‘Sparkly and glittery:’ Drag queens and storytime mix for the first time at the Edmonton Public Library
Librarian says event encourages creativity and for kids to learn more about diversity
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Story time at the library just got a bit more glamorous.
In Jonathan’s Busch’s re-vamped nursery rhyme this Sunday the five little monkeys will be swapped out for “five clumsy drag queens” serving up rhythm realness.
“It’ll be five of us queens walking in these big shoes and performing,” said Busch, a library assistant by day, and occasional drag queen named Lourdes by night.
The performance is all part of the Edmonton Public Library’s Over the Rainbow Story Time event, an age-friendly affair featuring drag queens reading kids books, sashaying to nursery rhymes, and doing makeup for aspiring glamazons.
“We’re mostly celebrating diversity,” Busch said. “The more different we are, our culture just gets stronger.”
Edmonton’s annual Pride festival starts Friday, with organizations across the city, the library included, hosting events to celebrate the LGBTQ community while keeping a light on issues its members still face.
This is the first year the library has handed over story time to drag queens, after seeing similar events in Winnipeg and Halifax, according to youth services librarian Jen Waters.
“We want to try something out and see how it goes,” she said. “We want the library to be a safe space and an inclusive space.”
Busch, who recently began working with kids through his job at the library, said he’s excited to bring the world of drag, in a family friendly way, to a younger audience.
“Being able to bring both of these things together and share that is great,” he said.
Drag is loosely defined as someone impersonating and exaggerating a certain gender, typically with big hair, overdrawn lips and lots of glitter.
But there’s also an element of creativity and individuality, said Busch, and that’s a message he hopes will inspire people attending the event.
“We should be happy to be different, and that it’s OK,” he said. “If you stand out in a good way, it shows you’re being the most ‘you’ that you can be.”
Waters said it’s important for kids to learn about others different than them early on.
“When we start at a young age, and make people feel safe and included, we hope that continues through childhood into adulthood,” she said. “In this case, it’s just going to be very sparkly and glittery.”
The event will take place Sunday at the Strathcona library at 1:30 p.m. and goes until 2:15 p.m.