The Church/Wellesley Village was once the crowning jewel of gay Toronto, but in recent years our venues have moved out to other areas of the city. Some argue that as we lose the close concertation of LGBT spaces we forgo a certain amount of power and safety as a community, but the flip side is that by being in traditional spaces we expose others to our unique brand of entertainment.

Scarlett BoBo has been hosting a fabulous night at The Red Tomato on King Street West in the heart of the theatre and entertainment district. Queens on King is a fun cabaret style drag show, the brainchild of Scarlett BoBo, her boyfriend Peter, and Dean Maher from 416 Mag.

“My favourite thing is joking around with all the straight guys and then when I bring out the burlesque performer I get to watch their jaws hit the floor as the girls are swinging nipple tassels around chicken parmesean.”

Scarlett BoBo speaking about Queens On King

I asked BoBo about her experience performing this new crowd of people, “I have actually noticed a difference in the crowd on King Street. I love Church Street to death don’t get me wrong, but because people are so used to seeing drag everywhere, which is amazing, they take advantage of it and it’s not as important or special. I find sometimes we become background noise. The lovely thing about this new area and crowd is that this is all so new and exciting to them. Some of these people have never seen a drag or burlesque show so it’s a whole new world to them and they are so involved in the show. Everyone is eyes on you and they are loving every second of it. It’s refreshing because the queens and burlesque performers in this city work so hard and it’s nice to be appreciated for the hard work we’ve done.”

Fred Luk is the owner of The Red Tomato and sister restaurant Fred’s Not Here, and gave BoBo full creative control over the show which is every producer’s dream but as BoBo notes this comes with its own challenges, “Throwing a weekly show is insanity. By the time the Friday show is done I’m already pumping out the poster and my guests for the following week and trying to get all those people that loved it to come back. It keeps me on my toes and keeps my creativity flowing so I’m grateful to have a show like this that is pushing my limits.”

Catch Scarlett Bobo & friends at The Red Tomato for Queens On King , 321 King St W, Toronto, Friday’s 8-10PM.

Photo of Scarlett BoBo by David Hawe. 

About the Author

Raymond Helkio is an author, director and award-winning filmmaker. As a graduate from the Ontario College of Art & Design he cofounded The Reading Salon and is a Canadian Ambassador for the Moral Courage Project. Find him on Facebook.