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November 13, 2019

Drag Story Hour at ArtStarts

A free drag show for families? You better believe it! For the first time at ArtStarts, we’ll be showcasing four compelling drag artists for some storytelling, performing, and an easy make-up tutorial for you to try after their performance.

The art of drag invites an array of performance styles combining theatre, dance, music, humour, and whatever else you can dream-up. Many of the local drag performers are their own artistic director curating an act from conception to the execution of what we see on the stage.

Performing for us this month is Rose Butch, Bo Dyp, Mx Bukuru and Thanks Jem who shared a little bit about their practice with drag.


1. Describe your drag style, what can we expect from your performance?

Rose Butch: “Rose Butch is not a Drag Queen or a Drag King, but a non-binary Drag Thing. Drag Thing means an openness to the possibility of any sort of gender expression, without worrying about putting a label on it. My drag style is playful and theatrically-informed and aims to be engaging and uplifting. Bringing non-binary representation where ever I go is also very important to me. I love performing textural spoken word lipsynchs, as well as throwback tunes, and currently, I'm really into a 60s mod aesthetic.”

Mx Bukuru: “My Drag style is like your Entle (Aunt and Uncle) at the Christmas function that is having a great time. I try to presence folks that should be celebrated but often aren’t because of how narratives form. My drag is very Black and very decolonial.”

Thanks Jem: “To describe my drag you will have to mix one part Julie Andrews from the Sound of Music, one part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, two parts Jem and the Holograms, and tons of sass!”

Bo Dyp: “My drag-style fuses Kwakwak'wak culture with pop culture. In my practice, I aim to explore my intersectional position in body politics. This upcoming performance will be welcoming, high energy.”


2. Why were you drawn to drag performance? How long have you been doing it?

Rose Butch: "I started getting interested and playing with drag about 7 years ago, but I've been performing for almost 6! As a kid, I loved dressing up and playing pretend, I did a lot of theatre in high school and then pursued it in post-secondary, so drag seemed like a natural progression that combined my love for creating and performing, as well as being a positive outlet for exploring gender.”

Mx. Bukuru: “I’ve always questioned my own gender and in drag it’s something that is encouraged. I saw it as a safe space to play.”


3. Why are you excited to perform for young people?

Rose Butch: “I think that drag can be a fun and safe container to explore gender and performance, and it's important for young people to see adults playing in these worlds.”

Bo Dyp: “I want them to be inspired by drag, by people owning and celebrating our identities in an outward way.”


4. What do you hope families will take away from your performance?

Rose Butch: “I love that drag can connect communities and bring people together, and I hope that being visibly non-binary can help someone feel less alone, or that it can help spark a conversation.”

Mx Bukuru: “I hope that in watching me perform, families appreciate different gender expressions. Growing up I wish I’d had language for my feelings, so I hope if there’s a single nonbinary baby that comes they get something!”

Bo Dyp: “I hope they will be reminded that they are on stolen land and that the Indigenous people of this land have been generous in spite of the genocide our people faced and continue to face.”


See Rose Butch and Bo Dyp perform on Saturday, November 30 at the ArtStarts Gallery. Families are also invited to visit the Contemporary Art Gallery for complimentary art activities including beadwork and storytelling. Drop-in between 11am-3pm at both locations!

Thanks Jem and Mx.Bukuru will be performing on Sunday, December 1 at River Market for two performances taking place at 11am and 1pm!

Please arrive a little early as this is a popular program. Ideal for ages 10 and under, but all are welcome. Free! Donations welcome!

Thank you to Westminster Savings for supporting ArtStarts at River Market.

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