Arts & Entertainment
(From left) Chanel Hunter and Jadein Black
The Queens Of Ypsilanti
Boylesque Makes Motor City Pride Debut
By Jerome Stuart Nichols
Originally printed 6/4/2014 (Issue 2222 - Between The Lines News)
For local drag performers, Pride when you show the community what you've got. When you're one of the newest drag revues around, it's important you start sickening, leaving the crowd gagging. With their upcoming Motor City Pride debut performance, the queens of Boylesque plan to do just that.
Catch the girls of Boylesque at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. June 7 on the Festival Stage (in between, at 5 p.m., they'll also grace the Pride Stage). Still can't enough Boylesque? Watch them as they put on a pre-Pride show at 9:30 p.m. the night before at Necto in Ann Arbor.
When Ypsilanti-based queen and Boylesque creator Chanel Hunter came up with the idea for the show in 2012, she saw an opportunity to make Ypsilanti as queer as its neighboring city, Ann Arbor.
"I felt like there was a hunger for drag here in Ypsi," Hunter says.
From the ease at which Boylesque went from merely an idea to spotlight realness, it appears she was right. Together with fellow queen and co-founding business partner Jadein Black, they set the wheels in motion. "We pitched it to a bar owner and, before you know it, we had a monthly standing invitation to perform."
From the very beginning, Boylesque was a hit, drawing up to 200 people for each of their monthly first-Sunday performances at Woodruff's in Ypsilanti.
"To draw 75 to 200 people on a Sunday night in Ypsilanti," she says, "that's a pretty good turn out."
Now that the Depot Town hotspot has shut its doors for good, they've found a new home in downtown Ypsilanti - the Tap Room. In just under two years, they've been able to amass a solid fan base and community support.
"We have a huge following of people who come out for every single show," Hunter says. "It's made us appreciate the town we live in. Boylesque is more than just another drag show; it's like a family here in Ypsilanti."
A family that just keeps growing. They've now added a second recurring Boylesque show at Necto in Ann Arbor. They also have a sister show, Detroit Divas, in Jackson.
With the success they've seen, Boylesque's classic drag party style and heavy audience inclusion is leaving spectators stunned, according to Hunter. "Boylesque is definitely about having fun and good times with friends and family in the community. Lots of good ol' fashion drinking and dancing."
It doesn't hurt, of course, that past shows have featured alum from "RuPaul's Drag Race," like Gia Gun, along with top Michigan talent like Stacey Cadet and title-snatching Kentucky-based queen Bianca Nicole.
For Boylesque's Pride gig, the roster looks to be just as hot. They'll be bringing in queens from all over the state, including some from Jackson and Port Huron. Along with Black and Hunter, expect to see Dominique Polo, Victoria Sanchez, Dazzle Dior, Porsha DelRay, Andi Drogenous and Ani Briated.
Understandly, it's a good time to be in Boylesque. For a troupe that hasn't even reached its second-year anniversary, Hunter is already thrilled by the troupe's success.
"I've got some really talented girls that people in Detroit don't usually get to see," she says. "We feel very thankful and blessed that we're being given the opportunity to be on such a giant platform."
3, 5 and 6:30 p.m. June 7
Pride / Festival Stages, Hart Plaza
1 Hart Plaza, Detroit