Drag Queens Take Over Place d’Youville

Drag Queens Take Over Place d’Youville
Reglisse opens the evening.

Reglisse opens the evening at Place d’Youville.

Let me start this with a clear bias statement: I am not the target audience of the Quebec City Gay Pride Festival.  This isn’t to say I’m unable or unwilling to appreciate gay kitsch/camp culture, but simply that being a tediously straight man, it’s all so foreign to me I simply wouldn’t know where to start. That being said, I had an absolutely great time at Place d’Youville for the Quebec City Pride Festival’s night of Drag Queen entertainment.  I just don’t even know which gender pronouns I should be using.

While Québec is certainly happy to accommodate and accept gay culture, we’re a far cry from understanding or appreciating it outside of fringe events and the odd walk by the Drague nightclub. As such, I can’t help but feel one of the goals of the Quebec City Gay Pride Festival, overall, is largely to demystify what exactly goes on in gay subculture and reassure us straight folks against the more outlandish negative rumours we might have heard.  In that, I think the Place d’Youville event was a great success.  With free, voluntary contribution entry, and in such an open space, it was inevitable that young children and families would attend.  While drag performer Reglisse, who opened the evening, was right to point out that drag culture is generally done in an adult environment and is not representative of gay culture in general, the performers were all careful to keep their humour and musical performances to a strict family-friendly setting – though double-entendre and adult subtext were never very far from the surface.  The few families with impressionable children present didn’t stay for the whole show, though as the evening started fairly late I’d imagine this was more a question of bed-time than childhood sensitivity.

Mado Lamotte comes on stage

Mado Lamotte comes on stage

The acts themselves, frankly, were very entertaining, mixing elaborate feminine costumes with lip-sync, dance, song, and even a roller-skate routine.  Drag performers seemed to embrace the deliciously camp nature of their performances, leading to some comical handling of the inevitable wardrobe malfunctions related to the outlandish outfits and ridiculously high heels employed – all in good fun, of course.  The acts leading up to Mado Lamotte, the headline act and (I’m told) something of a legend in the Québec drag scene – were of a quality that absolutely merited the large stage and important venue they’d secured.

It was clear those in the crowd who were “in the know” about the drag scene hugely appreciated Mado’s generosity for the entire duration of her (I’m advised to use the pronoun of the persona, regardless of the performer’s sex) show. As for myself, all I can say is she had incredible stage presence and was a delight to watch.

The Quebec Gay Pride Festival continues Labour Day with a family picnic at Parc Berthelot, and returns next year for its next annual iteration.

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Farnell Morisset, LifeinQuebec.com Staff Writer

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