Split William to Chrysis: Portrait of a Drag Queen

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Told through a combination of interviews, archive and home movie footage, this story of a boy who wanted to be more than just William has the makings of a modern parable. Rejected by his family, driven to accentuating his natural assets with dangerously high doses of hormones, the poor boy from Brooklyn created Chrysis, the woman he grew up to be. In her relatively short life, Chrysis turned herself from a downtown hooker into an international attraction, wowing audiences, winning the affections of Warhol (among others) and becoming muse to Salvador Dali, before finally succumbing to the cancer which started in her artifical breasts. Interviewed shortly before and after her death, friends testify to her courage, generosity, and ability to make the best of any situation. But the only proof we need is Chrysis herself. Already in advanced stages of illness by the time filming started, she's a performer to the end, refuting suggestions that she's taken the tough route with the dismissive 'Somebody's got to do it'. It's a dizzying story, and a moving one. PBur.

By: PBur

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