This past Labour Day weekend, the We’re Funny That Way Queer Music and Comedy Festival took over the grounds of a former WWII airbase (Base 31) in Picton, Ontario, located in the picturesque wine region of Prince Edward County. Base 31 is one of several new venues in the region, and this one has only just begun to transform the massive space it encompasses. After a group of community builders known as PEC Community Partners Inc. purchased the site in December of 2021, the property has become an evolving fusion of art, ecology, heritage, industry and innovation

The three day We’re Funny That Way Queer Music and Comedy Festival provided locals and tourists with a fun-filled line up of diverse entertainment, that included Alec Mapa,  Brandon Ash-Mohammed, Heather Bambrick, Karen Williams, Martha Chaves, and Slanty Eyed Mama (Lyris Hung + Kate Rigg) on the Friday and Saturday, followed by the grand finale that featured a new show by David Tomlinson, along with another new production from the infamous B-Girlz. Both were back onstage for the first time since COVID, and both pulled off magnificent performances.

Tomlinson did his new stand up show, Fagnificent, that offered plenty of personal tales, admitting “he likes to talk about himself”, animated twirling (just because), dirty talk (we want this), and some heavier intimate reflections on aging, AIDS, and other not-so-funny anecdotes (he’s real). The B-Girlz are as hilarious now as they were when they started doing their comedy drag shows three decades ago. Those in attendance got to experience the first reiteration of Jump! – a glittering fast paced multi-media comedy and musical extravaganza featuring singing, dancing and near high kicks! The show featured a great montage of video and images that reflected back on their illustrious and glamorous career so far. There was dancing, flipping and flopping, one-liners, audience participation, and even a rap routine.

After the show, the threesome ended up at the Barley Room pub onsite at the Waring House, and gave the surprised locals a three song medley. These gals are true professionals, and for those who were unable to attend this show, they did say it would be revamped at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre this fall, and they would also be doing a holiday show in December there as well.

As always, organizer and host Maggie Cassella did an amazing job putting this altogether, and keeping herself together to ensure everyone in the audience and backstage had an amazing time.

The We’re Funny That Way Foundation is a national fundraising organization whose goal is to raise funds to support queer organizations across Canada. This weekend’s benefit event had all proceeds going to the Rainbow Charity Network. This year’s Rainbow Charity, funds raised will go to support the immigration of a queer refugee from Yemen to Canada, and Prince Edward County Library’s DiscoverYOUth! program – an all-inclusive weekly drop-in for 2SLGBTQ+ youth and allies.

Check out the Base31 website for many more upcoming events throughout the year, including some great live shows. This place has some great potential! Also, be sure to keep an eye out for next year’s We’re Funny That Way festival to return even bigger and better!

Prince Edward County is about a 2.5 hour drive from Toronto, and for those wanting to do an overnight or weekend stay, the Waring House is located within a 5-minute drive of Base 31, and offers superb accommodations in a wonderful setting. There are several different lodges, and different room types, including some with your own outdoor hot tub on the outside terrace. Buffet breakfast is included and you never know what sort of entertainment you’ll find at the Barley Room pub. As the owner called the B-Girlz performance, “It was a Waring Moment”. Indeed it was!

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.