Arts·Here & Queer

Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme are reclaiming Christmas for the queers

One of our greatest drag duos sat down with Here & Queer host Peter Knegt to talk about The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show.

One of our greatest drag duos sat down to talk about The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show

Jinkx Monsoon (left) and BenDeLaCreme (right) stare lovingly at Here & Queer host Peter Knegt.
Jinkx Monsoon (left) and BenDeLaCreme (right) stare lovingly at Here & Queer host Peter Knegt. (CBC Arts)

Here & Queer is an interview series hosted by Peter Knegt that celebrates and amplifies the work of LGBTQ artists through unfiltered conversations.

The Queens of Christmas are back... and are currently making their way across North America with their biggest tour yet.

That's right, drag legends Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme are spreading the joy of their holiday show The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show all over the continent through the end of December, and we were oh so blessed for them to make a little stop at the Here & Queer set while they were in Toronto.

Watch the entire episode here:

The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show started back in 2018, but DeLa had been producing holiday shows in Seattle for 10 years before that.

"The heart of [those early shows] had always been that I never loved going home for the holidays and I wanted to create a space for people who felt alienated from all the family and homecoming imagery that we get bombarded with at this time of year," DeLa says. "And one of those people was me. So it started as something small with 50 weary queers on a cold Christmas Eve, huddled together. And the response was so good that that grew."

DeLa and Jinkx had worked for together for years in various capacities, but in 2018 DeLa suggested they go all in on expanding the holiday show together.

"At first going to be just a very simple little 'let's sit onstage and drink cocktails and talk, and then we'll perform some numbers,'" Jinkx says. "But that's not really how De La tends to do things. And before I knew it, we were creating a fully scripted show that has even evolved into what I would call a two-act musical. There's some original music, there's some parodies."

There's also a whole lot of love.

"It has been a conscious effort of ours to to resist the urge to pit two powerful feminine characters against each other," Jinkx says. "And for years, it was kind of an easy trope and we had a lot of fun doing it. And then De La said to me last year that she'd like to start steering away from that because there's enough of that in our community. There's enough of that in the world."

"To be a feminine personality in the public eye is to be scrutinized and pitted and pitted against other feminine personalities. And we've always made our own rules. So we said, 'Let's stop contributing to that and make a new storyline that doesn't do that. And this year she said, let's really tap into that because the world needs to see it.'"

What the world also needs is queer icons like Jinkx and DeLa giving us some holiday spirit that's for us.

"It's reclamation," DeLa says. "All of the the trappings of the holidays are either stolen from paganism or queer culture, one or the other. And all these people who are historically oppressing queer folks, but they're going out there and bursting into song and wearing sparkly sweaters. I mean, come on, you can't have it both ways!"

"I think as soon as you tell the queer community they're not invited to something it's like fine we will create our own," Jinkx says. 

"And we'll make it more fun," adds DeLa.

Get in on that fun by seeing The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show at a city near you

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Knegt (he/him) is a writer, producer and host for CBC Arts. He writes the LGBTQ-culture column Queeries (winner of the Digital Publishing Award for best digital column in Canada) and hosts and produces the talk series Here & Queer. He's also spearheaded the launch and production of series Canada's a Drag, variety special Queer Pride Inside, and interactive projects Superqueeroes and The 2010s: The Decade Canadian Artists Stopped Saying Sorry. Collectively, these projects have won Knegt four Canadian Screen Awards. Beyond CBC, Knegt is also the filmmaker of numerous short films, the author of the book About Canada: Queer Rights and the host of the monthly film series Queer Cinema Club at Toronto's Paradise Theatre. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the same obvious handle: @peterknegt.

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