Culver City Observer -

Kid Scoop Media Reviews DzAlaska Is a Drag


The prospect ofan openly gay, boxer-drag queen in a closeted Alaskan town seems doubtful. Seems doubtful, that is, until one steps into the world ofDzAlaska Is a Dragdz, written and directed by Shaz Bennett. Reckoning two (seemingly contrary) halves of flamboyancy, Bennett overlooks surface differences to connect boxing and drag performance for their core commonality: audacity. Relating bold swings to fierce shimmies and more, DzAlaska Is a Dragdz comments on self-identity and human relationships. Bennett weaves a narrative both admirably original and unexpectedly compelling. The movie was originally inspired by Ms. Bennett’s own experience of working in a northern fish cannery. Tied to the monotonous motions ofan assembly line her imagination wandered and sparked; the backdrop of North Lights gave way to multicolored dance floors, fish scales glittered like sequined dresses. This event provided both the setting and drag performance aspect for DzAlaska Is a Drag.dzFrom short film to feature film Ms. Bennett notes that this movie was a passion project Dztwenty years in the Her personal commitment to authenticity and actualizing her dreams are reflected in the story’s main character, Leo, played by Martin L. Washington Jr. Leo dreams of becoming anDzinternational superstardz, strutting and performing in drag. Yet ironically, heis forced to fight (box) in order to defend himself from those who shun his ambition and true self. Juxtaposing the two images of glamorous entertainer and rugged street fighter, Leo epitomizes the struggle between dreams vs. reality. And although Leo additionally deals with the disadvantages of a double minority (LGBT and African American), many of his struggles are universal. Financial woes, family illness, and heartache over parental abandonment are all smaller themes within the story. The trial and error of romantic love and the triumph ofunconditional familial love further cements the relatability of Bennett’s movie, ascending the label of a DzLGBT moviedz and touching audiences of all backgrounds. Refreshing, hopeful, and packed with deft humor, DzAlaska Is a Dragdz encourages viewers tobe proud: gay, or not. For more information and to support DzAlaska Is a Dragdz and the continued production ofindependent films, please donate at


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