From inclusive rave innovators to 7 foot glamazons, meet Bristol’s LGBT+ influencers
Get to know the people running underground LGBT+ nights
UWE students take note. Behind Thursdays at Pryzm and OMG Wednesdays, Bristol's got a bustling LGBT+ scene.
From the event organisers offering a new style of raving to the performers who bring you trippy visuals, meet these fabulous four and get an insight to your all new inclusive night out.
So when was Bitch, Please! founded?
BP is pretty fresh off the blocks. We hosted our first event at Motion in August 2016 with Honey Dijon, Spencer Parker and local gay night Don't Tell Your Mother.
Why did you want to create an event like BP?
Me and my friend Lewis Winter from collective Amour Ami came together to put on a big LGBT+ day event. Unless your pride hopping over the summer then there just wasn't anything else.
You started off with Switching Lanes at the beginning, how did that accumulate to become BP?
Switching Lanes was a project I came up with after I was asked to host Bristol Pride's 2015 afterparty. The name was a representation of the direction I wanted to take, but I was doing this on my own which was challenging. It was difficult to find DJs and friends with the same music interests as me. That's when I teamed up with Amour Ami and my partner in crime Travis (ZenZero).
How has Bristol taken to BP, what's the feedback been like?
Bristol is known for being creative and openminded. This is definitely why we're thriving. People want to see us succeed, and that's what normally happens when change is needed.
Has BP got any events coming up ?
We've teamed up with Resident Advisor & Absolut vodka UK to take part in their Alternate Cut series, with the focus being on LGBT+ promoters in the industry. We're bringing our good friend Steffi along with her Italic/New Wave down at The Locco Club on the 5th April.
Duchess Dominique Fleek
'Bristol's boujee lil rapper bitch with an artsy edge'
Dominique has been featured in Bristol 24/7 as well as being a prominent figure in Bristol's gay scene.
So what's your main inspiration for Drag?
My first inspiration was my passion for make-up. DJs and promoters as well as my friends who did drag also showed me I could be an individual through drag – that's how Dominique came to me.
How has Bristol helped your Drag?
In a way I think I got a lot of support from some of the underground areas of the Bristol gay scene. Because of this, it's given me a fire to to be fierce and bring it every time.
What do you want to bring to the table in the future?
I'd love to brand myself. I don't want to be a local queen forever. I would love to branch out into the music industry and modelling. We've seen queens from America do it – so why can't I?
Where can people find you in Bristol?
The dingiest, scattiest clubs!
Joking! I perform regularly in Motion, as well as places that host house nights and underground nights. I work a lot with the guys at Bitch, Please! too.
Carmen is a queen like no other. Drawing inspiration from Animation, this glamazon has travelled the country and is known for running Drag Queen Bingo here in Bristol.
What's your inspiration for Drag?
What inspires me most about drag is character play and the total abandonment of society's and even nature's rules.
You've recently taken over Drag Queen Bingo, how's that been for you?
I love running DQB, especially because it's a weekly event as it allows me to bring new things to each place we visit. I get to work with loads of local queens and get to remind people – don't take things to seriously!
Does Bristol allow you to excel creatively?
Unfortunately Bristol has an almost non-existent drag scene in comparison to other cities. A lot of our gigs are with underground events rather than with mainstream gay venues. But because of this a few of us have banded together to create things such as DQB, as well as traveling to other cities to perform.
Where do you see the future of Bristol's queer culture heading?
Over the years i've seen a number of independent venues buckle under the OMG monopoly, so it wouldn't surprise me if that became the cities headquarters for gay culture. What I would love to see and start would be a queer performance space open up to all types of performers. I think it would act as a watering hole for new acts to emerge and current talent to inspire.
Forever breaking the boundaries, Dis – Charge is a queer force of nature, bringing her burlesque inspired performances internationally as well as locally
What's your main inspiration for Drag?
I take my inspiration mainly from alternative music and culture, specifically from genres such as no-wave, goth and punk rock. Performers like Diamanda Galas and Siouxsie Sioux who tackle difficult subject matter and perform with intensity are also inspirations. Of course I take cues from pop culture, especially if I can filter it through an unusual lens.
Giving your recent experience headlining international events such as Austin Drag Festival, have you been able to take the knowledge you've learned back to Bristol's queer scene?
I've been traveling and performing internationally for some years now. Every time you leave the city you are based in and work with new performers you get an opportunity to glean something new. Certainly I think working with my drag house, as well as the amazing burlesque dancers influences me, And I think that shows through in my local shows.
Do you think the media's acceptance of drag culture has elevated queer culture here in Bristol?
I think it's certainly allowed for a heightened awareness of the culture, albeit a very commercial image of it. It's very positive on the whole to know that queer artistry is being talked about. Either way there are groups and individuals working hard in Bristol to make interesting work, whether or not the straight establishments accept us – we do not need their approval *tongue pop*
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