I used to worry about the “appropriate” cross-over between my academic presence and my draglesque (drag + burlesque) persona, and was originally inspired to make this page by a professor who has a section on his website labelled “Play.” I was an art historian long before creating the ‘witchy dyke of Victoria,’ Burnina Sparks. Over the past 2.5 years, though, these two selves have become co-constitutive.
The questions posed in my PhD dissertation would never have emerged without the experience of performing femininity offered to me in drag. It is through performing Burnina that I have started detangling ‘femininity’ from ‘female-ness’ and exploring its implications as both a meaningful part of my queer identity and an often harsh set of social constructions. The premodern past has likewise informed my drag since the curtains were raised on my debut act infused with (oh-so-original) references to Joan of Arc.
Burnina has evolved into a walking anachronism serving martini-drinking medieval femme heresy with a side of 1940s waistlines… occasionally to be found lip-synching to Kate McKinnon’s lesbian Elsa for all-ages audiences.