Wednesday, 28 December 2016


House of Laureen onstage at Cafe Cleopatra (Photo by Kinga Michalska)

Montreal is one of the great drag capitals of the world, alongside New York, London, Vegas and Sydney. But the city hasn’t been home to a bonafide “house” since the House of Pride dominated the annual World Ball For Unity produced by Divers/Cité, the now-defunct queer Pride and arts festival that put Montreal on the international gay map in the 1990s.

The House of Laureen – named for Laureen Harper, wife of former Canadian PM Stephen Harper – first wowed audiences with their 2015 Montreal Fringe Festival debut Laureen: Queen of the Tundra. The production was so popular, the troup regrouped for their 2016 Fringe sequel, House of Laureen: Backdoor Queens – starring Anaconda LaSabrosa, Connie Lingua, Dot Dot Dot, Uma Gahd and host Noah in a riveting backstage look at the reality of drag, performance and politics – a show they will reprise as part of the 20th annual Wildside Theatre Festival which runs from Jan. 5 to 15 at the venerable Centaur Theatre in Old Montreal.
House of Laureen: Backdoor Queens
(Photo by Kinga Michalska)

You can also see the House of Laureen headline Montreal’s iconic Café Cleopatra on January 14 at 10 pm (after their early evening performance at the Centaur).

In August 2016, House of Laureen established their monthly residency at Café Cleopatra, last remnant of Montreal’s fabled red-light district. There are plenty of ghosts in this great old building – the Queen of the Main – which has been a showbar since 1895, and where the House of Laureen follows in the footsteps of such Montreal drag legends as Vicki Lane, Lady Brenda, Vicki Richard, Twilight, Farrah, Black Emmanuel, Gerry Cyr, Michel Dorion and Cantelli.

On the eve of their Centaur Theatre debut, Three Dollar Bill sat down with the girls from the House of Laureen for a brief Q&A about drag (their answers have been edited for brevity and clarity).

Saturday, 24 December 2016


A young Clark Gable

Bugs' interview with David Bret originally ran in Three Dollar Bill on May 29, 2008

When British CNN International correspondent Richard Quest was busted afterhours in Central Park last month with a rope around his neck, crystal meth in his pocket and a dildo up his ass, I told myself, "That’s why Anderson Cooper won’t come out."
I bet Cooper is afraid people will think he’s just another Richard Quest and then he’ll never get to replace Katie Couric as host of the CBS Evening News.
Another New Yorker, transplanted Brit Quentin Crisp, once astutely observed that when people think of gay celebrities, they wonder what they do in bed. Then they try picturing those stars having sex, and then inevitably picture themselves doing the same things.
"And they don’t like that," Quentin explained.
In America, when all a viewer can see when he looks at a homo is what he does in bed, your career – like Quest’s – is dead.
So, this week I was blabbing with fab British biographer David Bret. He’s written bios of Elvis Presley (Elvis: The Hollywood Years claims Elvis had an affair with actor Nick Adams and Col. Tom Parker blackmailed Presley by threatening to reveal "secret information" that Elvis was a homo), Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn, Maria Callas, and his good friend, the late Marlene Dietrich ("I was the last person she talked to – she called me two days before she died"). And Bret pretty well told me the same thing as Quentin Crisp.
Bret is currently riding a new wave of publicity promoting his terrific just-published bestselling biography Clark Gable: Tormented Star (Carroll & Graf), in which he exposes Gable’s secret gay life.

Thursday, 22 December 2016


Candis Cayne was the first transgender actress to play a recurring trans character on prime-time TV (Photo by Scott Everett White)

Bugs' interview with Candis Cayne orignally ran in the Montreal Gazette on August 6, 2015.

Before Caitlyn Jenner began documenting her gender transition on E!’s eight-part reality TV series I Am Cait, there was Candis Cayne, the American actress and performance artist who came to international attention in 2007 for portraying transgender mistress Carmelita on ABC’s prime-time drama Dirty Sexy Money.
Cayne made history then, becoming the first transgender actress to play a recurring transgender character in prime-time television.
Now Cayne is back on television, in Jenner’s reality show. She is a close friend of Jenner, who tells the show’s producers in one episode: “Candis is a beautiful woman, but as far as dating in the future, I have absolutely no idea.”
Needless to say, Candis and Cait are two of the most talked-about transgender women alive right now.