Nanaimo drag queen Divine Intervention, Tara Beladi of Vancouver and Victoria’s Honey Dewme (from left) are among the nine performers taking part in the Suga Honey Iced Tea live-streamed fundraiser on May 30. (Photos courtesy Brookie Jay Photography/Dank Sinatra/Sortome Photography )

Nanaimo drag queen organizes benefit show for hospitals and performers

Suga Honey Iced Tea to feature nine drag artists from Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver

Drag performers from Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver are joining forces to present a live-streamed charity production to raise money for hospitals in their communities.

Nanaimo drag queen Gabriel Villasmil, who goes by Divine Intervention, said he’s been reading a lot about COVID-19 and is concerned about what a potential “second wave” of the pandemic could mean for hospitals.

“Things are going to probably get a little bit worse. I imagine the hospitals would need way more help than they’re getting right now,” he said. “So I decided to call on my drag queen sisters from different cities and try to make a live show that would be a little friendly competition to see which city would donate the most.”

On May 30 Villasmil presents Suga Honey Iced Tea, a show featuring three drag queens from Nanaimo, three from Vancouver and from Victoria a drag queen, drag king and a non-binary drag artist. Villasmil said the name of the show is meant to exude feelings of sweetness, refreshment and healing.

A GoFundMe page has been set up with a $10,000 goal. Half of the donations will go towards Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Victoria General Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital and Lions Gate Hospital with the remainder supporting the artists, as many have been impacted by show cancellations. Most of the performances will be pre-recorded.

“Right now, with all the live-stream shows that are happening that are drag-related, a lot of those drag queens are wanting to provide a product that’s very polished,” Villasmil explained. “And I guess the best way to do that is by filming and doing a pre-recorded video that you can edit and that you can tweak and you can put effects on it and make it way more visually appealing.”

Villasmil said all the performers in the show are very different and have their own niche. On the bill from Nanaimo are Divine Intervention, whom Villasmil describes as a “burlesque-y” Vegas show girl, his “drag daughter” Slutilina and “in-your-face” “tough gal” Levy Roze. From Victoria are Honey Dewme, who styles her drag after a neglectful southern single mother; Boi Idol, who Villasmil describes as “a little bit of goth but with a feminine touch;” and Eddi Licious, who the last time Villasmil saw him “hung himself from the ceiling and started doing all kinds of acrobatic moves.” Representing Vancouver are the “sultry and smooth” Eva Scarlett, comedy queen Karmella Barr and the bearded, ukulele playing Tara Beladi.

“Since COVID-19 hit they’ve been really struggling with their finances so this is to give a little bit of aid to the hospitals and the health practitioners and also the performers,” Villasmil said. “So basically I’m trying to make this show into a show that we can all benefit from.”

WHAT’S ON … Suga Honey Iced Tea will be simulcast on three Facebook pages on May 30 at 9 p.m. Donations can be made online.



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