Artist Spotlight: Patrick Holt (Tempest DuJour)

Artist Spotlight: Patrick Holt (Tempest DuJour)

Spotlight on Patrick Holt (Tempest DuJour), Costume Designer for The Legend of Georgia McBride.

When strangers discover that I do drag I get one of two responses. There’s either an exclamation of fabulosity and delight, or an uncomfortable pause and the almost audible sound of gears grinding in a struggle to break the silence. Both of these reactions are exactly why I love the art of drag and confirm its popularity and necessity in a rapidly changing culture. As a professor, designer, single  dad, and the only Arizonan to have appeared on the Emmy Award-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race, I love that drag can challenge the way we see the world and the idea of what we consider “normal’. The massive popularity of drag has afforded me the opportunity to travel the world  performing  and meeting many amazing people of all ages who are often looking for more than entertainment. Because of my success in drag I’m able to offer validation or understanding in ways that I never experienced as a closeted kid and adult. Drag has been around  as long as the theatre.  In many cultures, famously on the Elizabethan stage,  Vaudeville, on the Broadway stage, in film and television, and as a last minute Halloween costume, drag continues to remain present and relevant because it challenges our ideas of entertainment and gender.

Patrick Holt as Tempest DuJour

The Legend of Georgia McBride is the perfect introduction to the world of drag because it allows so many of the facets of this rhinestone to sparkle. For many of us that were rejected by our own family, or had oppressive religious upbringings, drag became our family and the only safe place we’d ever known. Drag has so many genres and styles, it’s the only branch of performance where the performers choose their own performance, design and construct their own costumes, do their own makeup, wigs, choreography, and often self-promote. Designing for this particular play requires an understanding of the world of drag on all levels and in different styles of the art. Drag perpetually and continually  evolves,  and  representing  that  is  an  important  part  of  this  story.  The Legend of Georgia McBride is a story told  through  the  perspectives  of  all  kinds  of  people,  it  inspires  and  entertains, and more than anything proves how alike we all really are. The doors are always open for the willing in drag, and there’s always room at the table.  The often over-the-top music, costumes, make-up, hair and antics are a celebration of gender, of personal expression, and of life.  It’s an escape and a confirmation, sometimes a social commentary, and always a celebration.