By: Winona Young
For 10 p.m. on a Sunday, there’s a certain buzz of excitement in the crowd once I walk into the London Pub. Groups of people are crowded around the makeshift stage area, and the overall vibe is laid-back but lively.
The seats are packed with a colourful crowd of all kinds of sexualities and ethnicities. Drag performers in full costume are casually walking around talking to friends and bar-goers, or else simply standing there looking stunning as all hell.
While this venue is holding a drag show, the London Pub as a space — as made evident by its name — is all about London and football. Football paraphernalia and jerseys are displayed neatly on the walls, while mid-2000’s music plays on the speakers (read: Hannah Montana and *NSYNC). Even though the two personalities of the pub and the event clash, the bar itself is spacious and well-decorated, making it an ideal space for a night out.
There are no discernible wheelchair ramps present at the venue, but it is home to smooth, flat wood floors which theoretically could be accessible for those in wheelchairs.
There are no gender-neutral bathrooms, however, the bathrooms themselves are quite tidy, and well stocked.
As for location, the pub is located right on Main Street, and is a quick walk from either the Stadium–Chinatown Skytrain station, or Main Street–Science World. The event was scheduled for 10 p.m. to 12 a.m., included a $5 cover, and was only accessible to those 19+, each of which may serve as an age, cost, or time barrier for some.
Drag performances: B+
Our host Jerri Lynn Spears and DJ Girl Fieri kick off the show with a bang (and with names like that, how could they not?) The two are comfortable up on stage talking to the crowd, bantering about yeast infections, and asking the crowd to cheer for the pub’s wait staff (everyone loves a kind queen).
This event is part of “Commercial Drag” by Sleepy Girls Production, a drag show showcasing East Vancouver drag talent of all kinds every Sunday. The evening’s theme was “Sweet 16,” which was honoured quite well by the event’s first performer, Ryan Goshling, clad in a tux as they danced to a Robyn song. They ended their performance by handing out crowns from a giant, glittering pink egg (it was a packed three minutes, to say the least).
Other performers like Brunch spat out Nicki Minaj verses as they strutted around the venue, beer and the audience’s wigs in hand. Props also must be given to drag performer Belladonna VonShade — even though she made guest performances for rap verses in other queens’ songs, her confidence and character was utterly magnetic to the crowd.
But by far one of the best performances that came tonight was from Gender Spice, a drag performer who was less glitter and more goth. They slunk out on to the stage while Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag” blared through the speakers. With wig changes and all, they gave one of the most entertaining and hilarious performances of the entire night. Their performance was so stellar that Jerri Lynn threw their shoe at them in support, claiming “[their] shoe was so lubed up from horniness.”
Overall, Commercial Drag delivered on a night of laughs, decently talented drag queens from East Van, and is definitely a great starter for anyone first discovering local drag talent!