Queens of Heart

2006, Sexuality  -   50 Comments

Queens of Heart tries to do the first cognitive examination of drag performance, applied in one of the oldest existing female imitation clubs in the United States.

Darcelle XV Showplace in Portland has become a ritual place for young women attending bachelorette parties before getting married.

Darcelle XV, co-owner, entertainer, and activist, consoles and challenges the crowd, from the brides gone wild and their anxious male partners, to homosexuals and lesbians commemorating their act of "coming out", to grandmas bouncing back from disease or divorce.

After four decades of continuous performances Darcelle has become a legend in the Pacific Northwest. She guides thousands of people who come to the club each year to celebrate or mourn important moments in their lives. The club invites people to free themselves of repressive inhibitions but it takes considerable skill to manage the intense emotions that often emerge. And that's an art that requires a deep understanding of human psychology.

When Darcell is interviewing a bachelorette or a birthday and all of a sudden they tell her something that is way beyond what she should hear... she's expecting, she has five children at home... and so she has to level off and make them feel so comfortable, make sure that they know that she hears it, understands it and that she can empathize with it.

When guests come in Darcelle XV Showplace they think it's like Alice in Wonderland, they think they can do whatever they want, that everything around them is theirs, it's their place... and they're just there to have a good time.

But, sometimes it gets frustrating for the performers because some of the quests will definitely have too much drinks or they'll be just so excited and happy to see the drag queens, happy to be free of the men in their lives, to be free of the working... and that creates euphoria which is not so easy to control.

Ratings: 7.06/10from 117 users.

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50 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Tim

    Very informative documentary.
    I deejayed in a bar very similar to this in Vancouver, BC for most of the 90's and can relate to everything they say. We had to occasional wedding party come thru to check out one (or more) of our 6 drag shows per week. However, because of our location, in between the Granville Strip of straight bars and a major football stadium on game night we'd get a few (unknowing) straight boys wandering in after a game for beer. It was always interesting to watch how long it took for them to clue in.

  2. laura

    This is one of the best documentaries I hv seen . Touching without being maudlin,funny without being cruel...a true eye opener.

  3. Richard Neva

    How come these guys in drag still look like men when other guys who undergo sex re-assignment surgery and the process that makes them indistinguishable from real born women? It really looks ludicrous!

  4. Entertainmentluvva

    amazing darcelle is so cool !

  5. jaberwokky

    Meh. Some of the characters were a bit interesting but it never really went anywhere, unless you consider "Send in the clowns" as somewhere.

    We evolve!

    1. bringmeredwine

      And now, I shall bite off thine head. Not! :D
      At first, I felt like I was watching some kind of infomercial for the Darcelle XV Showplace.
      It reeled me in when Darcelle (Walter) talked about his childhood.

    2. jaberwokky

      Same here, I did feel like I was watching an ad for a show or something akin.

      Nope, I haven't Googled the history. Hadn't actually thought hard enough about it until shortly before commenting. I would love to know more though, anything that I could use to upset bible weilding psychos etc etc.

      Edit: Nothing against bible weilding psychos.

    3. Guest


    4. bringmeredwine


    5. Guest

      G'day red,
      I saw your posts to me the other day about refugees, the site was playing up with me too, I couldn't get to reply for a bit. Thanks for that suggestion about the news site mate. Better late then never. :)

    6. jaberwokky

      I'm only interested in an answer if its not going to make a bunch of people set themselves on fire. I'm just curious about the genesis of transgenderism. Is it a dodgy question?

    7. jaberwokky

      Ah no, to be fair though. I thought leaving the question hanging here would supply the best answers and also give rise to the best questions. Was I wrong?

    8. bringmeredwine

      Ah, I thought you were asking the TDF Gods for a more educational trans sexual documentary.
      Maybe you should edit?

    9. jaberwokky

      Huh? Should I? Edit what? Did I say something offesive?

      NB. If I did I didn't mean and if it seemed like that then it's just because of my education and not because of my thoughts,


    10. bringmeredwine

      "Would it be wrong if I were to ask for the history of trans sexuality?".
      Sounds like you're asking to see a different doc on the subject.

    11. jaberwokky

      Ah, ok. Fair point. Actually thinking about that now it sounds grossly out of place. Cheers, I owe you one.

    12. jaberwokky

      NB. Seeing as now I've edited my comment because of you therefore your responses all look like goats. You should make your comments not be goats.

    13. bringmeredwine

      I know. I was in a dilemma over what to do.
      Edit:My apologies to everyone for the state of this thread!

    14. jaberwokky

      I'm joking. It's a fair point, it's certainly not something I'd want to be misunderstood on so thanks for helping drag my public image up a notch M'am.

      Merci Beaucoup.

      Edit: My apologies also for my hand in how awful looking a mess I've made this thread. Bold me!

  6. Fabien L

    Only one thing I didn't understand in that doc, why does he have 2 microphones taped together?

    1. jaberwokky

      Stereo? Backup? I'm only guessing here.

    2. Fabien L

      I thought of it some more and it's probably the doc crew mic that feeds to the camera.

    3. Imightberiding

      It could be any number of reasons for sound effects, but I suspect you may have nailed it on the head in this instance.

      OK now, don't get dirty. There was no pun intended with that statement.

    4. oQ

      makes it look like a dick with two balls.

    5. Pysmythe

      Certainly you'd always want to put your mouth as close as possible to those.

    6. oQ

      certainly none of those but perhaps others

    7. Pysmythe

      Not you specifically, lol. Settle down, lady.

    8. Pysmythe

      It's after 12 here, Az. Happy birthday! :)

    9. oQ

      I'd celebrate with chocolate ice cream but I don't have any.

    10. Achems_Razor

      Yes, I have not forgotten your birthday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Azilda.

    11. oQ

      Achems you can picture me today soaking in the hot springs at Ainsworth, I know you've been there. Hope the weather has relaxed some in your neck of the wood, here gorgeous sunny day.

    12. Achems_Razor

      Have been to Ainsworth many times, love the cave, its about 0 degrees here now, I better go before the Edge kicks us off lol, no more off topic stuff!

    13. bringmeredwine

      A very happy belated birthday!
      I wish I'd been there. Yesterday it was -27C when I woke up.
      Please kill me.

    14. oQ

      thanks to the moderators to allow me to have a real good laugh.

    15. docoman

      I've heard Ron White tell a joke I thought was funny and clever, about how his wife came up with a brilliant idea on how to reduce overpopulation. Instead of inventing things like viagra, they should invent a product that makes sperm taste like chocolate...

    16. Pysmythe

      "Yeah, me and my wife certainly agree," I said sadly. (lol) That's one of his best bits. A brilliant idea, for sure.

    17. oQ

      you may never see my reply but I know I have it right

  7. oQ

    "Helping people find holes in their fence"
    I like that.

    1. Imightberiding

      I read your comment before watching this doc. At first I interpreted the "holes in their fence" as a bad thing & it meant that there was a way for people or things to get to them in a negative way & their fences needed repairing.

      Needless to say, after watching the doc I realise I couldn't have been more wrong as to what that saying was implying. I agree wholeheartedly with you. It is a good one.

      I have many friends in the LGBT community & have been to many restaurants, bars, nightclubs, & showplaces such as this one over the years. One of my favorites was a place called the Timberline in Seattle. It was a gay country western bar complete with the floor packed with line dancing. It was almost like being in a David Lynch film.

      Of all the places I have been, I have never encountered a group of young christian girls on a night out. As one of the dancers in this doc was saying, I am sure they could be annoying at times in a place like that. I'm getting a little too old to go out now & it has been a while, so who knows? Maybe groups of young christian girls go out to gay bars & Drag Shows all the time now.

    2. bringmeredwine

      I agree about the young Christian girls comment.
      I was very touched when Walter Cole recounted the story from his childhood about his father and his beloved aunt.
      My bachelorette was at a strip club for women only (to ogle gorgeous men).
      But I was a lapsed Christian.
      Each to his own.

    3. bringmeredwine

      I'm a little traumatised after seeing where money was placed in the "Rhinestone Cowboy" number.
      I'll never touch it the same way, again!

    4. jaberwokky

      + 1 Imightberiding. I also thought it was something suspect and therefore didn't watch for a while.

    5. oQ

      in my opinion that's the best part of the doc and you have to wait until the very end to hear it. It does sound kinda funny when you haven't seen the doc.
      The double microphone, did you get it? think double ice cream cone or whatever that looks like....sort of, minus the hair.

    6. jaberwokky

      It was a brilliant comment to round the doc off on but I didn't get the double mic thing at all ... then again, in Ireland people's wobbly bits don't look like ice cream cones. Or so I hear.

    7. Imightberiding

      The double mike thing is just old school sound technology. It allows the sound man to split the voice to different channels for whatever effect he is striving for. Back ground vocals are one example. You will see this sort of thing in older videos of many rock bands.

      i realise you were all having a joke & it was not my intention to get all serious about it, but it has absolutely nothing to do with dicks & balls. Purely sound effects.

    8. jaberwokky

      Being a musician you'd think I'd be familiar with that. I guess I'm not as clever as I thought.

    9. Imightberiding

      I suspect you are much more clever than you give yourself credit. I am not a musician but have been privileged over the years to be friends with & make the acquaintance of many very talented individuals both as musicians & sound techs.

      I shan't bore you with those I know as friends & those I have met but rest assured they are gifted at what they do in the musical field.

      This is still on topic but a little removed from the concept of two mikes. I recently listened to a pod cast by Brian Dunning about the debate whether vinyl or digital is better. The episode is titled: "Are Vinyl Recordings Better Than Digital" & you can find it at skeptoid. com episode #303. It's worth a listen if your interests lie in this area of recording, music & sound. Again, it has no relevance to using two mikes but as a musician I thought you might find it interesting.

      My apologies to TDF if I have crossed any lines in referring someone to another site for a listen that may be of interest to those watching this video.

      Happy listening. After all, music does calm the savage beast & make for a much more enjoyable & groovy world.