female impersonator by night. Tasha has been participating in drag shows for close to twelve years, and frequently performs at Hamburger Mary’s in Oak Park. The process of transformation is surely the work of the artist. It can take up to five hours each performance night and requires meticulous makeup application, full-body hair removal, clothing adjustments, and prostheses to mimic a woman’s form. While he is content with himself and within his careers, he finds these performances as an opportunity to play with gender, saying and doing things that might not fit his 9-5 persona.