Leave it to the PuSh Festival to coordinate a PuSh Passholder appreciation event at which one is more likely to be insulted than praised. Such was the case last night at the Club, where those bad bitches from East Van, Isolde N. Barron (aka Cameron Mackenzie) and her wife Peach Cobblah (Dave Deveau) held court in Tucked and Plucked, their sassy "herstory" of the drag scene in Vancouver from the 1960s to the present.
Isolde and Peach each dazzle in a solo musical number--Isolde in classic drag diva fashion to Shirley Bassey's Let's Get this Party Started and Peach rocking it out to the more contemporary stylings of Nicki Minaj--and together they go through enough sequins, fishnets, and paint to costume more than a dozen Liza look-a-likes. However, the show is mostly devoted, à la Oprah or Ellen, to on-stage interviews with three past Empresses of the Dogwood Monarchist Society, the organization that has presided over drag coronations in this city for the past 42 years. We hear from Mona Regina Lee about the early origins of the Society and what it was like, under BC's antiquated liquor laws (and pre the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada) for queers to gather together in bottle clubs; from three-time Empress Myria Le Noir (who did a stand-out number to a slowed-down version of that drag standard I Will Survive) about the DMS's important charitable work during the early days of AIDS; and from the legendary Joan-E about dishing with Debbie Reynolds during the filming of Connie and Carla.
Then it was off to the Vancouver Art Gallery for FUSE: The Push Festival Edition. The place was packed and we arrived just in time to catch an excerpt from the 605 Collective's The Inheritor Album, the full version of which we'll see at the Dance Centre at the end of the month. I had hoped to get up to the fourth floor to see Forest Fringe in collaboration with Tim Etchells; however, I got waylaid by the Muntadas show Entre/Between, which was simply fascinating.
And, of course, there were far too many people to talk to. Kudos to VAG Curator of Public Programs and all-round friend of PuSh, Vanessa Kwan, for putting such a fantastic event together. Vanessa and her collective Norma will be appearing at Club PuSh tonight in Swan Song (for Cats); it is to be the farewell performance for the troupe and will feature, among many other things, musical accompaniment by Veda Hille.