SF’s Newest Drag King of The Year & The Fierce Competition
San Francisco gained a new Drag King of the year at Oasis on August 6th. LOTUS BOY beat out some very tough competition at the 27th annual Drag King Contest. Beloved MCs Sister Roma and Fudgie Frottage led us through a diverse and entertaining Drag King experience. VERA!, Trixie Carr, Tenderoni and Fontaine Blue presided as judges. I sometimes forget just how awesome a venue Oasis really is. If you haven’t been in a while, take a look at their calendar of events, I promise, there is something for everyone.
LOTUS BOY along with contenders, Papi Churro, Harddeep Singh and Helixir who was the 2022 King. were kind enough to meet me and answer a few questions about Drag Kings, life and activism. Their devotion to fighting social injustice is inspiring. Bravery and advocacy are woven into the beautiful acts that they craft. Papi Churro dedicated his act to his grandfather in a lighted lasso display. Harddeep Singh danced and lipsynched us into a heart wrenching state with his “Til All Prisons are Ash” act. Helixir brought in the comedy and the love. LOTUS BOY stunned as he strutted, danced and had a lot to say about Consent. Every single King in this contest was unique and proof that the San Francisco drag scene has a whole lot to offer. I really wish I had been able to chat with them all.
King LOTUS BOY
Pronouns: He/Him & Ze/Zir or They/Them
“I had been enamored with drag since I was in high school–the evocative expression, the political history, the camp, the glamour. Unfortunately, at the time, I only ever saw drag queens represented in popular media, and I didn’t think I was “allowed” to do drag because I wasn’t a cisgender man. (Spoiler Alert: ANYONE of ANY GENDER can do drag!) When I began performing in drag the following year after seeing a Rebel Kings of Oakland show (shoutout to my drag family!), drag became a powerful and healing space to explore my gender identity and my relationship to my masculinity and femininity and androgyny. I had always known since I was kid that I was transgender and nonbinary, but was deeply closeted. Drag gifted me the confidence and community support to finally come out as transgender and nonbinary in 2019.”
A typical day for Drag King LOTUS BOY
“My part-time job is working for Diamond Wave, a small queer arts organization in San Francisco. We produce the annual THEYFRIEND Nonbinary Performance Festival, for which I have been the Production Manager the past two years. Working at Diamond Wave has been a dream for me, because I get to uplift and help create performance and workshop opportunities for other artists, while also feeling supported in my own art practice.
For the past 3 years I’ve been blessed to partner with Queens of the Castro to create and facilitate workshops on gender expression and drag history to high school Gender-Sexuality-Alliance clubs in SF and Oakland, which I wish I had when I was that age. I’ve also worked as a competitive high school speech & debate coach for the past 6 years, with my students earning state and national honors each year since 2017. When not performing or teaching, I’m usually supporting other drag artist friends and family, drinking boba in Oakland Chinatown, and/or basking in the sun at Lake Merritt with Jasper, my ESA pup of 13 years. ”
LOTUS BOY and how they incorporate their political views into their performances
My drag is inseparable from my politics and values, which center disabled/chronically ill/neurodiverse/crip queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color. Drag is inherently political and oftentimes educational; as a youth educator I try to incorporate messages that my inner child and younger selves needed. My work explores themes of healing from trauma, anger, sustainability, gender fluidity, anti-Asian racism, joy, and solidarity. Ultimately, I wish for everyone to experience the type of empowerment, self-alignment, unapologetic joy, and healing that drag brings me and so many others.
Meet Harddeep Singh
How long Harddeep Singh has been performing and more
“(I’ve been performing since) October 2022, not long! I did Top of the Slops in London, an 8 week competition, but only because it was so cute and centered around raising each other up instead of beating each other. We were all paid every week and constantly learned from each other so we all grew together.”
All of you have such diverse messages in your drag. Will you tell us about that?
“I’m working class, trans Punjabi Sikh community organizer so have had some proximity to structural harm (police, prisons, detention centers, psych wards, punitive school practices etc). I want my drag to firstly give me moments of JOY! and healing and processing. All of those are key to resistance! And secondly, I want my drag to connect others with those moments for themselves. My “Til All Prisons Are Ash” act was made at a time where I was bearing witness to an incredible amount of state violence. The act served 2 purposes for me:
1: expressing fury at the structures killing us and
2: sending a message of hope to my loved ones and others impacted by racialised capitalism, border and state violence – we’ll carry on!”
Meet Papi Churro
IG/Website: Instagram @soypapichurro TikTok: @papijinxy
What drew Pappi Churro to the art form
“I’ve been a Drag King for 8 years.
My Drag Dad, Madd Dogg 2020, he was the first King of Color I saw perform.
Take us through a typical day (from the day job, family, other interests, and drag)?
During the day I work for a Non-Profit that helps Small Businesses get the resources they need to thrive. After work I exercise have dance practice, and spend time with my Fiancé Amanda Love and our two cats. If it’s show day, then I spend about 3+ hours getting ready for the gigs. I also help fight crimes against the people with activism and help fight for Indigenous People’s rights. ”
Papi Churro’s thoughts on the importance of Story Telling in Drag Performances
A lot of my art consists of storytelling. Whether I’m paying tribute to a lost loved one, requesting people to be active in gun reform, displaying my heritage as a Two-Spirit person with my culture or just being extra hunky pouring water on my chest. I feel like my message to the audience is that I have love in my heart. I love the skin that I’m in and that it’s okay to care about things and to enjoy art.
Finally, Meet Helixir Jynder Byntwell
How long has Helixir Jynder Byntwell been doing drag?
What message does Helixir Jynder Byntwell hope to convey while doing drag?
Upcoming SF Drag King Events:
Sunday, August 20th, 7pm at Baker Beach/Lobos Creek, San Francisco – Golden Hour: A Sunset Seaside Drag Show (Performer)
- Saturday, August 26th, 10am – 5pm at 7th & Franklin St., Oakland – 34th Annual Oakland Chinatown Chamber StreetFest (Performer)
- Sunday, August 27th, 7pm at SF Oasis – Accessible Futures: A Disabled QTBIPOC Drag Fundraiser for SPM Disability Justice Fund (Co-Host & Performer)
- Thursday, September 9th, 9pm at El Rio – ROYALES: Back 2 Skool – A BIPOC Drag King Show (Performer) ($10 Presale – Venmo @royalesdragshow)
- Tuesday-Wednesday, September 19-20th, 8 – 10pm at House of Yes, NYC – SAVE HER! An Environmental Drag Show (Performer)
- Thursday, September 21st, 9pm at Frankie’s Pub, NYC – The Cake Boys: Dirty Mantini Drag King Show (Featured Performer)all photos by Vita Hewitt
Howdy! My name is Katy Atchison and I'm an Associate Editor for Broke-Ass Stuart.
I want to take the time to say thank you for supporting independent news media by reading BrokeAssstuart.com. Supporting independent news sources like Broke-Ass Stuart is vital to supporting our community because it amplifies the voices of a wide variety of diverse opinions. You also help support small businesses and local artists by sharing stories from Broke-Ass Stuart.
Because you're one of our supporters, I wanted to send over a pro-tip.
Our bi-weekly newsletter is a great way to get round ups of Broke-Ass Stuart stories, learn about new businesses in The Bay Area, find out about fun local events and be first in line for giveaways.