Inside Menz and Mollyz (2182 Gottingen), the Halifax Drag Kings rehearse their choreography to “Liquid Dreams,” glowing under black light in preparation for Saturday’s anniversary show (8pm, Menz and Mollyz, $10). These boys aren’t holding anything back—grinding, thrusting and cheering each other on while they sip from their pony-neck beers. It looks like a damn good time. “It’s all about finding your inner boy and mastering the hell out of it,” says Vincent St. Grace, a four-year King veteran.
Dressing in drag gives all genders and gender non-conforming folks the opportunity to play around and “radically explore” this wide spectrum. Just as drag queens fashion themselves head-to-toe in feminine garments, drag kings create their own masculine persona.
There are 10 consistent performers in The Halifax Drag King troupe—Smyth Ryan, Kowyn, Will Ramya, Clark Kunt, Blitz Burningheart, Bobby Sparkles, Jacksin Juharp, Felix Static, Logan and Vincent St. Grace. Some of these kings have been dominating the stage longer than others, but a year ago they decided to join forces and create an all Kings show at their palace and second-home on Gottingen.
Felix Static, who’s been a king for three years, says it was difficult for kings to acquire stage time because queens really “monopolized the stage.” But when his close pal and burlesque performer Stoo Metz approached the idea last year, they were able to get the boys a show they could call all their own. They’ve have been bumpin’ and grindin’ with each other ever since.
“I think kings are kinda generically at a disadvantage because we don’t have all the glitz and glam that queens have,” says Felix Static. “I think that’s why it’s really important to make every number unique and exaggerated. You can get on stage and look hot as fuck, but then just look like lip-syncing boy. It’s not enough, that’s been done before.”
The Kings agree you have to believe in your character to make it come to life and memorize the words to your song like it’s “a bible verse.” But the main ingredient to owning the stage is confidence. Oh, and oodles of duct tape. “I’m the king of duct tape,” says Clark Kunt. “The only time you’re happy when your boobs shrink, is that they’re way easier to tape down,” he says laughing. He’s been a king for two years and his drag counterparts have dubbed him “the resourceful one.”
“Seriously, he comes in with a chest of costumes, and we’re just like where do you get all this shit?” adds Vincent St. Grace.
The boys have each other’s backs and treat one another like family. “We’re literally brothers,” says Felix Static. “We’ve spooned at least three different ways.” “Yep, that’s totally true,” says Clark Kunt. Vincent St. Grace replies: “Come on Felix, you’re always the little spoon.” They all laugh.