What does Vancouver like more than brunch and drag? Drag brunch! But why?
More and more drag brunch shows are popping up around the city despite the popular weekend activity having been around for a while. It wasn't until drag become more mainstream that drag brunch has really exploded onto the scene, and a created new expectation of drag.
Dan Clapson has organized many drag brunches and drag events across Canada, including in Vancouver, and notes that television and social media have played a big role in drag brunch's popularity.
"Any sort of pop culture trend is going to find its way into all sorts of styles of events," he explains. "Although drag brunches did exist, especially in Vancouver, for a long, long time, I do think that the television series RuPaul's Drag Race, and Canada's Drag Race really help the average, probably non-queer, person to really embrace the art of drag."
Vancouver drag ranges from daytime shows to evening and nighttime shows, but the increasing demand for daytime drag shows, though it stems from mainstream interest, is also in part due to its accessibility.
Toddy Full Time, a drag king who performs at the Party Dogs drag brunch show with other drag kings and things, has performed at many drag brunches and shows.
"[Because of] the [higher] demand for drag and the fact that like a lot of our venues have shut down, we're figuring out new ways to host drag and a great market for that is daytime shows," explains Toddy.
She notes that the atmosphere at a drag brunch is also very different from an evening show.
"It brings in a different audience that wouldn't normally go to our drag shows because a lot of them start very late [and] aren't very accessible in a lot of different ways," she says. "Drag brunches are a fully sit-down event, which is fantastic, and happen when people actually have time off work and are able to bring their kids. I think it's a really important part of the community."
A different genre of drag
Drag brunch is an entirely different genre of drag show, with its lightheartedness and comedy - different from a typical nighttime drag performance.
"Drag brunches are kind of known for being more on the comedic side," Toddy says. This approach to drag has worked really well for the professional stand-up comedian and drag king.
"The audience isn't looking to take things seriously at 11 a.m. in the morning. We [also] see more campy queens, kings and things come out through drag brunches, because there [isn't] that expectation to take themselves seriously," she adds.
Many drag brunch performances include parody songs, comedy and camp drag- an over-the-top comedic style. "If you call something camp, it's going to be quite silly and really ridiculous," Toddy explains.
According to Toddy, camp styles go hand in hand with drag brunch, and that's what makes it so fun.
Drag for everyone
Drag draws in performers of all genders and audiences of all backgrounds and lifestyles.
Throughout Clapson's experiences with drag events, he's seen a variety of occasions being celebrated with an outing to a drag brunch event.
"Maybe they're celebrating a birthday or anniversary or even something like Mother's Day. We see all types of people coming to drag shows. Sometimes it can even be youth that [have] maybe recently just come out as queer and the parents want to expose them to a safe environment where there are queer performers presented in a powerful and positive way," he adds.
Though drag dinner is also a popular option, Clapson says that brunches make up the majority of drag events. No wonder Vancouver has so many drag brunches!