British Columbia

Alternative Pride celebrates drag and more with 5 nights of queer events

Alternative Pride is a festival of LGBTQ+ events taking place in the city all week. The events are put on by artists, according to director and drag artist Continental Breakfast. Here are five highlights from the festival.

'People ... are celebrated for fully expressing themselves,' festival director says

Continental Breakfast, director of Alternative Pride, offered their picks for highlight events. (Ethan Sawyer/CBC)

As Vancouver gears up for the 2019 Pride festivities, a different kind of celebration is about to get underway.

Alternative Pride is a festival of LGBTQ+ events taking place in the city all week. The events are put on by artists, according to director and drag artist Continental Breakfast.

The festival, Continental explained, receives no government or corporate funding and is supported entirely by artists and paying attendees. It puts a strong emphasis on drag performance and sex-positivity.

"Drag being infused into these events is very important," Continental said. "It ensures people that they're going to go somewhere where they know people are safe to express themselves fully.

"People ... are celebrated for fully expressing themselves and becoming these personas that are the highest extension of them being queer."

Continental Breakfast is a drag artist and director of Alternative Pride. (Ethan Sawyer/CBC)

Continental Breakfast — who uses the pronouns "they" or "them" to refer to themselves — helps put on the five days of Alternative Pride programming with arts group Vancouver Art and Leisure.

They offered some highlights from the week's events.

Monday's Most Wanted

Monday, July 29 at 1181 (1181 Davie Street) at 11 p.m.

A drag show featuring four revolving hosts. Continental is one of them and is putting on an ongoing drag soap opera that is part autobiography and part story of the Vancouver drag scene.

"We tell stories and share all the gory details from our past," they explained. "We perform numbers suited to the storyline. It's like a continuing saga."

Double Trouble

Tuesday, July 30 at 1181 (1181 Davie Street) at 10 p.m.

This drag event features guest host Scarlett Bobo from Toronto, a well-known Canadian drag performer. Continental said she hosts drag events in Toronto almost every night and was featured in an Absolut Vodka advertising campaign. 

Blackout: A Britney Spears Drag Musical

Wednesday, July 31 at the Rickshaw Theatre (254 E Hastings Street) at 9 p.m.

Continental wrote this drag musical and is narrating it. It tells the story of Britney Spears in 2007, when she was more notable for shaving her head and being in tabloids than her music. Nine drag artists will play Britney. 

"I wanted to try and write a musical spinning it to her perspective," they said. "A story of redemption and triumph rather than demise and breakdown."

Pride in Chinatown

Thursday, Aug. 1 at the Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (578 Carrall Street) at 7 p.m.

This event celebrates queer Chinese-Canadian art with an immersive show combining visual art and performance. 

"Last year… it was one of the highlights of the festival for sure," Continental said.

One notable installation will be a station where artists will be making traditional Chinese aphrodisiacs.

Late Night Snack

Friday, Aug. 2 at Save On Meats (43 West Hastings Street) at 8:30 p.m.

Dinner, drinks and a drag show. Several artists from Vancouver and Victoria will be at this show hosted by Continental. Late Night Snack, they explained, is a long-running event.

"It's created such a good culture," they said. "It's become sort of a Downtown Eastside staple for drag because it was sort of one of the first ones to be set in the heart of Downtown Eastside."

Backdoor Vancouver Pride Edition

Sunday Aug. 4 at the at the Edgewater Casino (760 Pacific Boulevard) at 9 p.m.

The abandoned Edgewater Casino will play host to a massive close-out party to Alternative Pride. Continental says it will be the biggest event ever hosted by Vancouver Art and Leisure.