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Corsets & Crowns: A 19th-Century Drag Soirée

Friday, July 19 | 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

An evening of history and modern Drag performance

A 21+ after-hours event

 
Join us for an exquisite evening exploring the rich history of 19th-century female and male impersonators and Drag performers of the Genesee Valley Region and beyond. Enjoy eight performances by modern Drag performers in our historic outdoor Garden Pavilion. Savor light appetizers and fare by AVVINO, access a cash bar, and make sure to bring cash for tips for our performers! 
 
Drag and gendered performance has been a beloved staple of 19th-century American entertainment, particularly in the Genesee Valley Region and Greater Rochester Area. Genesee Country Village & Museum is excited to shed light upon this little-know but well documented history. Join us for a fun evening of candlelit entertainment! 
 
On your way to the Pavilion Garden for the event, make sure to stop by the John L. Wehle Gallery (open from 5 – 6:15 p.m.) to view our exhibit Becoming Gendered: Garment as Gender Artifact! 
 
Corsets & Crowns is now SOLD OUT and tickets will not be available for sale on-site. Thank you to everyone who pre-purchased tickets online in advance! Want to be the first to know about upcoming programming like this? Subscribe to receive emails from GCV&M by filling out the short form below! 
 
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Explore Drag and Female Impersonation in 19th-Century New York

Drag is an artistic tradition that gained mainstream popularity after the Civil War. The history of female impersonation and Drag has connections to vaudeville, 19th-century minstrel shows, theater, and operatic performances. Authentic to this area of New York State specifically, this event will highlight female impersonators and self-styled Drag queens of the 19th century such as Burton Stanley, Neil Burgess, and more distant female impersonators like B. Morris Young (son of Brigham Young) and William Dorsey Swann. GCV&M seeks to tell a broader story that more accurately reflects the diversity of the Genesee Valley Region and lifts up stories that have been untold and voices that have been historically silenced.

(Pictured: Francis Leon – image form Harvard Theatre Collection, 1870s) 

Enjoy modern Drag performances

After learning about the history of Drag and gender performance in late 19th-century America, guests will enjoy eight modern Drag performances by Rochester-area Queens and Kings. To supplement the performances, enjoy music, cash bar, light appetizers, and the aroma of heirloom variety flowers blooming in our beautiful Pavilion Garden. 

The evening’s performers: Zenadia Mars, Vivian Darling, Samantha Vega, and Valentino Rose

Ticket Information

General Public: $60 

Museum Member: $50 

Corsets & Crowns is now SOLD OUT and tickets will not be available for sale on-site. Thank you to everyone who pre-purchased tickets online in advance! 

FAQs

What is Drag?

Drag is a performance of exaggerated gender cues. This includes heightened femininity and masculinity for the purposes of entertainment. 19th-century Drag and gender-impersonation acts entertained crowds with operatic, comedic, and sometimes racially-motivated caricatures. Drag and female impersonation were utilized in both white and Black communities in the 19th century. It is indeed a reality that female impersonation was sometimes employed to negatively portray racist caricatures of Black women and women of color throughout history. This program will broach this complicated topic, while also celebrating the long tradition of Drag performances by People of Color, and female impersonation in the Genesee Valley Region from the 19th-century to today. 

In the 21st century, the art form of Drag has continued to flourish with international acclaim.  

What does a Drag show have to do with 19th-century history?

Drag is an artistic tradition that gained mainstream popularity after the Civil War. The history of female impersonation and Drag has connections to vaudeville, 19th-century minstrel shows, theater, and operatic performances. Authentic to this area of New York State specifically, this event will highlight female impersonators and self-styled Drag queens of the 19th century such as Burton Stanley, Neil Burgess, and more distant female impersonators like B. Morris Young (son of Brigham Young) and William Dorsey Swann. GCV&M seeks to tell a broader story that more accurately reflects the diversity of the Genesee Valley Region and lifts up stories that have been untold and voices that have been historically silenced. This endeavor to bring to our visitors a truer, more accurate portrayal of 19th-century history represents not a political stance, but rather an attempt to showcase the true diversity of 19th-century New York State. 

What is GCV&M's commitment to DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Accessibiltiy and Inclusion)?

Genesee Country Village & Museum is actively committed to broadening our understanding of DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion), and making it part of everything that we do. Guided by our mission, values, and inclusive culture of curiosity, we strive to dismantle inequity and address erasure through ongoing dynamic interpretation, communications, research, and outreach. We celebrate the stories of our shared past; connect the rich diversity of the 19th century to the present; and collaborate with the communities we serve to create welcoming spaces for learning, work, exploration, and play.  

Click here to learn more about our expanded commitment to DEAI: https://www.gcv.org/deai/

Should I bring cash for tips?

Yes! We recommend bringing cash for tips for our performers – 100% of the cash tips will go directly into the hands of our guest performers. 

Is this event 21+?

Yes! This event is 21+ – guests will have access to a cash bar serving beer, wine, hard cider, and fun signature beverages. 

How can I show my support for this kind of programming?

Interested in exploring untold stories and supporting the lifting-up of historically under-represented narratives? Please consider supporting GCV&M and joining our community as a Member. Your support – whether by becoming a Member, making a donation, attending an event, exploring an exhibit, or even just helping spread the word on social media – allows us to continue to broaden our narrative and share a more expansive, more accurate representation of the Genesee Valley in the 19th century. Learn more about becoming a GCV&M Member: https://www.gcv.org/membership/

Is there ample parking?

Parking is free and plentiful! Park in any of the main lots at the front of the Museum. Please leave the first two bays available for handicapped parking. 

How do I show my purchased tickets?

Please have your ticket(s) either printed out OR pulled up on your phone screen and ready for scanning for quick and easy check-in. Pro-tip: take a screenshot of each of your tickets to have ready and pulled up on your phone screen! Please note: Wifi can sometimes be spotty at the front of the Museum. 

Is this event rain or shine?

Yes! This event is rain or shine. The Museum will only cancel in case of a severe weather emergency. 

The Garden Pavilion area is partially covered, so even in the instance of rain, guests will be sheltered. 

What is the bar menu?

Our cash bar in the Pavilion Garden Restaurant will be serving craft beer, wine, champagne, hard cider, and non-alcoholic beverages! 

How should I dress?

Please dress accordingly for the predicted weather conditions.  

We also recommend that guests have fun with the concept! Drag is a fun and colorful event – please feel free dress accordingly! 

Are service animals welcome?

Yes! Leashed service animals are welcome with proper identification. 

Do I need to purchase a ticket online in advance?

Yes! Please make sure to purchase tickets online in advance – we anticipate that tickets for this event may sell quickly. 

What if I need a refund for my ticket?

We’re sorry to hear that you’re not able to attend! Tickets for this event are strictly non-refundable. 

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