Maxxx Pleasure has become a household name in the Brooklyn drag community — but his journey started out on a whim back in his college years. In newly released documentary “Maxxx,” he admits to not even having a performance name a week before his first show. Since then, drag has become a lifeline for Maxxx, a way to explore gender without limits or binaries. This Lonelyleap film delves into the life of Maxxx beyond the stage.
“Drag for me has become a way to express my own gender identity in ways I don’t get to in real life,” Maxxx says in the film.
While you can likely list off the names of at least five drag queens you know from the likes of RuPaul’s Drag Race — drag kings are much harder to come by. But Maxxx has found himself in a community that embraces all kinds of gender f*ckery when exploring drag performances. “It [Brooklyn drag] allows me to activate my queer body as an instrument and a weapon,” says fellow drag performer Hot Messiah.
The captivating documentary shows Maxxx making the lengthy trip from Nyack, NY to Brooklyn for their performances and while he says he’s considered quitting drag, he knows his life would be worse without it. He started off as a performer while in the depths of depression and being on stage has become a form of therapy. “There’s something so therapeutic about turning heartbreak and abuse and something like that into something that’s a spectacle, something to watch that people can identify with,” Maxxx says about drag.
Maxxx is known for his provocative rock’n’roll stage presence and he never holds back from giving the audience his true authentic self from start to finish. He describes his style as a “masculine look that’s performative enough” and fans in the documentary admit to loving how Maxxx explores toxic masculinity on stage in a way that makes it humorous.
“The point is that it satisfies something in me that I didn’t know I needed until I did it.”
“Maxxx has this level of darkness to him, but it’s a darkness that’s somewhat approachable,” says drag queen Jenn D’Role. And it’s not only the fans who are seeing the rawness from his performances, but the community at large, as Maxxx won Drag King of The Year in the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards yet again this year. His distinct style could be described as performance art — bringing out costumes that touch on mental illness and struggling through heartbreak. After watching Maxxx on stage, you’ll be left digging into your own mental depths — as he prompts not only creativity but questions societal norms through his work.
This documentary provides an important space for queers like Maxxx who use drag as way to connect with community and their own true identities. He says unequivocally that he “likes being Maxxx better 100%” more than who he used to be.
“Gender is a choice you make everyday with the with way that you present yourself.”
You can watch “Maxxx” on Lonelyleap’s site or below on Vimeo, released today.