On June 18, Parkdale-Cromdale Community League (PCCL) is hosting a Pride Pub Night and Drag Bingo event.

Steven Townsend, who organized the event, says, “We just kind of thought it’d be fun to do something different this year,” and celebrate Pride in a new way. 

“Everybody loves bingo, especially when it’s drag bingo,” says Townsend. “We hope to see everybody there.”

The event starts at 7 pm in the hall at PCCL, and guests will have a chance to chat with neighbours before the bingo starts at 8 pm. Peruvian street food, prepared by Kipus Authentic Peruvian Cuisine, will be available for purchase. 

There is a $10 cover charge for the event, and guests must be a member of the league to attend. Memberships will be available to purchase for $5 at the door. 

Colin Bae and Selena Cuchina (who also goes by Ashley Kravetsky), two drag performers who both live in Parkdale, are performing at the event on Saturday. 

Bae, a nonbinary performer, will be performing upbeat, more masculine Pride numbers for the event. Bae uses drag as an extension of their gender identity, to bring out the masculine side of themselves.

Cuchina, is still deciding what numbers to perform, but she says, “I generally tend to perform a lot of things that are meaningful to me in my culture, in my background. I’m Jewish, I’m also Latina, and so I always like to showcase those types of artists as well as people who have been influential to me, like Dolly Parton.”

“We’re very different in how we perform,” says Bae. “She’s definitely more bubbly. I’m a little bit more edgy, kind of rock.” 

Both Bae and Kravetsky will be performing at the league for the first time, and they are excited to perform for the community. 

“It’s just a different way to engage with the community and make different points of contacts,” says Bae. “Sometimes when you’re passing people on the street, we kind of have a very quick judgment. But having the opportunity to go out in the community and show what it is that I do through drag allows people to see me in a different way.”

Kravetsky’s favourite part about performing at community events is being able to inspire others to get involved in drag, if that’s something that interests them. “I also want to destigmatize [drag] so that people don’t think that drag performers are just a certain type of person,” says Kravetsky. “Being a cis-gendered female, I really like to represent the fact that I am who I am, and I can still do this in a nontraditional sort of way.” 

 “We all have to give each other a break and try not to judge each other,” says Bae. “Sometimes people don’t realize what it is that we do, and they don’t realize that we’re just trying to make people happy. But they have to realize that we’re not embarrassed, and we know what we’re doing and we’re just having fun with it.” 

Kravetsky adds, “I want people to realize that there are all types of people and all walks of life in our neighbourhood and we are all a community and a family, regardless of what we do for a living or what we do for fun. I think enjoying each others’ assets really helps to create a community.”

“If you see a drag performer, don’t be afraid of approaching them and asking questions,” says Kravetsky. “We’re all there to perform for you, but also, we’re there as real people too, and we really want to connect and create those connections with people, especially in our community.”

 Get tickets for the event at parkdalecromdale.org/blog/2022/5/31/pride-at-pccl.