With the emergence of RuPaul’s Drag Race into the pop culture canon, more and more people are getting into drag.
St. John’s has a small but fierce drag community, and as legendary queen (and recent visitor to the city) Kim Chi said in a tweet, “If you can name every single Drag Race queen but can’t name ten local queens in your hometown, you’re a Drag Race fan, not a drag fan.”
“You have to get out there and support your local queens!”, says Jason Wells, a.k.a. queen Irma Gerd. “There is so much talent here in St John’s, it’s not all on TV.”
If you think drag might be something you’re into (as an observer), Wells suggests Valhalla Tavern (Holdsworth Court) for the weekly Drag Race viewing party on Thursday nights, whenever RuPaul’s Drag Race is airing,
For someone who wants to know more about drag in St. John’s, your next step is attending local shows.
“East Coast Drag Company hosts monthly shows, and Velvet often has something on the go,” says Taylor Stocks. “For those who don’t like bars, there are often other neat drag events on the go: RaiseUp Fundraising runs Drag Bingo every year which I host, and now they are moving forward with Drag Star Story Hour.”
Most local drag artists have Facebook and Instagram feeds you can follow. “Getting to know your local kings and queens will teach you way more about what drag is really like and help you better understand shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race,” says Stocks.
That’s all good for participating in drag as an observer, but what do you need to know before you break out the Shake-N-Go wig and kitten heels?
For those interested in the performance of drag, Taylor Stocks a.k.a. Drag Idol 2017 champion Doctor Androbox, recommends a broad view.
“I define drag as over-the-top performances of gender,” says Stocks. “It is an art form that cares about the aesthetics and movements of different genders, often combining them in strange and unexpected ways that disrupt how we navigate our highly gendered world.”
Stocks says that any person can do a drag character of any gender. What matters is creating someone different than your everyday gendered self.
For Stocks, it became “less about capturing who I really wanted to be in my day-to-day life and more about being the ridiculous version of myself that I couldn’t possibly sustain in my every day existence.”
A tip from Irma: “If you have any desire to perform in drag at all, stay at home because I do NOT NEED the competition. That is one hundred percent a joke … go buy a wig. Drag is an amazing opportunity for queer people to explore their own identities, and also to be a part of a long herstory of queer performance.
“I always welcome new talent at my shows, and if anyone has the spanx to get up and lip-sync in front of a room of people, I will be cheering them on. The drag community is small here, so there is lots of room for new blood.”
On April 6th, go Bobbing for Butt Plugs at Doctor Androbox’s debut demo release party at The Ship. Details at Doctor Anrdobox’s Facebook page.