It has taken some time for the Coquitlam Queens to get back to the stage.
Last fall, after their sophomore performance at the Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam drag artists Jakyllyn Hyde and Flannery Pajamas took a break to focus on Pajamas’ health.
Last November, she was diagnosed with a rare blood condition that, in March, resulted in a stem cell transplant. Now, she visits Vancouver General Hospital once a month for tests and takes 17 pills a day.
“I’m feeling much better and confident,” Pajamas said.
Disappointed they missed their spring show at the Coquitlam arts venue, the pair sprung back into action after Pajamas’ medical procedure and called in the troops to start rehearsing for their fall gig.
And they promise next Saturday’s variety show to be full of music, dance and wit, an end-of-summer party as well as a celebration for Pajamas’ recovery.
Titled Dragging Out The Summer: An Autumn Delusion — a “tongue-in-cheek” reference to their show being on the first day of fall, Hyde said — it will see actress-comedian Yumi Nagashima headline. They’ve recruited fellow queens Anida Tythole, Justice Du Jour, Candy Boxx and Kittin Kaboodle as well as kings Jo King and Junk Male to round out the cast.
Pajamas (aka Stephen Johnson) will perform to Kelly Rowland’s hit Commander (the first song she did in drag) plus In the Dark by Vancouver-based Gabriela Geneva.
“I’m a big fan of doing local artists,” Pajamas said. “If you do songs that aren’t well-known, people remember the drag queen not the song.”
Pajamas describes her performances as “very fierce and engaging with the audience.” Her red curly hair, defined eye makeup, thigh-high leather boots with five-inch heels and form-fitting leather gear are also crowd pleasers, she said.
By comparison, Hyde (aka Daniel Mason) “is the complete opposite,” she said. “Flannery is definitely about sex whereas Jakyllyn is more of a comedy queen.”
While their styles and genres are quite different, the two insist there’s no competition.
An 18-year veteran, Hyde said she enjoys watching her partner grow as a drag artist. She acknowledges times have changed from when she started in the performance art, with RuPaul taking the form to a commercial level with the TV series Drag Race.
Back then, drag queens weren’t as accessible as they are today, with social media making some performers global stars “even though they have never left the bedroom. It’s an industry now,” Hyde said.
However, gaining recognition locally — and changing people’s perception of gender — remain uphill battles, she said.
“When you’re not on the TV and not touring the world, people kind of forget about you. That’s why we’ve built this business. We want to change the way people view us.”
Dragging Out The Summer: An Autumn Delusion is set for Saturday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam). For tickets at $45, call the box office at 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca.