The Drag Queens of Westminster Spring

Well, it’s about time.
We’ve been waiting for the Show for fifteen months,
shivering in Vancouver’s damp, dismal, grey
Rain-soaked Stratosphere.

Now they’re here. Yay!


These are the Queens of Spring, and more importantly – the Queens of New Westminster’s Queens Park Neighborhood. They show up every spring to party for a week or two, and then leave us panting on the edge of our seats, hoping that Summer will be half-as-much-fun as this Great Drag Show of Spring.

They are shocking and unapologetic, for their shameless excess. They are right-in-our-face with their glory, their thinly disguised Macho Femininity.  Their bravado with overdone makeup, mascara and pink, pink, pink … enough to make Callgirls Blush.

Yes, brothers and sisters of the Sidestreet.  They are Magnolias.

And they have been decreed, by the Great Gary Gustaf Bandzmer, to be the Official Drag Queens of Spring.

These Volatile Hipsters won't negotiate with anyone ...They come in various shapes and sizes.  Mostly of two persuasions: Pink and White, along with permutations and inter-marriages of the two.   Some are “auto-erotic” – like the Pink Floozie in the upper left Boudoir.   Others do it in two, groups or whole-tree orgies.  Yes, I’m shocked as well.  But … bear with me and I will do my best to explain the juvenile behavior of these wayward blooms.  Be warned though: it may overcome your senses to the point of intoxication.   Find a designated driver for the trip home.

When the Season finally arrives, well … these young princesses are hardly what one could call “shy”.  They begin emerging at the slightest Hint Of Spring.  It’s like, they want to be the first ones on the block with all the color, and they truly do make the most visual noise, often quite deafening to innocent passers-by.

The white ones attempt to appear more “spiritual” – but it’s a ruse.  Outwardly they try to convince  you of their godliness, cleanliness and austerity.  But soon their unbridled passion and thinly disguised extravagance shows though.  They are not the stately nuns and priests one would expect in such wardrobes.

So, these gay, screaming fools basically take over the neighborhood for weeks at a time.  There’s no stopping them.  You can call the Police, you can write letters, you can have private chats with the clergy, for all that matter.  But it’s known by the elders and crones, to be a complete waste of time.

The baby magnolias of springtime ...And, as some might say: they take over the whole town.   That’s right.  There simply is no other show that competes.  They blow those other dancers right out the door.  Japanese plum blossoms?  Good luck.  Any others, of any shape, size or color: they simply don’t match up.  The Magnolias run the show.  “Mob connections” – you think?  The chances are good.  Their competitors never had a chance.  You’d think they’d been ‘whacked’.

Well, it makes us all feel inadequate.  Lousy lovers.  Even with our best – and finest – wardrobes, and you girls: with your most expensive, environmentally-correct makeup, your new color-coordinated accessories … it all falls desperately short of the allure of the Magnolia Queens.

They own the streets and they’re here to stay.

If there’s one thing they teach us about Spring, it’s this: Love Is Not A Polite Whisper.  It’s Led Zeppelin.  It’s Janis Joplin.  It’s the Music turned up to Number Ten.   If Love and Life wait for no one, then Spring is the first out the door, led by the Mad Magnolia Queers.  Talk about “Parades” or doing it in public.  They are not ashamed of being who they are.  In all their glory: they amp it up, they stretch and bloom and arch their velvet, pouting petals in every majestic direction they can: reaching for the Sky, the Sun — and everything in-between.

There is no prude in magnolia Pride!
So, this is a little late.  The show began a month back, and the Majestic Ladies are now showing their age – the few that are still left around.

Such crude and unrefined show-offs, they don’t even try to disguise their age!   The big floppy, velvety, soft, sensuous petals begin to brown and wither … and soon, within days or even hours, they are lying on the ground, inebriated, dead-drunk  – willing to rot or surrender to the merciless rake of the Japanese Gardener.  Whoosh, scritch-scratch, they are gone!  Unceremoniously dumped into some mundane back-alley disposal unit to end up in the civic land-fill, remembered by  … who?

Well, they don’t care.  They’re not egotistical enough to ask for a “Magnolia Graveyard”.  Or will it be “cremation or burial”…?  They care not for paperwork and diplomacy.  No one will have a “Celebration of Life” for them.  Paradoxically, their LIFE is their “Celebration of Life”, not their death.  They celebrate life, by stretching, dancing, yawing, screaming … into their extravagant unique amazing individuality, and they take it to the Nth degree.  Not polite and reserved like us Canadians.

Gay White Sailors waiting for their Love Boat to come ...So, here it is, May 14th.  Spring is finally feeling the Fingers of Summer and the White-Gloved Hand of Winter is gradually letting go.  It seems that it is these courageous blossoms that have paved the way.  They announced Spring, by announcing themselves.  They made a Big Noisy Party and Winter could stand it no more; that Quiet, Icy, Catholic Nun left the house.   And Summer, on it’s Harley-Davidson arrived with a Roar.

Oh, to Live That Way.

Those humble and exotic flowers can teach us so much.

If we care to listen to their song.

How can you miss it?