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If you need any more proof of the increased cultural pull of Jennie Livingston's 1990 New York drag-ball documentary Paris Is Burning, look no further than the most popular show in the United States. On last night's American Idol, former judge/Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler donned a wig, makeup and a dress for a gag audition. He introduced himself as "Pepper LaBeija, from the House of LaBeija," referencing an actual (now dead) human being, who is featured prominently in Burning. Granted, the joke of Tyler's appearance was to be antithetical to the "realness" rhapsodized by the Burning queens. His drag was more on the Milton Berle side of things, approaching disrespect for the medium, but at least he knows his shit — or knows someone who knows. Wise.
His take on drag, of course, was no match for that of the actual drag queens who are on the judging panel, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.