Those who are looking for a typical wrestling show will not find that with the West Coast League of Legendary Wrestlers.
Instead, they’ll find comedic, rowdy, feminist performance art.
“The tagline is ‘ruining the sanctity of professional wrestling since 2015’ – it is entirely performance-art based and it’s satirical wrestling,” said Vanny von Baron, producer and creative director of Riot Grrrls.
In the Riot Grrrls first wrestling production, they are joining forces with the West Coast League of Legendary Wrestlers to bring HUMAN BODY SLAM! to White Eagle Polish Hall in Victoria on May 20 after the league has been on a three-year production hiatus.
The Riot Grrrls, a queer performance art collective that promotes social activism, are taking on the eight-year-old wrestling league thanks to connections like von Baron, who performed with them for years.
“Some of us have previously fought with the West Coast League of Legendary Wrestlers. The league abolished and they were looking for somebody to take over the production of their shows so we’ve taken it on,” von Baron said.
And the feminist group seems like the perfect fit for such an undertaking.
“We mock the patriarchy in all of our performance art. We play traditionally masculine characters a lot of times and take the piss out of them. [For this show] we are reclaiming a traditionally CIS-hetero performance art.”
|June 28, 2018 was the last West Coast League of Legendary Wrestlers show in Victoria. (Amus Beast O. photography)|
The concept behind this theatrical wrestling show all started as the West Coast League of Lady Wrestlers in Dawson City, Yukon as a critical performance piece that gave space for women to feel powerful and create characters with feminist and political themes. The league eventually expanded into Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, and Victoria.
“The West Coast League of Legendary Wrestlers was born out of the Lady Wrestlers to be more inclusive,” said von Baron. “Our last show, I fought as Man Santo vs. Smother Nature,” von Baron said with a laugh. “It’s political satire through theatre.”
Since the last wrestling show, which was supposed to take place in May 2020, “got Covid-oed”, fans have been continuously requesting for it to come back.
“We had so many people asking about when the next show was going to happen. People have been waiting for a long time for this.”
And while wrestling will be a new undertaking for some Riot Grrrls members, audiences can expect real wrestling but “double the ridiculousness” with characters like Farmer vs. Cow and Salt Hogan.
“We have a lot of our regular performers and drag queens who are now suddenly finding themselves transitioning over to the wrestlers.
“The characters are always super campy and we do use a real ring and we do throw down but we focus more on the performative aspects more than anything,” said von Baron.
And the theatrics aren’t just reserved for those on stage.
“The audience is half of what makes a Riot Grrrls show so amazing. Our audience shows up usually wearing costumes.
“The dress theme of this one is actually Macklemore in the YouTube video Thrift Shop so you can expect the most fabulous … ridiculously-dressed crowd that you’ve ever seen in Victoria.”
While von Baron said the show has tickets selling fast, “anyone who is wanting to show up with enthusiasm and have a really good time in a queer space should come.”
Von Baron said local wrestling groups have “been extremely supportive”– 365 Pro Wrestling in Victoria lent them their ring and sound equipment.
Tickets for the 19-plus early and late show start at $26.89 on eventbrite.ca.