Man Up and Apocalypstick

man up main pic

            Man Up is an event held at the Cobalt in East Vancouver, which is held monthly and consists of a, “queer variety show and drag king celebration”.³ This show includes incredible performances from members of Vancouver’s gender performance community, as well as thriving d.j’s who spin amazing beats to create a fun and lively environment. Some of these talented performers, such as Ponyboy, Boi Job, and BJ Babeslayer, can be viewed at for a brief bio, as well as pictures! It was, “Originally conceptualized four years ago by Sammy Tomato (Sena Hussain) of the troupe Drag Kings United and Majik (Chanti Laporte), Man Up appeared in one of Vancouver’s popular queer nightclubs, Lick,” and proceeded to become increasingly popular and successful leading to its current location at the Cobalt, and its future involvement in Pride in Portland, Oregon.¹  This event allows for the questioning of gender as a performance and queries gender and its associated conceptions which many people may hold.


man up pic 1

Copyright: 2013

man up pic 2

Copyright: 2013

Additional photographs and information about events can be found at

apocalypstick pic 1

In addition to this event, Apocalypstick is an event which is also held at the Cobalt. This event occurs on long weekends, and consists of performances by drag queens. This event also consistently has a large and diverse audience, who seem eager to watch and support the performers. It was originally founded by Brandon Gaukel and Dave Deveau.4 Two of the performers Cameron Mackenzie and Kaylum Thornbury are key members and are highly involved in the drag scene. Cameron, who was active in the move of Apocalypstick to East Vancouver says his motivation for this event was, “ to create a variety show, like the old Judy Garland show, but with drag queens,”.4 Cameron states that he “didn’t want to create just another drag show; I wanted to create variance.”4 Cameron and Thornbury both emphasize the difference of drag between East Vancouver and the west end, in which the scene in East Vancouver seems to allow for more freedom and may be a bit more open, according to Thornbury.4 This allows for the show to question gender and gender as a performance, as does Man Up. Overall their show seems to have taken off and is continuously successful.

apocalypstick pic 2

More information can be found on their page on facebook at:

These events query the existence and representation of gender, and as Ponyboy, one of the leading performers of Man Up states, “Gender itself is a performance. The show is a performance of gender,” (Ponyboy, as quoted by Hallam)¹. This show challenges preconceived notions of gender and the gender constructs associated with these notions. These performers present themselves in ways that create a disruption in the ways in which gender is often viewed, leading to an enhancement of experiencing these shows.  Some of the performers have stated that these shows and dressing in drag allows them to feel a sense of empowerment, which may be one of the many reasons for their participation. These events are extremely inclusive of all individuals and create an environment with a community feel where anyone is welcome!

¹ Hallam, Tara. “Vancouver’s drag king showcase Man Up gets its groove on” Vancouver Free Press. 2013. Web. Sat, Apr.6, 2013.

² “King for a Night (Inside Vancouver’s Drag King Scene”. Youtube. SennaFilms. N.p. Feb. 8, 2011. Apr. 6, 2013.

³ Man Up. N.p. n.d. Web. Sat, Apr 6, 2013

4Shanti, Ghassan. “The Queen of East Van”. Xtra Canada’s Gay and Lesbian News. Pink Triangle Press. Dec. 15, 2011. Apr. 6, 2013.



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