Enjoying drag superstars from the comfort of your car… and other pleasures

Our recommendations for what’s up and what’s on, beginning May 20

Hello and good day to my friends, and to my friends I haven’t met yet. Spring is still sproingy, unlike my sad old knees, but in my heart I am as vigorous and welcoming as a bubbling brook and excited to introduce you to a truly delicious fortnight of queer and trans excellence. Organize yourself a delicious snack, fire up your calendar and let’s get some things booked!

The unmarried ladies of Brazilian music

Have you ever been entirely unaware of something, living in the world with it, but not remotely engaged? Then one day someone casually mentions where the entrance is and whoosh, right down the rabbit hole for you? Last week I learned that there is a huge group of wildly popular Brazilian samba and pop singers—many of them well into their sixties and seventies, all of whom are unmarried and some resolutely not discussing their romantic lives—making the most springtime music. Hot new crush music, longtime love music, heartbreak music, longing music and so much more. I made you a playlist as sort of a sampler situation, but my fave is Zélia Duncan (gives me serious kd lang vibes).

Drag ’N Drive and Drive ’N Queens

If you’ve been drag-deprived, fear not. Like daffodils, drag is definitely a perennial. Since it’s regrettably not safe to crowd into a cabaret (and pay extra to be in the splash zone), clever queens have banded together to bring you Drive ’N Drag, a digital option for on-demand drag shows (including the always-on-point Bianca del Rio) for the ultimate experience in solo safety. For those in Toronto, Tynomi Banks has teamed up with CityView Drive-In for an outdoor tour beginning Saturday, June 12, where you can safely view all the baubles, bangles and beads from your car. The show continues to Vancouver, Ottawa and Halifax in the fall as well, so be ready.

Querencia, a queer Indigenous romance

Mary Galloway and Kaitlyn Yott in Querencia film still
Mary Galloway (left) and Kaitlyn Yott (right) play Abe and Daka in “Querencia.”

New streaming site APTN Iumi is chock-full of amazing Indigenous programming (both brand new and some from the archives that have been renewed), making it a one-stop shop that includes language education, feature films, kids programs and more. New Indigiqueer series Querencia launches Tuesday, June 1, in partnership with imagineNATIVE Film Festival. Expect sex, romance, exes, a lucious soundtrack and great performances by co-stars Mary Galloway (also the writer and director) and Kaitlyn Yott across the eight-episode limited series (the first of several, it is to be fervently hoped).


Dean FM’s “Wifey”

Dean FM’s singles “Sis” and “Bottom Bit” seem to have gotten a lot of us through some chilly grey lockdown mornings. Now the genderqueer rapper is showing his full range with a new video, “Wifey” (performed in full wedding regalia). The heteros are quite upseteros that a Black genderqueer artist would dare, so of course we love it extra. Get into your own wifely duties with this danceable track and accompanying video.

Lesbian Sex Mafia

Apparently, the run-up to Pride is now required to contain a selection of bad “won’t somebody please think of the children!?” takes about whether it’s all right for participants to wear leather, show their asses (literally, not metaphorically) or grind the night away to queer bops? Our friends at Lesbian Sex Mafia have been answering that question with a resounding yes for 40 years. Their amazing online show and celebration on Sunday, May 23, features burlesque, rope suspensions, decorative piercing and other kinky business for your delectation.

Naturally by Saul Freedman-Lawson and Displacement by Wang Xulin

Covers of 'Naturally' by Saul Freedman-Lawson and 'Displacement' by Wang Xulin

Credit: Old Growth Press

If you’re feeling less whips-and-chains and more zines-and-themes on Sunday, May 23, Old Growth Press is launching two new queer graphic books: Naturally by Saul Freedman-Lawson, and Displacement by Wang Xulin. In addition to presentations by Freedman-Lawson and Wang, LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC community artists will also be joining the program to read aloud from their own work. 

In conversation with Jess T. Dugan, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Ka-Man Tse and others

Sky and Mike in Palm Springs taken by Jess T Dugan
A Jess T Dugan photo from the “To Survive on This Shore” project.

Credit: Jess T Dugan

In partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), on Tuesday, May 25, at 4 p.m. EDT, you’ll find Toronto Photo Laureate Michèle Pearson Clarke convening a gorgeous queer convo with artists Jess T. Dugan and Paul Mpagi Sepuya, artist and curator Ka-Man Tse and AGO curator Sophie Hackett about their work and artistic practice. Dugan is well-known for To Survive On This Shore, a series of portraits of transgender people over 50, and Sepuya’s photographs about photographs show how queerly intimate portraiture can really be.


Next week we’ll have a whole crop of exciting new books (June is busting out all over, but definitely out of the library), but I’m still in a rereading phase. This week, I’ve been rereading James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, and remembering how movingly Baldwin writes about the complications of desire, of feeling conflicted, of wanting and denying and the way unruly feelings bunch up and burst out when we can’t let them have any other room.

That’s what’s happening, my baubles, bangles and beads, and I for one am quivering in nerdly excitement about it all. Keep it sweet and dripping as the weather heats up. Until we meet again! As always, if you’re working on something new and exciting, let me know about it! Email info@xtramagazine.com or DM me on Twitter with your news.

S Bear Bergman

S. Bear Bergman is a writer, educator and advice columnist. His ninth book, Special Topics In Being A Human, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in the fall of 2021.

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