Divas & Legends Drag Cover Show

Story by Jimmy Wiggins, Photo by TBay Alive



Superior Outdoors



They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and when it comes to Thunder Bay drag, this statement rings true. In the early stages of my career, one of the most successful shows was The Cover Show—a show where local bands would pay homage to their favourite mainstream and underground artists. However, unlike a regular cover band, which plays a mix of songs from a wide range of artists, The Cover Show featured each band playing songs from a single artist’s catalogue. It became wildly popular and has become one of the longestrunning live music events in Thunder Bay, and one of my favourite events to run. Cut to several years later, when my main focus wasn’t just live music, and drag shows were becoming popular. We began to develop a kind of drag cover show where local queens and kings would dedicate their performances for the night to a single pop diva or rock legend. And thus, the Divas & Legends Drag Cover Show was born. Over the years DAL has seen drag queens covering major pop icons like Lady Gaga, Cher, Whitney Houston, Adele, Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Beyoncé, J.Lo, Fergie, and Ariana Grande, to name a few. The drag kings, on the other hand, typically take on acts with a little more edge like Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Bowie, Queen, Eminem, Linkin Park, Bruno Mars, The Used, ICP, Panic! At the Disco, Beastie Boys, and even the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, among others. “Celebrity impersonation is a large [part] of the art of drag,” explains local drag king Ivan Love. “DAL is an opportunity for the local drag community to show off specific skills in the art of impersonation. It’s a big challenge to flex those skills.” To do well at DAL, each drag queen/king in the show needs to know enough about the artist they’re covering to really bring them to life with the audience. Whether they’re doing a physical impersonation or replication, or embodying the essence of another artist, knowing the things that make that artist a celebrity is a must for the performance. “I always find DAL to be the most challenging of our annual shows,” explains Ivan Love. “I’m a creative person and I can easily come up with my own ideas, but to study and recreate another artist’s concepts is an important exploration of my art that is exciting, frustrating, and essential to staying current in my drag. My favourite thing to do with my sets is to try to replicate at least part of an iconic music video scene or costume for the stage. It gives both my fans and the fans of the celebrity some Easter eggs to watch for.” Later this month, we will be hosting the latest edition of DAL that will feature some of the city’s top drag artists as well as a few up-and-coming performers paying tribute to icons like Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, and Dolly Parton, just to name a few. “You can expect custom props and costumes to mimic iconic moments of my celebrity, and some legendary dance moves,” says Ivan Love. “Expect to laugh your bottoms off!” Catch the Divas & Legends Drag Cover Show, November 18 at Black Pirates Pub. Follow @wigginsproductions, @tbaydrag, and @tbshows for more info.