BANFF – The COVID-19 virus has put the Bow Valley into lockdown, but a group of drag performers are hoping to hit the stage as soon as the pandemic has passed.
The Ptarmigan Tuck Drag Show was set to take place at the Den & Meadow on March 22. The show has been put on hiatus for now, but host and producer Victoria Bucholtz, a.k.a. Karla Marx, is hopeful she and her fellow queens will be able to ascend to the throne soon.
“There have been Banff queens in the past,” Marx said. “We’re excited to keep that legacy going.”
Marx is the co-producer of the Cougar Cabaret that takes place at Den & Meadow and said she is excited to be bringing a show that celebrates exclusively drag performers to Banff. According to the Den & Meadow website, the restaurant has been closed until further notice to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“There’s a lot of interest in drag right now,” Marx said. “It seems like the perfect opportunity to spread a really wonderful queer art and entertain people and make them happy.”
She added that she especially loves drag because it can build community and create a space for queer art.
Marx said she hopes that it will be a place for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to gather and feel welcomed and accepted.
It is a wonderful feeling contributing to queer culture in the community, Marx said, adding she appreciates the hard work and strides Banff Pride has taken to make this possible.
“I love building community with drag. It can be isolating in small communities, especially in Banff where it fluctuates and transitions a lot. Sometimes it can be hard to make those quick connections,” Marx said, explaining she hopes when the show comes to Banff it will serve as a beacon in building the community in the Bow Valley by bringing people together.
The show will be an exciting evening featuring drag performers doing various numbers and routines and will feature drag queens, kings and monarchs.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s pretty silly, it’s dramatic. It’s kind of over the top – you’re going to see a lot of glamour,” Marx said.
She added that they are hoping for an engaged and open audience that is ready to celebrate let loose and soak up the talent on stage. The more the audience reacts the greater the energy in the room, which in turn fuels the performance of the stars.
“I’m known as a queen with sharp wit and maybe a bit of a sharp tongue, but it’s always playful,” Marx said. “There’s a bit of banter– I like to get to know the audience.”
When they can host the show, Marx said she hopes that it can take root in the community and serve as a platform to locate local talent and performers from Calgary because it is a chance to share an incredible queer art form with a new audience.
“It’s showcasing how diverse and how broad the world of drag really is beyond what people might have seen on Netflix,” Marx said. “We’re really excited to do the show.”
Marx was originally set to share the stage with queens Angelina Starchild and Rocky Mountain legend Chi Chi YYC.
Chi Chi lived in the Bow Valley for many years and said she saw the opportunity to return to the area as a homecoming where she could reunite with local friends.
The scene in the Bow Valley is unique because there has always been a consistent LGBTQ+ community in her experience, but “the faces are always rotating.”
“It’s always a good time to come back to Banff,” Chi Chi said. “It’s a great time with great entertainment.”
Chi Chi is a trained dancer and world champion baton twirler and incorporates these skills into her act, along with her background in gymnastics.
She said she is excited about the show because it is a great opportunity to present a fun one-of-a-kind show.
“I am more of the acrobatic kind of drag queen,” Chi Chi said. “You’ll see the tricks come out.”
The Ptarmigan Drag Show has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are still ways to support the performers. Marx recommends following them on Instagram and Facebook for online shows and to keep updated on when they will be performing next.