My Grandpa was a Drag Queen. How often do you hear that sentence? Although shocking to some, this was my normal. Growing up, he was simply my Poppa Ken, but on the stage, she was Hydrangea Bovine, a member of Canada’s most beloved drag group of the 1980’s, the mustachioed, cow-print clad, Bovines.
But this is not a post about him. This is a post about the strangely large drag community in the little Welsh City of Cardiff and a review of my favorite drag superstar, Bianca Del Rio!
Although my Poppa passed away eleven years ago, he sparked in me an early fascination and love for drag. As a cis-gendered, monogamous, heterosexual, feminine woman, my Poppa remains my bridge into the Queer community.
Though I may be seen dancing at a gay club here and there, like many allies, I have found it slightly uncomfortable to integrate into the LGBTQ+ community, as I do not want to intrude. This has led me to a greater infatuation with the online and televised world of drag, predominantly with RuPaul’s Drag Race.
For the uninitiated, RuPaul is the most famous and arguably most fabulous drag queen in the world. Since 2009 she has hosted a reality TV show to determine the next drag superstar. Through comedic, outrageous, and scandalous performances, Drag Race works not only to provide entertainment and internet gifs, but also to provide an international and lovingly hateful community to anyone who wants to be a part.
Though Drag Race began on the fringe, it has become as mainstream as drag can ever really be. With viewership reaching of nearly 1 million during its season 9 premiere, it still surprised me to see that many of the contestants from the show were coming all the way to Cardiff to perform. Happily taking this to advantage, I have seen as many of the queens as I could, but one stands above them all.
Aside from my biased love for my Poppa and local queens, Bianca Del Rio, the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6, and creator of the movie “Hurricane Bianca,” is one of my absolute favorite entertainers in the world.
When I learned that she would be coming to Cardiff for her “Not Today Satan” Tour, I was absolutely ecstatic and bought tickets right away. Unlike other drag shows I’ve attended, which usually take place in questionably clean gay clubs, Bianca’s show was hosted at St. David’s Hall on February 8th.
Boasting jokes for the locals, Bianca made sure to make fun of Newport and commend Cardiff on being very small, yet very gay- like some of her personal friends.
It was an evening of filterless comedy of the filthiest kind, scandalous jokes streamed out of her mouth… hateful, yet somehow full of love. In a world on full of hate for the queer community, I looked around the grand theatre and saw people of all backgrounds and ages, having fun and being themselves. On the brink of becoming mainstream, RuPaul’s drag race has somehow brought on a new audience… not “gays,” not “straights”- but just people wanting a laugh, wanting some drama, and wanting a safe place to be and celebrate yourself!
And remember: “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?” RuPaul