Skip to content

Review: The Queen vs. Texas (at SXSW)

Posted in Austin, Journalism, LGBTQIA, SXSW, and The Texas Observer

My writing is back in the pages of the Texas Observer (on a freelance basis), with a review of a new short film which was shown at this year’s South By Southwest:

When the drag queen known as Hermajestie the Hung  reached her breaking point, she transformed into the Joker, becoming the  scourge of patriarchy, homophobic lawmakers, and anti-transgender  bigots everywhere.

“She’s that queen that’s just had enough,” Hermajestie told the Texas Observer.

In reality, The Queen vs. Texas—a  new short film recently screened at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film  festival in Austin— isn’t exactly a supervillain origin story, but it  does depict the transformation Raemonn James, better known as  “Hermajestie,” undergoes as she applies her drag makeup to become a  queered-up version of that mischievous comic book character.

She’s dressed up for a  performance of Vanguard, the drag troupe she led from 2020 until she  left the state in 2023, in the wake of a flood of anti-LGBTQ+ laws  passed by the Texas Legislature. In a way, the 15-minute film also  depicts James’ Joker-like political transformation, as the former Texas resident realizes how unbearable and unlivable the cultural landscape  has become for her, her son, and her partner.

“The seriousness of not  taking anything seriously that is so iconic about the Joker character,  that energy resonates with me,” James told us. “Why are we taking these  bozos seriously? These politicians, [these] criminals … Why are we  taking them seriously? Why are we playing their games? … The character  seems to have a very good understanding that the real joke is reality.”

Read more at Texas Observer. 

It was fun to visit with Hermajestie the Hung again, who I profiled last year for the Texas Observer magazine. I’m glad she’s doing well since leaving Texas, though I miss watching her perform!

Keep watching this space, I’m shared some Patron’s-only bonus material from this review and will add it to this website next week.