Erika Chom, whose drag King persona is Junk Male, is the producer of For the Love of Drag. They host a monthly show at Caffe Fantastico. (Photo courtesy Erika Chom)

Local drag artists take over Caffe Fantastico every month

Novice and experienced performers alike take to the stage for an accessible, all-ages show

Victoria has an active drag scene. There are Queens, Kings and Things — which often refers to drag that doesn’t align with the King or Queen categories — who captivate audiences in bars all over the city.

However, these shows are usually 19+ which means they’re not open to a large part of the community. Erika Chom, a local drag King, set out to create a space for all-ages, accessible drag shows featuring performers with a range of experience.

Junk Male, Chom’s King persona, created For the Love of Drag (FtLoD) back in March of this year as the production face for the shows he planned on creating.

Currently, Junk Male hosts a monthly show called Sashay Cafe at Caffe Fantastico.

“It was really important to create a show that was all ages, in an accessible space and had open stage casting regardless of a performer’s experience,” he explains.

Junk Male sports a “Support Local Drag” T-shirt. (Photo courtesy Erika Chom)

At the moment, Junk Male is the sole FtLoD staff member, but he sees more people being recruited in the future. He also points out that there are several local drag artists who have volunteered their time to make Sashay Cafe a success.

“It would not have been possible without them,” he says.

Junk Male plans on hosting the monthly Sashay Cafe shows year round as the shows have been well received. The June show was the first themed event. Junk Male chose a Disney theme which he says the audience seemed to enjoy.

“I do love a theme, but you’ll probably see the theme shows spaced out in the future. That gives artists more room to create the numbers they want to bring to the stage,” he explains.

At the moment, Sashay Cafe is the only show Junk Male produces, but he has plans for two other shows.

READ ALSO: Life ain’t a drag for RuPaul stars

“I believe what FtLoD stands for — which is creating spaces for all performers — is resonating within the community and I’m very excited to be working with the folks that have reached out,” he says.

People who were exposed to drag through RuPaul’s Drag Race have a more narrow view of drag, says Junk Male.

“Globally, Kings and non-binary performers have to work much harder to earn the audience’s attention. It’s important to know that all drag is valid and it’s much, much more than performers just looking as femme as possible,” he says.

We have a huge King community in Victoria, as well as Things, he explains, and all performers are well respected within the drag community. Audiences aren’t always as receptive as many people have only been exposed to femme drag.

“Drag can be many things using gender as art: empowerment, expression, exploration, protest,” says Junk Male, who also performs in other shows around the city.

He is grateful for the support that Sashay Cafe has received. All three Sashay Cafe shows sold out. The shows have also been an opportunity for many performers to get on stage for the first time, he says.

He’s also appreciative of the partnership with Caffe Fantastico as they provide the space that makes the show possible.

Those who are curious about drag can check out the upcoming Sashay Cafe on July 27 or skim through the YYJDrag Facebook page, says Junk Male. Anyone interested in performing can get in touch with him through his Instagram: @loveofdragvic.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

LIVE MUSIC: Artist in Residence reaching into the community

Kathryn Calder to perform livestream show on YouTube channel this Friday, April 3

Victoria vocalist Maria Manna reaches out to hard-hit Italy with special online song

Jazz singer to perform ‘Hymn to Freedom’ with Italian lyrics on Facebook at 2 p.m. Monday

Royal BC Museum joins home education trend for outreach programs

Free webinar options available for RBCM@Home and kids’ programs, starting March 31

Stars On Ice tour cancelled for the first time in 34 years due to pandemic

The show was supposed to hit the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on May 12

Life mimics art for CCPA students who performed in play about Spanish flu pandemic

Performing arts students see parallels between story from Unity 1918 and current health crisis

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

Vancouver Island musicians in quarantine thank neighbours with backyard performance

Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra director Karl Rainer and his sons play for those in self-isolation

Order of Canada Vancouver Island musician pens ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’

Qualicum Beach lawyer and saxaphonist Phil Dwyer notes health officer has become a ‘folk hero’

Campbell River journalist launches Isolationpalooza II

Featuring all local musicians, a volunteer virtual concert, of sorts

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Netflix reducing video quality in Canada to lower Internet bandwidth use

Bell Media is also planning traffic measures affecting the Crave streaming service

Will the show go on? B.C. music festivals consider options for 2020

Summer events running out of time to stay on schedule, in wake of COVID-19 uncertainties

Relief fund for Canadian performing artists gets $100,000 boost from foundation

Facebook started the fund with a first $100,000 donation last week

Most Read